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Two large barrels?

An easy to understand formulae is ‘no masts = no sailing ship’.

O f H M Sloop Racehorse ~ Requested by Peter Goodwin’s editor, for the book ‘Nelson’s Arctic Voyage‘ which he has almost completed, due out next Spring [subject to climate change?].

A ‘line drawing’ to show more clearly what is meant by the log entry ‘put preventer gammoning on bowsprit‘. 

Graphite of crew gammoning
The seemingly routine log entry refers to a dramatic situation during a full gale at sea.
The rigging, in those far off days made of hemp, had due to weeks of strong gales seriously stretched thus endangering the masts.
Hence my reference to an easy to understand formulae, ‘no masts = no sailing ship’.
Therefor an important requirement is to tension the rigging. 

This is normally done in the tranquillity of a port with minor adjustment made at sea.
To pull down the bow sprit one or two large barrels full of water were commonly used in port, hung off the bow sprit; not possible given a stormy September North Sea.
Hence the 3 men ‘acting barrels’, on the bow sprit.
Prior to putting on a preventer gammoning at sea, sails need to be carefully trimmed to easy the strains on the masts, so while astride the bucking bow sprit our three shipmates, as if they don’t have enough to do by hanging on for dear life, are also employed taking in a head sail.
Meanwhile other crew on the beak head, equally at risk of being washed overboard as the ship heavily pitches and yaws in the violent seaway, are reeving the new gammoning and heaving to tension it.
In the days of sail this sort of hair raising operation was commonly the sailor man’s lot.
That dear reader is part of what made them real men and why people spoke of iron men in wooden ships.
HMS Racehorse
Any questions?
Fancy owning an original drawing from what I guarantee will be a great book?
This signed drawing which will be reproduced in the book ‘Nelson’s Arctic Voyage’ with explanatory notes by Peter, husband of the famous Katy Goodwin,
The image which will be much smaller than you see it here measures approximately 21.5 x 30.5 cm [or in ‘old English’ 8 1/2” x 12 “ ], it’s yours for a modest £150 inc P&P.