Time to Douse the Stays’l

Time to Douse the Stays’l

In this #TallShipTuesay, Providence’s Boatswain taught us how to douse the stays’l after learning to set it previously. Our Boatswain is often the one who calls the sail handling command on a ship like Providence. Sometimes the Boatswain would use Whistle Calls on a Boatswains Pipe. This tradition has a history that goes back centuries. While we don’t use whistle calls today on Providence we do use many different calls to douse the Stays’l.

1. Tend the Sheets

As the sheets come down, our crew controls them until the sail is safely hauled in. On a less windy day, we may even walk the lazy sheet, or the sheet that is not as heavily strained, to the forward end of the ship.

2. Cast the Halyard

The halyard is what held up the sail while we sailed, now we must cast it off so it can be pulled in. To do so, our crew takes the line off of the pin and controls it as it quickly runs back up the mast. When there are many guests, this is important to make sure that the line is not loosely hanging on the deck or swinging wildly.

3. Haul on the Downhaul

Once the halyard is cast, the crew may now haul upon the downhaul to pull the sail in. While gravity does much of the work, it is still helpful to make sure it goes all the way in and can be secured. It is important to watch out, as the sail may just fall on your head from the angle we haul this line.

4. Make Fast and Furl the Stays’l

Once we haul in the sail completely, we may then begin furling the sail. This is done by flaking or folding the sail back and forth. The sail is then rolled up and tucked in-between the night heads. We can then wrap the sail in its downhaul. This ensures that the sail is safely secured as we sail. It also protects it from the weather until we set the sail again.

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