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Thinking things through: The mysterious holes in the rudder, rudder lift?


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A while ago we had a nice discussion about sone holes in Constitution´s rudder.


 

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popeye2sea gave some nice detail shots:

 


post-182-0-30491600-1439281645.jpg

 

post-182-0-40734900-1439281694.jpg

 

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Best guess for the holes was so far to be for heaving in and out the rudder, also to be able to relieve the pintles.

 


In the Deutschen Museum in Munich I discovered a small detail ...

 

Muenchen-Lichter2573.jpg

 

Muenchen_Lichter2591.jpg

 

... and found it too on the Ewer Maria :-)

 

There was a roll included as the rudder had to be lifted more frequently.

 

Muenchen-150809_2664-Ewer.jpg

 

Muenchen-150809_2664-Ewer.jpg

 

Looking deeper in NMM ...

 

...  the pictures of the remains of the rudder of the wreck of the Royal George, with the holes on similar places as Constitution.

 

post-182-0-03105700-1439281629_thumb.jpg

 

post-182-0-11438500-1439281596_thumb.jpg

 

PAD7942 und PAD 5957

 

On the pictures that I know of the rudder of St. George in Thorsminde it is not to be seen due to the quality, does anybody has good pictures of this rudder?

 

Cheers, Daniel

Edited by dafi
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A means to lift the rudder clear when required makes good sense. The only other method would be to pass a line under the sole. The hole appears to be at little below waterline level in the Royal George example. (That upper hole in the perspective sketch looks to be from erosion or other damage.) The two holes in Constitution's rudder are so near the sole they could only be used when dry-docked.

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Those holes are too undersized to lift from, don't believe there were many grade 8 bolts in those days, even if there were, there would be danger of pulling through if the rudder was tilted during lifting. There is no visable evidence of any plates having ever been secured to the rudder using those holes, so the lifting sorces could be spread out. I suspect those holes are nothing more than what remains of the attempt to repair holes cut for core samples. Samples needed to deturming the condition of the rudder itself during a rebuild. Must have been found sound, so not replaced at the time of drilling but the poor patch probably has allowed the rudder to reach to point of  needing replacement today.  Maybe part of the Keel Hauling Rig? :rolleyes:

jud

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Mike from our german forum just provided a picture of St. Georges rudder, lost in start of December 1811 and now on display in Thorsminde.

 

It shows the same kind of holes as the Constitution, even in the same places and the aft hole lower.

 

post-182-0-12029400-1439313801.jpg

 

To much findings about this item to be a sheer coincidence imho :-)

 

XXXDAn

Edited by dafi
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Greetings Folks,

 

The holes in Connie's rudder look like they were made with a fireman's ax, pick ax, you name it. In my opinion, if those holes were there for a purpose they would have been uniform in diameter and probably sleeved. Sometimes, a hole is just a hole. I tend to agree with Jud - maybe they wanted to sample the rudder wood.

 

wq3296

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At least we agree it is a hole :-)

 

For me it does not look like a pike as the hole goes completely perpendicular with the same diameter on each side. Normal damagees also would get a square patch, seen on several other places, not neatly riveted around.

 

But on the other side, I found some more interesting bits: 

 

A picture of a recent restoration shows also a hole going through on the bottom of the rudder.

 

post-182-0-47606700-1439319745_thumb.jpg

 

post-182-0-30369500-1439319758_thumb.jpg

 

And the most intriguing find is a wreck apparently in front of a spanish navy school and could possibly reveal the sense of the hole ...

 

post-182-0-97811900-1439319874_thumb.jpg

 

post-182-0-52292000-1439319887_thumb.jpg

 

... and on the other side bolt and ring missing but the setup is predictable.

 

post-182-0-40270000-1439319907_thumb.jpg

 

This makes sense as clearly there was a bolt attached for each side. The ring attached also could explain the horizontal marks that can be seen in one of the Constitutions holes :-)

 

So the riddle continues in a sense of what or why the rings were for.

 

XXXDAn

Edited by dafi
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interesting....I think that's what I'd do if I had to replace a rudder at sea to control the lower end of it while lining it up, couple lines on either side , don't think I'd leave holes in it for any other reason.

Way out of the box thinking but if you were going to rig a fire ship this might help get it there while the top of the ship is burning?

Edited by PriceMachine&Design
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Interesting hints! 

 

I suspect, based purely on conjecture and speculation, that if they were related to rudder manipulation they would be for re-seating rather than removing.  Even with all the weight of the copper plates, nails and ironwork, the rudder should still float if unseated.  HOWEVER - to get it aligned at sea would require some method to first "pull" it under, then to bring to the correct alignment with the sternpost, and seat it into the proper position (pegs and holes type of thing).

 

Or, as often happens, I could be totally mistaken.

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Greetings,

 

If I wanted a lifting point for the rudder, I would install an eye bolt(s) vertically in the aft edge of the rudder. This location would minimize drag, and it is much easier to thread a line(s) through an eye bolt than a hole that extends through the rudder. Maybe these holes were used to drain the water from the rudder when the ship was in drydock. I doubt the copper sheathing was watertight since it was fastened along the seams with nails. After a while the space between wood and copper would fill with water so maybe the holes would facilitate drainage. Plus. let's not forget Druxey's point about buoyancy. The holes would also facilitate sinking of the rudder for shipping at sea.

