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Virginia Armed Sloop question

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Virginia Armed sloop ?


I'm using these plans to rig my model of the Colonial Sloop Providence as no plans of this vessel exist, presently, only a wrecked replica.


The Virginia Armed Sloop  plans make me ponder a bit.


 On sheet 7 detail 7A shows the view of the jeers. The parrel goes around the "horse" securing the spreader yard to the horse.




My concerns are :


When sailing off the wind, Is this sufficient to hold the wind filled topsail sheets, and spreader yard strongly to the mast.

considering there is a pair of braces from the spreader yard to the bowsprit, further pulling the spreader yard forward.  Another pair of braces are shown aft to each quarter of the vessel.


It seems to me that only one brace aft would be effective, on the windward side. The leeward brace would have to be un shipped or else  it would cut into the main sail.


So what was the practice in the days of Colonial sailing vessel ?


I would rig up another parrel around the yard and the mast , especially if it came on to blow, and strike the spreader leeward brace. ( I might be sailing for a prize ;)  or escaping a superior enemy Man o war) :(  


BTW I wonder how often the spreader yard would actually be lowered back in those days. The Providence replica for all practical purposes had it's spreader yard fixed. in position.  But unfortunately failure to strike it when on the hard and lower the top mast probably contributed to the Providence  replica to be blown over during a winter storm. 


Thanks for any imformed response.



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In conferring with an ex skipper( who commissioned the model build) of the Sloop Providence  (Same rig as the Armed  Virginia Sloop ) The " brace" pair intended for the spreader yard leading aft were not used to brace the yard. They were used as a "utility" line, like to board cargo or cat the anchor etc.




In the image one can see the utility in a stowed position not bracing the yard.


To brace the spreader yard, the pair leading to the bowsprit was used.  


I wonder if the Armed Virginia sloop skippers did the same ??



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  • 1 year later...



Sorry for the delay, but I'm now searching for an answer for your first question. Clayton A. Feldmand in his book 'Modeling an armed Virginia Sloop of 1768' gives us an explanation in page 6 of chapter 1:


"A spreader yard or crossjack not only spreads the
foot of the topsail, but also serves as a yard for an
optional lower square sail, which could be called the
main course, the crossjack sail, or simply the square sail,
depending on which source one relies upon. The
spreader yard in this Virginia sloop is raised by means
of a horse, a stout vertical rope fixed between trestletrees
and deck (one of several uses for the term horse). This
permits the yard to be rapidly raised or lowered without
interfering with the raising or lowering of the gaff. Once
up and in place, the yard would be lashed to the mast
with a rope guide or parrel."


It's a very interesting book and, in my opinion; a reference for this type of vessels. Sadly, it is out of print.

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SOS is now done with his fantastic build so this information may be a little dated for him, but for those who are interested in this type of vessel the book is still available. Although it is out of print like carlosgf says Amazon or Abebooks still offer it used if you are willing to go the cost.



Edited by lmagna
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10 minutes ago, lmagna said:

Although it is out of print like carlosgf says it is still available on Amazon or Abebooks if you are willing to go the cost.



You can get the AVS book on CD from the publisher for around $30. The CD also includes the practicum on a Bermuda sloop and the Brig Fair American. It's well worth the price in my opinion.




Good luck, Al

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