Reply To: Hammock Boards on Victory 1805

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Malcolm Lewis

    Thank you for your responses. It appears difficult to say when the use of hammock boards began and when it ceased. A ship such as Victory had a complement of 820 officers and men with the majority using hammocks. Frigates at that time did most of the sea time whereas a first rate like Victory spent long periods at anchor. This meant that only a few men spent any time on night watches and more time in their hammocks regularly stowing them in the morning in the hammock nettings/cranes. At all times hammocks had to be stowed in clean and dry conditions and it is understood the nettings and the hammock nettings were covered with a water proof canvas. Gary Morgan refers to the boards being fastened to the outer stanchions presumably with a lashing. The canvas covering would also need to be secured to prevent it lifting off in a breeze but not so large as to prevent access by individual seamen when they wanted their hammocks at pipe down.
    It is surprising that more is not recorded about hammock stowage as it would have been a major feature of life aboard. Does anyone know where the term “cranes” originates? References are hard to find.