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Clueline, Tack and Sheet Question

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This is a question I posted on my Niagara build log.






I need some guidance on a rigging question. I decided early on to include cluelines and sheets to all of my yards, even though I am not adding sails. For the royal and topgallant, I simply tied the sheet lines to the yards, and ran the cluelines down through a block to the deck (as per the Niagara narrative instructions). The Niagara plans were pretty vague on how to handle the Topsail, so I turned to my Petersson rigging book and used his design.


I am now faced with the Course Yards. Again, I have turned to Petersson. Following his diagram for the Foremast, I tied two blocks together with a single tack line as seen in the photo I have attached. My question though is this ok for the Niagara, and more specifically, where would I belay the end of the tack line?  In the diagram, the tack line runs through a block extended beyond the bow on a rod. There is no such apparatus on the Niagara, so where to belay the tack line.  The Niagara plans seem to indicate that the tack line should belay to the chock rail.


In my photo of the ship, you will find my prototype. I ran the tack to the chock rail and one end of the sheet will be belayed to an eyebolt on the outside of the hull and the other will run through a hole and tied to a cleet inside the bulwark.  Does this make any sense?


I also have a general question that will show my landlubberness. I believe the sheet and clueline attach to the bottom corner of the sail. If that is correct, why would Petersson pull the blocks so close to the mast, rather than out at the end of the yard.


The last photo is from the Niagara plans. It is hard for me to fully understand this. Petersson is a lot easier to understand.


Any suggestions?



IMG_1744 - Copy.JPG


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First, it helps to understand what each lines function is.  The sheet, tack and clew lines all control the lower corner (or clew) of a square sail.  The sheet hauls the lower corner aft.  The tack hauls the lower corner forward and the clew line hoists the corner up to the yard for furling the sail.  The fore sheet usually runs as you suggest, from an eyebolt well aft on the side through a single block at the sail then back through a hole or sheave let into the side and belays at a cleat or kevel on the inside of the rail or bulwark.  The fore tack usually runs single and starts with a tack knot thrust through the clew of the sail.  It runs forward through a single block seized to a short pole called a boomkin (or bumpkin) and then inboard to  belay on a cleat or kevel inside of the rail.  The boomkin helps to keep the foot of the fore sail fully extended.  If you have no boomkin you can take the tack directly to the cleat.  But it should not be too difficult to fit a boomkin if you wanted to add it in.  The clew line starts about a third of the way out from the middle of the yard where it is fastened with a timber hitch.  It then passes through a single block at the corner of the sail from outboard in then back up to a single block seized to the yard a little inboard from its standing end.  From there it goes to the deck most often through additional leading blocks near the mast.


When the sail is furled the clew line is hauled up.  This has the effect of pulling the corner of the sail up towards where the clew line is fastened at the yard.  That is why the tack, sheet and clew blocks are often depicted hanging near the center of the yard when no sails are present.


BTW.  As additional information the main tack, if it runs single (not through a block at the sail) will be the largest line of all of your sails running rigging.  It's a good reference point to judge the thickness of all the rest of the sails running rigging.





Laissez le bon temps rouler ! 



Current Build:  Le Soleil Royal

Completed Build Amerigo Vespucci

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In modeling, the issue of " how do I display running rigging when I've chosen not to include sails" is a common issue. But including the running rigging without the sails is a state of affairs not found on actual ships, nobody has the clew, Sheet and tack hanging in space under a naked yard. On an actual ship, when the sails are taken off, the rigging comes off too.

looks like the Niagara uses their cat heads for the tacks since they have no boomkins? That is where I would put them anyway. I looked but could not find many shots with the Fore set but here are two. Unfortunately neither shows the lines perfectly. 







 Niagara USS Constitution 


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A thousand thanks. Your description on the mechanics is exactly what I needed to understand how and why this is done this way.


I will take my single fore tack to a cleat, which is a better fit (along side of the bulwark) than pinning it in the chock rail, which moves it too much to the center of the bow.


Thanks for the heads up on the dimension of the rope.  I plan on rigging the main tack as a double, and already chose a heavy line (just luck) assuming the heft of the course sails would require a heavy line.

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