Rayjack6

Skipjack rigging

I built the H A Parks from plans, I think in the Smithsonian collection, and they were looped over the mast in the same fashion.  I photographed many of these still working skipjacks all over the Eastern Shore.  Ben Lankford did a nice job on this instruction booklet.  Let me know if I can provide any further help.

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Most boats had a swell for the shrouds and stays like you'd see on a t'gallant mast for instance, but some had cleats or wedges instead.

The shrouds tend to be looped around and clamped with a couple of wire clamps, but further back they were seized with wire.  One newer boat I saw had a sort of spider band on the mast and the shrouds had thimbled eyes shackled to it.

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Ron,

I do not believe that wire rope was originally used for standing rigging on skipjacks. Most Skipjacks were built on the cheap. I believe wire rope was not routinely used on skipjacks until the 1930s. (Unfortunately I cannot remember where I read this. I may be wrong.) Wire rope would have been an extravagance in 1890 - 1900.

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I'll find the more definitive book in a couple days.

 

From "American Ship Models and How To Build Them"; It says that wire rope replaced hemp for standing rigging about 1860. Their instructions state that 3/4" wire rope was used on the skipjack Carrie Price for the shrouds, and 1/2" for the balance of the standing rigging. Hemp was used for the running rigging.

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I looked for about an hour in some of my books.  I have a few books on the Chesapeake Bay and their watercraft but could not find anything specific detailing the shrouds.  Robert H. Burgess wrote a really good book entitled Chesapeake Sailing Craft which has a lot of good photos of working Skipjacks.  I used some of these books when I was building mine back in the l970's.  

 

I did, however, find a reference to the standing rigging on the bugeye another boat tied to the Chespeake Bay and very much like the Skipjack in M. V. Brewington's Chesapeake Bay Log Canoes and Bugeyes.  This states that the bugeyes were originally rigged throughout with hemp but steel wire replaced this very quickly.  I have a feeling the Skipjacks were probably steel wire from the beginning.  Hope this helps.  I have other sources but they are at my other home.  This is the best I can do tonight.

 

Bill 

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I found my other Skipjack book, but they do not say anything about the rigging materials. It is a nice history of the boats, with general details of construction, but no real modelers type info.

 

Did talk somewhat about some of the tricks they used to hide illegal features. Some areas restricted cargo volume, so they would put in false bulkheads or move a bulkhead to make the cabin larger, then remove or move them after the inspection.

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Ray

Have you gone to St. Michaels or Deal Island to speak with the ship yard folks?    WAY back when I was building a skipjack for a friend I traveled there to take photos and they let me take piece of an original pine keel that was being replaced.  I used some the wood for some of the model build.  If nothing else, it may help to contact the Last Skipjacks Project people to make contact with someone that is truly in the know.   You can Google their website for contact information. The Chesapeake Maritime Museum folks may also have someone to help you.

 

Allan

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Reading further in "American Ship Models and How To Build Them" I found another interesting tidbit about Bugeye and Skipjack rigging. The deadeyes on both boats are setup with a much larger gap than an earlier type boat.

 

Accourding to the book this large gap was to increase the length of the lanyards, to counteract the rigidity of the wire shrouds. This was in the section on the Bugeye Edith Todd, built in 1901. The Bugeye was a two masted boat, used for oystering before the advent of the skipjack. The Bugeye was sometimes referred to as a "Three Sail Bateau". The skipjacks were "Two Sail Bateaus".

 

An interesting note on the Bugeye - The lower hull was built from several logs that were carved to shape inside and out after they were joined side to side, basically a large dugout canoe! The upper portion of the hull was then built up further with planking. The idea was to give a thick lower hull that would hold up to an accidental strike of the oyster beds during dredging.

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Ron,

You have convinced me! :D I have looked through my books as well and did not find what thought I had read. I am now planning on using wire rope for my shrouds.

 

On an interesting note, about your note, someone gave me the plans for the Bugeye Edith Todd today.

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I received a note from Christopher Rowsom, Executive Director of Historical Ships in Baltimore along with Smithsonian drawings of skipjack rigging.   If anyone is interested I can forward the drawings (they are photographs in sections of the two pages from the Smithsonian) and/or pass on Chris' contact information. A couple examples of the pieces of the puzzle follow

 

Allan 

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Frank. I'm traveling this week with no access to the photo file as I am working from my IPad. Please email me as a reminder and I will send when I return next wee. Kevin. Did you already email me about these? I will get these to both of you as soon as I can

Allan

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