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Attaching Sails on swift 1805

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Good evening all

How do i attach the sails on my swift, to the masts and and jib stay.

The kit shows using unjoined rings put through the bolt rope, and placed around the mast

and stay. Looks a bit yuk to me.

Thanks Chris

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In 1805 all sails would have a boltrope sewn all around the edge of each sail, literally sewn onto the edge. Included here is a photo of some sailors sewing a boltrope onto a sail. Note the size and color of the boltrope.

At points where the sail would be attached to the ship or lines attached to the sail, holes called grommets would be sewn just inside the boltrope ( a small hole made in the canvas with a ring of smaller line sewn onto the hole- as if the hole itself had its own bolt rope. Here is a photo of a sailmaker sewing grommets, you can see they are not very big. Also note they are about a foot apart from each other and very close to the boltrope. If the sail is laced onto a spar along its length, there were most often two grommets per panel of sail cloth, each panel 24" wide so grommets intended for lacing are a foot apart as can be seen in the photo.

 At the corners of the sail, often a grommet was not strong enough so the boltrope itself was formed into an eye and seized with small stuff to form an eye strong enough to handle the load.  

On a model, the gromets are too small to represent and you can simply sew through the sail material you are using with a needle and thread. Boltropes on a model are best glued on, not sewn. Sewn on model  boltropes do not look realistic in my opinion since you can never get the scale of the sail twine right, but people do often sew them on though in an attempt to represent full scale practice. But look at the boltrope near the sailors arm in the second photo: even at this distance you can NOT see the sailtwine used to sew the boltrope in place, it is buried deep in each score of the boltrope.

Depending on the scale of your model, you can ignore most of this information and simply glue your sails where they are supposed to go. But if you look at contemporary reproduction sailing vessels you will see the lacing is visible and even if you don't actually lace the sails on literally, it is a nice touch to wrap lacings onto the spar before you glue the sail into position and this fools the eye into believing the sail is really laced on.



Edited by JerseyCity Frankie




 Niagara USS Constitution 


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A sail could be held to the mast with wooden hoops or with rope, both would use grommets as described above.  The rope could be fastened (perhaps with an eye splice) through a grommet, passed around the mast and fastened to the next grommet.  The setup would be repeated for the next pair of grommets and so on up the sail.  I don't like the round and round lashing you see sometimes, if the sail is intended to travel up and down on the mast.  You need a way to keep the rope from tightening up and jamming.

On a stay, hanks at each grommet could be used if the sail is to travel on the stay.


This is a handle on a cauldron, but the basic shape is correct.  It would be twisted so the large ring was at right angles and the two rings at the ends lined up to be lashed to the grommet.


This is a sail with hanks ready to be furled.  Pull on the uphaul (right) to set the sail.

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Thanks JCFrankie Great photos, I am going to put (attempt) attaching bolt ropes and was wondering about
just using glue. I had seen that grommets were used, but i will try to put eyes & cringles in the bolt rope as i put it on.
It was a matter of whether to use lacing or some sort of metal ring.
I think this is what you are talking about jbshan. A bit tricky to make I but could just

make a ring like that and tie it.    Errrrr maybe, will think about it.



Thanks again  Chris

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Here is a small clipping from a sketch I made for my club newsletter.  It is based on an old magazine article.  I think it shows the final shape and lashing to the sail.



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