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Louie da fly

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    Ballarat, Australia
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    History, particularly the Middle Ages

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  1. Even earlier, the galleys of Charles of Anjou (c. 1280) were 130' long and 14'7" in beam (8.86:1). It seems that the raised prow would need to be shaped so that it would form a bridge to the enemy ship, rather than an obstacle, as those of the two pictures above would be. You might think of having your galley row away and back to you, as in the RC bireme at After all it is a galley, which is makes it different and unusual. Steven
  2. Looking very good, Pat. I love the hammocks. Referring to an earlier post of mine, here are the original sails from the Great Harry - drafting linen 40 years on . . . a rather unfortunate brownish tint and some unexplained holes - silverfish? - mice? ? On the other hand, part of that may be the conditions they had to endure. I certainly wasn't looking after them. Steven
  3. Gallie subtile is a direct transliteration from the Italian term galea sottile which means "narrow galley" - i.e. intended purely for warfare. This is the only one of Henry VIII's oar-propelled warships that is built like a Mediterranean galley - naturally enough, since Henry imported Venetian shipwrights to build her. I don't believe she is characteristic of the type of oar-propelled vessel that Grace would have used. On the other hand, though skin-first clinker building was traditional in the north Atlantic, by the mid-late 16th century it had been almost completely superseded by carvel. Additionally, to get any sort of speed through the water when propelled by oars, a vessel has to be extremely smooth below the water line. So I would incline towards carvel construction. I agree. I went through this whole issue when working on my dromon. Certainly it would be preferable for a galley to be narrow - it reduces water drag. However, it may not have been as narrow as the galeae sottile, which, by the way, are often shown with a single huge lateen - see many of the contemporary pictures of Lepanto, and several by Bruegel. So perhaps it's not so much an issue after all. If the Mediterranean galleys performed like the Olympias, the only galley reconstruction I know that's seen sea service, they'd be very unstable, and would capsize if they heeled more than 10 degrees - so they'd only use the sail if they were directly before the wind. In which case centre of effort is not an issue, and a single mast may be ok. Steven
  4. That's a nice model of the Brendan. I have The Brendan Voyage at home, and recently re-read it. Quite an adventure! A few more thoughts. In the 15th century, Spanish and Basque carracks (such as the Newport ship which was Spanish before the English captured it) were at the cutting edge of maritime development, but by the mid-late 16th the galleon had become master and the focus had moved north, particularly to Holland, whose fleets of galleons were able to sail directly to Asia, bypassing the the overland route upon which the Venetians and Genoans relied and depriving them of their monopoly of trade. Though Mediterranean galleys certainly traded to the north Atlantic, they weren't designed for it and were very vulnerable to rough seas - many's the galley fleet that sank in a rough Med storm (which is why the fighting season was confined to the summer months). I believe that vessels built for the North Atlantic would have been much more robust, even at the cost of the lightness necessary to an oar-propelled vessel. And I think any oar-propelled vessel would be described at the time as a galley, whatever its form, simply because it would be so unusual to see one - the great majority of seagoing vessels of the time were sailed. In fact, I'd say that rather than maneuvring by sail they'd be using oars to attack ships that were becalmed and unable to escape. Mediterranean war-galleys were pretty much built around the gun platform at the bow, but it's likely that Grace's "galleys", being packed with men, would simply board and overwhelm the (much smaller) crews of their prey by sheer numbers. Regarding the number of masts, the pictorial evidence seems to suggest a single one, and in the absence of information to the contrary I'd think a single mast would be the way to go. However, these are only suggestions for your consideration - this is your model, and the final decision regarding the form of the ship is yours. I'm enjoying following the detective work. Steven
  5. A few more observations. If you haven't already done so, get hold of the book "Age of the Galley" and read the section on Renaissance galleys, particularly regarding the arrangements for rowing more than one man to the oar - known as a scaloccio, if I remember correctly. It could be useful in working out your plans. Also, the interscalmium, the distance between oarbenches usually ends up as about a yard (0.9M). Closer together is too cramped for the oarsmen, further apart just adds extra weight for no gain. This could give you some idea of the dimensions of your reconstruction. Ships were often portrayed shorter than they really were, to save space on a page (or on a seal, as with the seals of the maritime towns in the Middle Ages). I'd agree with Bob Cleek regarding the size and type of ships that would have been used. I wouldn't base too much on Mediterranean examples. I don't know when the lug came into use, but I'd be wary of extending information too far backwards in time. Chapman is up to two centuries after Grace O'Malley, and so are many of the ships you mention. There were considerable variations in ship design from period to period and from region to region. I'd recommend going with what you can be sure of, and only extrapolating with great care and when no other means serve. Having said that, have fun with the research! Steven
