|John McLay's reminiscences of the Mooltan's voyage under sail from Greenock, Scotland, to Port Chalmers, New Zealand, in 1849|
|John McLay was 8.5 years old when he made
the voyage, and he wrote these reminiscences in 1916. The account should be treated with
some caution, given McLays youth at the time of the voyage, and the years which had
elapsed by 1916. Nevertheless, many of the events he spoke of tally with other
contemporary accounts notably Francis Pillans, who kept a detailed diary
during the voyage. Other less detailed descriptions of the voyage were given by Dr and Mrs
Purdie, and R M McDowall, who was a 16 year old apprentice sailor on board the ship.
McLay's spelling and grammar are unchanged, but his lengthy paragraphs have been broken up to assist the modern reader. Subheadings have also been added.
The notes of the Mooltan voyage come from a larger volume of McLay's reminiscences, which cover his origins at Kirkintilloch, near Glasgow, the emigration voyage, and his pioneer experiences until 1855. Ross Gordon, of Dunedin, transcribed the McLay reminiscences and published them in 1998 as "Waikouaiti and Dunedin in 1850, Reminiscences of John McLay, an Early Settler". Ross's permission to use the voyage section here is greatly appreciated.
|After a warm and solemn parting from Uncle and his two daughters
my cousins we got to our ship the Mooltan lying at the Greenock dock. It was all bustle at
the dock and on board this fine new ship. It was the same terrible bustle getting all the
passengers things on board and them taken down to their cabins and all the
passengers strangers to us.
We got the cow and her crib on board alright and placed it close to the long boat. There was other four beasts on board ship there were three dogs, and a goat, it belonging to our Doctor of the Ship Mr. Purdie and the goats milk for the use of his family. The goat was housed in the Long Boat and the three dogs under the bilge of the boat. Two of them belonged to Allan Boyd and Brother and the other to George and John Duncan. [There were also poultry, ten pigs and nine sheep on board.]
We all got on board on the 11th of September 1849 and the men cast off her moorings at the quay and she was then towed out to the anchorage at what is called the Tail of the Bank and next day we sailed from the Clyde in the Good Ship Mooltan for Otago the 12th September 1849. The Pilot towed us as far as Lamlash where the tug cast us off and then three great cheers from ship and Pilot Boat wishing us a good and prosperous voyage. But many tears were on many checks at parting as we all knew it was the last link in our parting from Dear Old Scotland and not hope of ever seeing it again.
On the morning of the 13th we were making good progress down the Irish Channel and we could see the coast of Ireland to Windward. and us Pilgrims on our way to the Antipodes to found a home in New Zealand. I am not sure what company the Mooltan belonged to but I think it was Patrick Henderson & Co of Glasgow who after was merged into the Shaw Savill Coy and whose ships are still running among our Principal traders with the old country with this difference the ships are not alike. [The Greenock Advertiser in September 1849, said the Mooltan was owned by "Captain William Crawford and other townsmen."]
The Mooltan of 500 or 600 tons! What a difference now the tonnage is up to 15000 tons for many of the fine steamers of this line.
The Mooltan's voyage occupied 104 days from Greenock to Port Chalmers.Heading south down the Atlantic
After getting through the terrible Bay of Biscay we thought it was very rough but the sailors said it was not often as fine. We had a fine run from there on to the Islands of Madeira. We had a grand view of some of these beautiful islands.
Our Captain kept in touch of land a great part of the voyage. One day we got a fine view and part of next day of the Great Peak of Tenerreffe. It was a grand sight to see this great volcanic cone The one half seems to have been torn off in some bye gone time and gone into the sea.
