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10th-11th century Byzantine dromon by Louie da fly - 1:50

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4 hours ago, cog said:

Dick,

 

with reference to you statement:

Without these wedges at deck level, the strain on the mast foot would lead to early failure.

 

How do you explain the fact that the wedges were sometimes taken out to increase speed? At least that is something I read about ... (unfortunately age didn't help me remembering where)

 verrry interesting! I have not heard that. Can anyone clarify this? The wedges were solidly hammered in and woolded. It would be no mean feat to take them out and replace them for an extra knot or two even if the mast did not go by the board. Keel-haul the captain, I say!:10_1_10:

Cheers, Dick

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It was done in the 1700's (not sure if earlier) to change the rake.  Usually the captain's decision upon taking command and during the first cruise.  However, the wedges were a lot shorter by then and not roped into place.    I imagine it wasn't the easiest thing to do and I doubt it was done at sea.

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HI Steven

 

you asked for comments on wedging the mast at the deck - wedges at the deck are not required if the mast & other parts are strong enough to not need the extra support, the mast can just flex it's full length & will move at the deck level. It doesn't answer your question about whether or not to do it here, but will hopefully assist.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, Dick, Mark  and Mark.

 

I suppose I'll just have to do what seems right. But I think something will need to be done at deck level, because these masts and sails would have imposed pretty strong forces on the vessel.

 

Carl,  I remember removing the wedges being mentioned in Hornblower in the West Indies when Hornblower is an Admiral and his flag captain decides to remove the wedges to speed the ship up in chase of a faster vessel.Hornblower thinks it's unwise, but convention forbids him as Admiral to give a captain advice in the handling of his own ship. Jack Aubrey might have done it, but I think he relied more on cross catharpins.

 

I have no knowledge of it being done in the real world.

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly

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A real world example is that medium & large racing yachts have adjustments to increase or reduce the mast bend. In the case of a fore & aft mainsail this would increase or decrease the fullness of the sail & give more pointing or more power etc. I'm not sure how this could translate to square sails though.

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Hey Steven, I really love your dromon build so far! I went back and read it all from the start! Great research too!

 

I do have some info that might be of interest you. Way back on the first page you were wondering on where the oars would go during battle. Well, in alla sensile galleys in the 15th Century they appear to have just hung loose over the side from their oar loops.

 

Here's a fresco by Spinello Aretino of a battle between alla sensile biremes from Venice and the Holy Roman Empire, dating from 1407-1408 CE (Image from Wikipedia):

Spinello-Battle_of_Punta_San_Salvatore-d

There is also a more realistic painting by Carpaccio from 1497-98 CE, The Return of the Ambassadors, which shows an alla sensile trireme galley at port with her oars hanging loose. It's in the background on the left, quite high res if you click through to the image (Again, sourced from Wikipedia):

Accademia_-_Ritorno_degli_ambasciatori_d

and a detailed closeup of the galley (thumbnail from Getty images, but this is a public domain painting so I think it's ok?):

legend-of-st-ursula-the-return-of-the-am

It seems that pinning the oars up may have only been something done in a scaloccio type galleys with their much larger and heavier multi-man oars. I haven't seen any paintings of alla sensile galleys with their oars pinned up that I can recall.  I'm surprised Age of the Galley doesn't discuss this, their section about alla sensile rowing mechanics. My observations may be wrong though!

 

Perhaps letting oars hang by their oar loops was also common for dromons and earlier single-man-per-oar ships as well? I think this makes sense on some level. As the oars were longer than the ships were wide, part of the oar would always remain outboard if the oars were onboarded during battle. This could leave them vulnerable to being easily snapped by enemy ships making a pass, injuring the crew inside and destroying the oars.  And it would impede movement on the decks with rowers, as you pointed out previously. Oars hanging loose would be moved around by an attacking ship, but be less likely to snap. And then the oarsman could just pick the oar up again to continue rowing. Plus, dropping an oar and ducking is much less involved than trying to maneuver an oar inside a cramped ship.

