ACCIDENTS to the lower masts and larger spars are fortunately of rare occurrence in the navy, owing to the care with which vessels of war are fitted out, and the very liberal allowance made for each in everything necessary to their equipment.

But it is probable that ships would be still more effectually prepared to resist the severest trials, if they were, in all cases, fitted out under the immediate supervision of the officer who is to command during the cruise, the first lieutenant who is to he the executive officer, and all the officers and crew who are to serve in them.

The good state of the rigging will not be the only advantage attendant upon this; a thorough knowledge of her state, and intimate acquaintance with her resources, would enable each and every one to bring them to bear when necessary.

Light yards and masts are occasionally carried away or sprung in a fresh breeze but smooth sea-topgallant masts by not having their backstays well set up, and yards by not having their weather braces sufficiently taut when braced up. Topsail and topgallant yards are also sometimes carried away by not letting go the lee brace in tacking ship, in a good swing of the after yards, when the lee brace not being properly attended to, neither the strength of the yard or brace can resist the force with which they are impelled; and if the brace holds, the yard must be carried away in the slings.

Another cause for carrying away topgallant yards may be found in the neglect to take off the lift-jigger after the topgallant studding-sail is taken in, when attempting to clew down the yard with the jigger fast in the top.

No explicit rule can be given for sending down broken spars. The first thing to be attended to is their being steadied and prevented from falling on deck or tearing the sails; then sling and guy them clear and send them down.

If the screw is in motion, guard against fouling it by the wreck.



All the masts forward are deprived of the support of their stays, and there is imminent risk of losing the three topmasts (with their topgallant masts), in consequence of an accident to the bowsprit.

Should the wreck be in the water under the bows, you have no alternative, but must heave to and get clear of it. Should the wreck hang by the stays, &c., clear of the water, and you can control it in any way to prevent it from thumping a hole in the bows, get before the wind until the masts are secured, and then heave to as before.

With the Wreck in the Water. Heave to at once under the shortest possible sail, as trysails and spanker.

Clear. away the wreck, and if a kedge with a hawser bent to it can be dropped on the debris so as to hang, thus converting it into a sea anchor, the ship may ride to leeward of it under low canvas, and save most of the wreck when the weather moderates.

Proceed meanwhile to secure the spars still standing; send down the topgallant masts, house the fore topmast, secure the foremast with a hawser middled and clove-hitched around the mast-head, and set up at the knight-heads or through the hawse-holes on the main deck. Clove-hitch in like manner another hawser around the fore topmast-head, and set up the ends as far forward as possible. Bring the main topmast stays down to the deck and set up.

With the Wreck hanging Clear of the Water, try to get it under temporary control with tackles hooked to straps around the lower part of the foremast, smaller purchases from the cat-head, the fish-boom and tackle, &c.

If these means will keep the wreck up clear of the bows, put the ship before the wind until the masts are secured. The strain on the masts when before the wind is taken off the fore and aft stays, and you thus get a better chance of saving these spars, and when these are secured, heave to and ride by the wreck as before. Rig a jury bowsprit with the spare jib-boom or a topmast. Secure the fore topmast well and set fore topmast staysail on a stay to the jury bowsprit.

If the bowsprit is sprung, take all strain off of it. Fish the bowsprit and set up the stays again.

If very badly sprung, rig in the jib-boom until the heel rests against the stem. Place the flying-jib-boom on one side and a topmast studding-sail boom on the other, and woold all together, wedging and chocking up between. Set up the head stays again, and make what sail the spar will bear.



Say the foremast is carried away. Secure the main topmast if it still stands, clewing up the main topsail; and house main and mizzen topgallant masts, if still standing; the main topgallant mast and main topmast, however, would probably go. Clear away the wreck and try to bring it on the weather bow, and ride to leeward of it under storm staysails if possible. Cut the rigging clear of the head spars still standing.

