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Which Sails?

A question from a Master Mariner of Malta, about the sails set on ‘HM Sloop Racehorse’ via Linkedin;
I’m at a Portsmouth with naval author and former Keeper of HMS Victory, Peter Goodwin.
Peter has just confirmed what I thought.
A bit different from the experience of our captain at Malta who wrote “we always set courses last, and took them in first.”
Racehorse, detail

In rough weather topsails or courses, which were used depended on sea state.
Topsails tend to drive the bow down, courses tend to lift the bow. In my ‘Racehorse’ painting the sails are shown being ‘managed’ to make the crew’s task as easy and safe as possible under dangerous North Sea conditions.
We know from the log the wind had just shifted so was beginning to add a nasty cross sea to an already dangerously large and steep following sea.
As a seaman will be quick to appreciate, to put a preventer gammoning onto the bow sprit in that weather was quite a feat. The with crew weight fore’ard for a dangerous task, the last thing the ship needed was to sail bow down while the rudder lost traction when the stern lifted.
This is what our painting shows, ‘HM Sloop Racehorse’ stern up, bow plunging, including two helmsmen struggling with the wheel, aft.
We checked the scenario with Captain Frank Scott, who has been master of several square riggers and incidentally is a grandson of the famous “Scott of the Antarctic”.
‘H M Sloop Racehorse’ is available for exhibition and or sale.
Painted for Mr’ Goodwin’s new book due out next month, “Nelson’s Arctic Voyage”, this painting is likely to be come well known therefore is a good investment.

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