Jump to content

Rigging bunt lines, clew lines, sheets - Cutty Sark (edited by Admin)


Recommended Posts

Usually running rigging consists of halyards, lifts, braces, parrels etc.. Job done. Model complete. However, I am coming up to riggging my Cutty Sark. So, my basic question. What was the standard practice regarding bunt lines, clew lines, sheets etc,,, did they come down with the sails, or did they stay up there?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And the more practical question: are you able to represent these lines in the scale you are working with?

Sometimes less is more :)


With respect to your question: I guess it depends on the situation.

When a ship is sailing, everything is there.

In port during (un)loading, the sails are not removed, therefore these lines are not.

During winter-stops, I guess most lines are removed, as the weather does have a (negative) effect on the quality of the lines.

 So everything needed to have the yards in place will remain, everything else is removed.


Sometimes you see a model with full rigging, but without sails. In that case the lines are prevented from running loose with the help of knots and toggles.

I like the look of it (although: only when blocks and lines are in scale), but I never saw a picture of these clippers fully rigged, without sails.


in your case, I would take Cutty sark as she is in dry-dock as your reference: Standing rigging lifts and braces in place, all other removed.



Edited by amateur
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your replies, I appreciate it.


Jan, I am modelling Cutty Sark in 1/75 scale in her wool clipper cut down rig. So, no stuns'ls or sky sail. I am now thinking of attempting the first yard with a furled sail including the running rigging. If I can model that to scale, then i will continue throughout. If it looks too out of scale or overly complex or fussy, then I will model without any sails and their associated rigging. I am a stickler on everything being "to scale".



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of my model, no. Still working on the masts. When I am ready to rig, I will start a build log.


I have internet sourced photograph's of her in that rig, and the two photo's in Lubbock's book.

I know the wording of the original work order to cut her down. This combined with the above mentioned photographs have allowed me to draw up some rudimentary sketches of masts and spars. Many hours of work!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Martin, and the others,

I am building the Revel 1\98 Cutty Sark. It has sat untouched for over 40 years while I pursued other interests.

My question, how are you going to make the sails? I have the 3 sheet set of plans, including the sails, which I will rescale for my model!

Thanks all, have enjoyed reading your responses


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Macgoodwin;


If the sails were removed for a shortish period of time,  normal practice was to join together the lines which would have been attached to the clew of the sail,  and pull them up to the yard.  Buntlines would be made fast to the strop of their block on the yard (or perhaps to the jack-line,  if these were fitted to the Cutty Sark)


The idea was to save time when bending the sails to the yard.  Re-reeving ropes took much longer than simply re-attaching them.


The attached picture (contemporary rigged model,  in the Science Museum Archive since 1881) shows this in a much earlier,  Naval,  not merchant vessel;  but if the Navy,  with high manning levels,  did this,  then it would seem very reasonable to expect the merchant ships,  with a smaller crew and time/profit considerations driving them,  to be even more likely to take the route that saved time/money.


The picture shows the sheet, tack and clew blocks all pulled up to the yard.  Buntlines are visible coming from the lead blocks under the top.


All the best,


Mark P


Edited by Mark P

Previously built models (long ago, aged 18-25ish) POB construction. 32 gun frigate, scratch-built sailing model, Underhill plans.

2 masted topsail schooner, Underhill plans.


Started at around that time, but unfinished: 74 gun ship 'Bellona' NMM plans. POB 


On the drawing board: POF model of Royal Caroline 1749, part-planked with interior details. My own plans, based on Admiralty draughts and archival research.


Always on the go: Research into Royal Navy sailing warship design, construction and use, from Tudor times to 1790. 


Member of NRG, SNR, NRS, SMS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Mac,


I have decided to rig my Cutty Sark without sails. At the 1/75 scale I am working in, it is just easier for me.


I interpret your question as how to make the actual sails. I do not have any advice on this, and more to the point, have never modeled a sail.

At the scale you are working in, it will absolutely be a challenge, but not insurmountable. Also be cognisant of Jan's comments above regarding staying in scale.


My only suggestion is to check the masting/rigging/sails forum here on MSW. There are a few articles there that will assist you. 

How did you wish to model the sails? (Furled or flying in the breeze).




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...