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Dr PR

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  1. To keep you in the mood for working on your fishing schooner model I highly recommend the 1937 movie Captains Courageous. It is based upon Rudyard Kipling's novel, starring Spencer Tracy and Lionel Barrymore. Much of it was filmed on a Grand Banks fishing schooner, and there are excellent scenes of schooners racing.
  2. For topsail schooners (Baltimore clippers) a good reference is Rigging Period Fore-And-Aft Craft by Lennarth Petersson, Naval Institute Press, 2007. It has very clear diagrams of rigging, showing where each line goes on pinrails. The drawings are based upon a model of a topsail schooner from the early 1800, but the rigging was probably the same in the late 1700s. However, not every topsail schooner carried all of the rigging shown in the book! Most books on rigging just say lines attach to fife rails or pin rails, but give no specific position. Harold Underhill's Masting and Rigging the Clipper Ship & Ocean Carrier (Brown, Son and Ferguson, Ltd., Glasgow, 1972) gives very a detailed description of the lines and their positions on fife rails and pinrails for late 19th century clipper ships. Like Bob said, the actual positions probably depended upon the specific ship, bosun or captain. There were very many different variations on rigging, so possibly no two ships would be exactly alike. Some schooners didn't have fife rails or pin rails, but the lines fastened to ring bolts on deck and to cleats on the bulwarks. And fife rails and pin rails differed a great deal from ship to ship. On some ships some lines even attached to cleats on the shrouds instead of to pin rails. With all the variations there couldn't be one "standard" way to rig all ships. Basically, it seems that the lines from lower on the masts and spars go to the more forward position on the pin rails/fife rails/cleats/ring bolts, and lines from higher up are more aft. Inboard lines ran to inboard fastenings, and outboard lines to fastening points farther outboard. Of course the lines lead to the same side of the ship as their attachments on the spars and masts to avoid crossing lines. This is the same rule as for shrouds and stays. Lower forward, higher aft. Probably the only rule was that lines should not foul other lines.
  3. Smaller ships, and especially merchant ships, operating in cooler seas and fresh water usually used something like tar and sulfur on the bottoms. Ships operating in warmer waters used tallow and lime or white lead. Naval vessels often had much more expensive coppered bottoms. Howard Chapelle (The Search For Speed Under Sail, W. W. Norton & Company, New York & London, second printing 1983, pp207-208) says copper plating was introduced by the British in 1761 and it worked well to prevent fouling and attack by wood boring toredo worms. In 1783 they extended it to all Royal Navy ships. However, the high cost of copper plating caused it to be adopted slowly by British merchant vessels. Some American Navy ships had coppered bottoms. It wasn't until the 1790s that copper plating came into use on American merchant vessels, and then only on larger ships. As late as 1822 the lime-and-tallow "white bottom" was still being used extensively in the United States. Because clean bottoms improved speed, many fast sailing American schooners were copper-bottomed after 1795. Privateers were privately built, and often cheaply. The idea was to use a cheaply built ship to bring in prize money during a relatively short period of hostilities. The privateer was somewhat expendable. It was just a matter of profit. And some privateers brought in many times their cost of construction and operation. Unless you know for certain what type of bottom the ship you are modeling had, at the period you are modelling, you can go either way. Modern reproductions like the Lynx use modern anti-fouling paints instead of expensive copper plating. Also, the Coast Guard has regulations about what you can put on the bottom of hulls to reduce pollution.
  4. In 20th century US Navy ship design: "Camber" is the transverse (port to starboard) curvature of large weather decks, highest along the centerline and lower at deck edges. "Sheer" is the lengthwise curvature of the large weather decks, typically highest at bow and stern. Not all weather decks had camber or sheer. Some had camber but no sheer and smaller decks typically had neither. I'm sure the terminology has changed with time and coountry, and even different locations within a country. **** As far as the hatch gratings go, I suspect it was the larger, fancier ships that had the curved gratings. Smaller and less expensive vessels probably had flat gratings, especially merchant vessels. Flat gratings would be easier and cheaper to build.
