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el cid

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  1. Seems on many hand windlasses the holes for the handles (spikes?) were alternated on the windlass barrel. This would allow multiple teams of men to provide continuous power...one team beginning a pull, one ending a pull, another repositioning their spike, etc. Slow by today’s standard, but what isn’t? What the “ancients” lacked in technology they made up for with time and man power. I used to work on cars a lot, mostly with just hand tools. Removed and tightened many bolts with simple combination wrenches (when a socket wouldn’t fit). Slow going, but effective. Cheers, Keith
  2. Yeah, I know what you mean. The bar has been set pretty high. Still fun to learn new techniques from the masters here and attempt to emulate.
  3. While this horse has been thoroughly beaten, I wouldn’t consider the vessels pictured in the original post “small boats.” Cheers, Keith
  4. Re: the comparison of modern powered vessels to these vessels. I would note that the sailing vessels pictured weren’t necessarily small for their period. And functionally they were perhaps equivalent to a 20th century frigate, destroyer escort, or destroyer. And Naval customs, including the duties and responsibilities of deck officers and ship’s crew is remarkably unchanged over the centuries, no matter the size of the vessel. So while puzzling to private mariners that “drive” their own vessels and must see where they’re going, Naval vessels are fundamentally different and the helmsman is just a cog in the machine. Cheers, Keith
  5. Can't speak to the practices used during the age of sail, especially merchant vessels, but current practice in the US Navy is that the helmsman only follows the orders of the conning officer. The helmsman doesn't really need forward visibility; he/she is given a rudder order and/or a course to steer and that's it; his focus is on the compass card. They may make minor adjustments to maintain course or heading in a given sea state, but they don't make ANY course changes or rudder shifts without a very explicit order from the conning officer. The OOD, conning officer, and lookouts (and CIC crew on modern ships) are observing the "outside world," not the helmsman. FWIW, Keith
  6. el cid

    Foul Weather Tarps

    Gotta keep sailors occupied to keep ‘em outta trouble.
  7. "When I opened the box I found a jumble of sticks. They were not separated or packed by size." LOL...I have a faint recollection of a Mad Magazine (or similar) cartoon of a kid opening a model kit and finding the same. And funny you mention Ben Franklin, a favorite five and dime when I was growing up in Northern Virginia. Was telling my wife about it the other day (she from Texas had never heard of it). Hadn't thought of that store for years and actually believed it long defunct. Looking forward to following your build. Cheers, Keith
  8. After an unusual start to winter with relatively warm temps and lots of rain (very little snow), we finally had a few days with temps staying below 0 (F) and about 10 inches of snow...normal January weather for New England. But today and tomorrow up in the 40s with lots more rain expected, then cold again towards the weekend. The ground is frozen so all the rain and melting snow just pools or runs off in torrents. Crazy weather patterns for sure, almost as if the climate was warming. Cheers, Keith
  9. So my understanding is that in early designs, those “decks” where the gratings are located were simply walkways connecting a raised f’ocsle and quarter deck. They evolved to form a more traditional deck except for the open waist. So perhaps these walkways (and the fore and aft decks at the same level) aren’t considered the main deck, with hatchways to the ship’s interior. Perhaps the main deck, for purposes of watertight integrity (such as it was), was the deck on which the boats are stowed. Therefore there would be no need to make the gratings watertight (ie raised comings to secure a cover). As to the purpose of the gratings, I’d guess they were intended to help dissipate smoke from the guns and let in some additional light. Cheers, Keith
  10. Yeah, I guess it was identified as a potential hazard; as I understand the Navy now uses ball-like "nerf" heaving line weights. I don't think the weights we used were of sufficient mass to kill anybody, except in some bizarre event. In any case, it was common practice and I don't recall ever getting any feedback from pier line handlers. However, the gunners mates would get feedback when a well-aimed shotline "bullet" scattered line handlers or left a nice black smudge on a clean radome. Cheers, Keith
  11. el cid

    Foul Weather Tarps

    You’ll see live-aboard recreational sailors at southern marinas rig awnings to shade the deck and keep cabin temps down. Modern warships do the same on occasion (at least up until the 1980s) when moored to help lesson the AC load. Deck fittings, poles, wire rope, fittings and canvas were ship’s equipment. I doubt it was this standardized during the age of sail, probably improvised by each ship’s crew. I think the US battleships at Pearl Harbor had awnings rigged; I’m sure I’ve seen this modeled at 1/350 and 1/700. IMHO it can make for an interesting model, like showing torpedo nets or accommodation ladders deployed. Cheers, Keith
  12. If decorative, I concur the wooden balls sound like a good solution. For real heaving lines back in the day we used scrape metal cubes from the machine repair shop. Cheers, Keith
  13. el cid

    Your favorite saying

    Two that are kind of obscure, at least in the US... ”...and Bob’s your uncle”. ”and if your auntie had balls she’d be your uncle.”
  14. el cid

    Your favorite saying

    From my Navy days... When something has gone awry it’s “f’d up as a soup sandwich.” Someone who is prone to messing up could “f’ up a train wreck.” And an enthusiastic affirmative response might be “f’ing A ditty bag.”

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