I think the fore royal is in the process of being furled. They lower the yard so that it's supported by the "lifts". Then the sailors can go up and finish the process. Perhaps Gary B. or present day working sailors can give a better explanation. Clyder Rigged ???
Here's one of my favorites but the color is screwed up.
Wavertree off Cape Horn
Senior Ole Salt # 650
End of this series
I think there is quite a bit of artistic license is these beautiful paintings. Many of these painted ships appear to be substantially overpowered. Granted, these boats were built to be swift - but nothing is to be gained by having sails carried away or becoming dismasted. The topmasts and yards above the upper-topsail would have been made of wood and thus not as strong as the lower spars.
Looking at post #161 - "Thessalus" the foreroyal sheets appear to both be cast off. I imagine that the sheets would be eased (or one sheet at a time would be eased) and the sail would be clued-up with the aid of a capstan in a maner to prevent the sail from unnecessarily flogging itself to death. The cluelines would be hauled before the buntlines simply due to manpower constraints.
I'm not sure what the fellow is doing up in the rig by himself. Nobody can hear him on deck and he is isn't doing anything where he is other that putting himself in danger.
Last edited by PatCassidy; 06-17-2008 at 02:10 PM.