  5. JD, I found the definitions of "molded size" and "sided size" confusing. Your drawing shows it nicely. The following books use this terminology, but the descriptions are less than perfectly clear: Planking Techniques for Model Ship Building (Donald Dressel, TAB Books, 1988, page 26. The Elements of Wood Ship Construction, W. H. Curtis, McGraw Hill Book Company, 1918, page 27 (available as PDF on line). How Wooden Ships Are Built, H. Cole Estep, The Penton Publishing Company, 1918, page 44 (available as PDF on line). Wooden Ship Building, Charles Desmond, The Rudder Publishing Company, 1919 (available as PDF on line), page 53, Figure 41 has a drawing similar to yours, and page 52 has clear definitions. One of the things that confused me is that "molded dimensions" of the hull are to the outer surface of the frames, whereas the "molded size" is the transverse width of the frame at any place along the length of the frame, varying from widest at the keel and tapering to narrowest at the main deck. The outer outline (the molded dimension) of the frame was drawn on the mold loft floor. Then the line of the inner surface of the frame was created by passing through points at the desired "molded size" width along the frame. On steel hulled naval vessels the molded dimension is to the outside of the frame, or the inside of the hull plating (Ship Structure and Blueprint Reading, H. L. Heed, Cornell Maritime Press, 1942, page 166). I occasionally see erroneous statements saying the the molded dimension is to the outside of the planking or plating. But on all but the largest scale models the difference may be no more than the thickness of a layer of paint. I mention this in case other readers might find "molded dimensions" and "molded size" confusing. They aren't the same thing!
  6. Here in Oregon we have been pretty lucky. So far the death count is pretty low. But I keep thinking of this COVID pandemic as just a drill. In the northwest we have "THE BIG ONE" to think about. Every 300-500 years the fault between the North American and oceanic plates breaks loose in a magnitude 9-10 earthquake. If that happens we won't be short just toilet paper. No electricity, water, sewers, homes, and no supermarkets where we can buy toilet paper! Trouble comes in threes. So I expect that just about the time we get over the pandemic the earthquake will let loose and trash everything. But we won't have time to worry because it will light off all the volcanoes around here and all the ruins will be buried in lava. So cheer up. The worst that can happen is the worst that can happen!
  7. Mike, I have seen the double blocks idea used. But you want the sheet to come down from the upper block to a fastening on deck or on the bulwark. So just invert the blocks - the fixed end of the line would be on the upper block that is attached to the backstay. A similar rig was used for loading tackles (burtons). Some schooners used ordinary deadeyes for the backstays.
  8. Richard, I am glad you are making progress! You aren't the only slow builder. I haven't posted anything on my revenue cutter build log for a long time either. But I have been doing a lot of research on masting, rigging and sails. I have been giving some thought to the anchor handling. I suspect merchant schooners may have used some form of windlass to raise the anchor because they had small crews and plenty of deck space. But naval vessels had larger crews, and a lot more clutter on deck (cannons, etc.) so there wasn't much room for a windlass. Larger naval schooners seem to have used a capstan mounted aft. A continuous loop messenger line ran from the windlass forward to the fore mast and back to the windlass. The messenger was tied to the anchor cable. Turning the windlass pulled the messenger and cable aft, where the cable was lowered into the cable tiers. The cable was lashed to the messenger forward again and the capstan continued to pull it back, hauling in more cable. On smaller schooners, with lighter anchors, a pair of block and tackle rigs attached to strong points on the deck aft served as messengers. One rig would be used to drag the anchor cable aft until it was two blocked. Then the second would be lashed to the cable to continue the pull, while the first tackle was run back out. Using these alternate tackles the anchor was hoisted. For small vessels this didn't require deck space for a capstan or windlass. The cathead tackle was used to raise the anchor, and tackle on a portable fishing boom was used to raise (fish) the flukes to the deck or rail. Then the cable could be released from the anchor and stowed below deck in the cable tier. I am planning on modeling the fishing boom raising the anchor on my model.
  9. Pat, I was referring to all pivot/swivel guns in general, as used on ships in many navies. The larger guns definitely did have rollers that ran in tracks - there are numerous photos of these. They were mostly mid to late 1800s. Smaller guns may not have had rollers, but just slid on pads on the underside of the slide that ran on tracks on the deck.
  10. It is interesting that it has wheels on both ends of the slide. It must have run in circular tracks, or at least in arcs, to allow rotation for aiming. Shipboard pivot guns were very similar. They either had a pivot at the center of the slide and wheels/rollers on the ends that ran in a circular track, or had a pivot at one end with wheels at the other running in an arc track. Smaller guns might not have had wheels or rollers, but just had pads that rotated on greased tracks.
  11. On some late 1800s and early 1900s American schooners there were two heads, port and starboard, just aft of the bow. They were enclosed in boxes placed along the bulwarks. To use them the lid was raised, and closed when not in use. Some schooners had such boxes port and starboard at the fantail. In at least one case (three masted lumber schooner Wawona) the heads were beneath a fo'c'sle deck above the main deck, and had a bulkhead at the aft end of the raised deck for some privacy. The attached photo shows one on the port side - the ship was in bad repair (and was scrapped) and the raised fo'c'sle deck is missing. But you can see one of the deck beams and the short bulkhead.
