IN the previous chapter, we counter-braced the yards in a calm to prepare for a breeze, but yards are frequently braced in this manner, with a breeze, for the purpose of heaving to; in any case where you may wish to remain stationary.

The most common practice in vessels sailing alone, is after hauling up the mainsail, to brace square the main yard-that is, yards on the main mast-having the fore and cross-jack yards braced full, foresail, spanker, and jib, set. Though the sails on the main mast are aback, she will range ahead slowly.

To stop her way still more, brace the cross-jack yards square, haul up the foresail and put the helm a-lee; she will rarely range ahead under this arrangement of the sails, but will fall off and come to, which you may regulate by easing off, or hauling aft, the spanker and jib sheets.

Or you may brace abox the head yards, and keep the after ones full. The after sails will keep her by the wind, while the head sails will deaden her headway.

It must depend entirely upon circumstances which method is resorted to.

Two vessels communicating, the weather one braces aback her main yard, the lee one her head yards; then, on any sudden emergency, as a squall, the weather one throws all aback and drops astern, while the lee one shivers her after yards, fills her fore topsail, and falls off. Fig. 500, Plate 115.

If there are three vessels, the centre and weather ones back their main yards, and the lee one as before; then, in case of necessity, the weather one fills her after yards and shoots ahead, the centre one backs astern, and the lee one proceeds as before. Fig. 501.

Sailing in squadron in “order of sailing,” those vessels which have the advantage in speed over others, are obliged frequently, besides reducing sail, to back the mizzen topsail, for the purpose of keeping in their stations. This is


frequently done in preference to furling royals and topgallant sails. A fast-sailing vessel will sometimes keep her station for hours, with her mizzen topsail aback.



After hauling up the courses, commence as in bringing to the wind, brace the mizzen topsail sharp up, put the helm down, and when the spanker will take the right way, haul it out. Keep the main topsail square, and meet her, as she comes to, with the helm, and by bracing up the head yards, and hauling aft the head sheets. Fig. 498, Plate 115.



After hauling up the courses, brace up the main and mizzen topsails, when you put the helm down; keeping the head yards square, and hauling flat aft the jib-sheet. It may be necessary to meet her with the helm, and ease the spanker sheet, before she loses her headway, to prevent her coming around or going about. Fig. 499, Plate 115.

If a vessel has a rapid headway when the necessity for heaving to occurs, settle down the topgallant sails and royals, or clew them up; for these sails, when thus thrown aback, receive the full impulse of the wind, increased by the headway of the vessel, and the mast thus pressed has not a sufficient support from its stay.

To Fill Away, after lying to with the main topsail to the mast: Right the helm! haul aft the head sheets! and board the fore tack. As she falls off, brace up the after yards, set the mainsail, and trim to the course. If from lying to with the fore topsail to the mast: Right the helm! shiver the after sails and haul aft the jib-sheet. As she falls off, brace around the head yards. Meet her with the helm, and trim to the course.

In the foregoing cases, vessels are said to be “Lying to with the main topsail to the mast;” “Fore topsail to the mast;” “After yards aback;” or, “Standing on with the mizzen topsail aback.”

Ships running with the wind aft may decrease their speed by “bracing by,” thus spilling the wind out of their sails.



When a modern vessel, close-hauled, is to be handled during a squall, the weight of evidence is in favor of her luffing and reducing sail with all possible dispatch.

The tendency of the vessel is to luff of herself, as the resistance under the lee bow. is greater than that under the opposite bow, in the ratio of the ship’s inclination. Moreover, if the ship puts her helm up immediately, sail cannot be shortened till the wind is abaft the beam, to reach which she must pass a point where the whole force of the squall will be exerted upon her.

A long modern ship is slow in paying off, and would hang at this dangerous point even longer than a short old-fashioned vessel.

An argument against luffing is the danger of getting taken aback. But the luffing should be done with a steady helm, being quick to meet her when she trembles.