If the main mast goes over the side, wear ship if possible, and bring it to windward.

When a mast goes over the side, first, get clear of the wreck; secondly, secure spars still standing, and then think. about rigging jury masts.

If a foremast is sprung, say near the hounds, take all sail off the mast, reeve the top pendants, send down fore topgallant mast, secure main topmast, and hook the fore jeers. Lower the fore yard and house the topmast until. the heel comes below the defect; hang the heel in a chain from the tressle-trees; fish the mast with side fishes, and woold round all. Wedge well the woolding; turn in the topmast rigging afresh and set it up. Sway the fore yard up as high as it will go. Set the foresail and fore topsail with as many reefs as necessary.

If sprung lower down, first take in all sail set on the mast, and relieve it from all the strain possible; and then fish it with the fishes allowed. Iron bands are furnished in the outfit large enough to take the mast and fishes. They open with a hinge, and can be quickly put on, in case of a mast being badly wounded in action, for example.

The U.S.S. “Benicia” having sprung her foremast near the hounds, fished it very neatly with a trysail mast lashed and woolded abaft the mast.


Take the main topmast, rest its heel against the stump of the foremast, and launch its head over the knight-heads. Put on the cross-trees and bolsters; fit the rigging and stays from hawsers, or what is saved of the old rigging. Lash the heel to the stump, and cleat on either side sufficiently to prevent slipping while raising. Hook a couple of tackles to the jury mast-head and take them to the sides. Raise the mast with a tackle hooked well aft, and the main pendant-tackles, or a small pair of sheers. When up, lash the heel to the stump, and put heavy cleats before and on either side of it. Set up the rigging and head stays. Send aloft the topmast cap and topgallant mast, fit a topsail yard for a lower one; a topgallant for a topsail yard, and bend


main topsail and topgallant sail for foresail and fore topsail.Use, if possible, the spare lower cap, fitted on the stump, to assist in holding the topmast.

Shore up the deck under the jury mast to take the downward thrust when the rigging is set up.


Reeve the pendants through the top-blocks; secure the mizzen topgallant and royal mast; up mainsail if set; bend the lee pendant to the wreck to leeward; cut the topsail yard clear if possible and send it down, first clewing up the top sail. Send the wreck down, assisting with the main pendant-tackles and lee fore topsail halliards. Cut the laniards of the stays and rigging at once, if necessary.

Send the stump down next, and proceed to send aloft a new topmast.

If a topmast is sprung, lower it as in the case of a sprung lower mast, until the defective part comes below the lower tressle-trees, then woold as there described.

If sprung near the head, it can be fished with the topgallant mast and light fishes, &c., as before. Reef the topsail and set it.


A frigate in the Mediterranean, some years since, had her main topmast so shattered by lightning, that it was impossible to slack any of the rigging without the greatest danger of the mast falling, when the following plan was adopted: A light spar was attached to each side of the topmast; these spars were then lashed every three or four feet, round the spars and topmast together; when done, the mast was unfidded; two carpenters were then stationed on the lower cap to cut away the splinters, that they might not impede the lowering of the mast, and at the same time to cut the spars placed on each side of the mast, and a seaman to remove the lashings as the ends came near the cap. The mast was again lashed to a hawser in its descent, by hands stationed under the main top for that purpose; the mast was then received on deck with the greatest safety. Whereas, if the mast had been allowed to fall, much injury must have been done to the rigging, and perhaps to the ship.


Reeve the mast-rope through a block at the topmast-head, and send down the wreck as convenient. By hooking a snatch-block at the mast-head, and snatching the topgallant


yard rope, it may be used in sending the wreck down. If a topgallant mast is sprung, send it down and send up another.NOTE. All sprung spars should be shifted if possible.


