Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/259

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of it upon this tack as she bows the sea; but we must wear her, as the wind has shifted to the south-east and we are drawing right down upon Cuba. So do you go forward and have some hands stand by; loose the lee yard-arm of the foresail and when she is right before the wind, whip the clew-garnet close up and roll up the sail."

"Sir, there is no canvas that can stand against this a moment. If we attempt to loose him he will fly into ribands in an instant, and we lose three or four of our people. She will wear by manning the fore shrouds."

"No, I don't think she will, Archer."

"I 'll answer for it, sir. I have seen it tried several times on the coast of America with success."

The captain accepted the suggestion, and Archer considered it "a great condescension from such a man as Sir Hyde." Two hundred sailors were ordered to climb into the fore-rigging and flatten themselves against the shrouds and ratlines where the wind tore at them and almost plucked them from their desperate station. Thus arranged, their bodies en masse made a sort of human sail against which the hurricane exerted pressure enough to swing the bow of the struggling ship, and she very slowly wore, or changed direction until she stood on the other tack. It was a feat of seamanship which was later displayed during the historic hurricane in the harbor of Samoa when British, German, and American men-of-war were smashed by the tremendous fury of wind and sea, and the gal-