This recalls the point that, when close-hauled, the after yards should always be in sufficiently to have their sails touch, while, at the same time, the head yards stand full.

The vessel being under reduced canvas, and luffing to the squall, should it then come so heavy as to endanger her spars, she may go off by letting fly the lee topsail sheets, and clewing up the mizzen topsail.

A vessel running free when struck by a squall, should keep away, reducing sail as necessary.

Attention is called to the value of trysails in squally or heavy weather.

These fore-and-aft sails can be carried when courses have to be hauled up. When set, they assist in giving the ship that headway without which her rudder is of no use.



Take in the royals, flying-jib, mainsail, and spanker. Take in topgallant sails, clew down the topsails, haul out the reef-tackles, haul up the buntlines, and belay the topsail clewlines. Set fore topmast staysail and haul down the jib. Receive the squall under this sail. Have a hand by the fore sheet.

If the squall comes so heavy as to endanger your spars, let fly the lee topsail sheets; clew up mizzen topsail, up helm, ease off fore sheet to relieve the pressure under the lee bow, and run before the wind. Clew up fore and main topsails, and haul up foresail.


Haul by the wind and make sail after the squall has passed.If by the wind under topsails and foresail you are struck by a squall, clew down the topsails, luffing to touch the leeches. The helm must be carefully attended.


Sailing with the wind on the starboard quarter, under royals, flying-jib, staysails, and all starboard studding-sails, you are struck by a heavy squall.

The first and most important thing to be done is, to get your vessel before the wind, which destroys greatly its force, and becalms many of the sails; and the next is, to reduce sail as expeditiously as possible.

Hard up! LET GO THE MAIN AND SPANKER SHEET, AND OUTHAUL! Clew up the royals and topgallant sails, and haul down the topgallant studding-sails and flying-jib, clew down the mizzen topsail, haul up the mainsail and spanker, then take in the lower and topmast studding-sails, and haul down the staysails, rig the booms in, and take the burtons off the yards. When before the wind, right the helm, clew down the topsails, haul out the reef-tackles, and up the buntlines, haul down the jib and hoist the fore topmast staysail. In the meantime, furl the topgallant sails and_ royals, and stow the light sails; and you may now run before the squall until it moderates, or bring by the wind and reef, before keeping on your course.

The lower and topmast studding-sails assist in paying her off, and should be kept on if possible, until she is before the wind, for a vessel in a squall is apt to fly up into the wind, unless means are taken promptly to prevent it by the helm and sails.

In taking in the spanker quickly, when going large, haul down the head before starting the foot outhaul. This makes the sail much easier to handle.


In most cases an officer who keeps a vigilant watch can see the approach of a squall and anticipate it by reducing sail and be ready to brace yards and meet it; for rarely do squalls occur without something to mark their approach-either the appearance of the clouds and horizon or the commotion on the water, the latter cannot be mistaken and invariably marks the advance of a sudden and violent squall.

No part of the horizon should escape his observation during the watch even in the finest weather with a steady


breeze. It will encourage a habit that must turn to good account, and never be a useless one; he may see by this, the approach of a squall from a point directly opposite to the breeze, which appears to be a steady one, and prepare himself by reducing sail in time.Too much cannot be said in censure of an officer in charge of the deck, intrusted with the safety of a public vessel, and the lives of hundreds of persons, who, performing his duty negligently, allows a squall to strike him without seeing its approach, and consequently unprepared to meet its effects; by allowing other matters to occupy his thoughts and attention during his watch, he is thrown entirely off his balance at any unusual occurrence, creates, by his manner and conduct, confusion among the men, and losing their confidence, at the same time loses their respect, and proper deference to his orders.

Never trust a squall which cannot be seen through, for when a heavy squall strikes the ship, you can seldom reduce sail without losing it.


With the Wind Abeam or forward of the Beam.

