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Two years ago I worked with an exemplary sailor and rigger on the Wavertree re-rigging project. I’ve always been tremendously jealous of him since he works as a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy at the Boston Navy Yard as a rigger on the Constitution! I was lucky enough to get an invitation from him to sail on one of the rare Constitution Turn-Around Cruises in which the ship is taken via tug out into Boston Harbor for a ceremonial gun salute. This took place June 8th 2018. I took a lot of photos and I’m pleased to present them here. Note that at this time the Main and Mizen have all yards crossed but the Fore has no yards yet and the headrig is incomplete with only the Bowsprit rigged. The ship has at this point undergone an extensive restoration and haul-out and the re-rig is not yet complete.















































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I visited Constitution in 1976 when I as a child, then again in 2001, so I’ve only been aboard three times. Having just completed (well almost) a Constitution model, I was able to experience the unique “modelers Deja-Vouze” as I roamed the ship, seeing real-world examples of all that I’d built in miniature last year. Looking at stuff like the Fife Rails, Bulworks, shrouds with their Deadeyes, I was laughing at how they actually appeared compared to how I’d built them with fingers that would be the size of elephants if the scale worlds had been leapfrogged. Particularly I was struck by the depth markings painted under the transom showing 22’ at the Rudder. Since I could picture the tiny Rudder I’d made and its length-verses-width ratio, I was in awe of the massive ACTUAL Rudder. Being only able to observe the 2% of it above water and seeing how huge this actual  portion was gave me a shocking appreciation of the actual rudders real magnificence.

A new change on deck is that the Bowsprit inboard portion is no longer covered by that huge wedge-shaped boxy enclosure. Now it meets the deck just forward of a small grating, completely visible and unobscured, and in my opinion this is a tremendous improvement.  I was never a fan of that huge boxy contraption that is now gone. 

Roger Pellett and mtaylor like this

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Wow, Frank, great pictures and what a nice opportunity for you!  While on the subject of ugly features, I wish that they would restore the head rails back to their earlier appearance.



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Good bunch of Photo's, Thanks. Couple of questions, Steel was being produced at that time in limited amounts with lots of effort, so in the 4th photo, I See 2 Steel Swivel Blocks, I say steel because of the dimensions and the way they are constructed, question number one would be, were they reflecting original equipment and if so, where were they used. Question number Two, Grenades, being the days of fire and fuse, do you have any idea how they were lighted, or were they only used from a stationary position with a light available and not used by individuals moving about the decks?  Glad you received the invite and used a lot of your time taking these photos, do you have more? Thanks Again.

jud    :pirate41:

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, jud said:

in the 4th photo, I See 2 Steel Swivel Blocks, were they reflecting original equipment and if so, where were they used. 


Hi Jud, the 4th photo was taken inside the shop, not on the ship. The two blocks are metal Snatch Blocks and I’m certain they will never go into the ships rig but a modern Snatch Block is extremely useful when rigging up temporary lines in the context of interior rigging shop work. The box of Granades was almost certainly an empty prop although I didn’t try to open it. 

I asked the rigger if there were any shackles in the rig and my recollection is that he said there was a shackle on the Parrel. But otherwise the entire rig is historically accurate. There isn’t any wire rope in use but all the line is man-made fiber, not hemp  or Manila.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
jud, Canute, lmagna and 1 other like this

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Why didn't you look me up?  I was one of the marines aboard for that turnaround.


If anyone is in the Boston area, don't hesitate to contact me.  I can give you a very comprehensive tour of the ship.


BTW:  The reason the ship is not yet fully rigged is that a new jib boom needs to be made.  The unsupported fore mast will not bear the weight of the yards.  The new jib boom is expected in the next few weeks.



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In 2007 my wife and I visited the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, UK.  This included a tour of their rope walk, still operational and still spinning specialty cordage.  I still have the short piece of the rope that they spun for us.  If my memory is correct, they said that they made rope for the USS  Constitution restoration.



mtaylor, Canute and jud like this

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