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Mark P

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About Mark P

  • Birthday 09/08/1960

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Rutland, England
  • Interests
    Sailing ship models, scratch built. History, art, architecture, cultural.

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  1. Frank Fox is well-known for his work on Charles II's Battlefleet, published many years ago, by Conway in 1980. Copies of this command good prices on the second-hand market. His account of the Four Days Battle in 1666 is the best re-telling of a Naval encounter which I have ever read, and reveals an astounding knowledge allied with what must have been years worth of research in archives in Western Europe. It is far more than a bare narrative of events and their consequences. The historical setting, the Navy, the ships, officers, crews and customs, of the English and Dutch are all well described, which is what one would expect of any decent book. What sets this apart is firstly its readability, with no feeling of tedium or excessive quoting of statistics at any point; secondly the really clear and interesting explanation of just how much influence the shoals, tides & currents of the Thames Estuary and North Sea had on events; and thirdly the amount of clarity which is given to the abilities, shortcomings, characters, desires and motives of the various commanders and captains. The development of Naval tactics during the period (when the line of battle was first brought into use by the English fleet) is very well set out, with the contrasting tactical methods of the protagonists clearly explained and thoroughly analysed. The battle of Lowestoft the year before, and the St James' Day battle later in 1666 are recounted and their places and consequences in the Second Dutch War made clear. The decisive part in the year's events played by the French fleet, which never fired a shot in anger, and hardly saw an enemy ship at all, is analysed thoroughly. It was the perceived threat of Louis XIV's fleet which caused a large number of the Navy's best ships to be detached from the main fleet, leaving the remainder vulnerable. This was a mistake of catastrophic magnitude, made much worse by faulty intelligence and lack of scouting ships to report events. This meant, among other things, that the English commander was unaware that the Dutch fleet had sailed, for a week after it had set forth. This book will bring to its reader a deep understanding of the factors influencing Naval Battles in the Restoration period. I feel as though I have been thoroughly educated from reading this, but also, thoroughly entertained. All the best, Mark P
  2. Good Morning All; The best method I ever used for making mast hoops was with an ordinary hand plane. This was to set the blade to a slightly coarse cut, and then carefully plane a long shaving off the edge of a plank of pine (no knots being present) The shaving will have a natural tendency to curl. Weight it down flat and coat the inner side with glue, then roll it around a suitable sized dowel, with a rubber band around the outside, and leave to dry. Once dry, this will give a perfect tube, from which hoops of the desired height can be cut with ease. This works for woldings and hoops for sails sliding up and down the masts. This was a tip I saw long ago in (I think it was) Underhill's 'Leon' book. But it works wonderfully well, and is quick. The plane needs to be sharp, of course. All the best, Mark
  3. Thanks Allan; An interesting selection, with some very nice paintings amongst them. All the best, Mark
  4. Good Evening Allan; Thank you for the link. shame that they are all a bit blurred. Do you know any way to sharpen them up? All the best, Mark P
  5. Maybe they did not chuck it over the taffrail, but over the lee bulwarks. Something one would most definitely not want to get wrong. Perhaps it was a duty reserved for miscreants. All the best, Mark
  6. Good Morning All; As soon as I saw the plan of the structure over the rudder head, with two circular openings and two side doors, I immediately thought 'chamber pots!' This idea was then brought up in Allan's post further down the thread, and my thoughts add to his. The little building containing the seats of ease would give the officers privacy. They were accustomed to not doing their business in full view of the crew, and for disciplinary purposes it would almost certainly have been considered undesirable to change this. This building is clearly divided into two by a central partition, which would create two single heads in one building. This places its function beyond any doubt, and it must have been a latrine. The only question remaining is the disposal method for the waste. There is no need to construct angled discharge chutes, as a chamber pot could simply be removed and its contents immediately flung over the taffrail with no trouble. The standard Georgian commode (portable toilet) was a wooden box with a circular hole in the lid, and a small side door for removal of the chamber pot. The structure of one is identical to what is shown in the plan, and this would certainly be the most practical solution to the problem of dealing with the officers' needs. It would also have been identical to the facilities which most of them used on shore, with the added bonus that the pot could be emptied more easily (although many people did not scruple to throw the contents out of an upstairs window, as popular rumour frequently mentions!) All the best, Mark P
  7. Hi Hamilton; I have seen models with the lines worked from the tops tied off to the topmast shrouds just above the dead-eyes, and to the rail at the aft side of the top. I have also seen illustrations of them belayed to shroud cleats, but I cannot remember where I saw such illustrations. All the best, Mark