 

Roman Wreck 1 (a later Roman cargo ship, 4th-5th Century CE) from the Black Sea finds might be of some interest to you as well, as it has a "wing" type support for it's rudders. It may just be a convergent design and not a direct ancestor to the later medieval "wings" in your manuscript drawing, but still might be useful for your build:

 

https://twitter.com/sotonarch/status/1075035578096340994

 

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Posted (edited)

That is really fascinating, Alberto. I'm familiar with both these pictures but hadn't previously noticed the configuration of the oars in either of them. Admittedly, I've only ever seen low-res copies of the Aretino one.

 

If Prof Pryor's calculations are correct (and I'm certainly acting on the basis that they are), the oars are almost exactly as long as the midship breadth of the ship. But pulling them inboard and storing them crosswise would make it completely impossible to move around on the upper deck. Just not an option at all. 

 

Your discovery could be the answer to the dromon's oars, rather than having a separate inboard rack for them facing fore and aft between the oarsmen and the gunwale as I'd planned to do. Age of the Galley doesn't mention this problem, and neither does Age of the Dromon (which, given the thoroughness of the book,  means the original sources don't either.) It's certainly a possible solution, and as the only near-contemporary evidence (only 300 years wrong😉!) I'd be more willing to follow that than try a different solution for which there's no evidence at all.

 

While I was researching the dromon build I got heavily into the mechanics of rowing galleys (naturally enough) and found the characteristics of a scaloccio and alla sensile rowing absolutely fascinating. And in fact it appears that the invention of alla sensile oar arrangement was what spelled the end of the dromon's mastery of the Mediterranean. It meant a galley with the same number of oarsmen (and thus motive power) could be much lighter because there was no need for a second, upper deck. It would make for a considerably faster, and probably more manoeuvrable vessel, with which a two-banked dromon just couldn't compete, and they seem to have vanished from the scene within a century of the appearance of the new rowing method.

 

I've been following the Black Sea discoveries with great interest. I'm avidly awaiting the archaeological reports, but it's likely to be some years before they'll be published. In the meantime, I have to be satisfied with the videos. One of them shows very clearly the through-beam on which the rudders are supported but unfortunately there's not enough detail - at least for me - to be sure how it all works .

 

Thanks for this insight, Alberto. Very illuminating.

 

Steven

 

 

Edited by Louie da fly

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Posted (edited)

As Woodrat pointed out, unfortunately there's a bend in the foremast. It needs to be corrected and I really don't have much confidence that if I straighten it out by heat bending or whatever it will stay straight. In my view the problem lies in the inherent grain of the wood I made it from. So I've decided to re-make it, this time taking the grain into account.

 

I got another piece of walnut and split it with the grain.

20190314_155216.thumb.jpg.bde184e4283d7ca9f2e9b90f7240f6cd.jpg

 

 

Then planed it down roughly square in section, with the line of the mast following the grain of the wood.

20190315_190305.thumb.jpg.07c39ac1d588782fdd165d0ce7233df3.jpg

 

Then carved it roughly octagonal and using a medium file brought it to a circular section. 

20190315_210257.thumb.jpg.beb255eb20ba8bf333fc08cacd1dec2b.jpg

Now I need to bring it down to the correct diameter - 6mm at the base and 4mm at the top.

 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've decided to replace the calcets as part of this procedure. Instead of a single sheave they will have two. The existing after mast is straight so it doesn't need replacing, but I'm going to cut off the existing single-sheave calcet and replace it with a double. One is already made and I'm pretty happy with it. Must be all that practice I've had in making them 😁.

20190315_111426.thumb.jpg.53b391d5508fc8efd69b60cc3392d4ae.jpg

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly

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I've made the replacement foremast - this one is nice and straight (and hopefully will stay that way!) The calcet was made as a separate piece, so I can swivel it round till it's pointing exactly fore and aft when the mast is in place. I've also made a double sheaved calcet for the after mast to replace the single sheaved one it used to have.