  6. Pat, thanks for the info. I don't have Discovery channel but I would like to have seen it (though I've often found Discovery shows to be disappointing - a lot of puff and not much fact. However, one can always hope it's an exception to that rule, enlightening and full of fascinating information). Has anyone else seen the program? Probably too much to hope they've found a dromon . . .😉 Steven
  7. A very interesting project, Deperdussin1910. You've really taken on a huge research job and I wish you well with it. I find research and speculative reconstruction just as interesting (or perhaps even more) compared with the actual building of the model. I was going to say ignore the Mediterranean galleys in your reconstruction, but on second thought the Venetians and probably the Genoans were trading in galleys to Western European ports in the 16th century (there's one shown in an Antwerp harbour scene dated 1515 -1521 at https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/antverpia-mercatorum-emporium/RwFbg96tzEartg?hl=nl ), so the Irish could have been exposed to them. However, I doubt they'd have copied the design if they had their own tradition of shipbuilding, particularly galleys. Another possible source of information is the Anthony Roll - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Anthony_Roll/Third_roll - dated 1545, showing Henry VIII's navy, and including a number of "rowbarges". These are shown with furled sails, but I'd hazard a guess they were square rigged, as were most northern/Western European ships of the time. Though it's extremely limited as a source, I'd say the best evidence you have is the carving from the Clare Island abbey. To my eye it shows a double-ended, clinker-built ship with a single mast, very similar in design to Viking ships of centuries earlier, but with a stern rudder. It doesn't show any yards, so it's impossible to tell what its rig is, but I'd be prepared to bet money on a square sail, as this was the rig used throughout this region for centuries when the lateen sail dominated the Mediterranean, and in fact came to largely displace the lateen as the main motive equipment in the following centuries. Another image that may be of help is from the 1528 tomb of Alexander MacLeod in St Clement's church, Rodel, Harris. Though this is Scottish rather than Irish, I think there's a pretty high likelihood of trade and cultural/shipbuilding influences passing both ways between the two Gaelic nations. It is an elegant vessel, and as with the Clare Island carving, had I been asked to give a date to this image I would have put it centuries earlier, as it is very reminiscent of ships associated with the Vikings, and their successors of the 12th and 13th centuries. Like the Clare island carving it is double-ended with oars, a single mast and a stern rudder. In this case it is shown to have a square sail. I think this image might well be a good candidate for the design of one of Grace O'Malley's "galleys". I hope that helps and I wish you every success with your project. Steven
  8. Looking very good indeed. A beautiful ship. Steven
  9. Thanks Götz, Tom and Mark for the suggestions. Tom, your idea is what I should have done. Well, a lesson for next time . . . Steven
  10. Thanks everybody for the likes. Pat, actually the grain ran that way because in the bit of wood I had available. That it gave a bit of strength was fortuitous. HOWEVER, I really wouldn't recommend this technique. It would have been far less work, worry and grief if I'd just made a template and cut four arcades from a sheet of wood 1mm thick. Slitting the four apart from a single block was a real hassle. Perhaps if I'd had a more professional workshop it might have worked better - but then again perhaps not. The major problem was that the piece of fretsaw blade I used to cut the arcades apart kept wandering and cutting in where it wasn't wanted, and there seemed to be very little I could do about it. See the dodgy cut lines in the pictures below. I haven't yet decided whether they're worth keeping or whether I should just start again. After all that work I'd be reluctant to throw them away, but it might be the best thing to do. But first I'll see if I can salvage them. If I can get them thick enough, with smooth faces to the outside, they may be worth it. Certainly, the idea I had to make them all identical (based on what others on the forum have done in making multiple blocks) didn't really work very well. There was quite a bit of variation between them anyway, so the major purpose for the technique wasn't achieved. I didn't really gain anything from the experiment except the experience of doing it and the knowledge it's not a very good method. Perhaps that's worthwhile enough in its own right 😥. Steven
  11. Amazing stuff! Now if they can only find a dromon . . . (sigh) Steven
  12. Brilliant work on the rivets, Dan. I'm in awe . . . Steven
  13. Looking good, Patrick. I think you're right going with the multiple support beams (which would probably be described as "knees") - they seem to be quite common in ships of this time. Regarding the name "chains", the lower deadeyes at the ends of the shrouds are fixed to the hull with iron chains, as you can see in the first and second pictures in your post. The widened wales that support both these chains and the shrouds themselves are called "chain wales", which got shortened over the centuries to "channels". However, that whole section of the ship is often just referred to as "the chains". Hope that clears it up. How wide the channels themselves were - your guess is as good as mine. However, there is some archaeological information - I don't know if the channels survived on the Mary Rose which was maybe 50 years before the Pelican (the photos of her all seem to be taken from inside, so you can't see them) but they certainly did on the Wasa which was maybe 50 years after. But again I think you're right in making them wide enough to support those barrels. You could probably get a pretty good idea by scaling off from that last picture - you have the size of the sailor next to the barrel, so you can estimate the size of the barrel, and thus work out how wide the channel would have to be to fit both the barrel and the shrouds/deadeyes. Steven

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