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Securing stays to mast caps


ahb26
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I am working on an inherited model of USRC "Joe Lane," my first ship model with significant rigging.  The plans and instructions are pretty good but I am having trouble figuring out how to attach stays to the mast caps.  The photo below shows two stays attaching to the mainmast cap via some long rectangular structures:

58fcb8e56296d_DSCF3971(800x600).jpg.a5af93b98fec12b7048986cd5bd6fcce.jpg

The plan also includes a top view of the main and fore caps.  There are thick horseshoe-shaped lines around the facing ends of the caps with an illegible label:

58fcb8e62efcf_DSCF3972(800x600).jpg.ee5bc94881bb297ddaeb8fbf7ab16d7f.jpg

I have a copy of Mastini's Ship Modeling Simplified, and the photo of a Bluenose model on the cover shows horseshoe-shaped fittings at the caps where stays are attached.  However, the book itself does not describe these fittings.  What are they?

 

Thanks for your assistance.

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According to Lennarth Petersson's "Rigging Period Fore-and-aft Craft" this is the accepted way!  Similarily the shrouds are looped around as well - if an even number of shrouds on a side them the loop is seized to a pair of shrouds and if an odd number then one of them us handled like the stay shown below.

 

Hope this is useful

 

58fced1bf0d5c_IMG_1222(1).thumb.jpg.3c45cda587759826864205a00800b3c5.jpg

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Hi Andrew;

 

The illegible word is 'span',  which was a length of rope with a block or thimble spliced into each end.  It was normally fitted by simply wrapping it vertically around the cap (over the top and bottom) and,  in the Royal Navy,  was used for the yard lifts.

 

However,  in your case,  the span seems to be fitted to bolts or shackles in the sides of the caps. 

 

The cap seems to be very weak all round,  not made of much material.  If it was wooden,  I would expect to see the rectangular hole much smaller,  as the top of the mast was normally cut with a tenon,  to reduce the amount of material removed from the cap,  rather than putting the whole thickness of the mast through the cap.  Is the cap bound with iron?  In which case maybe the span was fixed to lugs;  but then of course you wouldn't need the span,  as the lugs could be placed where required.

 

Perhaps a fellow modeller who knows more about US Revenue cutters can tell us more of this.

 

Thank you for a thought provoking post.

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

 

 

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Hi Mark,

 

I think you have identified my mystery component.  In US Navy usage, it appears that "span" refers to a rope or iron arrangement that is fast on both ends and meant to hold something by its middle - which matches up well with my plans.  I can run rope spans from eye bolts on the sides of the cap.

 

The Joe Lane is a relatively late (1850) design, so it's quite possible that the caps were made of iron.  They are supplied as die cast metal parts in the kit, although that does not indicate that they were made of metal originally.

 

By the way, in looking for the naval definition of "span," I happened across the Historic Naval Ship Association (hnsa.org) and its on-line version of the 1891 Text-Book of Seamanship.  I assume this resource is already well known in the modeling community.  It looks like a real treasure-trove.

 

Again, my thanks!

 

Andrew

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Hi Andrew;

 

Thank you for the additional information.  I hope that your spans are done in a short time-span!

 

In the 19th century there are quite a few manuals designed to teach junior officers about the ships on which they found themselves.  They are interesting to read,  and the differences as things change over time are quite noticeable.   I don't know how many are available as online copies,  so any mention of something you find is probably helpful.

 

All the best,

 

Mark

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Actually, the first drawing puzzled me somewhat: I gather the bow is to the right ? So what is shown in the top of the main-mast ? This means that single or double back-stay goes down from the fore top-mast to the cap of the main-mast ? A rather unusual arrangement !

 

By the middle of the 19th century iron caps have come into use together with eye-bolts as fastening points for triatic stays and the likes. Likewise, a lot of forged iron-work began to replace certain ropes or chains - less maintenance required. I would interpret these 'square' structures between the stays and the caps as some sort of U-shaped iron rods that are bolted to the middle of the cap and provide the attachment point for the stays, the angle of which adjusts itself. Never seen something like this before, but it makes sense mechanically.

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Hi Andrew and Wefalck,

 

I am in the process of sorting the rigging of my 1855 built "Victoria" which has many elements of a three-mast schooner with Aberdeen clipper ship bow even though Barque rigged.  Wefalck has been very helpful in sorting this for me. 

 

In a series of articles (The Rigging of Clipper Ships by E.A. McCann) in the early editions of the Mariner's Mirror, there is a drawing (Topgallant Rigging) that shows the mast top (lower) with two boom extensions aft  like a flat V, each of which carries several piercings with rollers to accept the upper backstays (as sort of fairlead arrangement).  I am assuming this was to keep them clear of working the gaffs for the trisails.  That may help explain the arrangement shown in the first diagram?

