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Mark P

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About Mark P

  • Birthday 09/08/1960

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Rutland, England
  • Interests
    Sailing ship models, scratch built. History, art, architecture, cultural.

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  1. Greetings everyone; I was just replying to a post about lines on a draught for a 74, but when I clicked submit, I got an error message. The whole thread has now disappeared. Is this likely to an accident, or has it been deleted somehow. Is this relevant to Chuck's post re deleting not being possible? All the best, Mark P
  2. Greetings everyone; For those with any interest in the fighting for American independence in the later 18th century, I highly recommend the book by Sam Willis, titled 'The Struggle for Sea-Power'. I am only half way through it (it's not small!) but it is written in a way which makes the reader aware of how many obstacles there were to overcome before any of the participants could actually fire a cannon. It is filled with examples of patriotic devotion to duty, and to the contrary, lays out many opportunities missed because of a lack of this. The writing is clear and very well informed, and I feel sure brings to light many small aspects of the war and the logistics involved which have not been much written about before. All theatres of the war are considered, and its impact on the colonists, the sailors (on all sides) and all those who made a living connected to the sea or the major rivers that run into it. Anyone reading this will, by its end, know far more about the struggle for independence, and the good and bad luck, the wise judgements and mistakes, which combined to bring about the British defeat. I am very glad that I purchased this book, and consider it to be excellent value, well worth the time that will be taken to read it. Happy reading! Mark P
  3. Cut down / Razeed ships

    Good evening everyone; To throw some light on references to caulking port lids shut, this was certainly done with some of a certain type of Royal Navy vessel. I refer to the 80 gun three-decker, bane of many captains' lives during the first half of the 18th century. These ships became notorious for their inability to open a lower-deck gunport in any kind of sea. One admiral complained that his ships were useless, and unless on a mill-pond would never be able to haul up a port-lid, and he named at least one ship under his command whose ports had been caulked when she was launched. The 80 gun ships were too short, too high, but most importantly could not displace enough water to provide the lift required to raise them far enough out of the water to be usable. The shipwrights, however, stuck doggedly to their guns, and refused to admit that there was anything wrong with the type even in the face of the most determined criticism from the sea officers. The situation was resolved by Lord Anson, First Lord of the Admiralty, who upon the death of Jacob Acworth, the long-serving Surveyor of the Navy, installed Thomas Slade and William Bateley as joint Surveyors. They had urgent plans to construct a 74 gun ship, but to try and divert criticism, for a long time they had to claim that the first 74 was actually a new 70 gun ship. All the best, Mark P
  4. Cut down / Razeed ships

    Hi Shipman; The first one to spring to mind is the Royal William, which never actually sailed as a three-decker, and was eventually cut down to a two-decker (I think with 80 guns) Look her up. All the best, Mark P
  5. Greatest 74 gun ship

    Hi Sailor; One factor which is generally agreed upon in contemporary assessments of British v French ships is that the French ones were built with smaller section timbers and less fastenings, such as bolts and knees. This was presumably because the French ships were not intended to remain constantly at sea, unlike their British counterparts. When captured, it was normal for the dockyards to survey foreign vessels, and the report normally mentioned that she was in need of strengthening, which was frequently done. It was also frequently found that captured French ships were so badly strained and worked by a few years sea-service that they were beyond economical repair, and were hulked or broken up. All the best, Mark P
  6. terminology question - points off

