I am reading a story (alt history) where it describes climbing on a ship with the sailors:
pausing to clip their safety harnesses to the ratlines every few feet.
Now, I used to work on a tallship, and train people to go aloft. One of the things we utterly stressed was never to do this. Don't even put your hands on ratlines, only feet. Clips need to go to secured points and safety lined. Even if someone was doing something dodgy and clipping to something not rated (which of course noone ever did), the ratlines were one of the last possible choices.
As I understand it, historically there were no clipping on at all while climbing. And before that none at all ever. And in the modern day, there are safety lines with moving ascenders and you don't clip to ratlines.
Was there an in between period, where people would clip to ratline, take a few steps, and clip to the next?