The sun was shining brightly, but something more than a half-gale was shrieking up the Carquinez Straits, and the Mary Rebecca got under way with two reefs in her mainsail and one in her foresail
. We found it quite rough in the Straits and in Suisun Bay; but as the water grew more land-locked it became calm, though without let-up in the wind.
An' see that big one with a patch in her foresail
an' a new jib?
Her two masts leaned a trifle backward; she carried brigantine, foresail
, storm-jib, and standing-jib, and was well rigged for running before the wind; and she seemed capable of brisk speed, which, indeed, she had already proved by gaining several prizes in pilot-boat races.
As I understood it, there were two ways of getting it cleared,-- first, by lowering the foresail
, which was comparatively easy and without danger; and second, by climbing out the peak-halyards to the end of the gaff itself, an exceedingly hazardous performance.
Indeed, it is less than nothing, and I have seen, when the great soul of the world turned over with a heavy sigh, a perfectly new, extra-stout foresail
vanish like a bit of some airy stuff much lighter than gossamer.
"Coming home from church this morning, the wind blew me about, and Will called out, right in the street, 'Brail up the foresail
, and take in the flying-jib, that will ease her.' "
She was on the starboard tack, and on the left hand, under the arched foot of the foresail
, I could see the sunset still quite bright.
As to the seas, they runs more in uppers in the Bay of Biscay, unless it may be in a sow-wester, when they tumble about quite handsomely; thof it’s not in the narrow sea that you are to look for a swell; just go off the Western Islands, in a westerly blow, keeping the land on your larboard hand, with the ship’s head to the south’ard, and bring to, under a close-reefed topsail; or, mayhap, a reefed foresail
, with a fore-topmast-staysail and mizzen staysail to keep her up to the sea, if she will bear it; and ay there for the matter of two watches, if you want to see mountains.
rises and discovers the watch standing, lounging, leaning, and lying in various attitudes, all singing in chorus.) Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies!
"It happened while we were setting a reefed foresail
, at dusk.