Set the fore topmast staysail, heave to or reduce sail. If running free, bring by the wind. Send down fore topgallant mast. Get the wreck in with the top-burtons, or pendant-tackles on fore stay, assisting with staysail halliards, fore clew-jiggers or lee fore buntlines, as necessary. Gather in the jib and unbend it, as soon as possible. If the wreck cannot be hoisted on board, and is thumping under the bows, cut it away at once. Reeve heel-rope and send in the stump.

The fish-boom and tackle will be found useful in handling the wreck.

On board the Congress, a heavy tackle on the fore yard and the fore pendant tackle were used in getting in the wreck of a jib-boom.


Secure the unsupported inboard end to the topgallant rigging or at the cap. If the sail cannot be clewed up, the easiest way to dispose of it is as follows: Cut a few mid-ship robands, and shove down the end of the royal yard rope between the sail and the yard, carry the end up forward of the sail (by taking it out on the topsail yard and dipping it forward of the clew, if need be), and hook the end into the standing part, thus forming a sort of sail strap around the middle of the sail. Have a tripping-line to the deck, forward and to windward. Cut adrift the clewlines from the clews, cut robands and head earings, and lower on the royal yard rope, hauling on the tripping-line. When the sail gets down forward of the topsail, hands on the topsail yard-arms cut adrift the sheets.

Send down one part of the topgallant yard with the royal yard rope as soon as rounded up, and the other piece with the topgallant yard rope.

If a yard-arm hangs so low that the lift cannot be got off, lower the wreck, large end first, hauling in on the lift till the yard-arm end is nearly up-and-down, lash it then to the yard-rope, cut stops and take off the lift and brace, then lower away.

Be careful to have the tripping-lines well attended, to keep the pieces of wreck from tearing the topsail in their descent.



Clew up and unbend the sail, send it on deck or gather it up in the top. If the yard is broken in two, send the smaller piece down with the burtons, and then with hawser from topmast-head, send down the other piece.

If the yard is sprung send it down in the usual manner. Studding-sail booms may be triced up and down topmast rigging. Fish old yard or send up spare one.


Take all sail off the mast; send down topgallant mast and shift the lower cap if you have a spare one; if not, pass a lashing round the topmast and lower mast-head, which wedge; afterward, woold and wedge the cap and make sail.


Take all sail off the mast; send down the topgallant mast; reeve top pendants and hook top tackles. Sway up on them until all strain is off the fid, when rack and belay. Pass a lashing round the topmast and lower mast-head, and make sail.


Go round if possible. If not, take all sail off the mast, steady it with the pendant-tackles and set the shrouds up with luffs to the cradle-bolts.

Replace what chain-plates require it with spare ones, and keep them out in place with a chock of wood between them and the ship’s side; then set the rigging up properly.


To send it down across the nettings and fish it, proceed as follows: Unbend and send down the sail, and send the studding-sail booms on deck if any are on the yard. Reeve the jeers and hook them, hook the burtons to the burton straps.

Hook a tackle from forward to keep the yard clear of the mast: Take the jeers to the capstan. If the ship is rolling heavily, have tackles from the mizzen pendants hooked to straps at the slings on each side to keep the yard from getting adrift after the truss is unkeyed.


Heave round and pull up on the burtons; when high enough unshackle the slings, unkey the navel bolt, and lower away, carefully tending the braces, thwartship and fore-and-aft tackles. Land the yard across the nettings and lash it. Strip it of everything in the slings, and knock off the battens. Fish the yard with the fishes on hand supplied in the vessel’s outfit.


If the lower yard must be landed on deck to work on it, say in the port gangway, we may prepare to land the starboard yard-arm forward, dipping the port yard-arm inside the rigging; or by topping up, slueing the starboard yard-arm inboard forward of the mast, and landing the yard with the starboard yard-arm aft, and the port yard-arm forward.

The latter method is so much easier where smokestacks, boats, &c., are in the way, that it will be described here as performed with the main yard of the “Colorado” on the Asiatic station, Fig. 508.

