When standing or running rigging carries away, prompt action must be taken to prevent further mischief.

In choosing the remedy, select that which is most likely to save endangered spars, even at the risk of lost or split canvas.

Carrying away weather braces will generally occur at the first burst of a squall, on a wind, nearly all the reefs out and, consequently, no preventer braces aloft. The yard or parrel will be the next thing to go, for the yard flies fore-and-aft at once. Left in that position it will either carry away in the slings or part the parrel and endanger the lee rigging and fore-and-aft stay.

Luff then, first of all, to check the forward movement of the yard; next ease the lee topsail sheet; haul up the course to admit of bracing aback. Then, with the remaining weather brace and lee top bowline, back the topsail and clew down to take the strain off the lee rigging, or lower stay in the case of a lower yard.

Having eased the lee topsail sheet, and hauled up the course, the ship may bear up to repair damages if preferred. But do not bear up before this, for, as the wind came abeam, it would act with still greater force on the sails and consequently make it still more dangerous for the spars.

In substituting new running rigging for old, when the run of the lead is not lost, the ends are spliced or married together, and as one is unrove the other enters its place, otherwise men must be sent aloft to reeve it.


Luff! EASE OFF MAIN SHEET AND LEE MAIN TOPSAIL SHEET! Weather main clew-garnet! Let go the tack, HAUL UP! Weather topsail brace, topsail clewlines and buntlines! Clear away the main top bowline! settle away the topsail halliards, BRACE ABACK! HAUL OUT THE REEF TACKLES, HAUL UP THE BUNTLINES! HAUL FORWARD THE LEE MAIN TOP BO’LINE! Easing away the lee main brace, and hauling up the lee main clew-garnet. This, by throwing the main


topsail aback, would steady the main yard sufficiently to allow hands to lay out with whips for the preventer braces. If the brace has not unrove through the block on the yard, a hand may secure the end to its own part, so that it may be hauled taut on deck.Should it be blowing too hard to risk backing the main topsail, take in mainsail, clew down main topsail, and haul up the weather clew. Haul the lee reef tackle well taut, and lee main top bowline.

When a brace parts, the yard is first in danger and then the mast; therefore it is necessary to relieve the yard of the sails immediately.

If this accident occurs forward, Mind your weather helm! and after reducing sail, leave the fore yard sharp up to steady it.


Luff! Check the lee topsail sheet! Weather main brace! Main clew-garnets and buntlines! UP MAINSAIL! BRACE ABACK! Settle away the topsail halliards! CLEW DOWN! HAUL OUT THE REEF TACKLES, HAUL UP THE BUNTLINES! Square the main yard, and haul taut the lee main-top bowline. The ship is now “hove to,” with the main topsail to the mast.

If not possible to get the topsail aback, clew down and haul up the weather clewline.

With the wind quartering, if the weather main-topsail brace goes, Hard up! brace in, up mainsail (lee clew), and clew down as before, easing off lee main-topsail sheet as necessary.


This occurs generally while reefing, in consequence of undue strain produced by want of skill in not placing the yard so that the wind will nearly be thrown out of the sail. The men should be ordered in off the yard instantly; the weather clewline, and as much as can be got of the buntlines hauled up, and enough of the sheet clewed up to admit of bracing the weather arm aback or nearly so; the men may then venture out, and pass a sea-gasket working from the arm inward, until the reef-cringle is reached, when the tackle can be rove afresh. Starting gear with men on the yards is one of those fearful blunders which always inspire topmen with such distrust of the officer who commits them, that they never work well aloft in his watch on deck.



When this happens on a wind, the clew flies forward and may be steadied by the bowline. Relieve the yard by checking a couple of fathoms of the lee sheet. The lee clew, buntlines, and reef-tackles must then be hauled up, the yard lowered and squared, the bowline being eased away as the sail comes aback; when so it will lie quiet, and the bowline may be sent with a hauling line from the foretop into the main, rove before the sail through a leading block on the topmast, and the leech thus hauled in along the yard, so that the sail may be handed if needful, and new gear rove; an attempt to “hand the leech in” before lowering, clewing up and squaring, would not only be useless but dangerous.

