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Aegean Tserniki vessel by Thanasis - rigged as penna. - Finished

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Hi mates.

Starting a new model by the end of last summer, I had the drawings of a hull and short of a photo. The drawings were giving me the lines of a hull while the photo, taken in 1927, was showing rather the shape of the real boat.

It was a Tserniki vessel being anchored among others, at the port of Mytilene Island (N.E. Aegean Sea) and I thought these would be enough for a good start.

Some for the history… Tserniki was a double ended vessel with a straight stem post, leaning forward. Its name might comes from the Turkish vessel “Tsikirne” or from a vessel used on the Danube which was called “Cernik” or “Cirnik”. However it appears to have been used extensively by Greeks and in many other versions. (Different angles of the stem post or even with a stern counter)

Tserniki vessels were mainly built by shipwrights of the Eastern Aegean islands and coastal towns of Asia Minor and were used as small transport vessels or fishing boats.

Although I had no any rigging plan and the photo was showing nothing more than a single mast, I took the challenge, seeking also the joy of a further research…







... :) Thanks

Edited by Thanasis
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This would be very interesting Thanasi. I have the excellent book "Greek traditional shipbuilding" by Kostas Damianidis and I will definitely build a trexantiri some time. I am also looking forward to the results of your research, there is I feel very little written information on the subject.

Best regards


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Thank you all.

Vadoc you are right . I have also the book you're mentioning and the author (we are known) is cites more at Gr. shipbuilding, classifying the penna sail-rigging (bermuda rigging) as a lateen one (?).

I've been always attracted by penna rig and through my amateur research, I think I have come in good results.

But one thing at a time...  :)
Edited by Thanasis
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I redrew the plans of the hull at the size of the model I wanted to built, using the extreme method of pencil and paper...

I drew the lines of the false keel and the positions of the frames.






I cut the false keel and the frames from plywood, while I cut strips of beechwood for the planking.

I had chosen the “planking on bulkheads” method and I started building the hull with only one layer of planking.

The hull was going to be built up to the level of deck, placing later the final keel, stem and stern-post.


















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Nice hull shape and a good start.



Every build is a learning experience.


Current build:  SS_ Mariefred


Completed builds:  US Coast Guard Pequot   Friendship-sloop,  Schooner Lettie-G.-Howard,   Spray,   Grand-Banks-dory

                                                a gaff rigged yawl,  HOGA (YT-146),  Int'l Dragon Class II,   Two Edwardian Launches 


In the Gallery:   Catboat,   International-Dragon-Class,   Spray

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Planking was continued by the traditional way...








The stem and stern-post were set.






After a good filing the surface became quite smooth.

















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Wow, your hull looks very good! I like how clean the plank-stem junction is, I spend a week trying to get this result myself and then gave up. 

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Thanks for the comment Vaddoc. 

I don't know what happened to your try but I really never had such a problem, even with a curved stem.

You might be using thinner planks than I do.



In any case allow me to show you what I do.

Planking the hull, I bring the edges of the planks as close they can be at the prow and stern.

Preparing the surface to receive the stem, I draw two pencil lines next to the either side of the axis of the prow and at the size as the thickness of the stem. That space between the lines I flatten it, following the proper shape (straight or curved) and taking much care not to go out of those lines.

Small repairs are made by white glue and  sawdust.





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Margin plates-false frames and gunwales were set. (I know, I know... but there’s a lack of photos.) 








At this point and before the formation of the deck, I had to find more details about the penna rigging.

My search was continuous in collections and forums, looking for old b/w photos of the area in which that rigging has been developed (ports-historical events of NE Aegean up to western coasts of Black Sea).

What I found, in a combination with a few notable points in the photo of the real boat, convinced me that she was rigged as penna.

The leaning backwards mast with a sail folded on it and a small shadow of a stem, I considered them as good clues.



So, at that time early 1900's according to some information of books and the photos I have found, there seem to be two versions of penna rigging.

I think you can see the differences.





To be continued...

Edited by Thanasis
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So at that time as you can see, penna rigging was consisted mainly by a big triangular sail attached either on a leaning backwards mast, or on a leaning backwards antenna, which in its turn was hanging from a typical mast.

