Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor: Or a Key to the Leading of Rigging and to Practical Seamanship
  • Alternative view 1 of The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor: Or a Key to the Leading of Rigging and to Practical Seamanship
  • Alternative view 2 of The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor: Or a Key to the Leading of Rigging and to Practical Seamanship

The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor: Or a Key to the Leading of Rigging and to Practical Seamanship

by Darcy Lever

See All Formats & Editions

First published in 1808, The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor became a standard guide throughout the 19th century in both England and the United States. Author Darcy Lever compiled the text for "a young gentleman whose inclinations at that time led him to the choice of a sea-faring life," and he later expanded its contents for the general use of young


First published in 1808, The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor became a standard guide throughout the 19th century in both England and the United States. Author Darcy Lever compiled the text for "a young gentleman whose inclinations at that time led him to the choice of a sea-faring life," and he later expanded its contents for the general use of young officers in the Royal Navy and East India Company.
Starting with a precise explanation of the principles of rigging, the text proceeds to a well-defined account of a ship's operation through the effect of the wind on its sails. Tacking, use of a compass, the art of swinging a ship at single anchor, casting, and numerous other aspects of seamanship receive close attention and clear definitions. Detailed drawings accompany the ample directions for splicing ropes, making sails, and other practical measures; indeed, every other page of this book features clear, well-drawn illustrations of the procedure under discussion and its execution.
This rare volume, an authentic look at the maritime world of the 19th century, belongs in the library of every ship fancier, model builder, and naval historian.

Editorial Reviews

A new introduction accompanies this handbook, which first appeared in 1808 and was later expanded for the general use of young officers in the Royal Navy and East India Company. Coverage includes the principles of rigging, tacking, use of a compass, the art of swinging a ship at single anchor, and casting. Detailed drawings and a dictionary of sea terms are included. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

Dover Publications
Publication date:
Dover Maritime
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
26 MB
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor

Or a Key to the Leading of Rigging and to Practical Seamanship

By Darcy Lever

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1998 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-13758-2



* * *


THE flattering approbation bestowed on the first edition of the YOUNG SEA OFFICER'S SHEET ANCHOR, has induced me to reprint it; with the addition of several articles, which have been adopted since its first publication. These I deemed it necessary to insert, that the book might be more complete.

To you, Sir, I am indebted for its introduction to the profession. Without your encouraging aid, the work would never have been committed to the press. You perused it, and were pleased to declare; that the plan on which the explanations were given, would essentially forward the interests of the service.

Your exertions on this occasion, can never be sufficiently estimated. As a British Officer, you were anxious to provide for the accommodation of the young Gentlemen of the Royal Navy; and to encourage an undertaking, professedly written for their instruction, in the elements and practice of the profession.

To you therefore, I have presumed to dedicate the second edition, with the appendix. I am conscious that you will be averse from any public acknowledgment; yet I cannot withhold this small testimony of the gratitude, with which I subscribe myself

Your most obliged,

And most obedient humble Servant,

Pontefract, March 25th, 1819.





* * *


THE Rigging of a Ship consists of a quantity of Ropes, or Cordage, of various Dimensions, for the support of the Masts and Yards. Those which are fixed and stationary, such as Shrouds, Stays, and Back-stays, are termed Standing Rigging; but those which reeve through Blocks, or Sheave-Holes, are denominated Running Rigging; such as Halliards, Braces, Clew-lines, Buntlines, &c. &c. These are occasionally hauled upon, or let go, for the purpose of working the Ship.

Ropes are a combination of several Threads of Hemp, twisted together by means of a Wheel in the Rope-Walk. These Threads are called Rope-Yarns, and the Size of the Rope in Diameter, will be according to the Number of Yarns contained in it,

A Proportion of Yarns (covered with Tar) are first twisted together. This is called a Strand; three, or more of which being twisted together, form the Rope: and according to the number of these Strands, it is said to be either Hawser-laid, Shroud-laid, or Cable-laid.



* * *


Is composed of three single Strands, each containing an equal Quantity of Yarns, and is laid right-handed, or what is termed with the Sun.


Consists of four Strands of an equal Number of Yarns, and is also laid with the Sun.


