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Rigging a 20-gun ship (1720)


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Hi there:

 

I'm now at the outset of building Corel's Greyhound - a kit whose box looks great but whose plans leave a lot to be desired - especially when it comes to rigging - there is no rigging plan for this kit, so I have to develop one myself....

 

The lines themselves are not too difficult to identify - the real issue is belaying the lines. Some are obvious - the shrouds, stays and backstays. But elsewhere things get murky, e.g.

 

1. The rigging of the bowsprit/jibboom - the instructions show a single bobstay and bowsprit shrouds but nothing on the jibboom...can this be right? What lines would have appeared on the jibboom on an early 18th century 20-gun frigate?

 

2. The spritsail yard - most lines are represented in some way, but there is no illustration of the jeers...I'm assuming that there would have been spritsail yard jeers below the bowsprit - one on the yard, one on the bowsprit cap. But would deadeyes or blocks have been used?

 

3. The general belaying of running rigging - it will likely be simply a matter of working out what seems logical and workable on the model...but any guidance that you guys can provide or resources you can suggest on belaying the running lines on a ship of this size (20-gun 6th rate frigate) of this era (early 18th c.) would of of great assistance!

 

I am considering using the belaying plans on my HMS Bellona as a starting point, though obviously it is a very different vessel from several decades later....but at present I'm kind of flying blind and need some kind of reference.....I've also bookmarked Steel's "Art of Rigging", which will be helpful for planning the rigging, though not for belaying the lines...

 

Anyway, thanks in advance for any help on this! I will be sure and share the plan that I develop - both for criticism, commentary and (hopefully) to help those who come to this kit in the future....

hamilton

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Thanks Chuck - a bit of prodding tells me that the Blandford was ordered at the same time as Greyhound....hard to say how similar they might have been but hopefully this will give some indication - I have the AOS Bellona and it's a very useful resource. Just ordered the Blandford from ebay anyhow...Thanks again

hamilton

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hard to say how similar they might have been

Hamilton,

 

Naval ships of the same period and same size (in the same navy, of course) would be rigged alike, but details of the rigging may have been changed over time to suite the peculiarities of the particular ship or the preferences of the captain, but if you rig the same you can't be far wrong.

 

At the beginning of one of my books (written by the First Lieutenant of the ship) where he describes his ship, he simply states, "She was rigged as a fifty gun ship."  He obviously thought that his naval readers would immediately understand the details of her rigging!

 

John

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Hi Hamilton,

 

I used Lennarth Petersson's book, "Rigging Period Ship Models" when I rigged the Unicorn. He has a series of easy to follow drawwings for the standing and running rigging. He uses a frigate to illustrate his drawings, but the principles would be very much alike. I highly recommend it.

 

Cheers,

 

Peter

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Good suggestions all. Druxey - thanks for the advice, but I have a lot of experience doing historical research. My PhD is in history of technology, so I'm used to dissecting old books on specialised subjects, and I'm not afraid to learn some new terminology. I'll give Anderson a go. 

 

Working from home today, so I spent my lunch hour starting to map out the Greyhound rigging. Started by taking a tracing of the deck plan and both outboard and inboard profiles and marking the various belaying points - timberheads, bitts, cleats and (perhaps anachronistically) belaying pins....On that topic - my understanding is that belaying pins were not typical on ships of this era, but maybe I'm wrong....I had assumed that the timber heads would do the majority of the work for belaying.....can anyone clarify?

 

Anyways...thanks a lot all! Very helpful responses here and so fast!! 

hamilton

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Whoa! Jerome, I think I missed your post by seconds (I was typing mine) - what ship is that in the photo you posted? I'll take a look for Lees book as well, though if it's out of print that usually means $$$$ for any used copy....anyways, thanks for the pointer....always in the market for more books

hamilton

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You are quite correct about the fact that belaying pins were unusual in British ships of this date, Hamilton. It was only after the bulwarks became closed in and the rails no longer available for belaying to that pins and pin racks proliferated.

 

re R.C. Anderson: as a researcher in your field, you'll have no trouble finding your way around his book! 

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Thanks for the quick response druxey!

 

I thought so. The Corel Greyound has pin racks on the bitts, on a ring on the mizzen mast, and along the quarterdeck rail (which seems especially weird to me)...once the AOS Blandford arrives I'll be able to get what hopefully is a more accurate sense of things...alright, I should get back to marking papers here....goodnight all and thanks for the help!

hamilton

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Yet another question regarding the 20-gun ship of 1720 (though if I had more patience I could just wait for the AOS Blandford to arrive...

