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Young America - extreme clipper 1853 Part 1 - Decisions I took most of the summer deciding whether I would undertake another ship model and if so, what the scope and subject would be. I had a lot of time to think about this while catching up on neglected home maintenance and repair projects. After deciding that I needed the challenge of another ambitious project, the decisions on scope and subject kept me busy through July. I also had to decide whether I could commit to another Naiad-like build log. We shall see. I received a number of suggestions on subjects and that input is most appreciated. Since I expect this project to span a number of years, the decision was a big one. I have enjoyed wrestling through the process of deciding. I had a number of criteria: 1) significant design/drafting content, 2) fully-framed construction to further explore my interest in structures, 3) a change from the well-trod path of fully-framed 18th Century Royal Navy subjects, 4) avoiding commonly modeled ships, and 5), I thought it was time to do an American ship. Before focusing on the extreme American clippers, I considered, among many other possibilities, a 19th Century American warship, perhaps steam-sail, and looked seriously at some of the ships by John Lenthall, built locally at the Philadelphia Navy Yard – examples: Germantown (sail), Princeton (screw/sail), Susquehanna (paddle/sail). In the end, the idea of the extreme clipper was too attractive to dismiss. To me, this type represents an apex of achievement in wooden sailing ship design and construction – in terms of sleek hull lines, sailing performance, structural development and sheer beauty. In the design of the extreme clippers, minimum tradeoffs were made to the one paramount design parameter - achieving the shortest sailing times between far-flung ports. Speed meant not only sleek hull lines and a spread of canvas, but also the strength to withstand continuous hard driving, day-in, day-out. After deciding on the clipper – and an American (meaning all wood) clipper - I chose the work of William H. Webb of New York. It would have been easier to select something from his more popular competitor, Donald McKay, but McKay’s ships built at East Boston, have long been widely modeled – Staghound, Flying Cloud, Lightning and others. McKay’s papers do include substantial structural detail – very tempting. Webb, too, has left papers, and these have been explored, with information published in the secondary sources I have used. There are many gaps, but there is a family resemblance in details to all these ships and many practices and scantlings were commonly adopted. Webb presented more of a challenge – in more ways than one – as I will describe later. Of Webb’s ships, I chose Young America, built in 1853, his last extreme clipper. Less is known about her construction than some of his others, so the task of piecing her structure together is more interesting. I will discuss this, the ship, and the extreme clipper era in the next posts. Below is a photo of Young America, docked at San Francisco, a frequent port of call for her. She was built mainly for the East Coast to California trade. In the picture she is rigged with double topsails - a modification from her original single topsail rig. There are also some paintings of her. She was considered Webb’s masterpiece – one of his twelve clippers in a list that included renowned ships like Challenge, Comet, Invincible, Flying Dutchman – all of these examples being 200 to 240 feet in length. YA enjoyed a thirty-year career that included fifty passages around Cape Horn. She set a number of sailing records and earned a ton of money for her various owners – and for those who made money betting on passage times. In 1883 she left Philadelphia carrying 9200 barrels of Pennsylvania case oil, cleared Delaware Bay and was never heard from again. The model may be fully rigged. I will decide later. With the hull length involved (240’) the scale is likely to be 1:72, but that is not yet cast in stone. Structural drawings are well along and I expect to start construction later in September. I hope these posts will be of interest and perhaps draw some attention to this somewhat neglected modeling genre. Ed
The last production of Gemma 1863 is nearing completion, but due to the limited space at home, which is occupied by a large number of tools, it will be difficult to store when finished; So stop the rigging for a moment and start work on a new theme, Young America 1853. This is also one of the five all in house sailboats I plan to build in the future; I only bought the first two copies of this book, and appreciate that the author's good subject matter can be shared with you, hopefully through my craft, to recreate the brilliance of the original work.Thank you for your attention，Also wish to give positive advice。
Young America 1853 – POB 1:96 Part 1 The 1:72 framed model of Young America will be on semi-hold for the next month or so, while I do further research and prepare drawings for the remaining work to complete the model. Since I have been working in parallel on a smaller 1:96 POB version of Young America, I decided to include some of that work in a separate build log. I do not yet know how far I will take this model. It has been built as a demonstration model for Volume I of the Young America book, which includes substantial information – text, pictures, drawings, patterns - for building this smaller, simpler model. I included this to address interests of beginning scratch builders and/or those not wanting to build the fully framed version. In developing methods for constructing this model, I wanted to think of this as a stairway on the learning curve to upright, framed modeling, like that used on Naiad, YA, Alfred, the popular Swan Class types, and others featured on this site. Although the hull framing for the POB model is much simpler, the methods described for setting and aligning bulkheads are very similar to those used on the larger framed version – and like those used in the real shipyards. These methods differ somewhat from common forms of POB modeling. I hope this different approach will be of value to some modelers. Like my other build logs, this will be an overview of progress and general description of methods - not a detailed tutorial. I leave that to the book. So, with that introduction, I will start with some preparations. The first picture shows the model shipway constructed for the POB model – next to the larger version. This photo was taken last November, shortly after deciding to incorporate a POB version in the book. The shipway is much simpler – no T-tracks and made from a melamine coated particle board shelf. The shipway plan is also simpler and geared to setting bulkheads instead of square, half and cant frames. The next picture shows the “spine” on which the bulkhead assemblies will be set. Stud bolts are being installed that will attach it to the shipway and later serve as hold-down bolts. The spine is not a keel and does not replace the keel. A fully detailed keel assembly will be fit under this later. This is merely a device on which to align bulkheads. It is thick enough for that purpose and initially extends well beyond the hull. The next picture shows the spine bolted down and the studs trimmed to size. The picture also shows simple, homemade squares that can be clamped to the shipway as shown. The next picture shows the midship bulkhead set on the spine. The bulkhead is cut from 3/32”, aircraft grade plywood, from the pattern shown. The pattern is an early version – note the pasted-on ID. Other detail was later added to the final patterns. The bulkhead includes the toptimbers. These were sided 9” (3/32” at 1:96). The high quality plywood will allow these to be finish sanded and painted, eliminating the need for separate toptimbers. Pine spacers, cut from ¾” stock, provide the primary strength in the hull assembly. These are cut to widths that match the spacing between bulkheads. In the next picture two of these are being fitted to the midship bulkhead. Most frames have four of these that fill the space between the plywood bulkheads. When faired to the outsides of the bulkheads, the spacers will provide a smooth, flat planking surface as well as great strength to the assembly. More on these spacers in the next part. Ed