Is divided into nine Strands of an equal Number of Yarns: these nine Strands being again laid into three, by twisting three of the small Strands into one. It is laid left-handed or against the Sun.


Is made as follows :—A Piece of Junk or old Cable is untwisted, the Yarns drawn out, knotted together, and rolled up in Balls round the hand. Three or four of these Balls are laid upon Deck, and an End out of each being taken, they are coiled in Fakes upon a Grating, or other thing, (to keep the Tar from the Deck) and upon every three or four Fakes Tar is rubbed by a Brush. These are fastened by their Ends to a kind of Reel called a Spun-yarn Winch, Fig. 4, and a half-hitch is taken over one of the Spokes, E. The Man who spins the Yarn, retires to a convenient distance, and then, with a brisk motion, (holding the Yarns in his hands) he whirls the Winch round against the Sun. When it is spun sufficiently, he rubs it backwards and forwards, with a piece of old Canvas, which he keeps in his hand, reels it on the Winch, takes another half-hitch round the Spoke E. and proceeds as before, When the Reel is full, it is taken off and balled.

There is a Winch, Fig. 5, on a much better construction, used in the Merchant Service, with which two boys may spin a considerable quantity of Spun-yarn in twelve hours. A Crutch (1.) is stepped into a mortise of the Windlass, (2.) A Wooden Spindle goes through the Holes in the upper part of the Crutch, having a small Wheel or Truck fixed to one end. That part of the Spindle which lies between the two Arms of the Crutch is four Square, (3.) The part without is rounded, and in the end is fixed a Peg, (4.) A piece of Line, such as small Rat-line, (5.) well chalked, is taken with a Turn round the squared part, (3.) The Rope-Yarns are fixed to the Peg, (4.) on the rounded part: one boy walks aft with them, rubbing them with a piece of old Canvas, whilst the other (having a part of the Rat-line in each hand) (5.) pulls briskly on the under part (a), then slackens it, restoring it again to its former position, by hauling on the upper one.

Thus the Wheel and Spindle are kept in a continual whirl, which renders this method very expeditious; for the boy may walk the length of a large Ship with the Yarns, before there is occasion to reel them up. When it is sufficiently spun, the Bight is laid over a Hook fastened by a Laniard to one of the Fore Shrouds, opposite the rounded part of the Spindle, on which it is reeled by the Ratline Stuff. The Bight is then taken over the Peg again, and they proceed as before.



* * *

Spun-yarn is used for worming, serving, seizing, &c.


Is filling up the divisions between the Strands by passing Spun-yarn, &c. along them, Fig. 6. This is done, in order to strengthen it, for various purposes ; and to render its surface smooth for parcelling.


Is wrapping old Canvas round it, well tarred, which prepares it for serving, and secures it from being injured by rain water lodging between the parts of the Service when worn.


Is clapped on by a wooden Mallet, Fig. 7, made for the purpose. It is round at the Top, but has a Groove cut in the head of it to receive the Rope, that the turns of the Spun-yarn may be passed with ease and dispatch. It is done thus:—The Rope is first bowsed hand-taught by a Tackle, then wormed. The End of the Spun-yarn for the Service is laid upon the Rope, and two or three turns passed round the Rope and over it, hauling them very taught. The Mallet is laid with its Groove upon the Rope, Fig. 8 ; a turn of the Spun-yarn is taken round the Rope and the Head of the Mallet, close to the last turn which was laid by hand: Another is passed in the same manner, and a third also on the fore part of the Mallet, leading up round the Handle, (i,) which the Rigger holds in his hand. The Service is always passed against the lay of the Rope, so that as the latter stretches, the tension of the former is not much decreased. A boy holds the Ball of Spun-yarn, (k,) at some distance from the man who is serving, and passes it round, as he turns the Mallet, by which he is not retarded in his operation. The end is put through the three or four last turns of the Service, and hauled taught.

* * *



* * *

Ropes are joined together for different purposes, by uniting their Strands in particular forms, which is termed Splicing. A Splice is made by opening, and separating the Strands of a Rope, and thrusting them through the others which are not unlaid. The Instruments used on this Occasion, are Fids and Marling Spikes.