    Hi everyone; One point that some may not be aware of: the picture posted by Jud shows what is known as a 'Compass Rose'. This was the name of the (fictional?) corvette in Nicholas Monserrat's WW11 sea novel, and it wasn't until many years after I first read it that I realised what the name meant. All the best, Mark P
  7. Hi Archnav; Thank you for the info in extracting the pictures. I will give this a try and see what I achieve. Don't worry too much about your English; the meaning is generally very clear. All those A+ weren't given for nothing! One possibility for this big dead-eye is that it was used to repair a stay. As for being found at the aft end of the ship, this is not a reliable indication of where it started out. The ship was gradually broken up, and falling masts could have gone in a curve that took them and any dead-eyes far from their original positions. The action of waves would do the same thing; or even some of the previous attempts to salvage cannon or other useful items from the wreck. All the best, Mark P
  8. Good Evening Wayne; I have to disagree with you on that last bit. Scuppers were actually cut through the waterway in all the illustrations I remember, with the inner lead flange nailed to the waterway. The waterway did not cover the scuppers. Although I find it hard to believe that the report could miss something so seemingly obvious, given its level of detail, there is most definitely a strip of timber running along the junction of the deck and spirketting. This timber is not in the same plane as either of the adjacent areas of planking, and occupies the spot where a waterway would be. Not to fit one flies in the face of everything ever written about this area of ship construction at this time. Look again at the picture no 30, with the corner of the standard cut away, and a length of timber running through it (remember the spirketting is at the bottom of the picture) Look at the picture no 25, which again shows a length of moulded timber at the junction of the spirketting and the deck planking (arrowed by Archnav) This timber is quite clearly not shown on the coloured drawing of the excavation. All the best, Mark P
  9. Hi again Archnav; Firstly, you are of course quite right: mess tables were set up between the gunports, not at them. There was a thumping great 32pdr cannon in the way! Silly me. Secondly, I believe that the dimension given in Steel refers, as you say, to the distance by which the outer planking of the port lid overlaps the exposed frame timbers, which are left uncovered around the gunport when the ship's planking is stopped short. Thirdly, you are correct in your thoughts: it is indeed the method you use to extract part of the pdf and then write all over the extracted part which I am unable to master. A brief pointer would be very welcome. Thank you for posting the further pictures. In case anyone was wondering, the one showing the standard has the deck planking vertically to the right, and the side planking along the bottom. All the best, Mark P
  10. Hi Archnav; The dimensions of the 'stop beam' in the excavation report bear little resemblance to anything quoted by Steel or Fincham. The excavator lists this timber as being 1.4m long x 160mm x 260mm at its widest (55" x 6 1/2" x 10"widest) This is a very substantial piece of wood. Its curved inner face is conjectured to have been designed to make traversing the gun easier. This cannot be any connection with anything referred to by Steel under the heading 'Port stops'. I can think of no obvious reason for the differences between Fincham and Steel, except perhaps for different yards working to different practices (or changing customs over time) The 3 1/2 " minimum may be a typo, or it may not. Can you post the relevant part of the text from Steel. I cannot find it in my (digital) copy. Separately, and rather worryingly, and referring to the 'Colossus' report: although the drawn sections show no sign of the waterway, the photographs do appear to show one! The side view of the standard (fig 30 in the report) quite clearly shows a shaped timber running along in the angle between the deck planks and the side planks. The bottom inner corner of the standard has been cut away to clear this and leave a gap, which was to allow water to flow through so that it could reach the scuppers. In addition, in the photos you have posted fig 28 shows this same length of timber, visible below your words 'slot has fallen apart'. By the way, what programme do you use to insert the pictures here. I tried, but it was beyond my skills. I need to educate myself! Concerning the piece of timber which presumably slotted into the small battens at the bottom half of the gunport, this may well have functioned to stop water entering when there was a bit of a sea running. But bearing in mind that the seamen messed at a board table set up with one end fixed into the gunport, it would also have served to prevent items on the table from sliding through the port if it was open, and making a quick descent into the depths. Two functions from one piece of wood. It would appear to be that the excavators have missed a piece of timber. Maybe, as the drawings were made on land, and possibly not by the person who was underwater, the illustrator may have had a pre-conceived idea of how the deck planks meet the sides of a ship like Colossus. All the best, Mark P
  11. Thank you Archnav for the link to the Colossus' wreck excavation reports. The stern carving has been mentioned on this site before (which was the first I knew of it) It has now been conserved (by the Mary Rose Trust) and is on display, at Tresco on the Scillies, I believe. However, the wreck excavation reports mentioned by Archnav are most interesting. I have not looked at them all, but the 2012 investigation and monitoring report deals in part with the excavation of a gunport. This is featured around page 32-38, and has some interesting items. The sections through this show the outer planking stopping short of the port cills, to leave a rebate. Of further interest is the presence of a standard knee in the excavated section. Another is reported from an earlier, adjacent, excavation, and the report concludes that they were present between each gun port. As these are not always shown on models, there has been some previous discussion as to whether or not these were still in use in the final decades of the 18th century. Their presence on a ship launched in 1787 shows that at that time they still were. Also of interest is the fact that the standard is made up of 3 separate pieces of timber. Many timber sizes are given, which is of interest also. Thanks again, Archnav. All the best, Mark P
  12. Good Morning Gentlemen; Thank you all for a very illuminating thread, which I have followed with great interest. I believe that Archnav's original question has been answered by a combination of earlier replies, as shown below. First I quote part of a post by Wayne, which is part of a very informative extract he posted from one of John Fincham's works. Followed some time later by Archnav's posting of an extract from Brian Lavery's AOS book on Bellona. The description from Fincham, quoted by Wayne, seems to me to fit perfectly with the illustration included in Archnav's post showing the Bellona's ports. Taken together, the two are clear in their meaning. The port stops are formed by stopping the side planking slightly short of the actual port opening in the timbers, with the greatest width of exposed frame timber left at the bottom. This immediately creates a rebate, which will provide a good seal, and is easy to make. The rebate in the ship's side is thereby formed without any additional work being required to produce it. Likewise, the corresponding rebate in the lid is formed by the inner planking (lining) of the port lid being narrower than the outer layer of the lid's planking. Again, no need to perform any extra task to create a rebate. The ship's futtocks or toptimbers, and the port cills, are then left exposed to form the sides of the opening, and not covered in any way with any timber. The ship is planked; the port lid is made; and the two are put together when the lid is hung. Job done! At no part of the process is any extra planking fixed to the sides of the opening to form a stop. If this was to be done, it would open up a real can of worms: is the regulation size of the ports, listed in so many Naval documents, to be taken to refer to the port size before these additional timbers are fixed, or after? All the best, Mark P
  13. Good Evening Bear; Not sure if this is too late to be of any help to you, but as you are talking of a Royal Navy vessel, I would assume that models of other RN vessels would be a guide. I have seen quite a few now, out of their cases, and all those which had red-painted bulwarks had the cleats, kevels, stag-horns etc painted the same red as the bulwarks. All the best, Mark P
  14. Rigging the Mizzen Yard

    Hi Tom; It is my firm belief that a boom was in use earlier than 1790, as I have contracts for several 74 gun ships built well before this date, which specify a metal crutch on the quarter to hold the boom (presumably when lowered) I would therefore not dismiss the idea of a gaff and boom combined. There was also a major overhaul of rigging practice in the 1770s. I cannot remember exactly when, but maybe another member can be more specific. If your vessel's second refit occurred after this overhaul, I find it difficult to believe that a full-length mizen yard would be retained. All the best, Mark P
  15. Hi Dave; The contemporary model of HMS Ajax in the Science Museum archive, which I have studied and photographed out of its case, has red bulwarks and black spirketting on its upper deck (the black spirketting is not as common as red, from what I have seen) This is then repeated on the lower deck, although it is much more difficult to see. The centre-line fittings on the lower deck are also painted red, as are the sides of all the deck beams to the upper deck and lower deck (and presumably their undersides, although none of my photographs show these) All the best, Mark P

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