20190316_172541.thumb.jpg.dbc22a283d1400c3b2c0fe83a81973cf.jpg

And here are the two masts in place, with the spur, forecastle, side castles and awning structure dry fitted. Nice and straight now.

 

20190316_162658.thumb.jpg.5952b8c839cbdc9a06ade117b52acdad.jpg 20190316_162545.thumb.jpg.87d9198a352a932d13c856740b584328.jpg

Thanks Woodrat for pointing out the crooked mast. More work, but worth it in the long run.

 

Steven

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On 3/14/2019 at 11:38 PM, Louie da fly said:

That is really fascinating, Alberto. I'm familiar with both these pictures but hadn't previously noticed the configuration of the oars in either of them. Admittedly, I've only ever seen low-res copies of the Aretino one.

 

If Prof Pryor's calculations are correct (and I'm certainly acting on the basis that they are), the oars are almost exactly as long as the midship breadth of the ship. But pulling them inboard and storing them crosswise would make it completely impossible to move around on the upper deck. Just not an option at all. 

 

Your discovery could be the answer to the dromon's oars, rather than having a separate inboard rack for them facing fore and aft between the oarsmen and the gunwale as I'd planned to do. Age of the Galley doesn't mention this problem, and neither does Age of the Dromon (which, given the thoroughness of the book,  means the original sources don't either.) It's certainly a possible solution, and as the only near-contemporary evidence (only 300 years wrong😉!) I'd be more willing to follow that than try a different solution for which there's no evidence at all.

 

 

I would tend to think that there would be a method of storage for oars (lengthwise) and probably between the rower's seats.   My reasoning is that under wind power using the sail, there would be a lot of drag from the sails.  Or maybe they just tied them up on the outboard side so they weren't dragging?

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Thanks everybody for the likes and the encouraging comments.

 

Mark, that was my original intention - see my post #19 on the first page of this build log - the cross-section shows a row of vertical posts labelled "oar rack" which would "sandwich" the oars lengthwise between the oarbenches and the side of the vessel. To put them anywhere else would cause a lot of tripping over oars for anyone trying to get to and from the oarbenches.

 

On further consideration, and taking into account also the likelihood that as the upper oarsmen doubled as marines, and if therefore they'd stop rowing and pick up their weapons before contact with enemy vessels, the upper bank of oars would obstruct the lower oars if they were just hanging from the oarstraps,  I think that after all I'll go back to the original idea. 

 

Steven 

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I went back to the artwork in Binho's post.  I'm not so sure those are oars hanging off the side on the upper painting.   I see the loop at the top but nothing that would hold the oar in place on the loop and they seem to hang too straight.  In battle, I would think you'd want the oars protected even it was just by "shipping oars" inward.  

 

The lower one does show them hanging and what appears to be lashings to hold them in place.   That would work well for a harbor where cargo would be loaded and off-loaded.  

 

Where is that time machine???????

 

 

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2 hours ago, mtaylor said:

I see the loop at the top but nothing that would hold the oar in place on the loop and they seem to hang too straight. 

Not only that, but they're hanging not from their normal fulcrum but from the handles. Rather than just being let go and hanging from their pivot point, they seem to have been moved outboard, almost to the end of the oar. As there are no specific oarsmen shown, I guess we have to assume they're the ones doing the fighting. So they've pushed their oars outward and trailed them in the water, and then got stuck into the hand-to-hand fighting. Maybe the vertical oars in the water stabilise the ship in combat?  Other than that I've no explanation for it at all. All seems a little strange.

 

3 hours ago, mtaylor said:

The lower one does show them hanging and what appears to be lashings to hold them in place.   That would work well for a harbor where cargo would be loaded and off-loaded.  

Agreed. That seems to make much more sense than the other picture.