The version with the antenna was the older (first) one since there are sources claiming that it was brought in Mediterranean Sea by the Arabs and was first adopted by the Turks. Thus the title of another similar drawing as “Osmanli cektirmesi ” (Ottoman work-boat) referring rather to the type of the boat “çektirme tekne”.  

post-617-0-67896800-1432970806.jpg... post-617-0-97329800-1432970948.jpg


Back to early 1900’s…Although until the end of the century the “on the mast” version was used by the Greeks, in some photos of NE Aegean ports, those two versions appear side by side.

However we can't specify the nationality of those seamen, since at that turbulent time, Islands and boats had changed ownership but also because of the trade between the two coasts, that was kept.



I decided to follow the “on the mast” version on my model and so my search turned to that direction.

New photos determined the formation of the deck…





Edited by Thanasis
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What was strange but attractive in that rigging, was a kind of boom, which was holding the external edge of the mainsail.

This “half-boom pole” was attached on a stem towards the stern, while it was also supported by a construction known from other vessels, which was called as “bridge”.




Measuring all available drawings and photos in proper angle, I found that the position of the stem varies from 2/3 to 3/4 of the length of the boat, while the length of the “half-boom pole” is about the half of the boat’s length.

In addition I had the information that according to the Greek book “About ships’ rigging” of 1919, for the typical version of penna (normal boom), the mast was usually placed at the 1/3 of the length of the boat and in an angle of 10°-15° towards the stern.

Then I felt ready to go on.



Edited by Thanasis
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Beautiful boat Thanasis. Any thoughts as to why this kind of rigging evolved? It does not look much simpler than a standard boom although probably it allows more space on the deck when not sailing.

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Thank you all.

Vaddoc that’s a good question…

Certainly more free space on the deck must be the first reasonable explanation.

But having been dealing with this rigging, I have come to another possible theory.


Starting from the joint of the “half-boom” with the stem, we can see that this was not something special...Just a metal dowel attached at its one end, which was passing through a ring (tube) at the top of the stem. This was giving the ability for certain and limited movements-maneuvers.



In all photos showing those vessels sailing, this “half-boom” stays secured on the “bridge”, which should be both considered as immovable….



Again from photos, I found that there were two kinds of rigging for the “half-boom”, assuming for different sizes of vessels.

I consider both kinds just only as securing lines, rather than tackles to handle the “half-boom” in sailing. 



I have also noticed that the sheet line of the sail, usually appears just holding the clew, going through the edge of the boom although some times appears also as a part of let’s say it “boom traveler”.



So in conclusion and without being a sailor, I think there was no need for a typical boom (would be a long and heavy with additional rigging) just only a pole (boom) to keep the sail extended from the stern. The handling of the sail was being made by loosing or pulling the proper lines-ropes (in this case the sheet line, instead of moving the boom).

See the below photo. The vessel is in state of reefing, having lowering the top of the sail.

There were no reefing points, guessing in an absence of a typical boom.





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After the theory, some progress…

So, making a summary, I had to build…

A windlass for the anchor. Even at that time was already in use the pump handle windlass, I chose to make a simple one, since some of those vessels didn't have at all.


A coach-roof and a small hatch.


A cargo hatch.


The stem for the “half boom” and some bitts.


A decoration board for the poop deck.


The “κάτσουλα” (katsoula). A peculiar wooden piece that used to be formed by the shipwrights at the upper end of the stern of Tserniki vessels, connecting that way the two sides of the gunwales.


Two options of a tiller.


Some metal work…rudder hinges- chaineplates-cleats.











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I can see that having a fixed boom would make sailing simpler. Was there a centerboard or keel weight? It looks there is enough sail area to cause problems

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From what I have read, the centerboard method was never used in Greek shipbuilding at the era of sails. In contrary a keel weight (from stones) was a common practice, almost in every type of Gr. hulls-vessels.

I’m almost sure that Tserniki vessels rigged as penna, should have keel weight, which in a combination with its draught (pretty much great), was giving the necessary stability.

