Discussion in 'Research' started by CDRW, Apr 17, 2008.
Who would be on deck on a sailing ship during the middle of a storm other than the pilot?
I would imagine that the pilot would be in his plane above the storm. (Please excuse my humour but I found it so hard to resist)
It would depend on the type of ship you're referring to. Modern ships wouldn't have the need to have anybody 'outside' except in certain circumstances. Good old square riggers or sailing ships would be different, again depending on type and size as to who would be on deck.
Give us some more information and we'll see what we can come up with to help you.
The Captain would probably take the wheel himself in a storm. There would also be crewmen securing the rigging as needed. Some sheets might need to be partially deployed in order to keep the ship pointed the right way for maximum stability.
However, I am no sailor. You might want to collect some literature by authors who know seafaring, along with some nonfiction on the subject.
The ship in question is a ship of the line and what I want to know is who would stay topside after the rigging has been secured.
C.S Forester wrote a whole series of books about a sailor called Horatio Hornblower who sailed on a ship of the line. That might be worth looking at. I know they made the books into a television series as well if you wanted a short cut.
Here's a link to an interesting site about the Battle of the Nile which includes some details about the ships. I haven't read through it all but it does mention some of the conditions the sailors dealt with on board.
In case the link doesn't work it's an extract of a book called British Napoleonic Ship of the Line by Angus Konstam. It says that most ships carried a crew of between 650 to 875 men. Most ships divided their crew into two groups called 'watches', to operate the ship. Some used three but mainly two and when they were in harbour then it would be four watches. It says that two watches were sufficient unless they needed (wait for it) 'All hands on deck' for severe weather.
So there you have it. In the middle of a storm the whole of the crew would be called to operate the ship. So depending on how many are based on deck normally, that's how many there would be in a storm, but both watches would be needed instead of just the one.
Your next question is how many men are needed on deck on a normal day and the answer is continued in that link. If you get any problems with it then feel free to ask again and I'll take another look. I've saved the link just in case.
Hope this helps.
Wow. You really came through. Thanks a lot Sayso.
and in sailing parlance, a 'pilot' is only the person assigned by the port authority, who takes the helm to guide the ship into [or out of] the harbor... a ship at sea would not have one on board...
Oh, ok. Would it be a helmsman then?
could be, but in a storm, i can't see why the captain wouldn't be at the helm himself... that said, 'helmsman' is a more apt term than 'pilot' for the scenario you have in mind...
i happen to have the true confessions of charlotte doyle (story bout a girl on a boat... and there is a storm scene) right here. (thank god for a new book shelf so i actually could find it.
actually all hands come to the deck during a storm (except maybe the cook if he can only cook... but thats rarely the case.) all the men focus on lashing down the ropes, riggings, and life lines. and also cutting down all the sails (a storm will actually tear apart the sails and screw up the boats course if the sails are up. or it can even tear down the mast.)
also depending on the circumstances some of the crew may need to pump water out of the boat.
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