Monday, 3 January 2011

Maritime Monday: Responsibilities of a Rigger

My gg grandfather, John Dunstone AVERY (1835-1903) is listed on several censuses as a Rigger.  This was a specialised job (nowadays you need to go through an apprenticeship!) working with the ropes that hoisted the sails on a ship. says that ship riggers need to have excellent physical strength, control and endurance, and that they have to be able to work quickly at times.

From Wikipedia: "Sailors could put their rope skills to work in lifting and hauling, in an era before mechanical haulage and cranes, ropes, pulleys and muscle power was all that was available to move anything."

In our day, riggers work for construction agencies, manufacturing plants, logging yards and the entertainment industry. They work with heavy equipment and machinery.  John Dunstone AVERY, whose grandfather was a carpenter/mariner and father was a shipwright, was pensioned off some time between the 1871 and 1881 censuses, and died in a lunatic asylum in 1903 of acute nephritis.  I wonder if he had an accident at work? or if he had served long enough to be released from his job?  I have looked in Documents Online for his service record, but unfortunately there seem to be rather a lot of John Averys...

Running Rigging of a Merchant Sailing Ship

1.Flying jib-guys.
2 Standing jib-guys.
3 Spritsail lifts.
4 Spritsail braces.
5 Fore-yard tackles.
6 Main-yard tackles.
7 Fore-lifts.
8 Fore-braces.
9 Main-lifts.
10. Main-braces.
11. Cross-jack lifts.
12 Cross-jack braces.
13 Slings of fore-yard.
14 Slings of main-yard.
15 Slings of cross jack-yard. 
16  Fore-top-sail-lifts.
17 braces.
1 8 reef-tackles.
19 Main-top-sail-lifts.
20 braces.
21 reef-tackles. 
22 Mizen-top-sail-lifts.
23 Mizen-top-sail braces. -
24- Fore-top-gallant-lifts.
25  Fore-top-gallant-braces.
26 Fore-top-gallant-halliards.
27 Main-top-gallant-lifts.
28 Main-top-gallant braces.
29 Main-top-gallant halliards.
30 Top-gallant-lifts.
31 Top-gallant .braces.
32 Top-gallant halliards
33 Fore Royal Lifts.
34 Fore Royal braces
35 Fore-royal halliards.
36 Main-royal-lifts.
37 Main-royal braces.
38 Main-royal halliards.
39 Signal halliards.
40 Mizen-royal-lifts.
41 Mizen-royal- braces.
42 Mizen-royal-halliards.
43 Fore-top-sail tie and halliards.
44- Main-top-sail tie and halliards.
45 Mizen-top-sail tie and halliards.
46 Mizen-gaff peak halliards.
47 Mizen-gaff throat halliards.
48 Mizen-gaff -vang-pendants and falls. 
49 Mizen-gaff signal halliards.
50 Spanker-boom topping-lift.
51 Spanker-boom quarter guys.
52 Spanker-boom sheet.
53 Spritsail-yard.
54- Fore-yard.
55 Main-yard.
56 Cross-jack-yard.
57 Fore-top-sail-yard.
58 Main-top-sail-yard.
59 Mizen-top-sail-yard.
60 Fore-top-gallant-yard.
61 Main-top-gallant-yard.
62 Mizen-top-gallant-yard.
63 Fore-royal-yard.
64- Main-royal-yard.
65 Mizen-royal-yard.
66 Spanker boom.
67 Spanker gaff.

taken from The Art of Rigging, 1848

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