The Lords of the Admiralty issued instructions in January, 1843, to the master shipwright at Chatham Dockyard, to have the mainmast of the Curacoa, 24 guns, then fitting at that port, joined with marine glue, to test its capabilities for that purpose. The mast was accordingly made of several pieces of timber, joined together, under the immediate superintendence of Mr. Jeffrey ; when completed it measured 28 inches in diameter, and 66 feet in length, and when put up, with the topmast, 90 feet 10 inches. The Curacoa was soon after commissioned by Captain Sir T. Pasley, Bart., and proceeded to the South American station ; and, on serving the usual period, was ordered home, and recently paid off at Sheerness. The vessel having been dismasted, their lordships ordered that the mast should be opened, as is usual after four years' service, to ascertain its present condition. The master shipwright, Mr. Isaac Watts, at Sheerness dockyard, in compliance with their lordship's order, set eight men to work with sledge hammers and wedges to separate the timbers, but their united efforts at one time failed to separate the joints, and only split the solid timber into large pieces. The foremast, which was joined in the upper part in the usual manner adopted at the dockyards, was found to be very rotten, the parts where the wet had entered and been retained being equally yielding to the pressure of the hand as a piece of sponge, and in other places where dry crumbled into a powder on being pressed. Both masts being in the same vessel, and exposed to the same weather and climates, afford a correct comparison, and pieces of each have been sent to the Admiralty for their lordships' inspection.
SG & SGTL Vol 5 ; page 59.
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