If the course is not set, check lee sheet as above, round in weather lower and topsail braces, lower and throw the sail aback, easing away the bowline.


A not unfrequent occurrence when the course is taken in, in a fresh breeze, without hauling taut the lee lower lift.

Haul in the weather brace, settle the halliards, clew down and get the sail aback. When on the cap, haul up the weather clewline, then the lee one.


Ease off handsomely the sheet, man the weather gear and lee buntlines; up the weather clew as soon as possible, then the lee one. Do not luff until the gear is well manned, as the spar is not in danger, and it is quite possible to get the sail under control with the means described, while avoiding the risk of splitting it.


Check main sheet to ease the yard. The danger of the sail being split will depend much on the position of the mainstay. In many ships it would bring the tack up, so that it could be steadied by the weather sheet, and a new tack rove; if not, the topsail would have to be clewed up, and then the course, the main yard squared, and the weather sheet gathered in at the same time; or, circumstances permitting, bear up and haul weather, sheet aft.



Keep away until the wind is abaft the beam, steadying the clew with the lee tack. Haul up the sail when free, and reeve off a new sheet.


In a strong breeze, where the yard is nipped by the lee rigging so that it cannot be got down by the clewlines, send an anchor strap aloft, pass it around both tyes and the top mast, hook the upper block of the top burton into both bights of the strap, lower block and fall sent on deck abaft the top and taken well aft. Haul down on the clewlines and burton, easing away the halliards until the yard is on the cap; clap on the new parrel; lash the yard by the quarters to the topmast rigging, and then repair the braces.

When this accident occurs under low sail, the yard would fly so far forward as to suggest considerable danger to it and the mast from the force with which the yard would fly aft, if the sail were thrown aback by squaring the main yard. This latter mode is, however, recommended by some of the best seamen, who, having tried it successfully, are best able to judge of its merits.

If the wind is aft, clew up, hoist the yard close up to the gin-blocks and haul the lifts taut. This will keep it steady until the strap is passed round the tyes.


Luff, let go the lee topgallant sheet to spill the sail, brace by the lower and topsail yard.

When the topgallant sail catches aback, haul home the lee sheet again to steady the sail, then let go the halliards and haul down on both clewlines. When the yard is down, secure the slings to the mast and clew up. If the yard is unsteady, haul taut the lee brace to bind the yard against the lee rigging. Brace up the lower and topsail yard, and repair the damage to the brace and parrel.


In 1881 the U.S.S. Constitution carried away the iron straps of her bobstay hearts in a gale off the Capes of the Chesapeake. The fore topgallant mast was sent on deck, pendant tackles hooked from the foremast to bolts in. the deck well forward, and top burtons from the fore and


main topmast heads set up for fore and aft support. It was deemed unsafe to strike the fore topmast on account of the heavy sea and motion of the vessel; but the amount of sail forward was reduced as much as possible (fore storm staysail and fore trysail).A short length of stream chain was taken well out on the bowsprit and several turns taken with it, with stout cleats abaft to prevent slipping. The ends of this chain (crossed) were shackled into a large link, hung under the bowsprit, thus forming a strap. The link also received ends of the stream chain passed out through the sheet hawse pipes. The inboard ends of the chains were hove taut with deck tackles on the gundeck.

Double straps of wire rope were fitted for the bobstay hearts, long enough to go around and lash on the upper side of the bowsprit, and were cleated on the sides and top of the same. With these the bobstays were then set up. Wire rope was used for the straps, as it fitted in the scores of the hearts without altering them.

When temporary staying from sheet hawse holes would fail to give efficient support, it has been proposed to use a hawser from the bowsprit cap to a chain passed under the keel, setting up the hawser inboard. Having taken all unnecessary strain from the bowsprit, get up as much of the stream chain as may be required to reach under the ship from a port abaft the fore rigging to the corresponding one on the opposite side. Pass one end of the chain out under the bowsprit clear of all. To the middle of the chain secure one end of a hawser rove through a viol block at the bowsprit cap, the hauling end of the hawser being inboard. When ready, ease the bight of chain down under the bows and set up the ends through the proper ports, the bight being under the keel. Then clap a tackle on the hawser and set it up as a temporary jumper until the bobstays are repaired.


