Sail Drill Illustration

Sail Drill


Stepping onto the deck of Constitution was like walking into a forest of ropes. Hundreds of them ran up from the deck to the masts and yards above. By hauling on the right rope, deck-hands adjusted the sails and lifted heavy loads. For the heaviest lifts they used a capstan – a simple winch. But for most tasks, seamen just grabbed the rope and heaved. It was hard work, but not as hard as on under-manned merchant ships, where over-worked sailors sometimes died of exhaustion.

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