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Roger Pellett

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About Roger Pellett

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    Duluth, MN
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    Naval Architect, Scratch Modeler and maritime history researcher. Current modeling interest- Navy ship's boats.
    Nautical ResearchvGuild Member
    Author: Whaleback Ships and the American Steel Barge Company published by Wayne State University Press

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  1. Roger Pellett

    odd lateen yard rigging

    Mark, I am not suggesting that you rebuild your model! I am posting this for builders like you that may be looking for accurate information on Sixteenth Century Spanish ships. For some time I have been collecting information on the subject. First is “The Underwater Archeology of Red Bay” published by Parks Canada. This five volume set describes the mid-Sixteenth Century Galleon San Juan crushed in the ice in Labrador. The entire ship, originally built by Basque shipwrights, was disassembled, each part recorded, and a 1:10 scale model built. This report is a great book buying bargain. It’s five volumes that take up about a foot on by book shelf cost about $60.00. Another useful resource is “Vanguard of Empire” by Roger C. Smith it is aimed at late Fifteenth/ early Sixteenth Iberian built vessels. A well done book about Galleons of the Armada era is Peter Kirsch’s “Galleon”. In this book, the author uses primary source material to reconstruct an Armada period Galleon. The Red Bay Archeologists considered this book to be sufficiently authorative to use it in their work. I recently received “Six Galleons for for the King of Spain” by Carla Rahn Phillips. The author, a Professor of European History at the University of Minnesota uses archival material to discuss the 1625 procurement, construction, and life of six Spanish Galleons. Not a modeling book per-se but lots of interesting background information. By looking up Parks Canada Research Reports on the Internet I found a preliminary report on the Red Bay Galleon. This led me to a number of reports on other Iberian wrecks that have been investigated by archeologists. I hope that forum participants wanting to build a Spanish Galleon from a kit or from scratch will find this useful. Roger
  2. Roger Pellett

    What have you received today?

    I have that book and plan set too and it’s great! Pay particular attention to the beginning historical section that briefly discusses lifting of anchors. British and Dutch longboats of the Medway era handled anchors over the bow. French ones over the stern. This can be seen in the bluff bows of the British Boats and the wide flat sterns of the French. By the end of the Eighteenth Century the British Royal Navy was equipping it’s warships with “Launches” that more closely the drawings in the Ancre monograph and were also lifting anchors with davits over the stern. Roger
  3. Roger Pellett

    Weather Report - post your significant weather - past or present

    Duluth, MN, Our first snowfall that “stuck.” 3 inches or so. Roger
  4. It seems to me that excluding power tools, MicroMark has two kinds of stuff. First, Specialty tools that they have either invented themselves or copied from someone else that are mostly junk. Many of these appear to be aimed at modelers with little no no experience, and could easily be fabricated at home from a few pieces of wood and some nails. On the other hand, they do have some tools that are useful and “good enough” for the intended service. For example, a good friend of mine just gave me a cordless Dremel tool that I would like to use for drilling treenails on a POF hull. MicroMark sells a chuck to adapt it for wire sized drills. I have also gotten good use from their needle files. Some get pretty rough usage such as cleaning solder from a joint. i have never bought any of their power tools. Roger
  5. Roger Pellett

    What have you received today?

    I used to have an Epson inkjet printer. It almost never completed a print Job no matter how small and like Mark I spent far too much on ink. I recently bought an inexpensive Brother laser printer, specifically one that is not wireless. It cost less than $80. It works great. I just plug my laptop into it and I get a great print without any hassle. Being wireless it doesn’t keep nagging me about “improved” software. In the unlikely event that I need color, there is a UPS store nearby, and a printer downtown that can make large technical prints. For me, simpler is better. Roger
  6. We used to live in Marietta, Ohio that had once been home to a high quality furniture manufacturer and there were still a couple of guys alive that had worked there. My wife put a plastic doily on a nicely polished mahogany end table and it left some marks. One of these old employees came by with a can of Kiwi wax shoe polish and in a few minutes the marks had disappeared. 45 years later the table still looks great. Roger
  7. Lapstrake, skin first construction limits hull form to the shape that wood takes naturally when bent - a cubic function. The skeleton system allowed more choice in hull shape. Actually, by the 1500’s Irish boatbuilders had been using skeleton construction for many years. The skin covered boats represented a type of skeleton construction. Roger
  8. Roger Pellett

    Nautical Adventures.

