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On the Royal William (launched in 1650 and final refit by 1719), the lateen yard is shown in the attached image as being supported by a truss made entirely of rope and not the usual trucks/ ribs that I associate with a parrel. Can anybody throw light on this form of truss. Did it actually exist ? When ? Any information would be appreciated.

 

Pete

1.jpg

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I believe you'll find the same method on the Wasa, Pete.   The lateen was hung like that so it could be swung around the mast to the other side when the ship was maneuvering.  

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That thing has more the look of a woven mat. I'm not familiar with the period but it strikes me as odd that it tapers down to a single line that encircles the mast. What is the point of the bulk if it's designed in a way that relays on just one part to remain intact? One possible reason for the weaving would be as chafe gear but if that were the case it would be sitting on top of the peril, protecting it, and be replaceable. This IS the peril and damage or chafe on one part would necessitate the swapping out of the entire thing. I view this thing with suspicion.

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Pete,

The attached PDF is an extract from Lees' "Masting & Rigging...".  If I read it correctly, a parrel was used until about 1773, when it was superseded by a served rope loop.

 

parrel006.pdf

 

In that sense, the system shown on the Royal William model is correct in principle but simply 50 years too late for the 1719 refit.

 

John

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Pete,

I agree with both John and JCF's  posts. Additionally to Lees,R.C. Anderson in both his books also gives a Parrel as having 2 rows of trucks. What is shown in your photo looks like a bit of modellers "inaccurate fancy work"to me.

 

BTW,the HMS Royal William was a 1692 rebuild of the HMS Prince of 1670. There were only 2 ships given this name,the second being launched in 1833.

 

Regards,

 

Dave :dancetl6:

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Thanks to Mark, JerseyCity Frankie, John Garnish and davyboy for your replies. I really appreciate your comments but the one thing I have learnt through all my research is that very little definitive material is available on the rigging of the lateen yard. Sure, I have looked at both Lees and Anderson in particular and tend to lean heavily on what they say but even so, one cannot take their dates as absolute. Different ships, different shipyards, different countries... there will always be variations.

 

As I understand it, the lateen yard was not the easiest of things to shift from one side of the mizzen mast to the other and the one significant thing required was to bring this yard into a near vertical position before shifting its position. That is why the truck and rib or the normal rope truss would just not work. I am just trying to keep an open mind about the truss used but frustrated with lack of information.

 

Pete

 

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Pete,

 

I think the answer to your last point is that the lateen yard would rarely be shifted from one side of the mast to the other.  You can see the same thing in Arab dhows today, where they seem to perform almost as well with the sail pressed to the mast as they do on the other tack.

 

There is a frustrating lack of information in the reference books about the handling of lateen sails.  Steel doesn’t seem to mention them (though the absence of any index, combined with the small print, makes a detailed search difficult).  The only possibly useful pointer I have found is an illustration in Harland (p.181), apparently from Van de Velde, which seems to show a fluit tacking without shifting the lateen or disturbing the mizzen topsail.

 

tacking.jpg.7a3f07a9345bd3779b3e8fb1da01572a.jpg

 

Without informed guidance, it is worth going back to basic principles.  The purpose of the lateen sail (and, to a lesser extent, the later driver) is principally to provide balance to the rig (i.e. lateral drag) rather than forward drive.  In the absence of a working sail aft to push the stern round, it would be virtually impossible for a square rigger to pass through stays.  For that reason alone, it is extremely unlikely that the lateen would be brailed up during a tack.  As forward drive is less important, any loss of aerodynamic efficiency on one tack rather than the other would be fairly unimportant.

 

Remember also the previous discussion about the location of the mizzen topsail braces.  Attempting to swing the lateen yard vertical would sacrifice any control of the mizzen topsail, which would then flog uncontrollably – just what one needed at that moment!  Note, too, that the Van de Velde drawing shows no suggestion of the mizzen topsail being brailed up or allowed to flog.

 

I would suggest, then, that this is the answer to the apparent paradox of a truss that made it difficult to tip the yard vertically: it would be done only occasionally and at leisure, once the ship was settled on a very long reach (i.e. hours if not days) and the truss could be freed off, the mizzen topsail handed, and the yard swung vertical.

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John - that is one heck of an answer and very logical and very fluent in its content. I fully understand what you are saying and it all makes sense. Thanks so much for your time on this posting.

 

Pete

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John - I will but there is just that nagging feeling that the truss shown in the original photo is not a simple affair. Why go to so much trouble when a simple parrel or truss would suffice ? As Anderson said (p. 126) ... "our knowledge of the gear of a lateen topsail is almost nil". Ah well, its been an interesting little diversion and this is why the MSW forum is a useful place to get some very useful comments. Thanks again.

Pete

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Someone above opined and I agree that the woven nature of this bit of gear is just a model builders contrivance.im not saying you don't need a piece of rigging to hold the spar to the mast but I am saying the object in the photo is not doing anything more than a simple piece of rope encircling the mast would be doing. Which suggests it's just eyewash. Which is very odd given the very accurate details and workmanship that went into the Futtock Shrouds visible in the photo and how they are correctly depicted, a demonstration of skill and understanding. So now I wonder who built the model? Was it a team effort and we see the work of more than one person? Or was there a subsequent restoration and the person who cleaned and restored the model addd the odd woven mat? As always I will end by saying "I could be wrong though" since let's face it, I have been wrong often enough in the past. But I'm hitting the "reply" button with a clear conscience on this one. There is something fishy about that thing.

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I would think that the lateen yard would be semi-permanently mounted since the topsail yard braces run through blocks attached to the upper end. Also,which side of the mast would it normally be attached to - port or starboard side?

 

Mark

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