The mainsail is unbent and sent down, main topsail furled, and the main yard stripped of leechline blocks, boom-irons, &c. Hang the upper jeer block in a long lashing from the topmast-head, lashing the lower jeer block to the yard at the slings, having the purchase outside the collar of the lower stay and on the port side of the stay, yard to land in the port gangway.

Hook a fore-and-aft tackle at the slings, and the port top-burton to the port yard-arm. Single the starboard lift; take off the port lift as soon as the burton is taut.

Haul taut the jeers, untruss and lift the yard a few feet, so that the starboard yard-arm will clear the rail in swinging in, then top up on the port top-burton, overhauling the starboard lift.

When the starboard yard-arm swings in clear of the rail, hook to it a thwartship tackle from the port waterways, and take off the starboard lift and brace. Rouse the starboard yard-arm over to the port side; when over, point it aft, hook the port main and mizzen pendant-tackles to this yard-arm to keep it clear of the deck, and guy it aft, Fig. 509. Lower on the jeers and port top-burton, letting the port yard-arm go forward.

When low enough, hook the port fore pendant-tackle to the port yard-arm. Landed where it is, the yard would be partly on the quarter-deck. By letting the fore and main pendant-tackles take the weight at their respective ends, and tending the jeers and mizzen pendant-tackle, a fore-and-aft purchase will land the yard as far forward as desired.

In sending this yard aloft, without landing it on the nettings, use the same tackles as before, with a fore-and-aft

Plate 120, Fig 508-509. Getting down a lower yard.

Plate 121, Fig 510-512. Fished lower yard.


tackle on the after yard-arm, to get the yard aft. When far enough aft, walk away with the jeers and then with the port top-burton as soon as the starboard yard-arm will clear the deck. When high enough, unhook the main and mizzen pendant-tackles from the starboard yard-arm, rouse that yard-arm over to starboard, place the lift and brace, and hook also the starboard top-burton to assist in squaring.Sway up on the jeers, ease out the starboard yard-arm, and commence topping it up as soon as clear, tending the port top-burton. The yard being across, key the navel bolt, hook the slings, shackle the port lift and brace block, square the yard by the lifts and braces, and send down the purchases.

When the yard comes on deck, have casks or solid chocks ready to land it on.

It is well to stop the port fore brace out of the way, to avoid fouling the upper yard-arm.

In sending the yard aloft again, it may be desired to get it athwartships, reeve lifts and braces, and then sway aloft. In that case, as soon as the starboard yard-arm has been pointed out clear, stand by to lower on the jeers and port burton, pulling up on the starboard burton.

The mast-head pendant-tackle (jeers) used on board the Colorado was of six-inch rope.


(PLATE 121.)

In March, 1880, the U. S. frigate Constitution, Captain O. F. Stanton commanding, while beating up the Caribbean Sea, carried away her fore yard in the slings. The account of the measures taken to repair damages has been kindly furnished by Captain Stanton the accompanying plate is taken from drawings made by Carpenter J. S. Thatcher, who effected the repairs.

“The yard broke short off about seven feet from the slings, on the starboard quarter. The ship at the time was on the starboard tack, under three-reefed topsails, whole foresail, main trysail, spanker and fore topmast staysail; the trade wind blowing very fresh and the sea high. The part of the yard where the break occurred swung to the deck, being eased down in a measure by the drawing of the staples of the bending jackstay, and was secured to the fore topsail sheet bitt. The lee clew of the topsail was taken in at once, the fore lift was hauled taut, and weather topsail sheet kept fast to keep the yard-arm aloft till it could be secured to the top-rim. This done, the weather clew of the topsail was hauled up, and also the lee clew of the foresail, neither sail being injured. The topsail sheets were unrove,