And we had a fine view of some of the Canary Islands and off one of these islands we got becalmed for 5 or 6 days and drifted back about seven miles per day. this island was very pretty. It did not seem to be very high above the part of the island the Mooltan lay out from becalmed. I think the island was called Grand Canary.Becalmed
All the time that we lay becalmed it looked like a beautiful land set in a sea of glass. In the mornings it was covered in a mantle of mist like a white robe. Each morning this beautiful pall of mist would come rolling down off the land and spread over the sea then at evening it would come rolling in over the island. Each day it made a very pretty picture. And the great patches of beautiful seaweed with its pretty air pods and long mottled leaves 20 feet long and pretty seabirds sitting on some of the patches and dead calm all the while. the land that I could see was not very high above the ocean. About sunrise each morning could see a lot of boats their sails looked so white in the sun. The men on the ship said they were fishing boats.
When becalmed here the men that had the dogs put them into the seas to have a swim. At the same time they lowered two boats and rowed them away from the ship. the dogs followed the boats out and back to the ship and they were lifted on board with a net. Two days or so later a favourable wind got up to drive us along at a good pace and all were very pleased.Getting up to mischief
When becalmed I caused a great commotion. When they were at their dinner I got on to the bulwarks and climbed up the rigging and through what is called the lubbers hole on to the cross trees and hid behind main mast main yard and rigging for a long time before they found me and two of the sailors had to go up the rigging for me. It was not such an easy job if I had been stubborn but one of the sailors I was very fond of and he was fond of me. His name was David Dunlop and when he got to me he spoke kindly to me and I came down with him without any trouble.
The worst part was to get down through the lubbers hole. All the people on the ship were gathered on deck and my Father was going to give me a thrashing for being so daring and giving all on board such a fright thinking I had fallen overboard.
Our Second Mate Mr. Ferguson and Sailors would not let father touch me they told Father he should be very proud of me as it was not one boy in 100 could have done what I did. The Mooltan was a full rigged ship sometimes called a square Rigger vessel and the masts and rigging were very lofty. After this on the ship I was quite a hero with the other boys and girls also the crew and passengers.Cholera breaks out
There had been terrible tribulation on the ship before through Cholera breaking out in the Stearage. An English family by the name of Harrison they were very nice people. This deadly disease carried off Father Mother and two of their family. It was a terribly sad sight to see these poor things that had been in good health the day before to see them carried up on deck in death to be soon launched into the sea the corpse lying on a slide Board ready to slip as soon as prayers had been given by the Doctor. He was a religious man. And all the Passengers and Sailors standing around in fear and reverence for the dead not knowing how soon their call may be.
Soon after this the boatswain and sailmaster went out one night through between decks actin an old man and woman with a basket on their arms selling trinkets to help cheer up the Passengers. After that they both took bad both strong healthy men and both died a few hours apart and were both buried in the Ocean two days after they had been between decks.
Everyone became very afraid when this deadly disease got into the fore castle among the Crew not knowing how it was going to end. It did not interfere with any more in the forecastle but it carried off nine more of the Passengers one of them a fine young woman a Mrs. Kirkland. She died in the next berth to my brothers and self.
All this made a very sad ship all buried in the same way as the first mentioned except that Mr. and Mrs. Harrisons young girl was put in a coffin late in the afternoon and it was a very sad sight to see the coffin floating away slowly as the ship had very little wind to fill her sails. Those that saw the coffin floating away that evening will never forget the sight. After this all corpses were sewn up in strong canvas, weighted with stone at the feet. It was a sad and grievous sight.
[Note that the dead girl would not have been Clarinda Harrison, who was the last person to die on board, in December. The person McLay refers to would have been Ann McNeil, who died on 20 December, of "stomach and bowels".]
Things all about seemed sad and cloudy on board for a good while and the faces of the dead were missed for a long time. And during all of this trouble so far as I can remember it was fine weather and for a good while after. [Dr Purdies report said that during the period when most deaths occurred, the weather had been extremely hot, sultry and mostly windless. Once they passed the equator, and strong breezes began, health on board improved considerably]Near disaster on the rocks at Tristan da Cunha
Then we dropped into colder weather then thick drizzle and very thick fog so that the Captain and Officers could not get a sight of the sun for 5 or 6 days and they thought as far as they could calculate they would soon be in the vicinity of Tristan da Cunha island but not being able to see the sun they were not able to correct the calculations of Latitude and Longitude and through this we were nearly wrecked on this barren island.
