Definitions for "About Ship And Reef Tops'ls In One"
With the wind ahead a sailing ship has to proceed on a zigzag course, sailing with the wind on one bow for a certain distance (a board), then crossing the wind to bring it on the other bow. The master gives the order "About Ship!," the men rush to their stations, haul and slack braces, the helmsman puts the wheel down, and the ship is brought on to a new tack. In the old Navy, when reefing, the three big tops'ls would be lowered a little, the reef-tackles hauled on ( as to shorten the area of sail exposed to the wind), and the men would race aloft to "pass the earrings" and tie the reef-points - a "pleat" of sail having been hauled up to the yard to make a new or temporary head to the shortened sail. After the close of the Napoleonic Wars, in the so-called fancy frigates of the British Navy, in order to keep the men active and fit ( in peacetime) these two maneuvers were performed together as a drill, three watches of men racing against each other on different masts.