Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ashleys "Book of knots" says this...

Hangings at sea were infrequent. Such an occasion
furnished a bit of extra-routine labor, in which the
boatswain took especial pride, and in which no bungling
was tolerated. A boatswain's reputation would be
forever ruined if there were any hitch on such an

Although most of the details were left to him, there
were certain well-established conventions which had to be
observed. These are given in detail in an old work on
seamanship. A fall was led through a single block at the
fore yardarm and thence to a second single block under
the fore cap. Between the two blocks was a SHEEPSHANK
KNOT (#1154), the upper bight of which was not _half
hitched_, as is customary, but was merely _stopped_
with light twine. This stopping would carry away
the instant the knot was hauled against the block,
so spilling the SHEEPSHANK. The weight at the _noose_
end at once dropped to take up the slack given by the
spilled SHEEPSHANK, and it was brought up with a jerk
by a toggle which fetched against the yardarm block.
The toggle was marlingspike hitched_ (#2030) and
seized to the rope at a point which allowed for an
exact six-foot drop outside the rail.

In preparation for this the fall was laid at length
along the deck ``ready to be hurried aft'' when
``twenty stout fellows seized the rope.''

Maybe we should think about that next time we catch some pirates(and have nowhere to try them).

The Russians understand that only enlightened Liberals really understand 'nuance' the way it's supposed to be understood....or something.
The rest of humanity need to be lead by examples.

Our consensus of being civilised past the point of no return, that hemp hawser would send the captain to the brig for the rest of his life....unlike the 17th century where it would be a 'career enhancing' move.

And I understand perfectly what that was about. Nothing shipboard was easy- even dying. So to make it even worse than just being hung, they hauled you up about 30 feet until you hit the yardarm and dropped you until the noose broke your neck.

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