 

How all that applies to dromons, however, is anybody's guess.

 

Steven

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18 hours ago, mtaylor said:

Where is that time machine???????

Right?? :)

 

Yeah, that first fresco doesn't look too accurate. My assumption was that it was just a less detailed attempt to represent what was going on in the second picture. There aren't any thole pins depicted in the fresco, and those oars are a weird shape. 

 

The only text I have access to which talks about what galleys did with their oars is page 200 of The Age of the Galley (which I think you have too Steven?), in the chapter on "Oar Mechanics and Oar Power in Medieval and Later Galleys". The authors are summarizing texts from 17th-18th century French galley masters sailing a scaloccio galleys      , so even further away chronologically from dromons unfortunately. The oars on those were left out while sailing and even in harbor, and were only brought inboard in harbor if the harbormaster said he needed more space. I think you had a picture of this on one of the earlier pages? These were 3-5 men oars though, so much bulkier than on dromons or alla sensile galleys. So yeah, really, who knows?? I do think it's an interesting topic for further research though!

 

What I do know is your dromon is coming along well! I like all the deck structures especially.

 

Alberto

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the likes, and in particular Mark and Alberto for the suggestions. At the moment I'm just going to put the issue of the oars on the back burner, but I think I'll be putting in the "oar racks" as I originally intended to unless I come up with a better explanation/solution for what was done with the upper bank of oars when going into combat.

 

In the meantime, I decided to cut down the parapet behind the lion's head, so the head is more obvious. From Haldon's experiments it's clear that a fair bit of shielding against the heat of the Greek fire was necessary for the siphonator - Haldon's collaborators wore firefighters' outfits or something similar and still complained about the heat. But the lion's head itself should give sufficient shielding where the parapet doesn't.

 

I marked the outline of the lion's head against the parapet:

 

20190321_212836.thumb.jpg.42023622736ea3c5a21f40388460d3d2.jpg

and cut along the curve:

20190323_111437.thumb.jpg.f1f17d21dad78b767dca18443e1bca86.jpg

Then I had three goes at cutting a curved top timber for the parapet. First time it was a little too short and also I cut it from too thin a piece of wood, so it didn't go far enough back to cover the full thickness of the parapet wall.

20190321_212917.thumb.jpg.c9579dcfa32fc434a339b1cbee92380e.jpg

   20190321_214214.thumb.jpg.6e63231c8ef49d47d5e26aa8d395fba1.jpg

Version 2 was going great until I cut it out of the block I was carving it in - and cut it too thin again! Tried gluing it back to the piece I'd cut it away from. Didn't work, of course - there seemed to be a chip missing and I couldn't get it to line up anyway. 

 20190323_111515.thumb.jpg.338dddde401f1719e3f59911f3ddfeee.jpg

Third time worked well - I took my time, glued version 1 to a bit of wood that was definitely thick enough

20190323_111543.thumb.jpg.c6f56fe85280339bca8dabe517526cce.jpg

and using version 1 as a guide carved the concave surface until it matched the top of the parapet smoothly.

20190323_112554.thumb.jpg.c94c3911d6bb808457f129e3554b231c.jpg

Cut version 1 off and continued carving until it was the way I wanted it. And glued it into place.

20190323_114626.thumb.jpg.db516aa307f981d3886c8bb2e4c11af0.jpg 20190323_114621.thumb.jpg.5b78f66eff14bf34d27bd2a4faf99d33.jpg

The lesson to be learnt - take a break when you need to. Don't grit your teeth and go ahead when all you want to do is throw the whole thing against the wall.

 

Now, I thought I should give the evidence for the whole lion's head thing,  It comes from the Alexiad, the biography of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos by his daughter Anna and relates to a naval campaign against the Pisans in 1098-9 AD. 

