Daedalus and the Deep pictorial Guide 1 – Sailing

Frigates and corvettes – HMS Daedalus was originally a frigate, and under sail in the 1840s would have looked very much like HMS Raleigh as pictured here. A frigate has a single gun deck (shown here by the single row of gunports along the white band running the length of the hull). In 1844 she was rebuilt with fewer but larger guns and rated as a corvette.

HMS Raleigh

Stern – HMS Daedalus did not have the square stern typical to Napoleonic-era vessels. Instead she had a round stern, which was stronger and gave the cannon at the stern a wider field of fire.

HMS Unicorn
photo courtesy of www.frigateunicorn.org

Topgallant yard (4, below), as seen here on HMS Warrior. In Chapter 7 of Daedalus and the Deep, Midshipman Colyer has to help take in the fore-topgallant sail which involves climbing up to the yard indicated in a gale, then securing the sail. (As you can see, it’s a long way up!)

Foretop – Midshipman Colyer’s action post was in the foretop (1, below) – the platform in the middle of the foremost mast


Warrior foretop

The gaps in the platform either side of the mast are known as ‘lubber’s holes’ (2) because a true seaman would not use them to reach the top, instead climbing around the outside. The ‘futtock shrouds’ (3) that lead up to the outside of the top have ‘ratlines’ across them to enable men a foothold to climb up.

This is the view seen by anyone climbing up to the top on HMS Gannet, a corvette of a later design than Daedalus but with a similar rig.

Gannet top

Capstan – HMS Victory’s capstan, used to raise the anchor, as well as other tasks such using an anchor to pull the ship out of a confined space (known as ‘kedging’).

Victory capstan

Waist – The central section of the uppermost full-length deck was known as the waist. This would be where most of the heavy, unskilled work such as pulling ropes to raise or lower sails would take place (and the men who did that work consequently known as ‘waisters’). HMS Gannet has a raised forecastle (8) and poop deck (10) and the deck between is the waist (9). On HMS Daedalus, there would be wide gangways connecting the raised decks fore and aft on either side, to the extent that they would form an almost continuous deck with a large opening in the middle.

Gannet waist

One Comment Add yours

  1. Baz Baron says:

    Brilliant pics, Matt. Off to read the rest now.

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