Were man ropes used in the early 17th century? If not, how did sailors balance on the yard arms while furling or manipulating the sales? I'm trying to figure out if La Couronne 1636 pr HMS Sovereign of the Seas requires man ropes.
Thanks Atamini!If you’re referring to the foot ropes on the yards, they weren’t common practice on continental built ships in the early 17th century especially that of the Dutch. If you refer to Van der Velde senior and Van der Velde de jounger’s paintings, the earlier ships did not have them. Sailors would shimmy out onto the yard itself on the topsails. The fore and main course yards (the lowest yards and sails) were lowered to the deck, unfurled then the yard was hoisted back up. We would do this practice on the Duyfken replica when I was crew on her.
Most of the same Australian crew sailed on the Batavia replica which has foot ropes, this replica does purely for modern safety otherwise it would have been omitted on her yards also. It’s reported that French and Dutch ships still hadn’t had them fitted to their yards even in the Napoleonic wars. If it was an English ship, I’d say install them as the foot ropes were an English invention.