The moment the cry of “man overboard” is heard, order:



As she comes to, issue the following orders distinctly and in a manner that will cause instant obedience:

Silence fore and aft!


Main clew garnets and buntlines!

Weather main and lee crossjack braces!

Clear away the after bowlines!


The moment the lee braces and bowlines are let go, the yards (from being already in the wind) will fly around of themselves; then keep the head yards full to steady her, while the after ones stop her headway.

While this is being done, the boat is ready for lowering, with a crew and officer in her. Lower away!and direct them which way to pull.

In smooth water, and when the boat has but a short distance to go, remain hove to and await the return of your cutter, making all preparations for hoisting. With a fresh breeze and heavy sea, bear up after the departure of the life boat, run down to leeward of her and heave to on the same tack as before, in readiness for hoisting.

In all cases of sudden heaving to, light well up the head sheets.


With the Wind Abaft the Beam.Assume the ship to have the wind on the starboard quarter, with the starboard studding-sails set, the principle being the same, however, under any disposition of canvas with the wind abaft the beam.

Luff to with the head yards to the mast, using the following orders:




Lee main, weather crossjack braces!


Let fly the stunsail tacks and sheets!


Fore and main clew garnets and buntlines!


By this arrangement of canvas the ship is hove to with the head yards to the mast, and may be held steady till the return of the boat. Let the officer of the forecastle haul down the stunsails and get things to rights forward. The booms may be left out.

In this case the boat pulls off the weather beam.

Wind aft, and Studding-sails both sides.

Round to on either tack (the particular one determined in the mind of the officer when taking charge of the deck), brace up the after yards and luff to with the head yards square.

Give the following orders, if to come to on the starboard tack:




Man the port main, starboard crossjack braces, spanker outhaul!


Let fly the starboard studding sail tacks! CLEW UP THE STARBOARD LOWER STUDDING SAIL!

Take in the lee stunsails as fast as possible, then the weather ones. Up courses and reduce sail as necessary.

The boat pulls off the weather beam.


The best authorities agree that a smart working ship, which is sure in stays, should go about on losing a man overboard with the wind abeam or forward of the beam; leaving the main yard square on the other tack and lowering the boat in stays.


In such a ship, when on a wind, order: Ready about! LET GO THE LIFE BUOY! CLEAR AWAY THE WEATHER CUTTER!Proceed as in tacking. At the order: RISE MAIN TACK AND SHEET! haul up the mainsail; keep fast the fore tack to pay her around. Make a late “maintopsail haul” or the main brace may carry away; leave the main-yard square. Shift the helm for sternboard, and when ready, RISE FORE TACK! and LET GO AND HAUL! Do your utmost to get the boat lowered before the ship gathers sternboard. If this proves impossible, you may save trouble by waiting till the stern-board ceases before lowering.

The great merit of this plan is that the ship when around drifts right toward the man and the boat.

If the boat is in distress, or her crew exhausted, the ship will be in position to afford prompt assistance.

Unfortunately this practice is limited to vessels that can be relied upon to tack, and therefore cannot be adopted by the average modern steamer cruising under sail.

Particular attention may now be directed to other matters connected with this important manoeuvre.

The life-buoy look-out should watch for the appearance of the man before dropping the buoy. A cool hand will drop the buoy within a few feet of the man-another will either not let it go at all or drop it before the man reaches the stern. The buoy dropped, the look-out should keep the man in sight until the persons specially detailed for this purpose reach their stations in the mizzen rigging, and can get the bearing from the look-out.

It is not entirely advisable for the life-buoy look-out to leave his station himself and go into the rigging-as he may be required to let go the other life-buoy-in case of an accident to the life boat when lowering.

In coming to the wind in a fresh breeze, clew up the royals and settle the topgallant halliards.

In bracing around, letting fly gear, &c., do not forget to warn men on the yards to look out for themselves.

Be smart in hauling up the mainsail; if you allow the main-yard to fly square before the mainsail (or at least one of its clews) is out of the way, it will defy the efforts of the whole watch to haul it up.

