Tall Ships

Working the Boat

The materials may be new but in many respects the same jobs are carried out in the same way they were in the late 1700s. I was struck by the fact that much of the handling of rigging and sail were performed almost exactly as described in "The Young Officer's Sheet Anchor", a book by Darcy Lever originally published in 1819.


Hank on the main course yard messing with a fore course brace. The main course is harbor furled - the sail is on top of the yard, the clew is layed in a dog ear, and the gaskets are made off in close-layed turns.

The author doing a 'trick' at the wheel during helm watch. From left to right: Jesse (Mate of the Watch), Captain Bailey (yes, he's short), and myself driving the boat. The spar suspended above the captain is the spanker boom.

Tom doing sailor stuff on the main course yard arm. The fluffy stuff on the course lift line is 'baggywrinkle' - chaffing gear to protect the sail from being damaged by chaffing against the line.

Hank and Shannon at the fore mastcap tension the main top gallent mast stay after we unhoused it in New York City.

A close up

"On the capstan! Walk around!". The capstan is a man-powered winch used for raising the anchor, houseing and unhousing masts, and getting yards up and down the masts when rigging the ship.

Ed and Tim touch up the hull with paint in New York.

Tom chinks the deck as Tina looks on

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