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I am installing lifts on my Rattlesnake.  It appears that the lift lines go between the shrouds.  If this is correct, then on a real ship the lifts will have to be adjusted when the yards are braced around.  Also, this will cause much chafing.  Have I missed something? Should I try to lead them forward of the shrouds?

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The  Course Yard Lifts do NOT go through the shrouds, they pass across the front of the Topmast Shrouds. It looks counterintuitive  though and MANY ship modelers lead them on the most direct path, which takes them THROUGH the Topmast Shrouds. Many two dimensional ship model diagrams appear to show them led this way. This is wrong. But you can find examples of this incorrect lead in even the best ship model collections in Museums. Its a very common misunderstanding.

As you point out, when the yards are braced the lifts would foul the shrouds were they led between them. Also when the yard tackle is employed the lifts take on more significance as they come under more strain hoisting in and out boats and cannon ect.

Also the crew needs to climb the Topmast Shrouds unimpeded. And the Course Yard itself needs to be adjusted fore and aft via the Truss and thus the lifts can not be constrained as they would be if run through the shrouds.

But even the correct lead is not without its problems as the leward Lift will always chafe against a shroud.

I have seen people work around this chaffing by rigging the lift blocks at the masthead on pennants which are long enough to get the running part of the tackle outboard of the shroud. But this causes problems with the lead of the fall of the tackle. Another solution I often see used it to put the Lift Span forward of the Topmast on the Lower Mast Cap, which makes a great deal of sense but which I don't see a lot of documentation on.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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A very good question, and Frankie hit on most of the key points.  This got me a-thinkin' and studying the reference books.   So I looked up Longridge (Victory), Boudriot (74 Gun Ship), Lees, Lever, Anderson (The Rigging of Ships), Napier (Valkenisse) and Campbell's plans of the Victory.  


Of course there were variations of block shapes, attachment points of the shoe or fiddle block (the upper block), the use of spans or pendants, and country during different eras, but for the period in question, the references generally show the upper block attached to the forward lower edge of the cap either with an eye bolt or span which allows the lift to be rigged FORWARD OF THE LEAD TOPMAST SHROUD.  


Various photos of extant models show the lifts rigged forward of the shroud.  (BTW, Nelson's Victory used 16" single blocks with a becket and a double span; Valkenisse used long pendants; both rigged the lift forward of the topmast shroud.)


There is substantial variation in the references which leads to confusion now a days as to what is 'correct'.   After some reflection, I think Frankie is correct that the lift should be rigged forward of the topmast shroud, and its fall taken through the lubber hole to the deck.  Chaffing gear would have been used where ever possible.  


Anyone wanna be bosun?                           Duff

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