the weather one taken to the fore tack bumpkin, the lee one to the gangway, and the fore topsail set flying with the three reefs in. The fore trysail and the fore storm staysail were set. A top-burton was hooked on the yard-arm at the top-rim, and the piece lowered to the deck. The lee part of the yard remained in place, being supported by the truss, lee lift and lee brace; a water-whip was put on as a forward brace, and the foresail sent on deck with the buntlines. The upper jeer block was slung with a long strap from the topmast-head, so that it hung on a level with the lower cap. The lower jeer block was lashed to the yard as usual, and a stout fore-and-aft tackle put on the yard; this part of the yard was then squared by the forward brace, swayed up till high enough to dip the yard-arm inside the lee rigging, and lowered into the lee gangway with the yard-arm aft. The truss was taken off. The starboard piece of yard was lifted with pendant-tackles, placed with the other, end to end at the break, and chocked to keep the pieces in line.”A strong double purchase with luffs was clapped on each portion of the yard, and the parts hove closely together, cautiously at first, to insure the splintered portions taking the right direction, and then as taut as they would bear. By this means the pieces were forced back to within a quarter of an inch of their original positions.

“Fishes of yellow pine plank four inches thick, eight inches wide, and twelve feet long, were spiked on the yard over the break (each piece being slightly saucered on the underside), except on theunder forward quarter of the yard, where space was left for a long fish made of a spare fore gaff. Iron mast and yard fishes were then put on over the wooden ones. The woolding consisted of the boats’ anchor chains, each turn of chain being hove taut by small tackles across the deck and nailed through the links to the wooden fishes.

“Plate 121, Fig. 510, shows the yard fished and ready for woolding, and the dotted line is about where the yard was broken off. Fig. 511 shows the fishes woolded with chain, and the whole re-enforced with a spare trysail gaff. Fig. 512 is a transverse sectional view. The parts marked 2 show the position of the fishes. The parts marked 3 show the position of the chocks fitted snugly between the fishes, and spaced about nine inches apart (see Fig. 510). These chocks held the fishes in place and made the whole more rigid. The part marked 4 shows position of spare gaff. At the points m, m, m, under the woolding chain, are the positions of the iron fishes. These, while serving to strengthen the wooden ones, caused the chain to render easily as each turn of the woolding was hove taut. They were of the kind usually furnished to ships of war. Fig. 512 also shows a full turn of the chain around the yard and a full turn around the spare gaff.


“The parts marked 5 show how the space between the chain around the yard and the chain around the gaff was filled in.”In sending the yard aloft, the lower jeer block was lashed to the slings, the upper one remaining slung from the topmast-head, burtons were hooked to the quarters and yard-arms, and thwartship and fore-and-aft tackles hooked and tended.

“The jeer fall was taken to the spar deck capstan, and a good strain kept on the forward yard-arm and quarter bur-tons. As the yard moved forward, the forward yard-arm was raised by the burtons over the starboard bow, and the port yard-arm canted outside the port fore rigging; the yard was then lowered a portoise. The truss was hoisted up and bolted on, and the lifts and braces rove and the yard swayed up by the jeer fall, burtons and lifts; tending the fore-and-aft tackle. The foresail was bent and set. Two top-burtons were kept on the broken side of the yard, and a jumper tackle put on when blowing fresh. The chain woolding was afterwards covered with canvas and painted, to prevent rust getting on the foresail. The enlarged part of the yard took against the fore stay on the starboard tack and against the fore rigging when the ship was on the port tack, but could be braced within about a point of the original amount, and the ship worked to windward almost as well as usual. The yard was ready for sending up the morning following the day of the accident, and stood perfectly well during very heavy weather experienced on the passage North.

“When the ship arrived at Hampton Roads, the steam-launch, which stowed inboard on the starboard side, was hoisted out with the fished fore and the main yard, and no signs of giving way could be detected.”

To Make a Temporary Lower Yard. The two topmast studding-sail booms are equal in length to the lower yard.

With these for the length, the yard is made up by the most convenient spare spars, woolding all together with a number of well-stretched lashings.