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Bending Sails to Halyard


FoldedFrog
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Hello all!

I have visited this forum many times in the past but, unfortunately, I’m not much of a poster.  I am really appreciative of the information that you all share and it has proven invaluable over the few years I have been in this hobby!

That said, I have a question that seems rather simplistic in its nature but have had a devil of a time finding the answer.  I am currently building a ship from the Cauldercraft HMS Agamemnon 1781 model kit.  I plan to rig this ship with a few furled and drying sails.  I have never built a ship with sails so was wondering the following:

What kind of knot or hitch was used to bend the sails to the halyard?

My original thought was the reef knot but Harvey Garrett said in “The Arts of the Sailor” said that the reef knot was not a dependable permanent knot.  He listed several uses but bending a sail was not one of them.  I also referenced “Rigging Period Ship Models”, by Lennarth Petersson and, WOW! It appears this is the only detail he seems to have left out!

I’m weary of searching!  Can someone lead me to a historically accurate answer?

Thanks in advance.

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To be precise, a sail would not be attached to a halyard.  The sail would be attached to the jackstay

that is mounted on top of the yard and the halyard is attached to the yard. 

Halyard = haul yard - the line used to raise and lower this spar.

 

Doing a quick search online - my guess is that a continuous line was run around the jackstay and

down thru the grommets  along the top of the sail  - sort of a weave.  That way - only one knot would need be

reversed to unbend the sail.

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The sail is bent to the jackstay by means of robands.  Robands are short pieces of braided rope made up with eyes on one end.  The robands go through the grommets at the head of the sail in pairs and are secured by passing through each others eye.  This leaves a pair of ends that will be secured to the jackstay.  There were usually two roband grommets per sail cloth.

 

To bend the sail to the jackstay the roband ends were passed around the jackstay in opposite directions, through the grommet and back up over the jackstay to be tied together with a square knot.

 

Regards,

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Okay then!  I couldn't tell from the pictures I had seen and the books weren't explicit.  This helps allot in that I haven't been searching the right terms all along.  Thanks so much!  I will investigate the use of jackstays and sails!  In any case, the reef knots were used so I got even more than I bargained for!

 

Thanks again! 

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Not sure when the Jackstay came into use and judging by the date of the ship I would give that some consideration. But the original question was how is the halyard attached to a sail, and no particular sail was specified. The fore and aft sails often do have a halyard bent directly to them, as well as sheets and tacks. Is your sail triangular? The halyard will be bent to a ring or a cringle set into the sailcloth or an eye seized in the boltrope at the sails head or upper corner. the knot used won't matter very much at small scales but ere on the side of the smallest possible knot as the actual knot used on an actual sail would be no larger than a human fist- and it could have been a splice.  Probably use an Overhand Knot or just use glue. If you want authenticity I would us a Round Turn and Two Half Hitches (that's the knots actual name) or if you wanted to get fancy use a Fishermans Bend or even the Stunsail Sheet Knot, a close relative.

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4 hours ago, JerseyCity Frankie said:

Not sure when the Jackstay came into use and judging by the date of the ship I would give that some consideration. But the original question was how is the halyard attached to a sail, and no particular sail was specified. The fore and aft sails often do have a halyard bent directly to them, as well as sheets and tacks. Is your sail triangular? The halyard will be bent to a ring or a cringle set into the sailcloth or an eye seized in the boltrope at the sails head or upper corner. the knot used won't matter very much at small scales but ere on the side of the smallest possible knot as the actual knot used on an actual sail would be no larger than a human fist- and it could have been a splice.  Probably use an Overhand Knot or just use glue. If you want authenticity I would us a Round Turn and Two Half Hitches (that's the knots actual name) or if you wanted to get fancy use a Fishermans Bend or even the Stunsail Sheet Knot, a close relative.

Thank you, Frankie!  I was wondering when the use of a Jackstay started myself.  I will be bending a few square sails (probably foresail and mainsail drying) and probably show a jib sail furled.  I have some good research regarding how the jibs were bent. Great info on the knots!

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16 hours ago, davyboy said:

Hi Folded Frog,

 

Jackstays would not have been in use on the HMS Agamemnon 1781. They were not introduced on English warships until post 1810 according to Lees' Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War. You'll have to bend the sails to the yards.

 

Dave :dancetl6: 

Thank you Dave!  I had read something similar in my research (1830-ish). The depth of research needed to be spot-on accurate with all the details is just another fun and interesting aspect of the hobby!

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