Early one morning we found that our good ship was close under high towering rocks and cliffs dismal black cliffs over 200 feet above the Ocean. that morning will never be forgotten. It was a dismil and forebodeing sight to see these great rocks towering high above the ships masts and a great rolling form the sea on to this barren island. And all the great sails hanging and dripping with the thick drizzle and the very thick fogs that had been. All boats were lowered as quickly as possible and every man that could pull an oar went into the boats and the second mate Mr. Ferguson and they pulled for all they could at their utmost strength and it was found to be a very hard job to keep her from being taken on to the cliffs with the heavy swell.
It was a great blessing that there was not a wind blowing on to the land with the swell or I am afraid there would not have been one saved to tell this today. By terribly hard pulling the men managed to pull the ship towards the end of the Island and God send wind came from off the land and smiles came on every face that eventful day.
All felt that God had helped them most mercifully as the sails filled with the Breath of Heaven. Away went the good ship like a captive bird set free again and all hearts of men and women boys and girls beat warmly to God for the great love and mercy that He had shown to us.
After all this was bustle and hard work getting the Boats on board again all the great chains and hawsers coiled on the deck and so many ropes to put into place and poor Flecky the cow had yet a chance to spread her offspring in the faraway New Zealand.
I forgot to mention further back that we sighted Trinidad. All these islands were passed on our larboard side except the Canary Island which was on our starboard side. After getting away from Tristan da Cunha we had a fine passage all the way as far as I can remember.Sighting New Zealand
Then the first land to be seen was the coast of New Zealand and Stewart Island. It all seemed to be clad in forest Island and Mainland. I am not quite sure that we sailed through Foveaux Straights but I think we did.
We had beautiful weather on the Coast except some very sudden gusts of wind off the land. I now think these gusts must have been from the Northwest. From the first sight of NZ after fourteen thousand miles it was the wonder of all on board to see the Great Forest that extended from the South all along the coast right to our landing at Port Chalmers then all we could see was what they call Bush in Otago.Meeting Maori
The first change in the landscape was the Maori Huts and Sandhills inside Taiaroa Head where we first cast anchor for a day. Great lots of Maoris came out in boats and had a great look at the figurehead of the Mooltan. They could not make out what countryman he was. Maori men and women seemed very excited over it. The figurehead was a model of an Indian with a wrap folded round his waist, a lance in one hand and a club in the other in a fighting attitude. Very fierce looking. Anchoring at Port Chalmers
Next day we got to Port Chalmers in good time it was Christmas day we had the yellow flag flying through having Cholera on board on the way out. None of the Passengers were allowed to land until the Harbour Master and other Authorities granted leave to land and then a lot of the Passengers went ashore and got fresh beef etc for their Christmas dinner.
My father got on well with the cow on board the ship. My mother milked her all the way out and got two buckets of milk a day and any of the passengers or children needing milk through sickness or weakness got a share of the milk. It was a great help to many and this cow was worshipped by all on board and my Mother as well as it was she who served it out to those she thought needed it most. It was a great boon to many young children.
The day after we got to Port Chalmers a great many Passengers went ashore to stretch their legs and get a look at the bush that they had seen so much of at a distance from the time New Zealand appeared above the Ocean.Flecky the cow poisoned by tutu
So after they had a grand stroll through the bush and surroundings they resumed in great spirits and they did not forget poor Flecky the cow they brought great branches of evergreen leaves for her to eat and some of the branches must have been Tutu. None knew of this very poisonous shrub and after she had eaten some of the leaves, a short time after she was taken very ill and as luck would have it, Driver the Pilot came on board and looked at the cow and he saw at once that she had been poisoned from eating Tutu branches.
