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Hunker Down for Winter

When a large sailing ship became ice-bound in the Arctic (as happened with Franklin, Parry and others), the crew had to prepare it for the winter.

1. Much of the rigging was taken down and carried ashore. Loaded with ice, it could break or tip the ship.

2. A storehouse was often built onshore. Equipment and supplies were taken off to both make more room for the men and lighten the ship - the higher the waterline, the less likely to be crushed by ice.

3. To add extra insulation, the decks were covered with a thick layer of packed snow and a wall of snow was built around the hull.

4. Canvas tents were raised over the deck to give the men a place to exercise.

5. Rows of posts were sunk in the ice to show a path to shore in winter darkness or storms.

6. Fire holes were cut in the ice (and kept clear all winter) so that water would be available in case of fire.

PICTURE: The ice-bound Parry Expedition - winter of 1820.

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