National Geographic : 1957 Nov
secured the tops'ls and ran on under the courses, spritsail, and unbonneted lateen. The bonnets, being fine-weather canvas, were off both the foresail and mainsail then. The sea was getting up throughout that squally day, and I was sorry that the sprit sail was so big. Neither it nor the courses could be reefed. The spritsail was in one piece, and in a breeze of wind it put a heavy strain on the unstayed bowsprit. When the bonnets were in, the courses could not be reduced any more in area without taking them right in. How could I sail the ship if I took all the canvas off? The wind continued to freshen, and to head the ship. It was also blow ing against the current, setting up a nasty sea in which the ship jumped 665 (CharlesAllmon, National Geographic Statf Yankee Youth Gets a "Well Done!"-a Pat on the Back The Boys' Clubs of America chose Joseph M. Meany, Jr., of Waltham, Massachusetts, as the outstanding junior citizen of 1957. As a reward, we signed him on as ship's boy to work with Graham Nunn, similarly selected in England (page 649). Here I introduce Joe to the crowd at Plymouth. and labored heavily. The rain squalls were now so blinding that I kept a constant lookout on the foreyard, though it was still day, and had the hand operated foghorn in operation on the fore castlehead. We could not see the ship's length ahead. Some tanker or big freighter might loom up there at any moment. So nightfall came-wild, with the threat of growing wilder. I took the lateen in and watched the other canvas anxiously. Would the sunset take the wind and quieten the sea? What could I do, if it did not? The squalls still freshened. The mainyard was bending like a wand. The wind screamed in the rig ging, and the bowsprit was working altogether too much. I remembered in Governor William Brad ford's account of the first Mayflower's voyage (I read from Bradford after prayers for the assembled crew each Sunday morning) how he had said that in high winds Captain Jones took in all sail, and the ship lay-as he put it-"a-hull," just left to herself in the raging waters. Well, we had often spoken of trying out such conditions. Now it looked as if we had them. "Mr. Mate!" I shouted above the wind. "All hands on deck! Port watch for'ard to get the spritsail off her, and then the fore! Starboard watch take in the main! We will lie a-hull." The four mates struggled along the reeling decks to carry out these orders with great interest. They were all delighted not just to be in Mayflower II, helping to sail her, but to be in a square-rigged sailing ship again at all. It was not blowing such great guns just then, and I fully expected to remain a-hull-hove to, we call it-only an hour or two, at most until midnight. Sailors Fight Thundering Canvas But as the watches began to struggle with the sails, a mighty squall came down, and the ship leapt up on the crest of a great breaking sea while the wind shrieked with the strength of a full gale! The spritsail had not been taken in during a storm before, for our other hard winds had been favorable (I made them so, off Biscay, when I fell away before them). Now it proved a handful. "Clew lines and buntlines! Haul away now!" shouted the mate from his post at the fore part of the forecastlehead.