There is generally more mischief done in lowering the boat too soon than by waiting for the proper moment. Lower when the ship has slight headway, and at all events before she gathers sternboard.

If sailing in squadron, make the preconcerted “accident” signal as soon as possible, and at night run up your position lights without delay.

In giving your orders, substitute the words, STARBOARD and PORT, for lee and weather, whenever practicable, especially in manning the boat and gear. The cry of man overboard brings all hands on deck, and if greeted with


unmistakable orders they know what to do and where to go. This precaution is of special value on a dark night, or when the ship is nearly before the wind.Every ship should have men told off for the following purposes:

To tend the life-boat falls.

To keep the man in sight.

To hoist and tend signals of “Pull to port;” Pull to starboard;” “You go well;” and to display lights or fire rockets showing ship’s position.

A Very signal fired in the direction of the man will often reveal his position in the water, if not too distant.

Success in saving the man depends on the coolness of the officer of the deck and of the look-out at the life-buoy, and upon the normal condition of the boats.

The officer of the deck should-

First. Keep cool himself and preserve order.
Second. Let go the buoy and keep the man in sight.
Third. Put the helm down.
Fourth. Heave to.
Fifth. Lower the life-boat.
Sixth. Get matters to rights and prepare for hoisting the boat.

Life-Buoys. The service life-buoy consists of two oblong copper tanks, connected by cross-pieces through which passes a central spindle. At the upper end of the spindle is placed a port-fire. A flat piece of iron at the lower end supports the feet and keeps the buoy upright in the water. It is recommended to paint the buoys with phosphorescent paint.

The buoy is attached to the stern by a chain slip. A handle inboard disconnects the slip when pulled upon, and drops the buoy; another handle, close to the first, fires the port-fire. The handle to port is for the port-fire.

Many ships overcome the clumsiness of this arrangement by adapting the action of one handle to disconnect and set off the port fire simultaneously. The buoy is primed by the gunner every night at sunset, and the primer removed again by him the next morning. A personal duty.

To float on this buoy, place the feet on the weight, grasp the spindle abreast of the copper tanks with one hand, and above with the other hand; in this position you will float with your head out of water. By attempting to get as high out of the water as possible, the buoy will invariably be capsized.

Circular life-buoys should be distributed about the upper deck, for in the long modern ships a buoy thrown out from the gangway often falls closer to the man than one thrown from aft.

To use the circular buoy, the man slips it over his head and rests his arms upon it on either side.


A few exercises in picking up buoys and lowering lifeboats under various circumstances at sea will accustom both the officer of the deck and the watch to that kind of work.It would be well, also, when the crew are sent in bathing, to drop the life-buoys and allow the men to form some idea of the manner in which they are to be used, and of their sustaining power.


In a light breeze, with the wind free and all sail set, soundings may be taken without reducing sail, thus Luff the ship up; if the lower stun’sail is set haul up the clewline, and keep the sails lifting, without allowing them to catch aback, which can readily be done by a proper management of the helm; she will lose her headway sufficiently for the purpose, and still be under control of the helm. The soundings being taken, keep her off to her course, and haul out the lower stun’sail.

The operation of obtaining soundings, particularly when going large, affords a fine opportunity for the display of skill and judgment in handling a ship. Celerity and certainty are generally aimed at, but very frequently is the latter needlessly sacrificed to the former. Full preparation should be made first with the lead and line. The sails and helm must then be managed so as to bring the ship as nearly stationary as possible without endangering the spars. As soon as the headway ceases, or nearly so, get a fair up and down cast, and fill away.

The common error is to get a cast with too much way on. Instead of saving, this only wastes time, for if the soundings are necessary at all, they should be determined correctly.

On a wind, haul up the mainsail and back the main topsail. In addition to this, the mizzen topsail may be thrown aback if found necessary to deaden the ship’s way.