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    Re: Easter Island, and boxhauling
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2002 Oct 17, 21:41 +0100

    Hal Mueller's posting from Easter Island included-.
    >O'Brian makes reference at least once to a square rig maneuver called
    >"boxhauling".  I had never understood what the maneuver is, or how or
    >why to do it.  Willem explained that it's a K-shaped turn.  While
    >sailing on a reach or closehauled, you turn head to wind as if to
    >tack, but instead you stay head to wind, with your squaresails aback.
    >Hold this orientation until you get sternway on, then apply rudder in
    >the opposite direction from your original turn, and finish the tack.
    >By boxhauling, you can tack in less space than a regular tack would
    >require, which would be very useful for tacking in restricted waters.
    >Why is it called "boxhauling"?  There's a Dutch expression "bak
    >zeil", back sail, which means to renege on a promise; it sounds like
    >it also has the connotation of reneging surreptitiously or
    >indirectly, equivocating.  I'm no linguist, but I'm certain that
    >"boxhauling" is derived from that Dutch expression.
    Hal's interesting question is answered in d'Arcy Lever's "Young
    sea-officer's sheet anchor", 1819, and better, perhaps, in John Harland's
    superb "Seamanship in the age of sail", 1984. Neither of these is likely to
    be available to him on Easter Island.
    Box-hauling can be used to get out of an in-irons situation, having missed
    stays, or deliberately, when changing tack in narrow waters, to avoid the
    lost-ground to leeward that a normal wearing operation requires.
    Hal's description is fine up to the point where the vessel gets sternway
    on, but then with sails aback, the sternboard continues as the vessel
    passes through a "U" manoeuvre until she comes to a stop with the wind
    nearly astern. The yards are then swung to fill the sails, the helm put
    over, and she can't fail to take up her new tack. So the operation is more
    akin to wearing than to tacking.
    The danger in boxhauling is in the great strain on the rudder tackle when
    the vessel is travelling backwards, helm hard over and wind astern.
    As the operation involves using backed sails, might the term box-hauling
    perhaps just be a corruption of the English words "back-sailing", which
    have a very similar sound to them?
    Needless to say, this information is from book-learning and not from
    personal experience.
    George Huxtable
    George Huxtable, 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    Tel. 01865 820222 or (int.) +44 1865 820222.

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