 

[Emperor Alexios ] knew the Pisans were masters of naval warfare and he feared a sea battle with them. Accordingly, on the prow of each vessel he had the heads of lions and other land animals affixed; they were made of bronze or iron, and the mouths were open; the thin layer of gold with which they were covered made the very sight of them terrifying. The fire to be hurled at the enemy through tubes was made to issue from the mouths of these figure-heads in such a way that they appeared to be belching out fire.

 

It looks to be a one-off occurrence, not by any means usual procedure for dromons. So of course almost all modern dromon models and representations, no matter what century they represent, have animal heads on the siphons - some of them pretty inappropriate, and only rarely those of lions. 

 

Yes I'm putting one as well, but I can justify my decision . . . on the basis that it looks so cool . . . 

 

Steven

 

20190321_212917.jpg

Edited by Louie da fly

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Nice progress there Steven even with the tribulations along the way - and what better excuse to add the Lion's head - cool it is :)

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Posted (edited)

Forecastle all but complete!

 

I got rid of the metal plates I'd put on the front face - they were just too thick and I decided I couldn't live with them. I got the thinner foil from the individual packets my No. 11 scalpel blades came in. Using it was difficult - it takes on all the irregularities of the surface behind it so you have to smooth it out on a totally flat surface and then not let it come into contact too firmly with the planking behind it when you glue it on. So . . . after two unsuccessful attempts I finally got it right.

20190324_194418.thumb.jpg.aa486319416d8f8de4fa0f3f9201165e.jpg 20190325_101454.thumb.jpg.3fcbc8146d5dd90686ff5e6fc42b49de.jpg 20190325_102041.thumb.jpg.ade31d59c18205a1914cf3ed3310df41.jpg 

Trimmed the foil plating and then started on the lion's head. I drilled two holes through it and the parapet behind, and glued bits of wire in the holes in the head with CA to locate it onto the parapet. Initially it refused to sit flat against the planking, and I realised that the surfaces just weren't meshing. I cut away the back of the head to make a concave surface so only the outside edge contacted the parapet, which solved the problem. I also cut away more wood behind the lion's mouth, to make it look more like it was made from sheet metal.  

20190325_181841.thumb.jpg.e7bec7b9c1cca200f7bfc11676f82f95.jpg 20190325_181934.thumb.jpg.d70f6a1cd1cc52936042cbada4723011.jpg

The wires were glued into the holes in the parapet, also with CA, fixing the lion's head into position.

20190325_182223.thumb.jpg.4b798025c7a77a55c83a89884d5f2e8b.jpg

Then I was able to slide the nozzle of the siphon through the lion's mouth and glue the nozzle assembly to the riser pipe. Opening out behind the lion's mouth also gave the nozzle more room to move around, to aim up and down, left and right.

20190325_183432.thumb.jpg.71efdcab12706d64be9929e4e5d1427b.jpg

So there it is. The foil plating needs to be painted to look like bronze and the lion's head needs to be gilded (using imitation gold leaf - I can't justify buying a whole packet of the real stuff to use on such a small job. I'll have to seal the "gold" leaf with varnish to keep it from tarnishing).

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly

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Nice reconstruction Steven.  That scalpel foil does the job nicely; I will have to file that away for the future.

 

Unfortunately, no joy finding that other article yet, but I have not given up just yet.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Thanks everybody for the likes. They are much appreciated.

 

Pat, thanks for the comment. Yes, the foil from the scalpel packets seems to be exactly the right thickness. I've tried other types of foil (kitchen foil, cat food containers, those foil boxes you cook food in, but this is certainly the best I've found for this purpose, though you really have to be careful not to mess up the smoothness of the surface.

 

Regarding that paper, no hurry. (But it would be very nice if you can find it).

 

Steven

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Posted (edited)

I've finished the lashings on the lateen yards. Done with the same technique used for whipping a rope's end and then glued. Loose ends cut off with a scalpel.

