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Stories from Marquis, a home trade vessel

Heaving the lead

The home trade vessel were built with flat-bottoms so no harbour was closed to us, we could go into small harbours, estuaries and inlets, be grounded by the ebbing tide, unload and reload, letting the bore of a flooding tide float us off. On a trip up the Avon where sandbanks were known to shift, the skipper asked for line reading to be taken. Scott, the senior A.B. (able body seaman) was sent off with the O.S. (ordinary seaman) in order that he might be taught how to ‘heave the lead’ only land lubbers say swinging the lead. The A.B. pointed out the various pieces of cord, rag and leather markers along the length of line, finally ending with a piece of leather with two tales,

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