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As I am moving into the details of deck furniture, deck houses, and the poop and forecastle decks in Galilee, it occurred to me that I had no idea whether the main deck in a basic sailing merchant ship extends the full length of the hull, including under the poop and forecastle decks. The remains of Galilee's bow at Benicia Historical Museum suggest that the main deck was planked all the way to the stem. But what about at the stern? Galilee had a low poop deck about 4 feet above the main deck surrounding the aft end of the main cabin (see photo below). The helm and main boom traveler were located right aft and the companionway to the captain's cabin was via a short stairway from the poop deck to the cabin deck, which appears to be at the main deck level. So, did the main deck planking continue aft to the fantail under the poop deck?


I found a photo of the lumber schooner C. A. Thayer in San Francisco during her recent renovation showing what appears to be workers standing on the main deck while reinstalling the aft cabin and constructing the poop deck framing (see bottom photo). Would this be typical of merchant vessels c. 1900? If so, what was the dead space under the poop deck used for? Was this part of the lazarette space?





Edited by CDR_Ret
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No actual data, but:


Raising the level of the after deck by 4 feet would give more head room below.  Having full deck framing at 4foot layers would add weight to the aft area to no good purpose.  A cabin below whose deck could be 4 feet higher would provide storage space below that deck - either as a crawl space, or the cabin floor could be hatch covers.

NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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Back in the days of the galleon,when there was a very pronounced rise in the shear line.  The gun deck would have a dropped area aft, creating a lower section that would allow the guns to be more on an even level.  The area was called the gun room.  Later this area was taken over by the mates and officers for berthing.


Basically, your 4 foot rise in the poop deck could correspond with a 4 foot step down in the deck below giving you a full 8 feet of headroom for a cabin.



Laissez le bon temps rouler ! 



Current Build:  Le Soleil Royal

Completed Build Amerigo Vespucci

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Thanks for the input, but I serendipitously obtained my answer from a completely unexpected source yesterday.


Last week, I began a series of inquiries with the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park (one of the parks under the auspices of the National Park System, or NPS) which houses the stern of the Galilee as an outside exhibit at Fort Mason. In the process of asking about the feasibility of having someone from the local modeler's group do some direct measurements on the stern (there wasn't), NPS informed me that they were finalizing the production of a file of Galilee for entry into the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) maintained by NPS. The engineer involved sent me draft copies of all the plans he is developing of the stern as well as a full history of the vessel from construction to present. This was truly a windfall of information. One key drawing is an elevation cross-section of the stern, which clearly shows the main deck extending to the transom, as well as the poop deck above it. The narrow space between the decks was used as a lazarette. The main deck also had a hatch to the lower afterpeak area above the keel.


So this is another piece of data to aid in reconstructing the vessel. Even though the main cabin no longer exists, it's pretty clear it rested on the main deck as with the C.A. Thayer. The poop deck was provided only to elevate the steering station so the helmsman could see over the cabin and to make main spar sheet tackle more accessible.




P.S. Since the NPS drawings are only drafts, I felt it would be inappropriate to post them here until they are publicly released.

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