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A quick clarification


mikiek
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The rigging plans for Niagara have several places calling for belaying some running rigging (halyards mostly) to a shroud sheerpole or stave.  What does that look like

exactly? A few wraps then a coil? Seized?

 

There was even one halyard that come down to a tackle mounted to a top and the plan says belay to itself.

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I believe that there were cleats seized to the shrouds a couple of feet above the sheer poles. It's a practice used on recreational sail up to this very day. Just google shroud cleat and you can see what they look like in the 21st century. I would mention that I do not think that many of them were carbon fiber a century ago. I would put my money behind wood.

Edited by michaelpsutton2
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Hi Mike;

 

I would follow your instinct with regard to the halyard in the top,  and go with frapping turns around the tackle itself.  I have always interpreted 'belays to itself',  as meaning just this.  Incidentally,  it is the same method used to keep the gun-tackles tight when the guns were stowed.

 

Concerning the halyard falls belayed to the sheer-pole,  I would do exactly that,  and wrap them around the sheer-pole.  This was,  after all,  a very strong anchorage point,  and halyards were normally carrying a lot of weight. 

 

Before the use of sheer-poles,  halyards for upper yards were often belayed around the lanyards between the shroud deadeyes.

 

Shroud cleats were more used for ropes with lighter duties,  for example furling the sails.

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

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Mark - I tried frapping one last night. It definately make sense, a good strong bind and the excess is out of the way. I just wish I had done the frapping a little earlier in the rigging process. Now I'm having to do it using a pair of tweezers in each hand.

 

BTW - I did frap all my gun tackles on this build.

 

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I'm skeptical This frapping  of the hauling part of the line is a method used at sea. Photos abound on the internet of gun tackle demonstrating this frapping but my theory is that these examples are all Museum ships open to the public. Some curious Museum visitors have a tendency to play with the rigging if it isn't secured in one way or another and I believe this frapping is a strategy to defeat this behavior, not a reflection of actual use. Certainly a tackle can be belayed to itself, but sailors would use any of several known knots that would belay the line in a way in which the line could also be instantly cast off. Nobody at sea is going to render the falls of the tackle THAT difficult to un-belay by taking turns around something with its ENTIRE LENGTH. CERTAINLY not a Halyard! it takes too long to render all that line around and around. Also, if we can go back to speaking about Halyards, I would be very surprised to learn that any haliard wouldn't be provided with a sturdy and reliable bit of hardwear to belay onto. Balaying a tackle to itself is more in the nature of a temporary means of securing a lighter load, a Halyard on the other hand is always going to be under heavy strain when belayed, is always going to belay in precisely the same place every time, and must be able to be INSTANTLY cast off. Thus the ship would have a pin or a cleat or a knight head or kevel  dedicated to the line.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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Maybe the difference between contemporary rigging (belayed to itself) and historical?  I know a lot of compromises were made during the rebuild due to the fact that there isn't 150+ guys to work the boat any more.

 

I prefer frapping where possible because I believe the coils on the deck look contrived, would have posed a safety hazard and likely wouldn't stay put for very long.

 

Lavery and Lees both have references to frapping in various applications (guns included), most of which seem to have to do with getting excess rope out of the way.

 

My understanding is that frapping was done in open water where the need for instant release was low. A good application for guns where there was time to unravel and do whatever with the fall before action started.

 

 

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11 hours ago, JerseyCity Frankie said:

... my theory is that these examples are all Museum ships open to the public. ....

 

In light of which, the frapping of gun tackle would seem appropriate on a model.  

No less so, than the neat coils laying on the deck, often seen on models. 

Would those coils represent actual practice on a  working ship?

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There are statements to the effect that coils on deck were done for inspections or when the brass would be hitching a ride on your ship. I'm with you Bill, they don't seem real practical for everyday use. Decks should be as clear as possible.

 

It is interesting to think if gun tackles were frapped during open water activities and would be unfrapped for drills or action, what did they do with all the excess rope?

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1 hour ago, thibaultron said:

As far as frapping the gun lines. Remember, it could be hours between sighting an enemy ship, and actually engaging her, so plenty of time to get ready.

Agreed Ron. It's not like today when the bad guy could be right around the corner. You usually had plenty of time to prepare.

 

On the other hand, some of the running rigging - where the plans say belay to itself - did have to be accessible very quickly. I have read accounts of Niagara describing how top heavy she was under full sail. A big gust during that time could have been disaster. Of course they had upwards of 30 men in the spars just about all the time to be ready to furl or reef a sail.

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Le Hermione seamed a good candidate for providing images of a non-museum ships gun stowage, she is  arguably the most authentic reproduction sailing today and she HAS crossed the Atlantic. In most cases I saw, the crew have taken up on the training tackle and they used the remaining line to lash the gun to the cairage. Their technique is not elegant but it does appear practical while at the same time keeping all line off the deck.

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Quote

 

Greetings gentlemen;

 

The term 'belays to itself' is only used here in connection with ropes which would not be needed urgently if the sails needed handling suddenly:  specifically in this instance the halyards,  which are only needed to raise or lower the yards,  and the staysails.

