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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

The Main Fiferail...

 
 
The Main Fiferail... Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 4, 2017
1. The Main Fiferail... Marker
Inscription. When the Balclutha towed to sea in the old days, twenty five sails were ready to set as soon as the tug let go the towrope. To handle this canvas a great deal of additional cordage was rove off - buntlines, leech-lines, clew garnets, halliard, downhauls - that were not in place when the vessel was in port and the sails stowed below decks. The amount of manila "running rigging" was visible on the ship in port (as now displayed) would be doubled when she put to sea.
This rope rigging was made fast to belaying pins located in the pintails along the ship's side and in the teak fireflies at the base of each mast, (The fiferail had its name because legendarily on men-of-war the ship's fifer and drummer perched here during court martial). A spider band about five feet up on the mast held other belaying pins to accommodate, in addition to cordage, the chain topsail sheets. The strain of this large large sail made chain instead of rope sheets necessary to control it, these passed through the rings visible on the fore part of the mast and then up to the spider band.
Each of the hundred and twenty-five or more "hauling ends" coming down the masts was made fast to its own particular belaying pin. This formula never varied from ship to ship as it enabled the sailors to always find the right rope no matter how dark the night.

The Main Fiferail and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 4, 2017
2. The Main Fiferail and Marker
Starting the tops'l sheets: Bark Kilmallier, 1918

"... destruction was so close at times that even yet I hold my breath a little when I think of the shrieking wind and the tremendous seas that were rolled into mountains. The bottom fell out of the barometer and the ship ran before the storm. Ca9t. Henry ordered all hands onto the poop and warned them that the ship might founder at any time."
"Fortunately, we had stripped down to a lower top'l some hours before the hurricane struck us, but even at that Capt. Henry felt that this was too much canvas. Twice during the two days the second mate, carpenter and an apprentice went to slack the main tops'l sheets. These were made 2 to 2 1/4 inch chain, coming down from the main yard amid ship, through fixed steel rings, and made fast criss-cross to the steal belaying pins on the mast ring.
"it needed a top maul to persuade those sheets to slack around the pins, such was the force of the wind on that famous tops'l. On the two occasions the sheets were slacked the ship responded by not burying herself so deeply as previously. She ran like a scared pig, "nose down and tail up," steered like a railway wagon, two men at the wheel night and day, and swinging two points either side of her course."
 
Location. 37° 48.596′ N, 122° 
The Main Mast and Fiferail image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 4, 2017
3. The Main Mast and Fiferail
25.363′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker can be reached from Htde Street near Jefferson Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2950 Hyde Street, San Francisco CA 94109, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Steering the Ship... (a few steps from this marker); Hicks Engine (a few steps from this marker); Balclutha (a few steps from this marker); The Deckhouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Scow Schooner Alma (within shouting distance of this marker); The Half-Deck (within shouting distance of this marker); Workin' on the Railroad (within shouting distance of this marker); Towing in the Open Ocean (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Francisco.
 
More about this marker. This marker is locate on board the Balclutha, docked at Hyde Street Pier.
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
The Main Mast image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 4, 2017
4. The Main Mast
Diagram of the Arrangement of Lines at the Foremast onboard the 4-masted barque Nippon Maru image. Click for full size.
By Unknown
5. Diagram of the Arrangement of Lines at the Foremast onboard the 4-masted barque Nippon Maru
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 10, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 10, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 96 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 10, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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