20190403_183049.thumb.jpg.62415f17c83f97bfe9d1d427bedd4cd7.jpg 20190403_225335.thumb.jpg.568aa0fbb5ee4d5c2db359254b068173.jpg 

20190404_094525.thumb.jpg.070044e691648f323ee576dd1ac1cc90.jpg20190405_222335.thumb.jpg.bbd3c767718061df213037b0c4c48f8b.jpg

Next I have to work out exactly how to support these yards on the mast. A halyard through the calcet - but should the calcet be abeam (as Prof John Pryor states) or fore and aft (as this picture of Saint Nicholas seems to suggest? And should the halyard simply wrap around the yard, or support it in two places to improve its balance? 

1077268502_SaintNicolasOrphanosc1320Thessaloniki.jpg.a7de2d749e4c29a8f1f481daa8ebedbc.jpg 

And then there's the "truss" holding the yard to the mast once raised. Saint Nick has nothing at all, and most if not all other Byzantine pictures are just as bad. Later mediaeval (Western Mediterranean) pictures sometimes show something that appears to simply be a loop around the mast, as is shown in this 14th century picture

1771231056_C14Bohemond.jpg.3b62ce4a04327bffb986363fa2f7f3d9.jpg

Or this Byzantine one (date unknown)

1312624498_fromTheTreasuresofMountAthosVolII.jpg.8d65a5aa4d5e2a0818d7bb170e02f374.jpg

Or something a little more complex, as in this from the late 13th century.

460459366_VaticanlibraryPalLat.1071f.015r2ndhalfC13.jpg.38fe4d1dd28db42d640a17b12d5fafc5.jpg

However, most mediaeval pictures just leave these details out.

 

Modern Mediterranean pictures aren't all that helpful - mainly because they are modern, and of much smaller vessels. So I've looked at photos of dhows still sailing under traditional lateen rig - at least they were when the photos were taken in the 20th century.

dhow.thumb.jpg.fcbf1cbf4acbcca6ebe76212c705f56f.jpg dhow-aloft_3302541k.jpg.5d7dfb0c1f6622993956b17946b2053b.jpg 

I'd probably be able to get away with a simple loop, but I'm not sure it would be secure. If anybody has any ideas or suggestions I'd appreciate it.

 

Steven


 

Edited by Louie da fly

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Whatever type of truss you choose (and I don't think there are many wrong choices) you need to be able to loosen and tighten the truss with a tackle from deck level. The truss needs to be loosened to allow the yard to fall away from the mast (which is angled forward) so that the yard can be lowered or raised. It also needs to be loosened when the yard is transported around the mast during tacking (see Landstrom). Have you thought about where to put the halyard blocks?

Dick

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Posted (edited)

I dont know if am helping or just polluting your log. Please feel free and just say so... if you need me to remove  the pictures or to add more. Its a dromon made for the Greek Post Office -now its already a stamp- by a greek modeller.

20190406_083959.jpg

20190406_083845.jpg

20190406_083946.jpg

20190406_083731.jpg

20190406_084940.jpg

Edited by MESSIS

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Hi Steven, I seem to recall that you said that these craft used the sails downwind & not upwind...? If that is what they did, I'd assume the lateen yard will lie more often across the hull than in line. Is the main issue then: which calcet direction gives the best lead for the halyard? Perhaps a mock-up might help resolve this. 

 

On the question of the support & balance of the yard & sails, if the issue is controlling the yard angle when hoisting or lowering, then I would be pretty sure you can control the angle of the yard by the sail itself, a hefty person or ten holding the right part of the sail & they would have quite good control of the yard as it raises or lowers. Under sail there would be control lines to adjust the angle - in the sepia coloured photo you included there appears to be two ropes tied to the yard, one forward of the mast & one aft. The forward one is tight & the aft one is loose, it looks like they are being used to control or support the yard angle when sailing... such a long & slender spar too.

 

I hope these comments help, 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks everyone for the likes and thanks particularly to Dick, Christos and Mark.