He told my father the best thing to do was bleed her as soon as possible, give her a big dose of linseed oil and salts so Mr. George Duncan bled the cow and Father gave her the Physic and the lot of blood that was taken from her together with the Physic acting well, it was surprising how quickly she recovered. If you could have seen her when she was bad sitting on her rump and frothing at a terrible rate and her eyes fuming in her head and her whole body in convulsions. It was just terrible to see this beast in such a state but she recovered and did well after that.
Those who brought the branches were in a great way all were very pleased to see her get better for all the passengers thought so much of her. Mr. A. Todd the owner of the cow was delighted at her recovery. Nine months after this Captain Millymont offered Todd the best draft mare he had in a ship load for the bull calf she had. He wanted to take it back to Sydney with him as it was a pure Ayrshire. It would have been valuable in Australia but he did not part with the calf.
After this all the Passengers went up the river to Dunedin by Boat as soon as they could be taken. and wished the good ship Mooltan goodbye.Leaving the Mooltan
Our family was the last to leave the ship on account of the Cow was there was not a boat big enough to take her to Dunedin. Through this she had to be taken overland through dense Bush from Port Chalmers via what is called Sawyers Bay and from there up a range to what was called the saddle. Then down a long gully to North East Valley. From Port Chalmers there was a rough track through dense bush all the way. Father led the cow all the way which was not easy to do at that time.
As soon as the Passengers left the ship the men set to work and took down all the bunks and cabins tables etc. I well remember taking my last fond look as I did not like to leave the ship. When I looked along between the decks and could not see anything but the row of pillars all the length of the ship nearly. These pillars supported the deck above. It was a wierd and forlorn sight and I have never forgotten it. When I saw all the timber lying around in great heaps. I though it was a terrible thing to do. I just thought I could see all the different Families that had occupied the cabins and berths for 104 days and a short time before this distraction I could stand in the front part of the ship that had been occupied by the young men it had been their home and from the part I have mentioned I could see right away back to the far end of the Steerage part of the Ship. That had been a part that had gone through great tribulations. this sight between decks was the last thing I would ever see on board the poor old Mooltan.
And now comes the last act in connection with this handsome Ship. We get down into the boat that is going to take us up to Dunedin. My Mother, Brother and Two Sisters. Father is away with the cow now we are out a bit from the Ship and I can see the model of the Mooltan and she looks very nice and stately with her tall masts, yards and the spread out rigging and bowsprit all so trim. Her bold looking figurehead looking over the mighty deep.
And now dear old Mooltan I must fare you well for ever. I hope God will spare you and your gallant crew through many storms. We are fast parting the fine fair wind is driving us swiftly along over the smooth water of the estuary that extends to Dunedin. We are sailing fast between Goat Island and the mainland and in an hour and a half we will be at the landing beach Dunedin. Mr James Adams says that his boat belongs to? he calls it the Queen.Coming ashore at Dunedin
We got up alright and Father was there and carried us ashore and the other two men helped to carry the things we had brought from Scotland. It was very muddy and water up to the knees while carrying things on to dry land. From here a man with horse and dray, I should have said Cart, I think there was only one other horse and cart in Dunedin at this time New Years day 1850.
The cart took us to a four roomed house with stairs up to a loft but the house did not have any lining. The house was the third one from the left hand side going up from the comer of what was called Rattray St. and it has the same name today. At last we are in our first home in New Zealand and it is a wild place, bush and swamp all around us and plenty of Wild Pigs in the Bush and open country close by. In the bush plenty of Kakas and Wild Pigeons, Native of New Zealand and plenty of Wild Ducks and teal and fish. We get plenty of Baracuda and Grouper brought to Dunedin by Maori boats. These are both large fish and we often get 4 Baracuda for one shilling and a large Grouper for 1/6d - it is a much better fish.Meeting other ships during the voyage
I will now write about some things that happened on the voyage out. The first ship I remember seeing passed us in a very strong and rough sea. The wind was on our larboard side blowing from the direction of the other ship and she was lying at a great angle towards us and she was not far from us. With her lea Bulwarks low down in the sea she was a queer looking craft. The Captain officers and Crew could not make her out. Under the lea of the windward bulwark we could see a woman washing We could only see two men, one was steering the craft and the other was looking at us. Our men took her to be a Slave vessel. Escape from pirates?
