In six hours the weather had so far moderated that they were able to hoist the reefed foresail, and two hours later the trysail was set with all the reefs in. These were shaken out in a short time, the wind dying away fast. Half the crew had turned into their hammocks some time before, and the regular watch was now set. The motion of the ship, however, was very violent, for there was a heavy tumbling sea still on, the waves having no general direction, but tossing in confused masses and coming on to the deck, now on one side, now on the other.
At midnight Frank also turned in, in his clothes; but he was soon up again, for the motion of the yacht was so violent that he found it next to impossible to keep from being jerked out of his berth. The first mate had had four hours off duty, and had just come up again to relieve the captain.
“It is lucky, sir, that all our gear is nearly new,” he said; “for if it had not been, this rolling would have taken the mast out of her. The strain on the shrouds each time that she gets chucked over must be tremendous.”
“It would have been better, for this sort of work, if we had had ten feet taken off that stick before we started.”
“Well, just for the present it would have been better, sir; but even if we had had time I would not have done it. We should not have much chance of overhauling the Phantom if we clipped our wings.”
In another two hours the sea had sensibly moderated. Frank again went down, and this time was able to go to sleep. When he went on deck the sun was some way up, the mainsail was set, and the reefs had been shaken out.
“This is a change for the better, captain.”
“It is indeed, sir. I think that we have reason to be proud of the craft. She has gone through a tornado without having suffered the slightest damage, except the loss of the dinghy. I shall be getting the topmast up in another hour. You see, I have got her number-two jib on her and shifted the mizzen, but she is still a bit too lively to make it safe to get up the spar. Like as not, if we did, it would snap off before we could get the stays taut.”
“I am terribly anxious about the Phantom,” Frank said, “and only trust that she was in a snug harbour on the lee side of one of the islands.”
“I hope so, sir. I was thinking of her lots of times when the gale was at its height. If she was, as you say, in a good port, she would be right enough. Of course, if she was out she would run for the nearest shelter.”
“If she had no more wind than we had before it came on, she had not much chance of doing that.”
“That is true enough, sir; but, you see, the glass gave us notice three hours before we caught it. Besides, they certainly took native pilots on board as soon as they got out here, and these must have got them into some safe place at the first sign of a gale.”
“Yes, they must certainly have had a pilot on board,” Frank agreed; “and there is every ground to hope that they were snugly at anchor. They were three weeks ahead of us, and must know that it is the hurricane season as well as we do. It is likely that the first thing they did on their arrival was to search for some quiet spot, where they could lie up safely till the bad season was over.”