 

Concerning the coils of rope on the deck,  the longer ropes were coiled on deck during use.  For instance,  the sheet or tack from opposite clews of the sail,  when close-hauled,  would mostly be inboard. 

 

I have a copy of the rigging warrant from HMS Monarch from 1765,  which lists the lengths of rope and the blocks and fittings issued for all the rigging.  For the main sheet,  this is 100 fathoms,  giving 50 fathoms (300 feet) per side.  Some of this may have been spare,  but the rigged sheet needed to be twice the width of the mainsail,  and then some,  which is still a lot of rope.  So much rope would make big coils,  whether on deck,  or perhaps hanging from cleats or kevels or some other fitting.

 

The picture below shows a view of the forecastle of the 'Royal Caroline'.  It is not easy to see,  but next to the sailors you should be able to make out a large,  darker patch.  This is a coil of rope laid out on the deck.  There is another,  smaller one just abaft the galley chimney. 

 

This would seem to show beyond any reasonable doubt that large coils of rope were laid out on deck during sailing.

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

Fo'c's'le deck cropped.jpg

Edited by Mark P
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Thanks Mark - I see your point. I would wager that this is similar to the "coil" of rope in the 4th pic Frankie posted. I mean honestly, what else can you do with that much big rope? I doubt if it would roll into the dainty pinwheels we see all to often. I would also wager that it was someones job to make the rounds and ensure that they haven't been tossed about and remain neatly stowed on deck.

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Hi Mike;

 

Thanks for the picture and the discussion.  I am sure you're right about it being someone's job to keep an eye on these coils. 

 

One other point that might be relevant is that in the Royal Navy,  the sailors stationed in the tops were normally some of the most experienced members of the crew.  They would undoubtedly make a good job of coiling a rope.

 

The same was probably true in the US Navy.

 

Happy modelling!!

 

Mark P

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Good discussion and I'll add my 2 cents re: the "flemishing" of lines when not in use.  I doubt this was common practice, except as someone mentioned, in preparation for an inspection or other ceremony when not underway.  For longer lines that needed to run cleaning and quickly, "faking" the line on deck ensures it runs without twisting or tangling, flemishes don't necessarily run out cleanly.  A longer line might also be neatly coiled on deck in what we referred to as a "birds nest."  Warships are typically kept clean and orderly and I doubt lines were left faked, coiled, or flemished on deck for significant periods of time.  Ships are very dynamic (rocking and rolling, shipping water on deck, etc) and crowded, so prudence would dictate that everything is well secured when underway.  Found the below image from a modern US Navy training manual: 

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Cheers,

 

Keith

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Hey Keith - your picture taught me something. I've seen a line faked but never knew what it was called. I've also heard the term fake but didn't know what it was.

 

I'm still stumped as to what you do with the rope shown in the plans as it exits the upper block. A half hitch? Then coil the fall? Given that this is all happening on the lower top, I doubt if anything would be left on the flooring.

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I'm no expert on the rigging question, but considering the purpose of this line, I would think it would be cleated off on something, not half-hitched to itself.  Would it be wrong to have a cleat mounted on the mast there?  

 

Sorry I can't help resolve conclusively (but you probably won't go too astray if you think like a sailor, they were/are pretty practical).

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

Edited by el cid
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Hey Mike,

 

Are you familiar with the crew manual at Brig Niagara website (http://ssvniagara.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/niagara-crew-handbook.pdf)?  On page 45 it provides a belaying diagram that shows the topgallant halyard (I think that's what your diagram is describing) belayed to a pinrail on the starboard side.  Don't know which source should be judged most definative, but perhaps an option.

 

HTH,

 

Keith 

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I think people are confused about what Frapping is and what it's intended to do. It's NOT a method of using up extra line. It's a method of drawing two tight lines together and making them both tighter, tighter than mere manpower alone could make them. The configuration of lines on the French guns in the photos is NOT a haphazard unseamanlike jumble, it's a clever calculated method of providing a secure hold on the guns.

Here are two drawings illustrating the concept-the First is a simplified schematic showing the concept at work: two legs of a tackle lying between the two blocks are taken up on and made as tight as can be managed through muscle power alone. When the Frapp goes on it pulls the two legs together and this increases the power of the purchas the blocks are providing. More frapping turns put on serve to draw the two legs even closer together, creating tremendous force on the two legs, which were already tight to begin with. The second illustration shows the training tackle on the French guns, the Frapping Turn is going around the near training tackle, over the gun to the far training tackle, then back again, drawing the legs of the training tackle together and thus increasing the strain of the carriage  against the bulwark eyebolts, making the gun more secure than muscle power alone could have madde it.. More Fraps ( not illustrated in the drawing but plainly visible in all the above photos) go around the two legs of the breaching rope. Since the breaching rope was kinda slack to begin with, a lot of Fraps are put around the two legs of this line and you can see them in a row across the top of each gun. 

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