A few days after this a smart looking craft hove in sight a long way off on our lea and our first mate and Captain could see through the Spyglass that they were putting on more sail and steering for us taking up to us as we were to windward of them.
The Mate kept a sharp lookout on them, and about one-noon they came on a cross tack to lea of our Stem very close to us with all sail set and her ploughing up the lea as she passed us at a great rate.
The Captain had every man we could muster on deck and all women and children down below under hatches. And we had canons fixed all ready and men all along the bulwarks to make a good show of bravado. Soon after they passed on this tack the hove her around to windward and she swung around like a bird and back tracked. She passed in a cloud of canvas. It was a pretty sight as she passed us at a terrific rate.
As they passed our men sang out to them "Does your Mother know you are out you better go home and get some Pap," and they sung out a lot of insults to us.
But all on our ship were more than pleased to see them sail away. The women and children between decks hurried up to see the craft as she sailed away. Our Captain said that this craft was splendidly handled. He said it was a Pirate vessel and when they saw so many men on board they were afraid to tackle us. I do know that all on the Mooltan were glad to see the Pirate Ship sail away on her nefarious work the wolfs of the Sea.
[None of the other accounts of the Mooltan voyage mentioned this event. Francis Pillans was so thorough that he would certainly have mentioned if such an incident had taken place. However it could have happened before the beginning of the surviving portion of Francis Pillans diary. The ship was part way down the coast of Africa before Pillans' diary started. Note that a very similar incident occurred during the Mariner's voyage to Port Chalmers, six months earlier.]Whales
This vessel was the last ship except one we saw a long way off but soon after this away to leeward one evening about an hour before the sun set we saw a large school of whales coming towards us at great speed. When they got near us they veered off from the stem of our Ship. It was a grand sight to see them so close. Our attention was just drawn to them when someone saw them spouting to leeward of us. Someone sang out "Whales" and there was a rush to see them. As they came racing on. To see the forms of the great monsters you felt struck with awe and wonder at this Great Leviathan of the Mighty Deep.
As they passed away it was a sight to see them spouting far away and in all directions high above the Ocean and with the rays of the setting sun shining through the gallons of water they spouted high into the air. It was a wonderful and inspiring sight never to be forgotten. The spouts from so many whales spread like great white fans then fell in white streamers to the sea most beautiful to behold.Porpoises and dolphins
About this time for several days we saw great shoals of porpoises gamboling about and they seemed to take great delight playing with each other. they are wonderful swimmers. They dart too and fro at great speed and leap high, turn on their backs and show their pretty white shining bellies. And at times they would race with the ship almost rubbing against the side. they are very playful.
I did see twice the wonderful Dolphin in all their beautiful colours of the rainbow. They flash through the waves like lightening.Albatrosses and other seabirds
The albatross is a most wonderful very large bird to see up in the sky. His great wings spread 14 to 16 feet wide. We caught one and had it on deck and its wings measured fourteen feet from tip to tip. But the poor thing had lost all the power in its great wings and he could not raise himself off the deck. After we all had a good look at the Albatross, two men carried him up on to the poop and let him go. He soon spread his great wings and off he went. Where too none could tell.
It is thought that the Albatross sleeps on the wing as they are often found thousands of miles away from land. Not often do they rest on the sea and when they do they have to put their head to the wind then spread out their wings and run along the surface of the ocean until the wind under their wings gives them power to rise above the water.
Then there is another remarkable bird the stormy Petrel. I have often watched them up in a storm and heard their wierd screech. They are pretty light formed bird with very powerful wings. They are pale slate colour with pink legs and feet.
My fancy was the very pretty little Cape Pigeon. It is a pretty, innocent looking little thing with beautiful eyes and pink legs and feet. There are many kinds of Petrel. I have seen some much like the ones I saw on the Mooltan.Crossing the Line
The next thing was what they called the "line". At this place there was great work with the sailors when the Devil got on board he is sometimes called Neptune.
