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Help identifying some ....things... on the bulwark /19th century merchant vessel


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Hello all,

I'm  building a 19th century Norwegian yacht, Amundsen's Gjøa. 

 

I'm trying to identify some 3 things on the bulwark stanchions, two of them repeated both on port and starboard. The number '3' and maybe '2' I guess are some holders for the pump handle (can't see where else they could have put it, except below deck). Number 1 I can't begin to guess. It's no big deal if I never find out, as they are so small modelling them as they appear on the pics would be no problem, but I'm curious to know what they were used for. 

 

post-14609-0-47522200-1446113242_thumb.jpg

 

post-14609-0-93850500-1446113245_thumb.jpg

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Mark is probably on the right track, but could I ask where these are in relation to the position of the Cathead?  In these ships at that time, some ships had 'whiskers' fitted to the Cathead and these may be related to the lead and securing of the associated rigging?

 

Another option may be that they are the lead and securing for the anchor trip mechanism (on the Cathead) which was commonly fitted during this era.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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That was quick answers. Yes, there's a pin rail there, where the plans (I have two sets, none which I trust completely, but here they agree) have much of the rigging from the two square sails, plus jib halyards. What kind of rigging would need to go through these things? I imagine ropes coming at annoying angles or ropes prone to move about a lot? Or take strong forces? As you can guess, I'm not a sailor  :D

 

Pat, there's whiskers and the bowsprit shrouds go through them, but they are secured forward, as seen in this pic. The location of the "things" is amidships where the shrouds are. Pic from http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/.

 

3daa54b0-1ae1-419b-87c8-85a8455dcf63-A24

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The history of this ship is very interesting. In particular its last days in San Francisco before it was sent to Olso where it was 'rebuilt'. Note the last paragraph in the following article  http://oceanbeachbulletin.com/2011/09/27/before-now-the-gjoa-through-the-northwest-passage-to-golden-gate-park/

 

If this is true, the items you refer to are probably copies and you might get a lot of information from the Fram museum in Oslo. Somebody there did a lot of work.

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Hello Jay,

Thanks for the article. I'm aware she's been restored on the border to rebuilt, and try to base the model on older images. Unfortunately they are very few, and on most of them Amundsen and his friends are blocking the details. Also, his account of the journey through the Passage is very interesting in itself, but offers few clues to the ship. There are plenty of pics available from her in the restored state but as you say, the details seem to differ for most of the fittings - e.g.  the entire windlass seems to have been replaced.

 

The pics I have posted here are from her time in San Francisco though, and I believe nothing  has been added (apart from repaired bulwark planking as far as I can tell). Rather the other way round - for example as visitors were taking souvenirs, as indicated in the article. In short I'm trying to take the information from the San Francisco time and only use the current state if all information is lacking about that particular detail. So far only the paint job I have taken from the present, as that was supposed to be the scheme chosen by Amundsen.

Edited by Matle
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Hello Jay,

Thanks for the article. I'm aware she's been restored on the border to rebuilt, and try to base the model on older images. Unfortunately they are very few, and on most of them Amundsen and his friends are blocking the details. Also, his account of the journey through the Passage is very interesting in itself, but offers few clues to the ship. There are plenty of pics available from her in the restored state but as you say, the details seem to differ for most of the fittings - e.g.  the entire windlass seems to have been replaced.

 

The pics I have posted here are from her time in San Francisco though, and I believe nothing  has been added (apart from repaired bulwark planking as far as I can tell). Rather the other way round - for example as visitors were taking souvenirs, as indicated in the article. In short I'm trying to take the information from the San Francisco time and only use the current state if all information is lacking about that particular detail. So far only the paint job I have taken from the present, as that was supposed to be the scheme chosen by Amundsen.

That explains a lot of what you have found. I am surprised about all the details you did find and I wish you good luck.

I will keep an eye on your progress. Interesting!!!

I wonder why 'Amundsen and his friends' are blocking the details. What would they have to loose by you making a model of their famous ship???

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BTW you are probably aware that the ship was restored extensively before she left San Francisco and went back to Oslo.

http://www.corbisimages.com/stock-photo/rights-managed/U1738112/large-vessel-transporting-smaller-gjoa-near-san

 

I wonder who the contractor was that did this work in the US and if that company has details for you (or is that one of the 'friends' you referred to?)_

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  • 2 years later...

No. 2 are some sort of fairleads indeed, or half-clamps. When hauling-down a line, it is not so easy to put it around the belaying pin, while there is pull on it; if you hook the line onto the fairlead, the friction reduces the pull and you can handle the end more easily.

 

No. 3 looks like an 'eyebolt' in which a line is secured with a 'stopper knot' at the end; these were use on the inside of bulwarks in pairs to secure rope-ladders for getting on-board.

 

No. 1 is too blurred, but if nos. 1 are the same on both images, than it would be the same as No. 2.

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I’m inclined to reject any rigging related uses for these odd objects. my view, just a guess, is that 2 and 3 from the first photo are brackets for holding something used on deck and my further speculation is the object could be an iron crank handle to be fitted to the adjacent winch. The semicircular object may at a stretch be viewed as a fairlead for a line, but this is not what fairleads for lines look like. As to the second photo, it’s more puzzling. But I’m very dissenclined to view the odd rectangular shapes as Jam Cleats. Jam cleats are used on small modern sailboats but using them on a large vesel would lead only to the lines jammed in them being forever stuck- the line is too big and the forces involved are too great. My vague theory is that they are merely fenders to prevent a heavy object from damaging the bullwarks from the inboard side. Maybe a boat is stowed in that location?

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These 'clamps' are not meant to jam the rope (as the modern yacht implement does), but to redirect the pull. For space reasons it would be difficult to have more than two man working a rope that come straight down the mast. In case of yard-halliards it would also be extremely dangerous to work them without any mechanical brake, particularly on a moving ship. If you lead the rope through the notch you can have one or two men heaving down, while one ore more men pull horizontally on the free end; these men then break the rope with the aid of the clamp until the men in front of the clamp have moved their grip higher; and then the same sequence is repeated.

 

If these thingies were brackets for storage, I would expect the notch to face up, not down.

 

Unfortunately, I cannot put my hands on suitable pictures from other ships right now. I seem to remeber having seen such clamps particularly on ships/boats from northern Europe, i.e. Denmark, Sweden and Norway, that were operated with small crews.

Edited by wefalck
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Matle,

The items you labeled "1" and "2" in your original post are probably chesstrees. These are vertical timbers of wood fastened to the inside surfaces of bulwarks (or frames) for the purpose of redirecting the tacks and sheets of the lower courses for belaying. Their designs appear to be quite variable. Some have sheaves incorporated into their upper ends. Others seem to be more like vertically-oriented, one-ended cleats, with the "thumb" of lower end used to change the direction of the line. They are described in The Art of Rigging by George Biddlecombe and in The Ship Model's Assistant by Charles G. Davis, as well as on-line. Davis's book includes a diagram of a typical chesstree found in a 17th-century sailing vessel.

 

Matthew Turner's Galilee (also a late 19th century, West Coast merchant) had four chesstress on both bulwarks. The Smithsonian plans identify them and show a cross section, regrettably not very clearly.

Chesstrees-Plan.JPG.50063bdbb3667e975e46bbd269de6614.JPG

The photo below shows a pair of chesstrees on Galilee's port bulwark.

Chesstrees-2.JPG.e4430f42867eea90aaa86f66eb3b5174.JPG

Hope this helps answer your question.

 

Terry

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