 

Dick, thanks for the advice on trusses. I'm really a babe in the woods regarding this stuff and very much feeling my way. I'd been thinking of having the  halyard blocks behind the mast with the tackle running aft to the deck. Which is why I've so far been thinking of having the calcet sheaves running fore and aft. 

 

Christos, you're welcome to add stuff. Sometimes such things can lead to new insights which would otherwise not have happened. I don't agree with everything about this interpretation, but I find their treatment of the forecastle in particular very interesting.

 

Mark, if the yards are most of the time across the hull, I expect the fore and aft calcet would work best. Having now seen quite a few photos and a fair bit of footage of lateeners under sail, the yard is often crosswise, and often almost horizontal rather than angled, something you never seem to see in the reconstruction pictures, but which seems to come up a fair bit in contemporary pictures, which rather reinforces the idea that they may be accurate representations.

1073463840_HomiliesofGregorytheTheologiangr_510f_19c.880ADdetail.jpg.3a5b35d035283d406981f051373ad5e2.jpg 196223353_c.1290northItalyMSm459f_22r.jpg.a2a4348e02e6500aba80a9b71dc21dec.jpg Tnzania.jpg.8cbed97f83e6f7d757887a005c5da3f8.jpg 2119177220_LakeVicoria.jpg.5d7ae403d2b80d5ab9cb2f22d1c80ea0.jpg

Gotta love the patchwork sail on the last one . . . 

 

Here's the kind of thing I'm thinking of when a two-masted dromon is before the wind.

1734299941_1332Lorenzetti_Amrogio_saint-nicolas-miraculously-filling-the-holds-of-the-ships-with-grain-_1332.jpg.e89672ea71ff6870fe70037cc5de8554.jpg 91907431_barq_leman_savoiegoosewing.jpg.36b9343a7fe956405e0fd4e8242d22de.jpg 1356965287_LakeLemangoosweing.jpg.5e8c16aba1b09e6583a1e5c4d7e88699.jpg

I don't know about anyone else, but this goosewinging of the sails really appeals to me.

 

Steven

 

Edited by Louie da fly

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Thank you Steven for your comment. And I do understand you, by not agreing with this interpretation... actually I have seen in his  book, the same one,  a bireme and a trireme of which am familiar with and I as well didnt completely agreed  with those interpretations, although again official post office stamps were made out of those models. Still -as you said - its always interesting looking other approaches, it can sometimes add to our thoughts and widen our imagination on the models we are working on.

 

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Posted (edited)

+1 for the 'goosewing' sails, looks cool :)

 

I was doing some unrelated research, and completely by accident I stumbled on an Italian website that may be of interest to your lateen sail/yard dilemma. This website has hundreds of drawings of traditional ships and boats, mainly from the 1800-1900's but some earlier. Unfortunately, the images can't be embedded so you'll have to click through.

 

Here are some sail positions of a small Spanish lateen rigged vessel from the 19th century. Maybe this is common knowledge on here, but was new to me :) Drawings progress from close hauled, to full downwind. A bido describes when the sail is in front of the mast, don't know the english term. Yard was horizontal when wind is coming from behind - looks very much like what is going on in your paintings!: https://www.cherini.eu/etnografia/BEU/slides/BE_873.html

 

He also has some detailed close ups of how the yard was fixed on to the mast on Catalan vessels: https://www.cherini.eu/etnografia/BEU/slides/BE_887.html

 

And also on small-medium (~15m/30 tons) sized 19th century Ligurian trading vessels of the leudo type: https://www.cherini.eu/etnografia/Italia1/slides/023 Leudo.html

 

EDIT: Even better, a simplified version of the above showing exactly what was going on: https://www.cherini.eu/etnografia/Italia1/slides/032 Liguria - leudo rivano - bozzelli - trozza.html

 

I suggest looking through his galleries, might be a lot more useful info that I missed! Even just for fun, they are great drawings :)

Edited by Binho

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