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In order for me to understand better the rigging practices for cutters of the 18th Century, I wrote to the National Maritime Museum asking if I could see some of the cutter models they have in storage, now that they no longer have a model display at the Museum in Greenwich. Nick Ball, the Assistant Curator of Ship Models, wrote back very quickly saying that I would be welcome to visit and could see all of the models I had requested which are now stored at the Royal Historic Dockyard in Chatham -- except for one which was stored in another location less accessible to the occasional visitor. He, together with Dave Lindridge the Store Manager, gave me a very generous amount of time to look at and photograph the models that they had taken out for inspection – during which they provided a lively discussion about their jobs and the models they were showing. In fact Nick said he was pleased to show visitors the models because it gave him more of an opportunity to review models in their vast collection. I asked Nick about permission to post my pictures and he told me it was fine as long as I made it clear the pictures were from the NMM collection. He also asked to be provided to the links of the photos as he himself (as a trained naval archaeologist) was very keen on the details and would enjoy any discussion that ensued. I will post the photos of the individual models under different messages, this post deals only with the first of the models. I just need to add that I am enormously grateful to Nick and Dave for their patience and generosity with their time for this visit, which for me was invaluable. 1763 cutter NMM ID SLR0510 First off is their cutter referenced in the NMM as Object ID SLR0510. It is described there as “a full hull model of a cutter (circa 1763) Scale: 1:48. The vessel measures 53 feet on the main deck by 20 feet in the beam and is armed with twelve 3-pounders. The model was donated unfinished and was completed in the Museum in 1960”. For me there were four main points of interest, apart from the fact that it is dated the same year as my Sherbourne. The first is that the fore belaying pins are arranged fore-aft beside the bowsprit. Gregor, Dirk, Kester and I have been trying to figure out how the belaying pins would be set given that the kit of the Sherbourne provides no plans for such a belaying rack. Each of us have provided our own particular possibility – with Dirk going for an arrangement such as that on the AOTS book of the Alert, and Gregor going for a rack right on the stem. I had made a rack that was parallel to the windlass. However, now I have seen the arrangement on the NMM cutter SLR0510, and, as you will see, the 12-gun cutter I saw had the same arrangement, I have changed my own rack accordingly. The second is that the topmast is fore of the main mast. I had understood that earlier in the century the practice was to place the topmast aft of the main mast. In fact the cutter Hawke (which I also saw at Chatham and whose pictures follow in a subsequent post) was the only one of these models to place the topmast aft of the main mast. The third point of interest was the windlass. The original NMM plans for the Sherbourne showed this type of windlass, and Gregor has already made one in the same style, and I followed his example – rather than following the type of windlass provided for in the Sherbourne kit. The fourth point of interest is that, like the Trial that you'll see in a subsequent post, the lower hull is painted up to the wales, and not to a waterline. The following were the other pictures I took of the1763 cutter, all of which will have details which will be picked up by those more knowledgeable than I am! Tony