The night after crossing the "line" it was terrible. Anyone that passed the Long Boat got drenched with sea water. There were men up on the longboat on both sides and others ready to catch any man and shave him with a hoop with Stockholm tar and Grease for lather and other mad things they did.
The same night some of the sailors painted the poor Goat red. It died later because of this.
Our second Mate was the life of our Ship. All the Boys and Girls thought a great lot of him and he was much liked by all on board. His name was Ferguson. He worked terribly hard in getting the ship away from being wrecked on Tristan da Cunha. He was laid up a few days after that.
A few days before we crossed the line he would be on deck with this telescope looking away ahead of the ship very earnestly. Us Boys & Girls would ask him what he was looking for. He told us he was looking for the lines and that we were getting very close to it. He had not seen it yet but he was sure he would see it to morrow.
Tomorrow came and a beautiful day it was and there was the line right enough so Mr. Ferguson invited us to have a look through the Telescope. We could all see the "line" and other men and women were asked to have a look through the Glass and they too could see the "line" splendidly and such a fine telescope it must be to be able to see the line so far away. He said we would cross the line that night. And we did as you will see by what I have written further back.
The Sailors and Passengers had Great fun with us Simpletons. The older people got a lot of chaffing about seeing the line. "Oh" they would say "and you saw the line did you? Well you can say you have seen what no other man has ever seen."
Well Mr. Ferguson managed the deception by fastening a fine silk thread across one of the lenses inside his telescope and the "line" looked perfect.Amusing the children
Mr. Ferguson gave us Boys a large ringbolt to pull out at the Main Hatchway because he said it was in the way and he would like it out. He would come and have a careful look at the bolt to see how far we had shifted it and he gave us great praise. He said we had shifted it a good bit and we would have it out before we got to N. Zealand. I was the leading boy in this job and it never came out while I was Boss. So much for the ringbolt.
Mr. Ferguson also made play for the Girls. He made lines on the deck with chalk and two sets of girls could play at the same time. Their game was played with a piece of round wood and he gave them raisins too and Place which is a great Balm at times with young or old.Animals on board
We had a lot of fine Pigs on board and they used to kill one now and then for the Cabin Passengers and a few days before we landed they Killed what pigs were left. The Mooltans officers
Our Captain was a very quiet man CHEVIOT was his name [his name was actually CHIVAS] and MILLIGAN was the name of the First Mate. He was very proud and conceited and wore a white silk vest. Merritt was the name of the sailor who went up the starboard rigging when Dunlop went up the larboard rigging to help me down from the cross trees. Running a full rigged ship
I think that a full explanation of the navigation of a full rigged ship like the Mooltan would be interesting to many that have never sailed on a ship.
Full rigged means that she carries four square sails on all her three masts. the Mooltan was between five and six hundred tons measurement and carried three anchors. The best bower anchor about 27 cwt. the other two 22 cwt.
The Longboat is placed between the foremast and main mast.
When we spoke to the men on the Pirate Ship it was by Trumpet.
In the Old time ships it was a very hard life for the sailors they had no place to dry their cloths and in the old Sailing Ships there was always a lot of work to look after the sailors ropes, rigging and so many other things where they carried such a Cloud of Canvas.
When up aloft on a rough night and blowing a gale, wet and cold, reefing sails is a very dangerous job. The masts are so lofty foremast 70ft. Mainmast 74 ft. Mizzenmast 68 ft. Spanker Boom 40 fit., and Jibboom the length of the bowsprit 38ft.
It was not an angels work on one of those old timers and often a tyrant of a Captain who commands all on board and Officers first and second mates.
The Helmsman is a very important man steering the ship in rough stormy weather. It takes a long time to be an expert as some ships are very tricky to steer. They will breach up into the wind without the least warning and through this will take on board a heavy sea. At another time they will suddenly fall off to lee in the trough of the Sea then to fetch her up to her proper course again it is a loss of time and strains everything aloft and below. An expert soon finds out the ships tricks.
