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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. Here’s some modern hemp about to be made into running rigging. Note that it certainly isn’t bright white.
  2. I accidentally stumbled on this just now, it’s online edition of Sea History magazine from the Fall of 1978 and it contains two articles related to Sloop Providence: https://issuu.com/seahistory/docs/sh_012_fall-1978/26?ff. Pages 17 and 22.
  3. I marvel at the detail on the Hawke model. Apparently a small model, about 14” long? 1:96 scale according to the museum website. but the detail is amazing.
  4. It makes me wonder if anyone recorded the number of shot fired during any of the naval engagements. I’m sure the number and size of shot was recorded when it was taken aboard but was there a running accounting of the inventory during a cruise or campaign? It’d be interesting to know those numbers. In a given engagement, if you knew the number of shot fired you’d be able to work out the average for each gun. Somewhere on some deck at Trafalgar there was one gun that was fired more times than any other gun in the battle that day. I wonder which ship it was on and how many shots?
  5. I’m revisiting this terrific repository of cutter model photos. I’m preared to say there’s no finer collection of cutter photos available to view anywhere else on the internet! If they were bound together in a book I’d have to own it. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing these photos with us.
  6. When I wrote my above statement lamenting the low quality of many “cross section” kits I should have mentioned to anyone reading this to go have a look at the HMS Triton group build section of MSW. (Scroll down to the bottom of the home page) This nice kit is in very stark contrast to the low quality kits I was lambasting, Triton is what those other kits should strive to emulate.
  7. I’d put these same photos up on social media. Two friends of mine with a lot of tall ship sailing experience each noticed something I had not on my topsails. I’d followed the kit plans for the spar dimensions and the sail size and shape and during the whole process of getting these built and onto the model I noticed nothing wrong. But these guys each noticed -after a glance at the photo- that the sail was too wide at the third reef to fit the spar properly. Meaning that if the third reef was hauled up to the yard via the reef tackle the sail would be too wide to be bent to the sail properly. So I remeasured everything and my spars and sails were exactly the same size as those indicated in the Model Shipways plans. We’re talking about a half or a quarter of an inch discrepancy in this fault so I’m not going to tear down and rebuild the models topsails but I’m annoyed with the kit and the plans, especially when I took a careful look at the reef lines as drawn on the plans. They DIVERGE. The third reef as drawn on the plans is too wide for the yard and so the draftsman cheated by drawing the reef lines in at a slight diagonal. So either the draftsman knew he was fudging the plans OR he didn’t understand what reefing a sail involves. Here’s my kit plan and the red line is perpendicular to the spar at the location of the sheave for the reefline. And a photo of the actual ship’s topsail with reeflines visible. You can see the discrepancy is very slight. But an actual sail could not be tight across the spar if the third reef was used, it would have to bunch up to fit. this episode showed just how competent todays tall ship sailors are. These two highly skilled and experienced people independently and within a few hours of having an opportunity of seeing the photo both spotted that discrepancy and commented on it. A pretty amazing demonstration of tall ship knowledge. Note the reeflines and their vertical disposition. The question mark indicates where the reef crinkle would have to be in order to fit the spar. The kit leeches are too wide at the point of the third reef and can’t fit onto the yard.
  8. Here’s an update. All sails are now bent on but not all the running rigging is installed. Having the sails on allows me to see just how large this model really is, pretty big for my apartment. Im not totally convinced the cours sail is a good idea. It’s going to make all the forward deck details invisible from the Port side. For now I’m leaving it on but it’s sort-of on probation. The braces aren’t on yet so the yards are not braced up sharp as they will be. I’ll brace them hard over to Port.
  9. Excellent question. I’ve seen a few different ways to terminate the end so it won’t slip back. I believe most of the books will say to stop the end onto the closest leg of itself by putting on a coupe of even smaller seizings with smaller marline. On a model this translates to simply glueing the end down. But it’s also possible to terminate the lanyard onto the line above or bellow the heart, like a deadeye lanyard is. Here’s a shot of modern Niagara using the latter method. USS Constitution has a big heart and stay combination in her bows, anyone got a photo of that one?
  10. They’re used in other locations too. You see them on yachts on the backstays, old fashioned wood ones but also modern high tech ones too. I’m building Niagara and there’s a few around the rig: This one is in the Fore top on modern Niagara. I’m guessing it’s been incorporated here because a thicker conventional double block would tend to catch on the edge of the cap? You can see how streamlined it is. Heres another one on modern Niagara. I’m willing to claim it wouldn’t make too much difference if a conventional double block was used. But the sister block looks more elegant! And as said before it takes up less space and is unlikely to catch on stuff.
  11. I doubt it. I think the point of the vertical orientation was that it takes up less space and it’s less likely to get caught on something. But that’s just my guess. I can’t think of an instance where a fiddle block is NECESSARY due to its characteristics. Statistically there’s at least 95% more conventional double blocks on a ship than there are the fiddle blocks. Fiddle blocks are exotic by comparison.
  12. Hi Frankie,

     You've obviously been studying this subject assiduously (good word Eh? - Had to look it up to make sure I'd spelt it right). Fly, being small single masted, I imagine would possibly use the pendants as running backstays when not needed for the purposes of lifting shrouds ect. Chuck Pessaro's description of Cheerful's rigging has them over the top of the shrouds at the top of the mainmast. Fly was built 40 odd years before Cheerful but I've cheated and though the hull is Fly's the rigging is mostly Cheerful's. That's a major advantage of proper scratch building since I've made all the parts except the parral beads. The attention to the very smallest detail carried out by you major builders is very intimidating to a minnow like me.

    Seasons Greetings, Peter

    1. JerseyCity Frankie

      JerseyCity Frankie

      Hi Peter thanks for writing. I’m planning on re-rigging my model of Le Renard, a French cutter, as my next project so I’ve been paying close attention to Cutters lately.

      im surprised Cutters are even credited with having pendants at all since the ships are so small and their masts are so CROWDED with rigging. But looking at the vast rigging tables provided in the back of Biddlecombe’s The Art of Rigging I see they’re included and presumably Biddlecombe and Steel, writing in a time when Cutters still existed, would know what they were writing about? 

      Im sure the running backstays must have been put to use as convenient rigging for lifting stuff. I also noted someone’s cutter model had the halyards for the peak and throat of the mainsail attached using hooks instead of a more permanent connection and I speculated they too could have  been used for lifting stuff. Cutters are going to remain very mysterious unless someone builds a serious replica and tries to sail it with all that canvas on. There’s a replica Le Renard but it looks in photos to be a simplified rig: no stunsails ect. 

      Im most curious about the oddities in the topsails the Cutters used.they went to great lengths to get that odd little square sail to catch a puff of wind, adding a LOT of weight aloft for the sake of only a little more horsepower. And of course the long long headrig with all its moving parts and multiple sails. 

    2. JerseyCity Frankie

      JerseyCity Frankie

      Your model looks terrific by the way! 

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