Jump to content

Mast tackles/Burton pendants in 1763 Cutter

Recommended Posts

As usual, once I arrive at the point of making a particular part, I find the details confusing. This time it's about the mast tackles. The Sherbourne kit that I have doesn't illustrate or mention mast tackles or Burton pendants. Similarly, the 1763 cutter model I photographed in the Royal Dockyard doesn't have any.


On the other hand, one of the cutter models (1790) I photographed does show a similar tackle hooked to the base of the mast as follows:




Furthermore, Petersson in his book 'Rigging Period Fore and Aft Craft' shows what he calls a Burton pendant and tackle as follows (though I have added text to point out the difficulty I have with his diagram):




This made me think it might be a good thing to set up mast tackles. However, the moment I started looking at this, I thought that the diagram didn't make mechanical sense. It shows the runner going through what looks like a hook without a block -- which would mean it would have to run through a thimble.


When I looked up Marquardt's book on Eighteenth Century Rigs & Rigging, he shows the following arrangement:




This is very similar to that shown by zu Mondfeld and is clearly more sound (to my mind) in terms of mechanics.


Marquardt also supplies the following information about cutter rigging (following Steel) -- the last two paragraphs of which I am at a loss to understand:


"The mast tackle pendants were wormed, parcelled and served over their whole length. Each was doubled, and the bight was seized to create an eye which fitted over the masthead. The ends were then spliced together, and a single block was seized in the lower bight. The ends of all splices were tapered, marled down and served over with spun-yarn.


The tackle runners had a hook and thimble spliced into one end and were served over. They rove through the pendant blocks and were spliced round the strops of long tackle blocks.


The tackle fall was bend to a becket at the lower end of a long stropped single block, with the ends seized. The long strops, with hooks and thimbles spliced in, were hooked to eyebolts in the sides."


Here, I don't understand the terms 'served over' and 'long tackle blocks'.


I also don't understand which 'long stropped single block' is being referred to as having the becket for the tackle fall.


As a result I don't really know whether it's right to put mast tackles on, and, if I do, whether to try to mimic Petersson's diagram, or whether to go for the kind of picture Marquardt shows.


Any advice, comment or other will be, as usual, very welcome!



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The description is exactly what you see in the last diagram.  A long block is much like a sister block.  It looks like two single blocks end to end. In some versions the upper sheave is larger than the lower to give some clearance between the parts of the fall.


A long stropped single block simply means that the strop is longer than you would find on a regular block.  It is what you see for the lower block of the tackle in the last diagram.  One end of the strop holds the thimble with the hook, the other end is the becket loop where the tackle fall is bent on.




Hope that makes a little more sense.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been trying to establish an exact layout for a Burton Pendant on my model of Fly. Are you guys maybe overlooking the fact that none of these boats ever had the rigging set up in the same way. Also its been suggested that during the lifetime of the ship it would change according to current crew preference. Notwithstanding I'm very glad I never had to do a day's work on one!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again,

 Took another photo of the violin/fiddle block arrangement that I've fitted but the technology's failed. You can see on the previous photo, port side aft, one of the double blocks made.  Comments even adverse would be welcome. A group of us meet once a month to chat about ship models. We take our stuff with us but the chat gets in the way of any progress. We are all in our 70s with the inevitable shaky hands. Good fun though!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Frank, Is it true fiddle blocks are stronger than a double block since the strain is placed on two pins rather than one?


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, JerseyCity Frankie said:

I think the point of the vertical orientation was that it takes up less space and it’s less likely to get caught on something.

Aren't fiddle blocks only found amid the mast tackles? That would reinforce the point if so.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • You ;guys might find the following of interest. Has anybody ever seen a fiddle block with three sheaves, the triple block on Muirneag's mainsheet sounds like it would take some hammering. I've got the boats plans referred to and started it at the drawing scale but got cold feet! Look her up if you are so inclined, she's a bonny shape.

Something like 11 knots

MacLeod the Hard Driver

MacLeod drove all his boats hard, especially the Muirneag. She could stand being hard pressed. As he once said - "I never worry about the Muirneag's hull, only the spars & gear".
Muirneag was apparently triumphant in many races home with the Scottish fleet from Yarmouth, as well as races back to Scottish ports from the fishing grounds. In consequence he did damage much gear, & in 1909, when running for Fraserburgh, wind abaft, the mizzen was snapped off above the crutch, driving her so hard that day, he was leaving the Steam Drifters behind.
Another time while running to Wick from the Stronsay fishing grounds again with wind abaft, foresail & mizzen set & two men on the wheel, Muirneag logged 22 1/4 miles in 2 hours.

The End of the Muirneag

At the age of eighty in 1945 he took her to sea for a night to say farewell, after 42 years as her sole owner. Muirneag was sold at public auction in Stornoway in 1947 for £50 & was dismantled to provide fence posts. A Stornoway dental mechanic, George MacLeod, took her measurements whilst she was being dismantled, & these became the basis for the plans drawn by renowned maritime expert & author Harold Underhill, of Glasgow, & the reference for models such as those by Gordon Williams & David P. H. Watson OBE, Connecticut, USA, on display at the Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther. The model of Muirneag owned by the NMM (pic opp) was constructed by George Macleod of Stornoway, who in a letter to William McIntosh dated 1/7/1956 said
"......By the way, the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, have accepted my model of the 'Muirneag' and it is now berthed in their museum there."


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
  • Create New...