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Mark P

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About Mark P

  • Birthday 09/08/1960

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

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  1. Good Evening Kevin; In the eighteenth century dry dock facilities for 1st rates existed at most dockyards. As they did in the 17th century, in fact. Many first rates were built in dry docks, and floated out to launch them, rather than launching then stern-first from a slipway, as was normal for smaller vessels. Nelson's 'Victory', completed in 1765, was built in a dry dock at Chatham, and floated out (after a bit of panic when it was realised only a few hours previously that the dock gate was a little too narrow for her. If you search the NMM website under ship models, there is a very nice model of her as built, but sitting on a slipway, so wrong in that respect, but it will give you some idea of what a dock looked like. The ship herself looks far more attractive than the 1805 version, also. Well worth a look. All the best, Mark P
  2. Evening all: By a coincidence, I recently bought a copy of this through 'Bookfinder', a site recommended by another contributor on this forum. The book is very detailed, and will teach almost any reader a lot they did not know previously. The reconstruction is based on the Stockholm model and on an anonymous treatise on shipbuilding dated around 1620, which is again very detailed, and gives a step-by-step guide to constructing a draught of a ship (although it contains some errors in the mathematics used, corrected in this book) I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in ships of this period, or with a general interest in their history or construction. All the best, Mark P
  3. Good Evening Steven; Until some time in the early 19th century, sails were bent to the yard, as outlined above, by robands, believed to be a shortened form of 'rope-bands'. These were certainly in use in the 16th century, and presumably earlier. In the 19th century, the robands were no longer wrapped around the yards, but instead were made fast to jack-stays, a metal rod running the full length of the yard, fixed to it at intervals by brackets driven into the timber. Another feature of a yard, rarely shown on rigged models, were gaskets. This was a longer length of rope, normally looped and tied into a hank, which was used when the sail was furled up to the yard. The gasket was passed around the gathered bundle of canvas, and the yard, and made fast. The gaskets are the narrow points on furled sails, which cause them to hang in a series of swags from the yard. All the best, Mark P
  4. Good Evening All; I don't know the exact details without looking it up, but I remember that the American Navy fought several drawn-out campaigns against the Barbary pirates, as did the Royal Navy. But even if the corsairs were beaten, they always popped up again. If their ruler, the Bey or the Dey he was called, I think, agreed to make peace, he was never able to control his people for long, and they soon murdered him and replaced him with someone more willing to continue with the old ways. And yes, they did kidnap whole villages or small towns of people from the South coast of England, more frequently than most people nowadays would ever believe; and presumably from other countries also. Another lucrative line was ransoming the crews of merchant vessels captured in the Mediterranean. The Commonwealth Navy and Charles II's ships were frequently operating in the Med to protect shipping, and Parliament was often petitioned by merchants demanding better protection for their ships. Many Europeans were enslaved by the Barbary Pirates, and it is not pleasant to contemplate the fate of the women they caught. But as Blue Ensign points out above, there is never any mention of this when Western politicians, playing to a minority gallery, apologise for their country's involvement in the slave trade; or when some countries demand compensation for it. As if present generations are responsible for the sins of their country's citizens several centuries past. So slavery, undeniably an abomination to present generations, was very much a two-way street; something which deserves much greater publicity than it has ever received. I could say a lot more, but that would be getting off-topic, so I had better avoid it. All the best, Mark P
  5. Good Evening JD; Boxwood is wonderful stuff! I love its tight grain and smooth surfaces. But it does have its limits, and I would suggest that your chosen method of construction exceeds them, unfortunately. Natural wood, even when kiln-dried, will distort over time if the moisture content in the atmosphere is different to that in which it was previously stored, or to the percentage to which it was dried. To be honest, cutting whole frames from a single sheet is inadvisable, as it is going to include a variety of short-length grain patterns which will have an inherent instability. The only way to counteract this tendency, and assuming the timber is dried/seasoned to start with, is to assemble the frames and keel quickly and use fairly stout stringers or filler blocks between each frame. Depending upon how much of your frames will be seen, you would probably do better to use plywood up to deck level, and rebate short lengths of boxwood frame into the top of these to form the bulwark timbers. All the best, Mark P
  6. Good Evening Gentlemen; Thank you Druxey, and all the others who have made such helpful posts above. This is a fascinating archive. Many of the Danish draughts are tinted in colour, and there are so many sail plans! I have been looking on the website, and have found that a fair few draughts of English ships are referenced with numbers D 2400 upwards. Trouble is, the listing on the website under category D does not extend beyond D1128. So many draughts are invisible. Can anyone explain how to find them, or why they are not currently visible. All the best, Mark P
  7. Good Afternoon Matrim; If you are thinking of bracing the yards round with sails furled, or sent down, then the following comment will not apply. However, if you are depicting them with any sails set, then note that the upper yards were braced around closer to the wind than the lower ones. Viewed from above, the yards would look like the plan of a spiral stair, although with the angle between each yard being much less than in an actual stair. All the best, Mark P
  8. Good Evening Chuck; If you are copying from paper plans, there is also one very quick way of doing this, which is worth a try, if what you are trying to copy will fit on a photocopier. Make a photocopy of it, but use a sheet of tracing paper for the copy. Turn this over, and copy again. This will produce a mirror image of your original. Job done. That is assuming you have access to a decent copier, and that it does not distort the image. Some do, some don't. However, if you only need to do this once, you have already found a good solution on your own. All the best, Mark P
