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Roger Pellett

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About Roger Pellett

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    Duluth, MN
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    Naval Architect, Scratch Modeler and maritime history researcher. Current modeling interest- Navy ship's boats.
    Nautical ResearchvGuild Member
    Author: Whaleback Ships and the American Steel Barge Company published by Wayne State University Press

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  1. I agree with Bob’s post above. The underwater Archeology people have published a lot of new information since this book was published and much of it can be found on the internet. The bad news is how much is still unknown. In most cases information is limited to mast steps, floor timbers, and many a few first futtocks. Virtually nothing exists for upper works. It would be even be impossible to determine which of these vessels, were fitted with square transom or round sterns. The Newport Ship currently being conserved in Bristol, UK is one of the “better preserved” examples of a ship of this period, probably built in Spain. The reconstruction is based on a remarkably small fragment of the hull with the rest, such as the square transom inferred. Roger
  2. Keith, Have you ever visited Isle Royal National Park? It’s the large island on Western Lake Superior. Accessible only by boat, it gets about 35,000 visitors a year. Roger
  3. Re: Allanyed’s post above. On several occasions traveling to the East Coast from Northern Minnesota we have taken the Steamship Badger across Lake Michigan. The ferry leaves from Manitowoc, WI and lands at Ludington MI. The ferry’s schedule is such that it is convenient to stay in Manitowoc the night before. Manitowoc is also the home of Berger Yachts. My wife, who in a past life must have been a Wallmart Greeter struck up a conversation with a group in the hotel during breakfast and was surprised to learn that they were employees of a major electronics company (like Raytheon) who were staying there while they installed the navionics system aboard a Berger Yacht. This sort of activity can have a significant impact on the economy of a small city. Roger
  4. The basis for any good model is a good set of lines that define the vessel’s hull. Rigs could and did change to suit circumstances. Chapelle’s Baltimore Clippers Book was originally copyrighted in 1030 so it is one of his early works. Many of the drawings reproduced in it the were traced from takeoffs of hull lines for vessels acquired by the Royal Navy. This book also includes copies of drawings redrawn from those produced by the French Naval constructor Marestier who visited the US in 1820. I don’t know of a better source of information for these vessels unless you are willing to travel overseas. My copy of the book book was printed by Tradition Press in 1965. It is about 11in by 8in so the drawings show up well. I believe that copies of this same edition are available. If you want a later source I recommend Chapelle’s “Search for Speed Under Sail,” but my copy of the Baltimore Clipper produces the material in a larger format. Roger
  5. Buy a used copy of “The Baltimore Clipper” by Howard I Chapelle. The book is loaded with plans. You should be able to buy a good used copy for less than $10. Niagara is not representative of vessels usually classed as hermaphrodite brigs. She was a true brig. In addition, any drawings that would be available would be for one of several reconstructions attempted over the years including the one presently sailing on the Lakes. In other words they do not depict a real vessel from the early 1800’s. All of the drawings in Chapelle’s book are based in authentic drawings or half models. Roger
  6. That is why it is helpful to make up a table of rigging sizes ahead of time. With an Excel spread sheet you can add a factor to each column and work your way across to the final scale diameter. I made a simple stepped gage from two sizes of dowel with marks at 1/8” and 1/4”. For example, the diameter of line where 10 wraps touches the 1/4” Mark is .25”/10 or .025”. Each available spool of line is marked with the number of turns per 1/4”, and the last column on my rigging table is also tabulated in the same way so at my workbench it is simply a question of using the spool marked with the correct number of turns. Roger
  7. Keith, In 1990, master modeler Rob Napier published a series of articles in the Nautical Research Journal detailing techniques that he used to build a highly detailed model of the sailing vessel Sooloo. The model had quite a bit of scroll work like you are faced with. If my memory is correct, he started with a flat photo etched part that he “built up” with solder, then filed to its half oval cross section. A variation of druxey’s suggestion. I believe that you will find a description of his process in either No’s 2 or 3 of Volume 35. Roger
  8. A great project! In 1964 I was attending the University of Michigan studying Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and also pursuing a USNR commission with the university’s NROTC unit. This program required one summer cruise, the 1st Class one. I received orders to an old WWII submarine in the Western Pacific. It turned out that the submarine was going “somewhere that I wouldn’t want to go” according to the boat’s captain. Wherever they were going involved scuba gear and rubber boats which were stacked on board. After considerable shuffling around and two more flights I found myself aboard the Ocean Minesweeper USS Loyalty (MSO 457) deployed overseas to Sasebo, Japan. It was my first experience aboard a US Navy warship. The captain was a hard-boiled sort of guy who was determined that the two midshipmen on board would become qualified OOD’s before the end of the cruise. As soon as we got underway, I was assigned to the pelorus and range finder on the bridge and told to keep station on another ship in the diamond formation. As the ship was fitted with controllable pitch propellers engine orders were given in feet of pitch (all ahead four feet). I was assigned to a regular watch section as JOOD and when we began a mine sweeping exercise with the Japanese Navy we stood four on, four off. We eventually got to the point where I was to stand an OOD watch by myself. Upon reporting to the bridge, the fog was so thick that I could’nt see beyond the jack staff but I was doing ok using RADAR. About an hour into the watch a signal came through to change formation. In my nervousness about this maneuver which I had little idea how to accomplish I garbled the Radio Transmission. The captain came boiling out of his sea cabin behind the bridge, pissed off. I was promptly relieved in disgrace. Looking back, it was remarkable opportunity. The combination of the small ship and old salt captain gave me wonderful experience that I wouldn’t have received elsewhere. After I left her to return to school, Loyalty deployed to Vietnam for operation Market Time and made several deployments after that. During one deployment she fired her 40mm “main armament” (later replaced by a 20mm) in anger destroying a gun emplacement. Roger
  9. Another great portrait! What used to be called the Cass Scenic Railroad and I believe is now a West Virginia State Park operates a fleet of these unique geared steam locomotives. Many years ago my wife and I rode a train pulled by one of these up through a number of switchbacks to the top of a mountain. For those traveling through the area this is not to be missed. Roger

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