As about a fix boom I can only guess that, alike the bowsprits in many Gr. vessels, this “half-boom” was also chosen to be constructed as movable, facing that way the traffic congestion in some ports, or to have the ability (by moving them) to approach (with prow or stern) narrow docks.




Edited by Thanasis
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So, placing all  fittings on the model I had a first impression on how it was going to be…






And a closer look on some details.



Decoration board


Bridge- "Katsoulas"- tiller- rudder



I have forgotten to mention that the scale it’s 1:24





Edited by Thanasis
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Painting phase...Long and time consuming...

Even a Gr boat, I wanted to give her also an oriental character, since the interaction between the two Nations was continuous.

After many combinations I came up to this...






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Beautiful paint job on a beautiful hull.



Every build is a learning experience.


Current build:  SS_ Mariefred


Completed builds:  US Coast Guard Pequot   Friendship-sloop,  Schooner Lettie-G.-Howard,   Spray,   Grand-Banks-dory

                                                a gaff rigged yawl,  HOGA (YT-146),  Int'l Dragon Class II,   Two Edwardian Launches 


In the Gallery:   Catboat,   International-Dragon-Class,   Spray

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This is amazing work Thanasi. I feel the green monster of envy poking my side. :P

Some more detailed photos would certainly help us poor amateurs, however you do it it certainly works

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Thank you all for your comments-likes.

Vaddoc You are not a "poor amateur" and you know it (I have seen the way you work)...

I don't like to take many photos while I work for many reasons.. 

It takes time-I have many back and forth but most of all I consider myself as "an example to avoid". post-617-0-31161900-1433484386.gif  :)

Wait to see...

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top paint job--- super use of traditional looking paint shades and patterns :)


HMAV Bounty 'Billings' completed  

HMS Cheerful - Syren-Chuck' completed :)

Steam Pinnace 199 'Billings bashed' - completed

HMS Ledbury F30 --White Ensign -completed 😎

HMS Vanguard 'Victory models'-- completed :)

Bismarck Amati 1/200 --underway  👍




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Thank you all.


Before I start the rigging, I had to prepare some details…

I had noticed that, all of these penna rigged boats had their two forestays attached in the mast by the use of two hearts. So to be accurate I had to build those all four thimbles...

At this scales...ouch.



But it wasn’t only this...

Some of the boats in photos appear having baggywrinkles attached on the last, towards to the stern, shrouds. So I had to add also two of those in the list…




I had some ideas on how to make thimbles (e.g. to bend a thick needle of a syringe and then file the outer side) but I decided to go with something easier…

So I took a piece of cable in a proper diameter and leaving the wires inside, I removed some of it (a peel)…Then I removed the wires and took a piece of the damaged cable.  In fact now I had a tube which has been opened at its length.

Then all I had to do was to bend this tube, leaving the groove at the outer side of it and from which the thread was going to pass making a loop.



I prepared four of those thimbles and attached the two of them on the mast.




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Baggywrinkles came out easily.

Although I had made some experiments in the past, this time I followed something different.

So I made them by folding a piece of a Velcro tape, (the piece with the loops) over a small tube (e.g. from a cotton swab) and the use of ca glue.

For those who are going to try this method, cut a piece of Velcro at a length as close to the perimeter of the small tube. You will cut the extra length afterwards.

Then leave the tube to be strong glued on the edge of the Velcro tape and then start the folding, using the ca glue and making small progress every time.



And some progress on Mast-"half boom"-Jib boom.







Ps: Sorry for my English...





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Multiple seizings are also prepared.

False seizings of course...Either from glued thread or wire, makes no difference in cheating... :P



Some of the rigging phase.










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Thank you all but be ready for another (likely) disturbing tip of mine... :) 

Belaying pins...

How many and with what cost?

I read in market about 2,50 € (2,78 $) price per about 20 pieces.! Really...?

How about 1,50 € ((1,67 $) per 60 pieces...


From a low cost shop I just bought a hairbrush with plastic pins (1,50 €).

See the outcome in photos…



So, the belaying pins were placed and


I was ready to set sails…


Edited by Thanasis
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