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HELP NEEDED-Lateen Yards for Mizzen,are they inside or outside of the shrouds?


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Ahoy Mates


Setting my lateen yards for my Mary Rose for the Mizzen and Bonadventure mast's.Being that I have never rigged a lateen yard I want to know if they are set inside of the shrouds,which limits the angle to which they can be set from just fore and aft, or should they be set at an angle outside of the shrouds?


Have looked thru my reference books ,and they do not show exactly where they should be.


Here's photos of how I have just set them on the masts now on the Mary Rose. The Jotika kit finished model photos show them inside the shrouds like I have set them now.


They are just set there,nothing is lashed down,I want to find out before I start to set the lines on the cleats and pin rails. I have not routed the lines to the correct belaying points either.


Thanks ahead of time for your help.  And is there a reference book or site that shows clearly how they shoud be set-the lateen yards .


Thanks Keith




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The San Salvador in San Diego is now fully rigged, and I just happened to get a photo at the Festival of Sail a couple of weeks ago that I believe answers your question:




Behold, the inside the shrouds lateen yard!

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The custom was (is) to be able to shift the lateen yard to either side of the mast so the sail would be to leeward of the mast.   


In your case, Keith, the lateen yard could be shifted by unhooking the bowlines (the lines at the nock - the low end of the yard), loosening the parrels  and shifting the yard.  As long as the yard can be shifted, then the position of the shrouds is not critical.  


I suspect that in some cases, the yard could not be shifted; in which case the sail would draw better on one tack and not so well on the other.   


Most of the models shown by Franklin and Lees show the lateen inside the  shrouds.                                         Duff

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I have talked with some sailors who have sailed with Lateen yards and I always ask them how this thing worked. Usually they tell me that they sail with it on one side or the other and they do not tack it across the deck when the ship goes about, they just let the sail blow against the mast on the "dirty tack" and on the other tack they get the good sail shape they prefer to have. I'm pretty certain the forward part of the spar would stay inboard of the shrouds, you would want the sail close to being fore-and-aft when going to windward and when running before the wind you wouldn't want it boomed out too much or it would cause the ship to "weathervane" and make it harder to steer.




 Niagara USS Constitution 


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On Nile felucca's the fore end of the yard is pulled around the mast. which means that the part of the yard before the mast has to be less than the height if the yard above the deck at the parrell.It looks like that is what is happening in the picture of the San Diego galleon.


It must be a hazardous operation in a breeze if the deckhands don't know their business!

Edited by michaelpsutton2

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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There are 16th century drawings of a lateen yard being pulled around the mast on a galley - by Rafaello, if I remember rightly.


It also shows the shrouds on the leeward side loosened to allow the sail to draw properly. But that was the Mediterranean - no ratlines in the shrouds. I doubt an English ship would have done the same.


Lovely model of the Mary Rose, by the way, Bear. How did she do in the annual contest?



Edited by Louie da fly
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Ahoy Steven


Well,Pickels and I were unable to comp-lete the ship for the show. Just too much work to be done and little time,so I just said forget it for this year. Right now I am remaking some of the last couple weeks rigging work that I had hurried thru. Now I can take my time and not build for a show,but for me.


There's nothing worse than building for a show deadline,and I will never do it again. My last builds that ended up in a show and entered  had been finished long before the show,and during the build I did not have a contest in mind.


It's better to take the time it takes to do your best work.




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I couldn't agree more. Every time I try to rush something or work to a deadline - even if it's only a deadline I've set myself -  I end up making mistakes and have to throw stuff away because it's not up to standard.


By the time next year's show comes around you'll probably have completed the Mary Rose to your own satisfaction and feel good about putting her on show.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Bear; Setting a lateen Sail is an interesting challenge! I've studied sail rigs for some time

and would have thought the sail was set outside the shrouds!  I'm referring to "Mediterranean"

practices which were tried later in European waters. Reports of King Richard's fleet sailing to

Acre in 1192,  describe his oared-galleys attacking and sinking a "huge" 3-masted Muslim ship,

which may have been a dromond.  Huge ships would have required larger sails. John Pryor,

an Australian scholar has studied these vessels, and written a paper on them. I can't find this

reference at the moment. European sailors used to square sails, were cautiously "experimenting"

with lateen sails  (say 1500's) which is why they were much smaller.  Arab dhows also had large

lateen sails which would not work inside the shrouds.  Regards, Pollex  Calgary

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