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    Re: Setting a course when sailing into the wind.
    From: Don Seltzer
    Date: 2016 Jul 29, 07:55 -0400
    Yes, I think that was the situation.  'Springs', lines leading from the bow and stern, were typically used while moored to rotate a vessel.  This was particularly useful when fighting a battle while at anchor, to point the guns.  In this instance, the stern tow line and the spring line from the cat head in the bow provide the moment arm to assist turning the ship quickly to larboard through the eye of the wind (it is clearly tacking by the Helm's alee cry).

    Another way to view it is as a variant on club-hauling, in which the towed ship acts as the anchor.

    And yes, once the Surprise has settled in on the new starboard tack it can haul the towed ship around to the new course.

    Don Seltzer

    Sent from my iPad

    On Jul 29, 2016, at 6:48 AM, David Pike <NoReply_DavidPike@fer3.com> wrote:

    Surprise, racing towards destruction under a great spread of canvas, put her helm alee, hauled on an unseen spring leading from her larboard cathead to the towline, and spun about like a cutter.

    I never quite understood that paragraph.  Presumably he tacked rather than wearing ship.  Was the idea that the drag from the prize continuing on its original path initially would help pull Surprise’s bow through the wind while her energy caused her stern to slew around, a bit like a handbrake turn?  Then, when sailing on the new tack Surprise would pull the prize around via the normal tow-line. DaveP



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