Jump to content

Length of horse rail for foresail sheet on English Revenue Cutter

Recommended Posts

I want to place a horse rail for the sheet of the foresail on the Sherbourne (English Revenue Cutter 1763).


I have seen pictures of rails that run right across the deck along the top of the bulwarks, but it seems from a look at Steel's and Marquardt's books that the horse would lie quite close to the deck just in front of the mast.


Unfortunately none of the models of cutters I have seen in the museums have such a horse, even though all the sources refer to one. Goodwin's AOTS book on the Alert doesn't show one either, although there is a tantalising reference in one drawing of the rigging which shows the sheet tackle disappearing from sight on to the deck with the caption 'secured to horse'.


In fact the only one I recall seeing on a model is Kester's (Stockholm Tar) build of the Sherbourne. There he placed the rail across the fore gratings but I recall he was uncertain himself at the time of how exactly he should place it.


My question is how wide across the deck should the horse rail go? My initial thought was to make it the same width as the one for the mainsail at the taffrail, but when I placed it on the deck it looked a little short at just under 4 ft (45 inches) full size on a deck whose width is nearly 19 ft.


The other thing, of course is the height. I've thought 15 inches would be ok, but again am more than willing to hear from the experts.


Any advice or wisdom will be gratefully received as usual.



Edited by tkay11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Take a look at the plans of cutters in the nMM collection online.  There are many that show the horse but not on the top of the bulwarks.  It was primarily on deck forward of the mast and sometimes curved.   The Duke William (1763) I believe shows this very well.


Click the link




and the Endeavour (1763)




Also look at models of yachts like the Yacht Chatham......I believe that model shows the horse.  Its quite high off the deck in that instance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's perfect, Chuck. Thanks a lot! Those plans are absolutely perfect for me. I should have thought of looking at plans. I'm really glad I didn't go with the short version I had initially thought of.


Interestingly, after further research, I came across the following photo on http://www.shipmodel.com/models/diligence-full-hull-nav-:




Then I found Roger Cole's build of the Alert with the following picture:




Both of these show rails similar to the ones in the plans you linked me to.


As to my statement that I'd see the rail across bulwarks, I really can't remember where that was so I presume I remembered incorrectly.



Edited by tkay11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh dear. Shame on me. I forgot to look at Gregor's Sherbourne. He has the horse very neatly laid out at http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/2288-hmc-sherbourne-by-gregor-–-caldercraft-–-scale-164-1763/?p=186350. I had totally forgotten.  He also has the same reference to Roger Cole's build of the Alert. Sorry, Gregor!


And that was only two years ago. Memory clearly failing.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a practical matter, the horse need not be any higher off the deck than the becket of the sheetblock attached to it would need to clear the deck. But there are some considerations about having it too low- with the limited deckspace on a cutter you may need on occasion to tuck a coil under the horse, you certainly don't want a line laying across it. The training tackle for the guns for instance. The horse I have seen on actual schooners is a foot off the deck, with a curve that matches the deck's camber.  A factor to govern the width of the horse, and maybe an argument in favor of putting it atop the bullwarks after all, is the height of the bullwarks and the hammock netting and its irons above that: There is no point in getting the sheet so far outboard that the lead of the line would foul these parts of the vessel when the sail is sheeted out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I've just spotted your post re. the horse, where you mention my effort!


As you say, I had some difficulty in placing it. I seem to remember that I had to put it far enough forward so as not to impede the foremost guns, far enough aft to make it possible for the hatch to be lifted, and high enough for it to clear the anchor cable. Something of a tall order, but I think I made a reasonable compromise! Your height of 15" would seem about right.


I also made it what I considered a suitable length, about 4cm, although I guess it could have been a little more. My reasoning was that the deck is cramped enough as it is and the sail could, within reason, be let out further with the sheet running through the blocks attached to the horse.


Chuck's drawings were interesting, I had not seen those before.


Here's the photo of my horse:



Link to comment
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.
  • Create New...