 

wq3296

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Rather than lifting or manipulating, could these have been for attaching emergency steering ropes?

 

Pat

 

If they were bolts of some sort it would make sense, but not drilled through and (as mentioned above ) with a lead bushings.  Also, since they are so far below the waterline, some poor non-SCUBA equipped crewman would need to hold his breath to attempt to reach them. 

 

Looking at the holes on the Constitution, it appears they are circular with something (lead bushings?) inside which, when the copper was applied, the covering sheets were nailed thoroughly around each hole.  What confuses me is why the rough pick-axe like holes punched through the copper?  The intent of the nailing (along with the under layer of tarred felt or whatever concoction they used on the Connie) was to minimize any water seepage into the wood - over time, that would become a major impediment to speed and maneuverability. 

 

I have not come across anything as yet in Humphreys writings on his design, and not sure where to even begin to look in Falconer or other period references!

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Worked for a Civil Engineer who was asked to do a structural evaluation on a very old steel and concrete hotel. Wasn’t part of that crew, I was busy surveying but I was privy to the fallout. To ealuate the condition of the structure and its soundness, the beams, columns, rivets all needed to be exposed, this was done randomly and left areas that needed repair, which the owners didn't like. Although they didn't like it, they did pay for the report. Anyway, as I suggested, perhaps those holes were part of an inspection of the condition for the hidden, but prone to rot rudder interior wood. If so, like the access to the supporting structure of that building it would not be shown in plans or building records, might be found in the records of a Ship Surveyor or part of a report of a hull inspection. Like I said, suspect those are inspection holes, sealed by lead lining, tared felt with existing copper reattached. Hope this mystery is solved, one or none of our guesses might be right, sure wouldn't bet much of value that my guess is better than others other than I question that lifting or control of the rudder, ashore or afloat adds up, because of sizing and lack of markings remaining from such use. :)

jud

 

:pirate41:

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Mark,

They are in similar positions and also in similar configurations to other rudders shown. I give the seamen of the day enough credit and enough knowledge to be able to rig an un-shipped rudder without needing to bore holes in it. I am just guessing about what those holes were used for, apparently they were not unique to the Constitution. I have yet seen any practical reason for them to be there, handling wise, nor is there any use marks that copper and a lead inside lining would display. It looks like the holes were not in place when the rudder was coopered or the hole would have looked like it was done professionally, it would not be the messy work shown. The way it was repaired using lead, makes me wonder if there was the thought of using those holes for another look someday. Like I said, at this point I would not wager much on my opinion being the correct one. Hope some historical evidence is found explaining the holes, there not for little fishy's to hide in. ;)

Jud

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Found something....Encyclopedia Britannica, a Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature, 1902, has this entry..vol. 21 pg. 602 in a very long entry on Seamanship, subsection rudders

 

Before a rudder is taken off to be hung, two long guys are rove through holes for the purpose at the fore part of the heel, one end of each being hitched to the band of the rudder chains, while the other is in readiness to hand into the ship well forward and low down. On the rudder head being suspended by the luff tackles a little higher than its position when shipped, the guys will haul haul it to the exact line with the stern post; it is then lowered onto the gudgeons, the guys unrove by means of the short ends, and the woodlock replaced.

 

So, we have an answer.  The holes are for lines being passed through to ship the rudder.

Edited by popeye2sea
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Little fishy's??? Hmm... you might just be on to something since we don't have any real insight. ;)   I would think inspection could be logical... but to be that widespread and in the similar location?  Hmm..  given the way things were done, it's possible...  

 

Where's that damn time machine we were promised back in the 50's-60's and I want the flying car too!!!!!

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Thank you popeye,

 

this is like I was guessing in first place

 

Just getting together facts.

- The holes are on purpose and go though and are  - in case of the Constitution - even lined with lead

- the placement appears well chosen and is even recorded in official plans

- the lead usually points to a rope passing through as it avoids chafing

 

If I understand the description well, it is like the sketch I did some time ago for the original discussion in the makeover thread:

 

- If the rudder is hanging over the guedons, it can be directed into the right position by two ropes

- The red rope can pull the rudder into the starboard direction and can be released by pulling port, the green vica-versa. 

- Once the rudder is in place, noboby has to dive to undo the fixing of the ropes, one just pulls them out

 

post-182-0-49903600-1434307525_thumb.png

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Some more hints is Nares (I hope as it was late when I found it ... :-)

 

Eventhough it is an emergency rudder it states the same purpose: shipping the rudder :-)

post-182-0-39882300-1439548318_thumb.jpg

 

There is a quite similar drawing in NMM ZAZ.

 

"... to facilitate the hanging of the rudder." 

 

post-182-0-56610100-1439548612_thumb.jpg

 

Not to be mistaken: Marquardt shows in Schoners a hole as part of a lock, but placed far more inside See N#2.

 

post-182-0-82131000-1439548704_thumb.jpg

 

Cheers, Daniel

Edited by dafi
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