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sk3erkrou
08-30-2012, 04:56 PM
Alright, I am at a complete loss here. In my story, I want a group of people on a sailing ship, the old wood kind, to be drifting at sea with no wind. If this was happening, and the ship had no oars to row with, would the sailors leave the sails out as if there was a wind, or what would they do? Also, if they were sitting like that, and then there was suddenly a great amount of wind, what would they do in that situation.
I've never even been on a boat without a motor except for a canoe/kayak/white water raft, so I really have no idea here.

thothguard51
08-30-2012, 05:15 PM
The type of ship, culture, and era of your story will depend on what answers you get...

Large ship with row boats on board, they put the sailors on the rowboats and have them tow the larger ship until they catch the wind.

Google sailing ship for the time period. Refine the search for the type of culture your ship is from...British, French, Spaniard, Italian, Egyptian, etc, etc, etc.

Good luck...

Torgo
08-30-2012, 05:20 PM
The stronger the blow, the less canvas you want to spread, I think. Too many sails in a strong wind and you risk losing masts and spars. In a calm you'd set more sails (perhaps all of them, if you wanted to dry them out.) But you'd be ready to take them in if there were a sudden squall.

This is based on the fact I've just read nineteen Patrick O'Brian novels in a row, not from any real expertise; I'm about as knowledgeable as Dr Maturin where nautical matters are concerned.

Snick
08-30-2012, 06:55 PM
Alright, I am at a complete loss here. In my story, I want a group of people on a sailing ship, the old wood kind, to be drifting at sea with no wind. If this was happening, and the ship had no oars to row with, would the sailors leave the sails out as if there was a wind, or what would they do? Also, if they were sitting like that, and then there was suddenly a great amount of wind, what would they do in that situation.
I've never even been on a boat without a motor except for a canoe/kayak/white water raft, so I really have no idea here.

It is most likely that they would leave a lot of sails up in case a light breeze came up. Great winds don't start all that suddenly. There would be time to furl most of the sails, if a gale came up.

If this is a significant part of your story, then you might want to study the matter.

ULTRAGOTHA
08-30-2012, 09:44 PM
Thothguard51 is completely correct. We can't help unless we know what type of "old wood kind" of ship your characters are in. What time period? How many people (is it fully manned)?

My answer would be different if it was a Viking-style longship than if it was a Maine schooner than if it was a ship-of-the-line than if it was a yacht.

And it will also differ depending on how many crew are left on board.


As an aside,
I wish we could put a note at the top of this forum asking people to answer the journalism questions in their OP:
Who
What
WHERE
WHEN
and, if necessary for the plot
Why.
;)

sk3erkrou
08-31-2012, 12:16 AM
Sorry, I should have thought a little more before posting, I was trying to do it on my lunch break. Think Pirates of the Caribbean types of ships. I'd say a large one, about the size of the Black Pearl.

ULTRAGOTHA
08-31-2012, 01:07 AM
Then, assuming there is sufficient crew and they didn't want to wait for a wind, they'd probably do as Thothguard51 suggested and launch the longboat and tow the larger ship for a while until they could find a breeze. That's a lot of hard, hard work so it would not be a first choice.

I'm not a weather maven but I don't think a sudden wind can come up without accompanying clouds. So if they spot a squall coming they'd get the longboat back on board and put out a few small sails. Or furl them all depending on how bad the squall looks.

A well trained crew at full strength can work those sails pretty darned fast.