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need opinions on furled sails


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Working on the Cutty Sark and need some feedback on furled sails.

I'm calling the top version option 1 and the lower version option 2.


I've looked at different references  of the Cutty as she was during the tea trade and as the Fierra and have seen the royals furled differently.  


I made sails with the heights cut in half to reduce bulk.  I finished the sails and bent them to the jackstays then furled.

The sails and yards in the photos are the mizzen royal and the sky which are essentially the same size.


Neither is furled below the yard.  I've tried to pull the sails up as high as I could and still attach the slings, although option 2 is actually on top of the jackstays.


This is from the front


Option 1 is at the top

Option 2 is on the bottom


This is from the top



I have to say that I'm not as happy with the accordion look of option 2 from the sides.


Option 1 port side



Option 2 port side



Comments? Which would you go with?




Edited by keelhauled
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Hi Marc


I'm thinking of furled sails on my Le Mirage build (when I get round to the masts...) so this is interesting to me. I would say option 1 without any hesitation. I can't comment on historical accuracy but purely visually it just looks neater than option 2.


My two pennies worth anyway! :)



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I think its possible to err to far on the side of "literal" in ship model building. The "Effect" you want is to have a model representationof the full size sail. Even though you use only 50% of the fabric of the sail, you are being too literal in my opinion, there is too much bulk. The visual effect of a furled sail, when it is carefully stowed in a nice furl by the crew, is of a much smoother and more tapered white taco-like shape sitting on the yard. The tapered ends of the bundle of sail are only a couple inches higher than the surface of the yard.  You are trying to literally furl the sail, by folding it tightly. But try as you may, the fabric you use will never fold up as tightly IN SCALE as on the real ship, your full scale fabric will not bend sharply or lie flat enough.

My advice is to discard the literal and embrace artifice. Make your sail out of a single fold of fabric and try to press the ends down tighter then the middle.

On my HMS Victory I made the furled sails out of paper while the rest of the sails, which were set, were of fabric. The paper was much easier to mold into the shapes I needed- I soaked the paper in white glue and glommed them into shape and when dry I painted the paper to match the color of the sails.

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Frankie is right -  you cant just do a "scale"  - attached is a pic of what the real thing looks like furled.

MUCH MUCH tighter than you think






Find the thinnest material possible and use as little material as possible - to produce a "packet".  What does add realism though is to represent the rigging attachments points as in the middle yard

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I like this video. It starts with a sail that has been Clewed Up and then we see the sailors clime onto the yard and watch as they take all the steps to manipulate the sail into the much smaller and neater Furl.  Its still a bit difficult to see what is going on since all parts of the sail look alike. The lead blocks for the Clews and the Buntlines , the ones attached to the yard itself, determine where a lot of the canvas will wind up at the end since it is at these points that the foot of the sail is brought to the yard. Notice that most of the canvas starts out hanging between the two Buntline lead blocks on the yard and the Clews of the sail are out of sight on the aft side of the sail and masked from view untill the midpoint of the video when they are brought up on top of everything else on the yard. Not easy to see is that the crew is tucking much of the folded canvas under a "skin" of canvas- the part that will be visible on the outside of the furl. EVERYTHING but the Clews gets tucked under this skin which is then made as nearly as tight to a drum as a single membrane covering everything else. The skin is more areodynamic and will also shed water better.  

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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Hi Frankie,

I actually used your video to furl the sails originally. I followed the video pausing and executing step by step.  Fairly close at least.  But as you say, too much bulk.  However it was fun and challenging to furl the sail as close to that video as I could.  The biggest trouble is the tucking in of the sail under the skin.


AVSJerome and spyglass.  I'm planning on having the main and fore courses brought up into its gear as you have posted. 


thanks for the help.


Edited by keelhauled
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JerseyCity Frankie, liked your post and the video, what really made it stand out in my mind was the last comment about shedding water. Temporarily partially furling sails, like post # 9 does make a bucket out of them but being only a method used for short time, useful, besides those people knew about the effects of water inside of a tightly rolled sail, hence the tucks under the skin, and one hanging with water troughs folded into the mix and avoided making those mistakes.


jud  :pirate41:

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Re. the furled sails of Columbia and Cuauhtemoc, posted by Tadeusz, some foreign training ships tend to display their sails like this at Tall Ships events. The skipper of a vessel I was on asked one of their captains, at one of these events, why they left them like this and he said that it was because it looked 'artistic'. Our skipper thought it looked untidy and unseamanlike and believed that the sails should have been given a proper 'harbour stow.' I have to say that I agree – there's nothing more pleasing than a well stowed sail.


Frankie is quite right about their actual stowing, although I would point out that the wind is also a factor in the way they are furled. I have stowed a few sails in my time and the mate, or whoever is in charge, was usually at pains to furl the sail properly, especially at sea where the wind can get into the sail and open it all out. Sometimes the crew would have to do it all over again, if he wasn't satisfied, and many of them had bruised knuckles afterwards!

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