    It sounds like you were fighting a rip current. We have a long sand beach here that forms the Western end of Lake Superior. When conditions are right, usually an East wind, rip currents form. Over the years there have been several fatalities. These currents flow in a circular pattern so if you happen to be in an area were the current is flowing out swimming against it just tires you out. Those that know advise doing just what you did- swim parallel to the beach until you get out of the current’s outward flow. The city now post warning signs and flags when rip current conditions exist. Roger
  9. The often overlooked question is the technology available to build large vessels. By the 1500’s Northern builders had 500 years of experience building large lapstrake ships “skin first” without drawings. I believe that the Draaken? Viking ship that recently visited the US was 80 feet long. These lapstrake methods also allowed use of timber that had been split rather than sawn. the skeleton construction technique was based on a geometric methods. Unless your Irish builders had shipwrights trained in these proprietary techniques, I would lean to a skin first lapstrake ship. Roger
  10. I just finished reading two books that might bear tangentially on your thinking. The first is the World of the Newport Ship. This is a collection of essays placing the mid fifteenth Century ship excavated in Newport (Wales) in an historic context. There is nothing about Irish ships, galleys or otherwise but there is much about trading in the region. The book is published by the University of Wales and is listed on Amazon. The second is In The Land of Giants by Max Adams. Max Adams is an Archeologist who lives in Northern England. His book is about a number of trips that he took in Britain and one in Ireland to try to connect with Dark Age Civilizations. One trip is to what was once the ancient kingdom of Dal Riata, now part of Scotland’s Western Isles, that was originally colonized by Irish people. Another describes a “dig” at the Northwestern Irish site of Inishowen. Again, there is no ship information in this book but as background relating to the ancient ties between the Irish and Scottish cultures it is interesting. In the Spanish Armada Canpaign the Mediterranean style galleys used by the Spaniards never made it to the English Channel. If I were a Chieftainess on the West Coast of Ireland, I would want something more seaworthy. I would lean towards a large Viking/Highland Galley type vessel. Roger
  11. Yesterday I attended and spoke at the 2018 Gales of November Maritime History Conference. This is a two day conference held each year on the first Saturday in November. The conference takes place in the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center adjacent to the Duluth/Superior Harbor. Profits from the event support projects at the Canal Park Maritime Museum also in Duluth. My talk about the evolution of the Whaleback ship design was well received and I also took the opportunity to sign copies of my recently published book on sale at the event by the SS Meteor Museum. There were two highlights. First my friend and neighbor Jim Sharrow gave an excellent presentation on the design and construction of the Edwin H. Gott, US Steel’s first 1000 ft Great Lakes ore carrier. As a young engineer in the 1970’s Jim was part of the team that was involved in her construction. The second highlight was a presentation by Paul LaMarre who took over management of a badly neglected lake freighter/ museum ship and an inactive ferry terminal. With plenty of help from maritime industry connections the ship has been restored to her former glory and and the ferry terminal has been converted to museum space. Both now form The National Maritime Museum of the Great Lakes. We have two museum ships in the Duluth Harbor. SS Meteor, the world’s only surviving whaleback ship (built in 1896) and the retired 600ft US Steel ore carrier William A. Irvin (built in the 1930’s). Unfortunately we lack a group with Mr LeMarre’s unique skills to integrate them into a first class museum. The powers that be cannot see them as anything but a tourist attraction. Supposedly the Irvin’s big revenue source is the four weeks that she spends in October as a haunted ship. Roger
  12. Roger Pellett

    1:100 Santa Maria 'First Step' - Amati

    It would be nice if these kit producers would at least try to market something that would look like a real ship. With that huge transom extending to the keel, it is hard to see how the ship could have been steered in a straight line let alone making it to the American Contintent. Roger
  13. Roger Pellett

    Nautical Adventures.

    Dave, your post is timely. I was just telling my wife that based on what many of us did as teenagers it is surprising that we survived or not put in jail. Roger
  14. I agree with the above, cargo was shored to prevent it from shifting, not tied down. The material used to shore cargo was and still is called dunnage. Everything that could be reasonably shipped in barrels was. Barrels were strong, watertight, and their shape when closely stowed prevented some resistance to shifting relative to each other. Barrels could also be knocked down and reused. Wedges called coates were driven at strategic points to prevent shifting. The heaviest and least valuable cargo cargo was placed deepest in the hull. A layer of plant material could be spread over the ballast to act as a cushion. Remnants of Spanish heather used as dunnage have been found in the remains of the Newport Medieval Ship sunk about 1470. Barrels would have been stacked in tiers clear to the bottom of the hold beams of the deck above to further limit their ability to shift. For this reason,the vertical distance between successive decks was limited to limit the number (and consequently weight) of tiers that could be stacked on each deck. The best analysis of loading a ship of the period that I have found is contained in the analysis of the Red Bay Wreck, a Sixteenth Century Spanish Galleon found in Red Bay Labrador. “The Underwater Archeology of Red Bay” five volumes published by Parks Canada includes a lengthy description of cargo loading. The Red Bay Ship carried a homogeneous cargo- whale oil, but the principles of loading a cargo that would not shift or jeopardize the stability of the ship are unchanged. Roger
  15. Any news on the location of next year’s event? Roger

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