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Question: Help to Identify drumhead of windlass

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Hello All,


Working now on the Kate Cory's whale-craft rigging, some of which (the downfalls and guys) end up on the windlass at the bow of the ship. The windlass is a horizontal affair as shown in the attached diagram. The barrel takes some of the rigging while the rest goes to the "drumhead".   I think that this "drumhead" is the outer portion of the windlass? Am I correct here or is it some other piece?  I have labeled my question in red. Thanks!







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I would agree with spyglass.  There would be no rigging belayed to the windlass.  It's primary function is to raise the anchor with the anchor cable going around the barrel.  The drum head (outside of the riding bitts) can be used to provide mechanical advantage when hauling heavy lines, sort of like a horizontal capstan.  It is easier to utilize the drum head quickly or on a more temporary basis than the main barrel.





Laissez le bon temps rouler ! 



Current Build:  Le Soleil Royal

Completed Build Amerigo Vespucci

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In the case of whalers, the rig to lift blubber and assist in the carving of the whale have two main pieces. One rig holds a blubber hook, the other a dowel or peg (large). These are manipulated by a fall and a guy for each rig. These, according to docs, head on to the windlass. Interestingly, whalers rarely had use for anchors unless not arriving dockside at port. So, anchors were usually lashed to the sides and the chain for it was stowed. 


The question about the windlass has to do with which line goes to which part of the windlass: the fall ends up on the barrel and the guy to the drumhead. Henry, SpyGlass - thanks for ID'ing the drumhead. That is the key!  Just what I needed!








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My uneducated guess is that they only went to the windlass when actually hoisting. At other times the windlass needed to be free for other tasks.

Drown you may, but go you must and your reward shall be a man's pay or a hero's grave

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A VERY good book about whaling and practices used aboard whalers is The Yankee Whaler by Clifford Ashley. Ashley sailed on a whaling voyage and was also a prolific and talented artist and his book is full of lively illustrations taken from his own life experience. It delves into the history and culture of whaling and leaves no aspect unexplored. Ashley will always be remembered though as the author of the Ashley Book of Knots, still the best book ever written on the subject.




 Niagara USS Constitution 


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