The jib would probably split. If not, check the sheet enough to spill the sail; bear up, and when the sail is becalmed haul it in, hoisting the fore topmast staysail.

Replace the jib stay temporarily by the top burton, which should in all cases be long enough to form a spring stay in case of accident.


Keep the ship away, shorten sail, overhaul down, hook and haul taut the top burton, and replace the stay with a hawser.



Steady the sail with the weather sheet. Mind your weather helm! haul down the jib; ease off the spanker sheet, and clear away and hoist the fore topmast staysail.


When this occurs, it may be assumed to be blowing fresh. The first thing to be done, therefore, is to steady the rudder, which, in a seaway, would fly from side to side with great violence. The quickest way of doing so will be by means of the remaining rope; and, as the chances are that the weather wheel-rope will be the one to go, jamb the helm down, shorten sail, and heave to with the head yards abox, if you do not want to come round. Otherwise, if there is a ship close astern of you, for instance, haul the mainsail up, and square the main yard in stays. Should the lee rope go, put the helm up, heave to on the other tack, and shorten sail as soon as possible. If unsafe, from the position of the ship, to do either, man the head sheets and cross-jack braces, and steer the ship by the sails. In moderate weather, the relieving-tackles will probably be hooked before it will be necessary to touch anything. In all cases, send hands down to hook and work them, and reeve new wheel-ropes.

The senior class of midshipmen on board the practice ships are recommended to prepare themselves for working ship without the assistance of the helm.


This would probably occur in taking in the jib to a squall. Check the jib-sheet to relieve the stay, hoist the sail again and steady the sheet enough to keep the sail from flapping.

Send the downhaul aloft by a hauling line, make a bowline knot with it between the halliards and stay, and haul down.

If topgallant bowlines are fitted, knot them together between the stay and halliards, and haul down.


Luff to, man the weather braces, and brace the yard aback; haul up the mainsail; clew down the topsail, and


hook a tackle to the burton straps on each side from the top, to steady the yard. See that the braces bear an equal strain. Fit a temporary parrel with a pair of slings and make sail again.Clew up the sail if thought necessary; otherwise, haul out the reef-tackles and up the buntlines.

If the mizzen topsail parrel goes, the ship must be luffed so as to catch the sail aback before touching the lee braces. Let a hand take aloft a pair of barrel slings, and passing the bight round the tye, toggle both parts abaft the mast; shove the bight down over the tye-block (if there is one on the yard), and lower the sail. Be careful to put the barrel slings below the traveler of the main topsail brace.

If before the wind, haul taut the topsail lifts; clew up the sail if blowing fresh, and hoist the yard chock up. Either fit a temporary parrel, as with the mizzen topsail, before lowering; or, if in a large ship, use the anchor strap and top burton, as already described. Snatch as far aft as possible, and walk away as the halliards are lowered. Lash the yard to the topmast rigging.

In a case of this kind, the officer of the deck must first relieve the yard with the means at hisimmediate command, such as bracing aback or clewing up; afterwards, the safety of the yard will depend upon the activity of the watch in getting up other appliances.

Spars are lost too often by the time lost in considering “what’s best to be done.” One of theessentials in seamanship is to be always ready.


Overhaul down the burton, and hook it to the burton-strap. Haul taut and reeve new lift. Topsail lifts are only hauled taut after the second or third reefs.


Say the main-take in mainsail and main topsail. Hook and haul taut rolling tackles; send aloft the end of a hawser, take several turns round the mast and slings and haul it taut.

If by the wind, the main topsail may be clewed down and braced aback, hauling out the reef-tackles, &c., &c.

A couple of stout burtons from the mizzen pennants, hooked to straps on the main yard just outside of the slings, would answer every purpose while repairing the truss.



This endangers the topmast, as the topmast shrouds have ceased to support it. Wear ship, if possible; if not, clew down the topsail; and if breast-backstays are carried, these, with the addition of the burtons, will support the mast while repairing the damage. If blowing hard, or if no breast-backstays are carried, send a hawser up to the masthead, take the end round and pay down on deck. Clap luffs on both ends and set up; frap both parts of the hawser together below the cross-trees.