 

Were such ships rigged with stay sails? I'm putting together my rigging/belaying plan and rigging tables and was not sure - there is no indication (surprise!) in the Corel instructions/plans...but if anyone knows....Thanks!

hamilton

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Hello hamilton, Peter Goodwin does include staysails, and studding sails in the drawings, and he also shows pins in racks attached to the Mizen shrouds,(ok for the period - also indicated by James Lees)) and three pins shown fitted horizontally to a vertical rack attached to the Mizen mast. there are no pins in the cross pieces to the bitts.

 

B.E.

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Thanks BE - I was suspicious of the presence of so many pins on a ship of this vintage - the having some helps to figure out the rigging/belaying. 

 

I've made a couple of plan sheets of my own (very crude) to replicate the layout of the belaying points as shown by Corel. I've also begun to make a rigging table based on the Corel plans. Having begun this latter, I now see the need to go through the entire kit and re-number everything after the basic hull construction....a bit of a headache, but Corel were not very dilligent or complete on the masting and rigging and so I'll need to re-number, modify the existing plans and then make new clean plans and a final rigging table of my own based on the sources at my disposal.

 

I've located a copy of Anderson's book at the University of BC library, to which I'll pay a visit soon....Anyway, lots of work to do. It's actually a heck of a lot more interesting to have to do all this work first before launching into the build itself. I feel like I'm building up a kind of "intimacy" with the ship that I missed on other builds....

 

I may actually build this one as the Blandford, though the scale is a bit off from Goodwin (1:100 as opposed to 1:96) - could anyone give a complete math idiot (me) a quick tip on scale conversion? Maybe I'll post this topic in another thread.....

hamilton

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hamilton,

 

The drawings in the book are at different scales 1:96, 1:48 and 1:192 but no matter. all you need to do is multiply the sizes in the drawings by say 96 and divide by 100 and you will have the measurement relevant to your build, that is supposing the kit is a true 1:100 scale.

 

I wouldn't worry about the rigging at this point; the sizes of all the rigging lines are given in the book in inches circumference which is the norm.

 

To convert say the Main stay which is 101/2" circ.  to mm diameter which is the norm for scale line the calculation is:-

 

10.5" circ  divided by 3.142 = 3.342"(dia) x 25.4 = 84.88mm (dia) divided by 100 (your scale) = 0.85mm diameter line (or nearest)

 

Similarly the six pounder guns carried by Blandford are listed as being 7' 6" long, so at your scale  that is 90" x 25.4 = 2286mm divided by 100 = 22.86mm long.

 

I think the Blandford book will contain all you need to  improve your kit.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Cheers,

 

B.E.

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Hi Hamilton,

 

In Lees Masting and Rigging Book there is belaying information for a 20 gun ship circa 1719. The only belaying pins called for are 3 per side on racks at the foot of the Mizzen Mast and 7 per side on racks attached to the Mizzen Shrouds. Re Staysails,Lees quotes Jib,Fore and Main Topmast Staysails,Main Topgallant and Mizzen Topmast Staysails.  

 

Hope this is of some help to you.

 

Dave :)

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Yes John and Dave - very helpful - though with all this extra rigging I'm fast running out of potential places to put all the lines! I haven't been able to find Lees book at a local library and I'm afraid I'm unwilling to pay over $100 for it, which is the minimum I've been able to find.....if anyone has a copy I'll pay to have it shipped here and I'll ship it back to you nice and neat! I'm very good with books!

 

Another question - would a ship of this size/rate/era have had shroud cleats on either the lower or topmast shrouds? Or both? Or none? I know, I know - I should be waiting for all my literature to arrive, but the answers here have been so good and so fast! I can't help it!!

hamilton

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Hi again Hamilton,

 

Glad to read you have found a copy of Lees at a reasonable price. All the belaying info for a 20 Gun Ship is on pages 170 - 172. No cleats were fitted to shrouds for belaying in this time period on 20 Gun Ships. 

 

Regards,

 

Dave :)

 

PS,see you´re Canadian. Are you in Hamilton Ontario ? My sister lives there.

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Hi Dave:

 

Though my name's hamilton, I've never been to Hamilton - I was born in Montreal, grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick and have lived for the last 17 years (minus 4 between Montreal and Seoul) in Vancouver. 

 

As for Lees, thanks for the references! I just got an email saying that the expected delivery date is April 27!! How will I wait? Anyway, maybe I'll do some yard work for the next month to pass the time.....

hamilton

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