  8. Good Evening Everyone; It must be remembered that clipper ships were a special case: captains drove their crews and their ships hard, and nobody got to be captain of a clipper without thoroughly knowing the ways of a sailing ship, so they had a good idea of where the boundaries were. The main point was that the first ship back was guaranteed a large premium on the price of its cargo, and the captain stood to get a bonus. Risks were taken in pursuit of this which doubtless most captains and crews would have deemed foolhardy. The reference to the Americas Cup is a good one, for it was a race: first back to port scoops all the prizes. All the best, Mark P
  9. Good Morning Hamilton; Be very wary of using a kit as a precedent, for the reasons you give. The paintings of Royal Caroline shows pin racks on the shrouds, and fairleads lashed to the shrouds above them. See below two extracts from paintings, although one has no fairleads, and the other has no racks on the mizen shrouds. I think that this can be ignored as artistic licence. The painter of both pictures, John Cleveley the Elder, knew the ship very well, having worked on painted scenes in her State Apartments during her fitting out, and being previously a shipwright at Deptford Dockyard where she was built. One other interesting point: I have just finished transcribing the contract for 'Edgar', a 70 gun ship built by Francis Baylie in 1668-9. This specifically mentions fitting for rigging, being listed as 'Kevells, Ranges, Cleates, Turnpinns and whatever shalbe requisite for belaying the rigging'. Turnpinns I can only believe to refer to belaying pins. I have not seen this word before in all the other contracts I have transcribed, but I cannot think of it meaning anything else. All the best, Mark P
  10. Good Morning Jason; Regarding the AOTS volume, David White was/is a very knowledgeable person, and if he says that there were separate ringbolts, I would tend to take his word for it. My only qualification on this matter is that I do not remember ever seeing any such ring/eye bolts in either models or books. However, as has been said before, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Concerning duality of function, it is very unlikely that train tackles would need to be rigged at the same time as the ship was anchored. This is only likely in a defensive posture in face of superior force, which was rare. So the same ring/eye bolt could perform different functions as required. Having said that, you are quite correct that Lever's stoppers do look pretty permanent. My best advice would be to do as you think best, but with the balance of probability being as per David White's volume if you are building a model from the late 18th century or after. All the best, Mark
  11. Morning Druxey; I would have agreed with you on this until Michael asked the question. Before posting an answer, I did a bit of checking, and according to Marquardt the situation is as in my previous post. Perhaps he is wrong, or perhaps he is right, and it was done so on three-deckers because the deck beams on the middle deck were more substantial than those on the upper deck. Some further research is perhaps indicated. All the best, Mark
  12. Good Morning Mark; With regard to port stops, Druxey & I, and others, have had some lengthy discussions on the subject, which I feel fairly confident in saying settled the matter to the satisfaction of most, which was that no additional timbers were added to the sides/tops/bottoms of ports, and that the stops were formed by ending the planking short of the sides of the openings. Perhaps Druxey can point you to these posts should you wish. It is beyond my skill level, unfortunately. All the best, Mark P
  13. Good Evening Hamilton; Druxey is quite correct in what he says, and a good example of pin racks is shown in John Cleveley's paintings of Royal Caroline. The earliest I know of, dated to 1750, shows pin racks on all the shrouds. A model of the 74 gun Ajax, an early example of the type (1767) has single belaying pins in the rails in several places. All the best, Mark P
  14. Good Morning All; I can understand Mac's thinking, but there is no need to get slack in the cable. The procedure was to make the inboard end of the cable fast to the bitts before the anchor was let go. The anchor would then hit the bottom, and the ship would be allowed to fall off until brought up by the cable becoming taut. Standard practice was for the cable used to be be three times the depth of water in length. That the cable was given a half-turn around the top of the bitt pin and then a similar turn, in the opposite direction, around the end of the cross-piece is shown in various contemporary illustrations. The cross piece for a third-rate 74 was around 18" square. The anchor cable for a third-rate was around 7" in diameter. For a first-rate it was between 7" & 8" in diameter, and in 1745 a ship of this rate would have carried 9 different cables of varying lengths for its largest anchors. A third-rate, along with most other rates, carried 7 cables, most of them about 100 fathoms (600 feet) long. They could be joined to allow anchoring in water over 200 feet deep. Mac is right to mention the expense. The Royal Navy, and presumably other Navies, placed a high value on anchors and cables, which were very expensive. There are regular mentions in the archives of dockyard personnel, or crew members, selling the cut-off ends of cables. When caught, they would be severely punished. It is hard not to feel sympathy for some of them, though, a common (and very true) defence being that they had not been paid for two or three years, and their wife and children were starving. A consequence of this high value was that anyone who salvaged an anchor, or anchor and cable, was well-rewarded. The Navy would sometimes commission a non-Navy vessel to go and sweep an area where a ship or ships were known to have left anchors and cables. Below is a page from Darcy Lever's 'Young Sea-Officer's Sheet Anchor' (from Dover Books) showing the bitts, cable and stoppers (the cable is shown much thinner than in reality, and the knees to the bitts are much too short in both length and height) Note that the stoppers are used on the aft side of the bitts. All the best, Mark P
  15. Hi Henry; The flag you show is certainly inspired by the English Royal Standard. Can't give any help as to provenance though. All the best, Mark

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