Jump to content

Bowsprit 'Steps' not Step


Recommended Posts

I have another question to ask of the Forum. Looking at two 18C East Indiamen ships - the English Falmouth (some very early drawings) and the Swedish Goethenburg (video of the replica) and both ships have 'steps' running along the top edge of the bowsprit. The latter showed a sailor using these 'steps' as he moved up the mast. Can anybody shed any light on these ? Were they characteristic of a certain time period ? Were they only used on merchant vessels ? Only certain nations ? I am intrigued by this as today was the first time I became aware of such a bowsprit addition. Would like to get some more detail on these 'steps' for sure. I am aware that certain vessels also used a climbing rope up the bowsprit.

Pete

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that tip Greg. The Consitution seems to have gone through a number of refits, slowly returning to its 1812 form. The steps shown in the attached image of the Constitution bowsprit certainly show a bit of a 'staircase'. What I have seen are just strips of timber fixed along the bowsprit and I am trying to find out some more info on how common these were.

Pete

image.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I asked the above question a few months ago regarding the presence of 'steps' extending out along at least part of the bowsprit and am totally ignorant of when and where these may have been used. Found the following image which explains what I am on about. So any comments re these steps would be most appreciated.

Pete

A View of the Old England just arrived form a Cruise round the Globe, artist unknown, c.1762, British Museum_detail1.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Pete, I have read a discussion in either Underhill (Masting and Rigging the Clipper Ship and Ocean Transport), or Kipping (Rudimentary Treatise on Masting), about the shape of the bowsprit in which there is a discussion that some bowsprits had a flattened upper / topside and some had blocks (steps) to assist access along the bowsprit.  These were supplemented by the use of manropes with the outboard end secured to the Cap and the inboard at two vertical stanchions  at the head timbers/knightheads.

I can't recall which at the moment and I am up to my ears in research for Victoria; but, i will have to return to rigging in coming months.  If I come across the actual reference I will post the detail of where to find it.It is relevant for me also as HMCSS Victoria had the manropes (specified in the Contract and shown in lithographs), and in some visual evidence I have, may also have had the flattened topside of the bowsprit.

 

cheers

 

Pat

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the quick reply Pat. Yes, I have seen a reference to those 'man ropes' (is that what they are called ?) extending out along the bowsprit but I cannot remember where. If you can put that on your list of things to do, I would really appreciate your doing so. The steps and/ or the ropes seem just a very logical thing to make use of.

Pete

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The pitching motion of the ship is felt more strongly the farther one moves from the "center" of the vessel. So if a ship is pitching through an arc of 30 degrees, someone standing midships on deck near the main hatch is going to feel the motion but their body won't be rising and falling through space very much. But out on the Bowsprit, that same person is going to feel their body moving through a much greater arc, up and down. The tip of the jibboom could be passing through 50 feet of space, each time the vessel pitches, up up up then down down down. And if you have to make your way onto or off of the head rig, you are going to want any possible aid for your footing.

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.

Guest
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.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...