  9. During a recent visit to Portsmouth, I walked through a gallery dedicated to the tools and equipment used by many of the traditional dockyard trades, and saw this board on the wall. I would believe from the style of lettering that it dates to the early 1800s, perhaps a little earlier or later. However, I would think that the information contained therein is unlikely to have changed very much at all from that of the times many decades previous to this. The photos are large files, and should expand considerably when clicked. There is a lot of useful information here! All the best, Mark P
  10. Good Morning Druxey; Yes, it is not the same, although I think that the details shown are very similar to at least one of the draughts shown in earlier posts. The date is very specific, which is helpful. Shipaholic, I agreed that my visit to the Library was for personal research. I cannot therefore post more pictures here, as who knows what may then happen to them. The Library staff were extremely helpful, though, and would be willing to take a digital scan and send it. This would avoid the photographic distortion present in my pictures. However, very inconveniently, they are now in the process of moving to different premises, and are very unlikely to reply to any emails, for many months. Which is not helpful. All the best, Mark P
  11. Good Evening All; This is part of the draught referred to. I won't post it all for copyright reasons. I checked, and it actually says 'taken off in the single dock', not the wet dock. Memory plays up a bit, sometimes! It is definitely dated as mentioned, though. All the best, Mark P
  12. Good Evening Everyone; I recently visited the Naval Base at Portsmouth, with the kind assistance of the staff of the Library of the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the Librarians of the Admiralty Library, to view a variety of interesting documents. One of these was a draught of 'HM Bark Endeavour', described as 'taken off in the wet dock' and dated 25th April 1768. This lists her principal dimensions, and there is another word near the date, hard to read, of four letters, but it might say '?rey', which I would take to read 'Grey', as mentioned in previous posts, except that the 'r' looks more like a 'p', which would read '?pey' and I can't make much sense of that. Interestingly, this draught shows a tall, built up companion immediately afore the wheel, and a variety of dashed lines for the position of the rails and lengths of the mizzen channels. I will post a picture of part of her here, as it seems that it is not presently known widely, and it may be of use to modellers of the Endeavour. I don't have time right now to edit the picture, but I will do this tomorrow. All the best, Mark P
  13. Good Evening Spike; I wish you all the best with completing your model. The tackle at the rear is called the train tackle. When the cannon was fired, its recoil pushed it back within board. It needed to stay in that position while it was swabbed and reloaded. This was where the train tackle came into use. During this operation, it was kept taut so that if the deck heeled down towards the gun-port, the cannon would not roll while the crew were working on it. Once reloaded, the train tackle was un-hooked, and the gun-tackles (the ones on each side) were used to run the gun out ready for firing. Train tackles were not always issued as part of the gunner's stores, and even when available, were not always issued at the rate of one per gun. Concerning the breeching, I know little of French practice, but it looks from the illustration as though the breeching passes through the sides of the gun-carriage, which, as you say, is very different to English methods. I remember some other contributors here posting pictures of a replica ship, Danish I think, which was breeched in the same manner. I believe it was Tadeusz. All the best, Mark P
  14. Congratulations BlackWolf on a lovely model. Those galleys were striking vessels, certainly. All the best, Mark P
  15. Good Evening All; The height of the gun-ports above the water line was of vital importance, and was one of the factors considered during the design. If the guns were too close, then during heavy weather, the lower or gun-deck cannon could not be fired if the target was to leeward. As standard Royal Navy fighting tactics were to gain and keep the 'weather-gauge', ie be to windward of the opponent's vessel, then most guns were indeed fired to leeward. During the 17th century some ships were 'girdled', ie had an additional layer of planking fitted over the original, to increase the beam (width of the ship) and lessen the amount of roll, so that it was more likely that the leeward guns could be used. One class of vessel in particular was notorious for having a lower-deck armament which was almost unusable. These were the 80-gun three deckers, built from around the end of the 17th century until the 74 became the standard ship of the line. The 80 gun ships had too little displacement for the weight they carried, and most of the gun-ports were within 2 feet or less of the water line. An aggrieved admiral wrote to the Admiralty that most of the 80 gun ships in his fleet could scarce haul up a (lower-deck) port-lid in any weather, and were never likely to unless they were on a mill-pond. And that a particular couple of vessels (whose names I cannot remember) would never use their lower deck guns as the ports had been caulked shut when the ships were fitted for sea! These ships were built as a result of a parliamentary decision to increase the fleet during the wars of King William. They looked at the figures which had been used for Charles II's & Pepys' 20 number, 70 gun ships of the 1677 programme, and increased the tonnage figure for these by approximately 100 tons, so that they could, in theory, carry 80 guns apiece. However, what the parliamentary committee did not know, and were not told as there was no real consultation with the Navy, was that the 70 gun ships of 1677 had been built considerably larger by Charles II's express command, and many of the larger ones had actually been of a higher tonnage than the figure selected for the later 80 gun vessels. So the poor performance of the 80s would have come as little surprise to most knowledgeable people. Parliament of course was thinking solely of cost, as the ships were built at so much per ton. The King, William of Orange, took little interest in the Navy, and did not give any guidance. So the horrid ships were built. Much more tragically, they continued to be built for about 40 years, despite an increasing and ever-louder barrage of complaints about them from many different Naval officers. So yes, firing a broadside was not a matter of lighting the powder whenever the gun was ready. Both the design and the weather was important. And as Bartley correctly speculates, the leeward guns would tend to aim downwards. This was counter-acted by raising the gun barrel's elevation (by removing the quoin, or pulling it well back) and by firing the gun on the upward roll, as that side of the ship rose on a wave, rather than when the side was descending. Timing was all! All the best, Mark P

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