Is made according to the Size of the Rope it is meant to open, and is tapered gradually from one end to the other, Fig. 9. It is commonly made of hard Wood, such as Brazil, Lignum Vitæ, &c. and sometimes of Iron : when of the latter, it has an Eye in the upper End like Fig. 10.


Is an Iron Pin of a similar Mould, on the upper End of which is raised a Knob, called the Head, Fig. 11.



* * *


To splice the two ends of a Rope together, proceed thus :—Unlay the Strands for a convenient Length; then take an end in each hand, place them one within the other, (Fig. 12,) and draw them close. Hold the strands (a. b. c.) and the end of the Rope (d.) fast in the left hand, or if the Rope be large, stop them down to it with a Rope-yarn : then take the middle end (1.) pass it over the Strand (a.) and, having opened it with the Thumb, or a Marling-spike, (Fig. A.) push it through under the strand (c.) and haul it taught. Perform the same operation with the other ends, by leading them over the first next to them, and through under the second, on both sides: the Splice will then appear like Fig. 13 ; but in order to render it more secure, the work must be repeated : leading the ends over the third and through the fourth; or the ends may be untwisted, scraped down with a knife, tapered, marled, and served over with spun-yarn.

AN EYE SPLICE, Fig, 14. (a.)

Is made by opening the end of a Rope, and laying the Strands (e. f. g.) at any distance upon the standing part, forming the Collar or Eye (a.) The End (h,) Fig. B. is pushed through the Strand next to it, (having previously opened it with a Marling Spike) ; the End (i.) is taken over the same Strand, and through the second; and the End (k.) through the third, on the other side.


To make this Splice, unlay the ends of two Ropes to a convenient distance, and place them one within the other as for the short Splice: unlay one Strand for a considerable length, and fill up the intervals which it leaves with the opposite Strand next to it. For Example, the Strand (1.) being unlaid for a particular length, is followed by the space which it leaves by the Strand (2.) The Strand (3.) being untwisted to the left hand, is followed by the Strand (4.) in the same manner. The two middle Strands. (5. and 6.) Fig. C. are split: an over-hand knot is cast on the two opposite halves, and the ends lead over the next Strand and through the second, as the whole Strands were in the short Splice : the other two halves are cut off. Sometimes the whole Strands are hitched, then split, and the half Strands put through in the same manner; but the surface is not so smooth, and the former method seems sufficient. When the Strand (2.) is laid up to the Strand, (1.) they are divided, knotted, and the ends cut off in the same manner; and so with (3.) and (4.) This Splice is used for lengthening a Rope which reeves through a Block, or Sheave-hole, the Shape of it being scarcely altered.


Take the end of a Rope and unlay one Strand, (7.) Fig. 16, to a certain distance, and form the Eye, Fig. 17, by placing the two Strands, (8.) along the standing part of the Rope, filling up the intervals (marked by the shade) with the Strand (7.) till it returns and lies under the Eye with the Strands (8.) The Ends are scraped down, tapered, marled, and served over with Spun-yarn.


Unlay the end of a Rope, then open the Strands, separating every Yarn : take a piece of Wood or Rope the size of the intended Eye, and hitch the Yarns round it, as described by the figure : scrape them down, marl, parcel, and serve them. This makes a neat Eye for the end of a Stay. The Yarns are here drawn greatly out of proportion, in order to render the figure distinct.



* * *


Cut a Rope in two, and according to the size of the Collar or Eye you mean to form, lay the end of one Rope upon the standing part of the other, and push the ends through, between the Strands, in the same manner as for the Eye Splice, shown in the former page. This forms a Collar or Eye, (u) in the Bight of the Rope. It is used for Pendents, JibGuys, &c.


Unlay the end of a Rope, Fig. 20, and with the Strand (1) form a Bight, holding it down on the side of the Rope at (2) : pass the end of the next (3), round the Strand (1) : the end of the Strand (4), round the Strand (3), and through the Bight which was made at first by the Strand (1) : haul them rather taught, and the Knot will then appear like Fig. 21.


Lay one of the ends over the top of the Knot, Fig. 22, which call the first (a), lay the second (b), over it, and the third (c), over (b), and through the Bight of (a) : haul them taught, and the Knot with the Crown will appear like Fig. 23, which is drawn open, in order to render it more clear. This is called a Single Wall, and Single Crown.


