Re: On Working Aloft
- "pvanderwaart" wrote ==>
> Very interesting post.You assumed correctly. The bowline is a line attached to the side or edge of a
> I have a couple of questions left over my reading "Two years before
> the mast" several years ago. Dana said in a prolog that he was not
> going to explain nautical terminology, and didn't. Anyone who knows
> the answers to these may chime it.
> He used the phrase "on a taut bowline", apparently to mean, "sailing
> to windward." I assume that means that a rope from the rig to the bow
> was taut.
squaresail. Generally there is a bridle of two, three, or more short lines
spread out evenly along the vertical edge, that converge into the one line
known as the bowline. The bowline is led to some point forward (depending on
the sail, it may be the end of the bowsprit for the foresail, or the fore
shrouds for the main, etc.) then through a block and back and/or down to the
pinrail. There is a bowline on each side of the sail. The purpose of the
bowline is to help create a tight, straight leading edge when sailing into the
wind. The bowlines are not used when running before the wind with the
squaresail braced more or less purpendicular to the course of the ship; they
only come into play when the sail is braced around to close-hauled, ie., one
edge of the sail is hauled forward of the mast and the other edge is aft. Now
the squaresail is functioning as a fore and aft sail with a luff (leading
edge) and a leech (trailing edge). Just as with a modern jib or genoa, the
sail must have a strait, tight luff in order to be able to sail against the
wind efficiently. So the bowline on the side of the sail that is now the
leading edge is used to pull tension into the edge. The bowline works in
conjunction with the downward pulling tack line that leads from the clew
(lower corner) of the sail down to a block or hawsehole in the rail of the
ship. There is a tack line on each side also, attached to the clew along with
the sheet, but as with the bowline, only the one on the side that is the
leading edge will be in use. Generally the tack is tensioned first, then the
bowline will be tensioned. When the sails are square to the ship (when it is
running) both the tacks and bowines will be slack.
The bowline is fairly ancient, there is evidence that the vikings used it. The
forerunner of the bowline was a bowstick which was just a diagonal yard fron
the rail of the ship aft leading up and forward to the middle of the leading
edge pushing tension into the edge of the squaresail. It can be seen in very
old pictures of ships.
> Does it have anything to do with the use of "bowline" asI think the knot and its name were derived from the knots used to tie the
> the name of a knot?
bowline or bowline bridle to the sail.
> There is also description of furling sails in bad weather whichI think you are correct, plus the additional factor that the motion at the end
> suggests that the topman nearest the end of the yard had a
> particularly tricky task in getting a line/gasket/?? properly in
> place. Possibly he had to pass a loop over the end of the yard. Any
of the yard is more violent than that closer in to the mast. Also, near the
ends of the yard the footropes converge closer to the yard (being attached to
the end) so that it is harder to stand securely on them, and keep your weight
bellied over the yard.