  12. Mike, Everything I have read says that the diameter of the standing rigging was determined by the forces it was expected to withstand. Because the lowest sails were the largest, and these generated the largest forces on the lower masts, shrouds and stays for the lower masts were larger diameter than those for higher masts with smaller sails. SO yes, I do think that there were many sizes of rigging on real ships. But, schooners carried lighter masts and rigging that the large square riggers, and everything I have seen applies to the larger ships. So we really are left to guess about the topsail schooners. I think your rigging plan is fine. I am not sure what you mean by "collars." Are you referring to are the places where lines are fastened to masts with multiple turns around the mast> I have seen used where the line pulls directly out from the mast. Where the force on ht eline pulls down at a sharp angle "shoulders" were often used. These were either wooden pieces set into the mast that prevented the line from slipping down, or places where the dianeter of the mast was reduced to create the shoulder.
  13. Mike, Here are some references for determining rigging sizes. I haven't yet sorted through them all to determine the rigging sizes for my model. George Biddlecomb's The Art of Rigging, page 117, has 38 pages of detailed information about rigging sizes for a wide variety of ships. The book also gives detailed instructions how to rig ships, spar dimensions, etc. James Lee's The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War, page 185, describes the proportions of rigging to mast diameter. He says "With only a very few exceptions the sizes of both standing and running rigging can be worked out in relation to the size of the appropriate mast stay. The sizes of the stays can be ascertained by comparison with the size of the lower stays which in turn are given in ratio size of the lower masts." If the mast diameter = M Lower stays = 1/2 M Topmast stay = 1/2 the size of the lower stays = 1/4 M Topgallant stays = 1/2 the size of the topmast stays = 1/8 M and so on. He then goes on for five pages describing the remaining standing and running rigging relative to the stays. Harold Underhill's Masting and Rigging of the Clipper Ship and Ocean Carrier, Chapter X, (30 pages), page 244, gives tables and formulas for calculating mast, spar and rigging dimensions. Wolfram zu Mondfeld's Historic Ship Models, page 272, has a relatively short two page table of standing rigging sizes, and page 308 has a two page table of running rigging sizes. These tables are for different periods. They give rigging diameter relative to the thickness of the main stay, which he says is 0.166% of the diameter of the main mast at deck level. I think that must be a typo, maybe 16.6% or 1/6 the diameter of the mast. These proportions are for hemp rigging. Steel rigging was about 33% smaller diameter. If you aren't too anal about the rigging of your model zu Mondfeld's book is a very good reference. Also, note that the "authorities" don't agree about the sizes of rigging. For example, Lee says the lower stays are 1/2 the diameter of the lower masts - 50%. But zu Mondfeld says they are 16.6% the diameter of the mast. That is a huge difference! Biddlecombe and Underhill just list rigging sizes for "characteristic" vessel sizes. I have never seen a model or actual ship with stays half the diameter of the mast. However, stays are often doubled, so each strand need only be half the diameter of a single strand. And often an extra "preventer" is rigged just in case one of the stays fails. Keep in mind the amount of material in a line is not directly proportional to the diameter. The cross section area is = pi times the radius squared. So doubling the radius give four times the area. The diameters of the lines in a doubled stay would need to be only about 70% of the diameter of a single line for the stay. So, using Lee's figures, a single strand of a doubled stay would need be only 35% of the mast diameter. Still, that is more than twice the diameter zu Mondfeld gives! Also, Lloyd's of London produced tables of rigging sizes required for ships they would insure, and this strongly influenced the rigging on vessels. I don't have those tables, but they might be on line somewhere. One of these days, when I get caught up on a bunch of other projects, I will figure out the rigging layout and calculate the rigging sizes for my Baltimore clipper model.
  14. Henry, Thanks for that critique. I have been puzzled by the rigging diagram in the Albatros kit. Some of it didn't make any sense to me (how can you have a fore royal stay when you don't have a royal?), so I decided to look elsewhere for topsail schooner rigging ideas. I really haven't put too much study time into it yet (way too many other things happening right now) so I haven't decided how I will rig my model. Reading thorough Chapelle's books, and especially The Baltimore Clipper and Fincham's rules and Marestier's dimensions of spars listed for real ships, it seems to me that the mast and spar dimensions in the Albatros kit are rather strange. The lower masts are too short for a Baltimore clipper, and the masts are not raked nearly enough. However, the British thought the masts and sails were too large on the American schooners and often cut the mast down a bit on American ships they captured. So the Mantua model may be based upon a British design for a topsail schooner - not exactly a Baltimore clipper, or "Goletta tipica di Baltimora" as the plans say. This is something for Mike to consider. Is he building a European topsail schooner or an American Baltimore clipper?

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