If unable to repair the band, either fit a rope one, or bring together all the futtock shrouds that require securing, shackle them to a spare anchor shackle, and set them up with a couple of pendant tackles hooked at the partners; then frap them into the mast aloft, wedging the frapping to tauten it, and cleating below to prevent slipping. Or if unable to frap aloft, hook the pendant tackles to bolts in the water-ways on opposite sides; the starboard one, for example, being hooked in the port water-way.

NOTE. In all cases of carrying away the weather standing rigging, go round on the other tack if possible.


Run before the wind, send aloft and hook the pendant tackles; hook them well forward and haul them taut. Use the stream cable, if hemp, in fitting new stays, otherwise a large hawser. If the fore stay, shorten sail to take the strain of the main topmast off the foremast.


Wear ship, or take all sail off the mast. Then secure it with the pendant tackles and stream cable or largest hawser.


Run before the wind, haul down the head sails. Hook the fore pendant tackles and set them up well forward-say to straps round the cat-heads, or to the heavy ring-bolts generally placed near the knight-heads. Come up the head stays; bring the fore topmast and jib-stays in at the hawse-holes, and set them up. Set the main topmast stays up on deck, and house the main topgallant mast. Send down the fore topgallant mast, unbend head sails, and rig in the-head booms.


Pass the end of the stream cable out of one hawse-hole, over the bowsprit, and in at the other. Put a heavy cleat on the bowsprit to prevent slipping. Belay one end of the stream cable to the bitts, take the other to the capstan and heave it well taut. New straps would be fitted at the earliest opportunity; or, in the absence of these, a rope or chain-gammoning could be passed around the bowsprit and through a suitable hole cut through the stem head above the cheek knees. If the fid to which the gammoning sets up is still standing, pass the lashing around each end of the fid and over the bowsprit.


Go on the other tack if possible; not, haul down the head sails, and keep away. Secure the bowsprit by hooking a stout tackle from the bows to a strap round the bowsprit, and fit a new shroud or repair the old one.


It is sometimes necessary to set up the lower rigging at sea. If by the wind, and nothing to prevent going about, set up the lee rigging; tack or wear ship, and set up the other side. If the stay requires a pull, it must be first set up.

It may be, however, that the vessel is rolling heavily and no wind to steady her. In this case, measure the distance from dead-eye to dead-eye, decide on the quantity necessary to take down on each shroud, and cut the measuring battens accordingly. Take one mast at a time and get up at least eight luffs-four of a side-and put them on the four forward shrouds. Hook four pendant tackles-two on each side; have straps, &c., ready; brace in the lower yard and furl all the sail on the mast on which you are at work. Send the topgallant masts on deck.

Set up two shrouds (one pair) on each side at a time, keeping them adrift as short a time as possible. Shift the luffs from the first to the third pair of shrouds, while setting up the second pair.

Never come up all your lower rigging at sea, no matter how smooth the water nor how light the wind.



On the passage out to China, the “Minnesota” encountered a typhoon of unusual violence, in the Indian Ocean.


For about eight hours it was not only impossible to carry sail, but the men could hardly be induced to show their heads above the rail.The standing rigging, which was of Kentucky hemp, had always given much trouble by stretching; and the mainmast, which was stepped upon a beam over the shaft, had been evidently settling in its step.

These defects combined with the violence of the gale and rolling of the ship to render the position of the mast a very insecure one, and the officers finally became fearful, at every lee lurch, that the mast would go over the side.

The order was accordingly given to swifter in the weather main rigging. A piece of a broken topmast studding-sail boom was got up and lashed outside the rigging, about six feet above the rail. Another spar was placed outside the opposite spar-deck ports, and a heavy hawser pointed up from below, and the end taken alternately around the spar in the rigging and the spar outside the ports, until five or six turns had been taken, when each part was hove taut in succession, and frapped to the next one with selvagees.

On arriving in Hong-Kong, the dead-eyes were turned out, and the rigging refitted, when it was found that the main rigging had stretched down two inches in circumference.