While doing the research for A Rare Gift, I became very interested in sailing ships. So when we heard there was a Japanese tall ship visiting here, we were eager to have a look. We were even more excited when we read they were going to fully deploy the sails. They would start at 1pm, and we were there in plenty of time. It was a beautiful day. Bright and sunny.
Here is a poster of the statistics of the ship.
Even with the sails furled you can see this is a magnificent ship. The poster gave the number of crew aboard and there is well over a hundred. Notice all the people standing on the dock, they are lining up to go on board. There was only a set number on the ship at any one time, so as people left the crew would allow more up the gangway.
One o’clock came and the crew all arrived on deck. The first 20 minutes or so was used up while they did limbering exercises. We could hear them chanting and calling on the deck. Arms were waving too. Then at a signal. Up into the rigging the sailors climbed. It was high. Did you notice that this sailor is bare-foot? Most of them were when you look up close. I suppose they can grip the ropes and ladders better than way.
Crewmen and women climbed up all the masts and out along the sails. They seemed to be undoing lashing ropes which kept the sails closed.
When all had returned to the deck, they used winches and ropes to haul the sails down. They did each one separately so we got to watch as each sail slowly unfurled. You can notice that some of the sails are actually close together on the mast, but once they began to unfurl them they were able to move the sails further up the mast so that each had space to open fully. (G.Rosemary Ludlow 11th May 2017.)
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(G.Rosemary Ludlow 11 May 2017)