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Hi, I'm writing a novel which features a schooner and is set in the Amerian civil war.
I have a problem with the hold of the ship.
I have a character who is imprisoned in the (empty) hold, and another character who is imprisoning him.
I need this character to sometimes go into the hold via some kind of hatch, not the main hatch which is opened to load cargo into the ship, a smaller hatch.
Was there a smaller hatch of this kind, and could it be opened by one person?
Another problem, although I think I have solved this, is could a crew of two sail a schooner for about fifty miles, in the Chesapeake bay, Virginia?
They are sailing north, and the prevailing wind is from the south. I think but can't be sure that the sea in the bay is pretty calm as it is sheltered from the Atlantic to a certain extent.
 

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You will get many answers here but a normal cargo ship has an access hatch at the forward end of each hold. Sometimes this access maybe inside a mast house. What ever it is easily opened by one person but at the same time visible from the vessels bridge.
As regards sailing the bay....check distances on Google World and it can get choppy. Two persons onboard is pushing it, the crew largley depending upon vessel size and sail area. Perhaps she arrived suitably set and wind was light.
 

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I can agree with Mike, Most schooners had a hatch on the forward bulkhead to gain access to the hold.
The reason was incase is was stormy weather and access couldn't be safely done from on deck.
Sailing north on the chesapeake would be easy enough for two guy's, just shorten sail if it breezed up. Or use less sail to begin with and keep a weather eye open.
 
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