Whenever his watch is up at the wheel the relieving helmsman has to be punctual. The man that is leaving the watch calls out the course to steer by on the Compass and the man that is going to take over the watch repeats after the man word for word the course he has just been given so as to be sure he heard what the other said to him. The Helmsmans watch is the shortest on the ship it is for two hours.
When the ship leaves harbour the Pilot takes charge and is master for the time he is on the Ship. The Captain must see that his commands are executed while the Pilot is in command. When Pilot has taken the vessel will clear of the land he casts off from the ship. Then the Captain takes full charge and control and all responsibility.
When the Ship is well clear of land and things are put in order it is usual for the Captain to call all hands aft and say something to the men about the voyage upon which they have entered.
After this the Crew are divided into watches. The watches are the divisions of the Crew and while on duty they are called watches. There are two the Starboard Watch commanded by the Second Mate and the larboard by the First Mate.
The Master himself stands no watch but comes and goes at will as he chooses. The starboard is sometimes called the Captains Watch, probably from the fact that in early days of the Merchant Service vessels were much smaller and there was usually but one Mate. Then the Master stood his own Watch and now in vessels that have no second mate the Captain keeps the Starboard Watch.
In dividing into watches the Master usually allows the officer to choose the men one by one alternatively but sometimes makes the division himself upon consulting with his officers. The men are divided as equally as possible.
As soon as the division of the watches is made if the days work is over one watch is set and the other is sent below.
Among the numerous customs of the Ocean which can hardly be accounted for is one that on the first night of the outward passage the starboard watch should take the first four hours on deck and on the first night of the Homeward passage larboard should do the same. The sailors explain this by the phrase "The Captain takes the Ship out and the Mate brings her home."
The Master takes the bearings and distances of the last point of departure upon the land and from that point the Ships reckoning begins and is regularly kept in the Log Book. The Master also examines and corrects the reckoning every day. The Master also attends to the chronometer and takes all the observations with the assistance of his officers if necessary. every day a few minutes before noon if the sun can be seen. The Captain comes upon deck with his Quadrant or Sextant and the Chief Mate usually takes his and as soon as the sun crosses the Meridian eight bells are struck and a new sea day begins. The reckoning is then corrected by the observation under the Masters superintendence.
The Master also takes the Lunar Observations usually with the assistance of both his Officers in which case the Master takes the angle of the Moon with the star or sun and the second Mate the altitude of the Moon.
The entire control of the navigation and working of the ship lies with the Master. He gives the course and general directions to the Officer of the Watch who enters it upon a Slate at the end of the watch the course made and the number of Knots together with any other observations.
If there should be special orders by the Captain, who in such cases always comes upon deck and takes command in person. When on deck the weather side of the quarter deck belongs to him and as soon as he appears the Officer of the Watch will always leave it and go over to leeward or forward into the waist that is the part of the Ship between the fore and main masts. If the alteration to be made is slight the Master usually tells the Officer to take in or set such a sail and leaves it to him the particular ordering as to the braces, sheets etc. and seeing all things put in place.
The principal manoeuvers of the vessel are tacking, wearing, reefing topsails, getting under way, and coming to anchor. These require all hands. In these cases the Master takes command and gives his orders in person, standing upon the quarterdeck.
The Chief Mate superintends the forward part of the vessel, under the Master and the second Mate assists in the waist.
The Master never goes aloft nor does any work with his hands unless for his own pleasure. If the officer of the watch thinks it necessary to reef the topsails, he calls the Master who upon coming on deck takes command and, if he thinks proper, orders all hands to be called. The Crew, Officers and all then take their stations and await the orders of the Master. He works the ship in person and gives all commands even the most minute. He looks out for trimming the yards and laying the ship for reefing. the Chief Mate commands up on the forecastle and does not go aloft. The Second Mate goes aloft with the Crew.
|Going Abroad home page|Scotland|Voyage|Otago|Southland|