In Renaissance period, would it be possible to safely bind ships together for extended periods of time?
Imagine if there was a fleet of large ships (say, two dozen) that have been traveling over a vast ocean for a long time. No land is in sight, they don't know when they'll reach their destination. They come well-provisioned for a long journey with capable sailors.
But then something happens, like the commanding admiral dies of sickness, and then the mission goes into peril. The captains want an assembly, but they need to fasten their vessels together. They aim to rope their hulls together, to use gangways to form bridges, such that the entire fleet is joined into one secure grouping.
Basically, I'm imagining them building a giant platform out of the fleet, such that the men can all walk (or climb) between every vessel, and that all the captains can hold an assembly in the middle, without their ships floating off. Is this actually possible to convene like this?
I imagine that the wind and waves are going to knock the ships around, and it'd be impossible to steer. They're just floating. Would it damage the ships to tie them together, and is it feasible for an entire fleet to do so?
How long could they actually last like this in the middle of the ocean? Would the makeshift platform be doomed as soon as they hit a storm or strong winds, or is there a way that they survive indefinitely (assuming plentiful food)?
Edit: It's possible that they might unhook ships from the grouping in bad weather, provided they had enough warning that a storm was coming.
Bonus question: what if there were hundreds of ships?