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JerseyCity Frankie

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It’s a point which weighs against us, and a fact to be deplored – 
That we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

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  1. Mostly I see (in models and in modern replica ships) the Capstan Bars stored horizontally in racks on the nearby bullwarks. I doubt they’d be stored below decks but it’s possible.
  2. Simplified running rigging, from thickest to thinnest line, is determined-logically- by the load the line is expected to take. So the halyard used to raise the topsail Yard is going to be thicker than the one assigned to the Tgallant and Royal yards, which are considerably smaller. The exact same principle applies to the braces on all those yards too, and their Lifts. The lightest and thinnest lines will be the Buntlines, which are only used to lift the weight of the sail when it’s no longer drawing wind. the other consideration is when you have a block and tackle on the end of a line: the pennant ( the part the blocks is fixed to) is always going to be much thicker than the falls of the tackle-the line that’s rove through the sheaves of the tackle.
  3. Any idea why the kit manufacturers are calling this a Brigantine rig? Clearly it’s a Brig, with square rig on each mast. To be a brigantine it’d need a fore and aft rig on the Main. An error in translation?
  4. You can kind of ballpark guesstimate rigging sizes. Especially if you keep in mind the running rigging has to fit into the sailors hands! Any rope thicker than two inches would be too large to grab and haul on so make yourself a cardboard cut-out crew figure of the proper scale for your model. If the hands on your figure are too small to see? You better not use any very thick thread for rigging. You can get by with three different thicknesses of running rigging, unless your model is very large. The standing rigging can be worked out based on the mainstay, which is the thickest material on the ship. The shrouds are slightly smaller, the topmast shrouds are further slightly smaller. All the standing rigging gets smaller the higher up it goes in the rig until at its highest point it’s about as thick as your “medium size” running rigging. You can gain a lot of comprehension from looking at photos of actual historic square rig ships, look for photos of the coiled rigging on the pins and you will see typical size ranges.
  5. It’s not unseen today, I’ve sailed on Lettie G Howard and her topsail is attached to mast hoops. She has brails that run from the leach of the sail, through a bullseye sewn into the center of the sail, then through a mast mounted lead block down to the deck. Pulling the downhauls and the brail turns the sail into a small enough lumpy bundle to avoid too much windage. The bundle becomes more civilized if two crew go aloft and try to fold the lower portion of the sail into a nicer bundle and then bind that to the mast with another bit of line they bring with them. The sail stays aloft all season, never coming down till winter.
  6. Soot, if the smoke damage you’re describing is soot, is nearly impossible to remove, sadly. I once attempted to remove greasy soot from painted metal that was adjacent to an area that a welding torch was used on. The black greasy coating resisted every solvent I had and couldn’t be removed. Perplexed, I googled “soot removal” and the only advice I could find was to try to “brush it off”. I surely hope your smoke damage isn’t soot!
  7. Nobody ever wants to take a crack at the HMS Polyphemus, lol. She was an entirely fictional experimental double-ended frigate that Patrick O’Brian made the primary vessel in the second or third novel in his series. Our hero is given her as a command simply because virtually nobody else wants it. It’s sailing qualities are so bizarre it sometimes moves backwards. Still, a good subject for a scratch build in my opinion.
  8. The heel rope also known as a top rope is only used when the crew are raising or lowering the mast associated with it- a very rare event. The heel rope is removed from the rig and stored out of the elements when not in use. So 99.99% of the time there is no rope rove through the sheave at the base of any mast on the ship.
  9. I’m going on hiatus for the month of April. I got hired as a rigger on the full-size replica Sloop Providence. Built in 1976 she was dissmasted a few years ago while on the hard, knocked off her jackstands her rig was destroyed and her hull damaged. But now she been purchased by a new organization and restoration work is underway. I’m excited to do some real world full scale ship rigging again since I haven’t worked as a rigger since I was on the Wavertree project for the South St Seaport Museum in New York two years ago. The work is taking place in Wiscasset Maine and I have no idea if I’ll have internet. If I do I’ll post updates. Here’s some shots of Providence. This is a recent shot of her in Maine. Her hull is Fiberglas! But with wood frames.
  10. I say this is a three masted topsail schooner. In order to be a schooner she needs two or more masts with a fore and aft rig on the lowers and the main taller than the fore, the image at the top of this thread satisfies those requirements. In order to be a barque of any kind she’d need a full unambiguous square rig on the fore, which she does not have. The crux is the foremast when you’ve got a Gaff Lower AND a square course. Some use the criteria of a fidded tgalent being the thing that turns a mast like that from a schooner formast into a barkentine formast but I’m sticking with the gaff rigged fore and aft sail on the fore as the criteria that swings it solidly into schooner mast territory. I’d argue that the definition of a mast has more to do with the primary lower sails rather than the way the mast is configured way above the topmast.
  11. I worry I’ll become a broken record on the topic of Petersen’s rigging books but on the other hand people keep recommending these books and I feel prompted to point out that SOME of his work is pure nonsense. Much of it is fine but when I began looking at his work with a critical eye I noted a lot of hogwash. Enough to merit warning people to be careful.
  12. ....and since the topic has come up again I’ll add my usual warning not to use Lennarth Petersn for serious study. His illustrations are very good and much of what he covers is valid but in his book Rigging Period For and Aft Craft he goes off the rails into Stupid Town, passing fiction off as fact to who knows how many unsuspecting ship model builders? In my view he undercut his entire reputation with the publication of that deeply flawed book.
  13. Another vote for Underhill Masting and Rigging of the Ocean Carrier. Great book that goes into the kind of detail you are after. Great illustrations.

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