 

As to the squares, unless meant to show as a filler to define the wood of the mast proper, these could be as Wefalck has suggested.  The diagrams I have show 3 or 4 iron bands around a circular Mast head for vessels in the mid 19th century; especially for steam/sail vessels.  These bands were fastened at the rear with eyes protruding to accept various blocks or stays.  At this stage, much of the rigging on the main mast was either chain or wire rope, again as Wefalck suggests) to protect the standing rigging from the funnel heat.  The following diagrams are from Robert Kipping (1853-4) "Rudimentary Treatise on the Masting, Mast-Making and Rigging of Ships" which is out of copyright and available as an eBook (Google).

58ffe7e36ccae_MastheadofaMid19CVessel.thumb.jpg.2bd5f27111312a2b7cc580fc0ab423b3.jpg  58ffe7e956216_MastheadofaSteamVessel.thumb.jpg.6f470c959bca74ac53e5e326b027fe2a.jpg

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Welfalck,

 

Perhaps this picture, with the various stays labeled, will clarify things:

Stays.jpg.a3a4137b0c4fdc150e3346863467ee91.jpg

You are correct that the detail photo in my initial post is of the mainmast.  Stays run from each cap to the top of the other mast, and between the caps.  The Bluenose model photo on the Mastini book's cover shows a similar arrangement.

 

The Bluenose photo also shows the U-shaped fittings you described (the U has square corners) very much like what is in my plans.  Thanks for your input on that!

 

Pat, the cast metal tops assemblies in the kit do have the V-shaped struts that you describe; you can make them out in side view in the photo.  The backstays run through hooks on them.  I think they're called spreaders, or are similar in function to spreaders.

 

Thanks to you both!

 

Andrew

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Glad to see that my interpretations/guesses were correct. This arrangement with two back-stays and a sort of triatic stay running from the fore-mast top back down to the main-mast cap is rather intriguing. I don't remember having seen this before. It actually makes it impossible to have stay-sail running on the main top-mast stay.

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2 hours ago, wefalck said:

Glad to see that my interpretations/guesses were correct. This arrangement with two back-stays and a sort of triatic stay running from the fore-mast top back down to the main-mast cap is rather intriguing. I don't remember having seen this before. It actually makes it impossible to have stay-sail running on the main top-mast stay.

I wondered about that.  I still wonder about that!

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Hi Andrew,

 

Sorry if I didn't catch a mention of this before, but those look like Marine Models kit plans of the Jeff Davis, and I know they made a kit.

 

I took a look at the Blue Jacket plans for their kit, and they show the exact same feature. The plans also clearly show a staysail running across from the main topmast pole. Seems odd, but there it is in a second set of plans. 

 

Clare

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It is a Marine Models kit, but the plans are for the Joe Lane, not the Jeff Davis, which is of the same Campbell class (according to Chapelle) and has the same rig as the Joe Lane.  In a further wrinkle, the Joe Lane plans are based on a survey taken after extensive repairs - in fact Joe Lane started out life as the Campbell (again, according to Chapelle) but was rechristened following the repairs.

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The structures the stays attach to are "bails" in my opinion, iron "u" shaped objects fixed with bolts through the top of the masthead, with the stays attached to the bow of the "u" on the centerline. This arrangement allows for the topmast to be struck without removing the stays (Spring stay? Triatic stay?) as the topmast is not part of that structure and can pass freely behind them.

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20 hours ago, JerseyCity Frankie said:

The structures the stays attach to are "bails" in my opinion, iron "u" shaped objects fixed with bolts through the top of the masthead, with the stays attached to the bow of the "u" on the centerline. This arrangement allows for the topmast to be struck without removing the stays (Spring stay? Triatic stay?) as the topmast is not part of that structure and can pass freely behind them.

Bails it is!  Made from 22 gauge galvanized steel wire.  All will be painted black in the end.  Thanks to all for the input.

5903a46ae1069_DSCF3974(800x600).jpg.b39d56e33d8a9c16e0f70b8dd5d392fb.jpg

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On 4/28/2017 at 5:11 PM, wefalck said:

... actually, I would have thought that the part is really U-shaped, or even slightly V-shaped - the position to which the stay will attach is not defined in the way it is modelled; the stay would in practice slip to one of the corners and then pull slightly sideways.

Good point.  Here are Bails 2.0:

59063b024a95a_DSCF3976(800x600).jpg.c1bfe97162159f101fd3acf39bcb53bd.jpg

Andrew

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