Looking for a bit of detail about boarding netting; does anyone have any information?
I've seen the little blurb in Lavery's "Arming & Fitting of Ships of War", which says it was first mentioned in 1795. "Dockyards were asked to collect information & make suggestions about the ideal construction", so it sounds like it might still have been experimental in '96, the year I am interested in. ...??
It was extended from the gunwale to a "proper height up the rigging" -- but what is a "proper height"? Somewhere I think I read that it angled outward somewhat, but like many of the bits of trivia my brain has stored, I'm not sure now where I read that. But basically, what was it attached to, & if you were standing on deck, presumably you'd be looking out through it?
Just looking for a good description of what it would look like.
The MARY ROSE (c 1545) is reported to vhave been protected by boarding nettings.
Both Woodes Rogers (1709) and Anson (1749) record that the Manila galleons attacked by them were protected against boarding by nettings.
I suspect that there were many different versions of boarding nettings during the 18th century and later.
Certainly you would be looking out through it if you were standing in the waist or on the deck of a flush decked ship. In the case of ships with a pronounced poop/forecastle, I do not know how the nettings would be rigged.
The following is Hornblower"s version:
" Rig the boarding netting, if you please.”
That was a harassing, irritating exercise. The nettings had to be roused out, laid in position along the ship’s sides, and their lower edges made fast in the chains all round. Then lines from the yardarms and bowsprit end had to be rove through the upper edges. Then with steady hauling on the falls of the tackles the nettings rose into position, sloping up and out from the ship’s sides from bow to stern, making it impossible for boarders to come in over the ship’s side.
“Belay!” ordered Jones as the tricing lines came taut.
“Too taut, Mr. Jones! I told you that before. Slack away on those falls!”
Taut boarding nettings, triced up trimly as far as they would go, might look seamanlike, but were not as effective when their function as obstacles was considered. A loose, sagging netting was far more difficult to climb or to cut. Hornblower watched the netting sag down again into lubberly festoons.
That was better. These nettings were not intended to pass an admiral’s inspection, but to keep out boarders.""