Take one of the ends of the single Crown, Fig. 23, suppose the end (b), bring it underneath the part of the first walling next to it, and push it up through the same Bight (d): perform this operation with the other Strands, pushing them up through two Bights, and the Knot will appear like Fig. 34, having a double Wall, and single Crown.


Lay the Strands by the sides of those in the single Crown, pushing them through the same Bights in the single Crown, and down through the double Walling: it will then be like Fig. 25, viz. single walled, single crowned, double walled, and double crowned. This is sometimes called a Tack Knot, and is also used for Topsail Sheets. The first Walling must always be made against the lay of the Rope : the parts will then lay fair for the Double Crown; so that if Figure 20 had been a Hawser-laid Rope, or with the Sun, the Strands (1. 3. 4.) would have been passed the contrary way. The ends are scraped down, tapered, marled, and served with Spun-yarn.


Is made by separating the Strands of a Rope, Fig. 26, taking the end (1) round the rope, and through its own Bight: the end (2) underneath, through the Bight of the first, and through its own Bight, and the end (3) underneath, through the Bights of the Strands (1 and 2), and through its own Bight. Haul them taught, and they form the Knot Fig. 27. The ends are cut off. This is a handsome Knot for the end of a Laniard.

N. B. The Knots are in general drawn very slack and open that the parts may be more plainly demonstrated : on which account they have not so neat an appearance in the plates, as when they are hauled taught. More Bights and Turns are also shown in the Drawings, than can be seen at one view in the Knots, without turning them backwards and forwards.



* * *


Unlay the end of a Hawser-laid Rope for a considerable length, Fig. 28, and with the Strands form three Bights down its side, holding them fast. Put the end of Strand (1) over Strand (2), and through the Bight of Strand (3), as in the Figure : then put the Strand (2), over Strand (3), and through the Bight formed by the Strand (1) : and the end of (3), over (1), and through the Bight of (2). Haul these taught, lay the Rope up again, and the Knot will appear like Fig. 29. This Knot is used for the Side Ropes, Jib Guys, Bell Ropes, &c.


With the Strands opened out again, follow the lead of the single Knot through two single Bights, the ends coming out at the top of the Knot, and lead the last Strand through two double Bights. Lay the Rope up again as before, to where the next Knot is to be made, and it will appear like Fig. 30.


Unlay two ends of a Rope, and place the two parts which were unlaid, together, Fig. 31. Make a Bight with the Strand (1). Wall the six Strands together, against the lay of the Rope (which being Hawser-laid must be done from the right hand to the left) exactly in the same manner that the single Walling was made with three: putting the second over the first, the third over the second, the fourth over the third, the fifth over the fourth, the sixth over the fifth, and through the Bight which was made by the first : haul them rather taught, aad the single Walling will appear like Fig. 32; then haul taught. It must be then crowned, Fig. 33, by taking the two Strands which lie most conveniently, (5 and 2) across the top of the Walling: passing the other Strands (1. 3. 4. 6.) alternately over, and under those two, hauling them taught: the Crown will be exactly similar to the Figure. It may be then double walled, by passing the Strands (2. 1. 6 &c.) under the Wallings on the left of them, and through the same Bights, when the ends will come up for the second crowning, which is done by following the lead of the single Crown, and pushing the ends down through the Walling, as before, with three Strands. This Knot, when double walled, and crowned, is often used as a Stopper Knot, in the Merchant Service.


Is made by single Walling and double Walling, (as described page 5) without crowning, a three stranded Rope, against the lay, and stopping the ends together as in the Figure. The ends, if very short, are whipped, without being stopped.


Unlay the ends of two Ropes, Fig. 36, placing them one within the other, drawing them close as for splicing : then single-wall the ends of one Rope against the lay (i. e. from left to right, if the Rope be cable laid, as in the Figure) round the standing part of the other, Fig. 35. The ends are opened out, tapered, marled down, and served with Spun-yarn. This Knot is used, when a Shroud is either shot, or carried away.


Excerpted from The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor by Darcy Lever. Copyright © 1998 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews