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H.M.S. Victory Fore Topsail Braces

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I'm getting nearer to finishing my Heller HMS Victory and I am at the stage where I am literally tying up loose ends. I had installed all the running rigging but most of it was left dangling and not made off to anything so I could have flexibility and access to the deck. Now I am belaying the lines going from fore to aft. The foremast looks great and the bow area is now clear of Irish pennants and lose ends..


But I have come across something I find odd: the Fore Topsail Braces belay to the second skid beam. This strikes me as an odd and awkward and hard to access place to put these frequently used lines. There are many lines of running rigging on a ship, but the Fore Topsail braces are on the short list of lines you will be using all the time. And they are lines which will be under a LOT of strain and which will require a lot of crew to take up on.


John McKay, Longridge and the Heller instructions themselves have them belaying in this odd place (although the kit instructions may indicate the rail at the forward edge of the hatch, the kit has a molded on pin where the others say the lines belay). Lees doesn't specify where they belay in his section on Fore Topsail Yards.


The lines begin on the main stay close to the main mast then run to the blocks on the yardarms. From there they come right back to lead blocks on the stay, close to where they originated. From there they run forward down the stay to another pair of lead blocks on the stay above the belfry, and from there to a lead block on the forward edge of the hatch (or a fairlead in a timberhead there?) then belay to a fore and aft pin which pierces the second skid beam. The references I have that show the pin show it several feet away from the gangways, not within easy reach of someone standing there.


The only way this makes sense to me is if the crew were intended to handle the line from the gundeck below. Which makes me wonder then why it wouldn't belay on a big hefty cleat on the bulwarks there. Why above their heads in a place difficult to access?

Why not on one of the timberheads at the forward edge of the hatch? The way it is rigged it zigzags through space quite a bit and I believe it could have been lead nearly anywhere with the resources it is using. So why is it 1/4 of the way inboard on a skid beam, which I believe would be a difficult place for anyone to manage it?




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They may be right about about the crew on the gundeck doing this as imagine the weather decks would be a bit hectic and crowded when maneuvering.  Many ships have the braces coming into the gundeck via fairleads/sheaves in the hull.  The questioning point is the pin in the skid beam.   Unless it was felt that this would be one of the last sails to be re-braced and not much strain... ???

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Petersson belays it on the rail just beside the belfry, so not too far off the place you give.




PS: Not to forget - the waist was not as open or accessible as on most models / plans as all the boats and spare spars were cluttered there.

This too should be respected when belaying!

Edited by dafi
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I have no idea why this topic winds up under "Building and framing" when it should be under "rigging". could a Mod switch it over or should I delete it and start over?  >EDIT< Thanks mods for moving it! And thanks mtaylor/Mark for explaining the "report" button.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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