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Horse for Boom Sheet

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Looking far far ahead at some of the rigging instructions for my Rattlesnake privateer (I'm only at the first planking stage...), it has a "horse" (part # 125) for the mizzen boom sheet.  #264 is the mizzen boom:


post-289-0-56067000-1365998497_thumb.jpg post-289-0-25476100-1365998579_thumb.jpg


On the model, this is bent brass wire. Anybody have an image or a description of how a horse actually looked?


I don't know what the Model Shipways version does for this rigging. Lees in '...Masting and Rigging..." mentions the horse but suggests an eyebolt was generally used, such as this image from Petersson "Rigging Period Ship Models".




I suspect using a horse versus the eyebolt was the model designer's choice and not necessarily the definitive arrangment. I'd likely go with the eyebolt version without a better vision of the looks of a "proper" horse.








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'A bent piece of wire' pretty much sums up what a sheet horse would have looked like in reality.  If that drawing accurately shows the after end of the deck, then a horse may have been necessary to allow the sheet to clear the rudder head.



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On more modern working boats, the horse was quite popular. It was a piece of bar bent into a "U" and then bolted through the deck into the beams on either end. It had a ring on it called a traveler that would be shackled to the lower sheet block. This allowed the sheet block to "travel" the length of the horse.


I would go with Lees or Steel on this.



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I sail as crew on a schooner with a horse on the staysail sheet. The horse on the schooner Pioneer (1885) is a steel bar about 2" thick that runs athwartship all the way to the bullwarks- it doesn't bend at the ends, its got a slight camber in it to match that of  the deck. Its about  9" above deck level. When we put the boat about on a new tack, this sort of sheet arrangement tacks itself with no tending other than an occasional kick to encourage the sheet block outboard in light winds. Advantages are that the entire sail needs no adjusting throughout any sail evolution and the sheet tackle is always off to one side, providing a better lead and sail shape than a center lead sheet would while at the same time freeing up all that deck space forward of the foremast.  

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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This would definitely be a judgment call.  Looking at The Global Schooner, Schooners in Four Centuries, and Chapelle's History of American Sailing Ships, a variety of methods of attachment are shown.  Particularly for a privateer, sailing to windward is important - and the Rattlesnake was reported to be quite a fine sailing vessel.  The horse (as opposed to central mounted eyebolt) allowed for better travel for the sail, with better performance to windward.  It also required less attention by the crew to trimming it than the central eyebolt would - note that the Rattlesnake had a crew of only 85 to both sail her and manage the 20 guns.


Chapelle has some reconstructed drawings of the vessel - they can be seen on-line at http://www.awiatsea.com/Privateers/R/Rattlesnake%20Massachusetts%20Ship%20%5BClark%5D.html


Unfortunately, the area in question is not clearly shown.





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Thank you all for the insights.


John, some of the Mamoli drawings that aren't of a "square" view are poorly done. The horse is about half the height of the rudder top and halfway back to the transom. Clearance is not likely an issue.




Wayne. I just looked at a Hahn drawing too. Unclear also, but the side view of the lower attachment looks more horsey than ringy ;)



Edited by RiverRat
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For what it's worth, here is the info from the Model Expo instructions:


The Model Shipways Hull and Rigging plans for Rattlesnake were prepared in 1963 by Mr. George F. Campbell, who passed away several years ago. Mr. Campbell was a noted British marine artist, author, naval architect, and historian. He was a member of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects. One of his most noteworthy publications is China Tea Clippers. He also developed the drawings for the Cutty Sark restoration in England and authored Model Shipways' model handbook, Neophyte Shipmodeler's Jackstay.


The Model Shipways plans prepared by Mr. Campbell are based on Admiralty draughts and a reconstruction originally published by Howard I. Chapelle in his book, The History of American Sailing Ships, and also The Search for Speed Under Sail. The rigging and deck equipment is based on contemporary texts.


Unfortunately, the instruction book doesn't show the horse - that is in the plans sheet that I don't have.  Here is what is in the instruction manual.




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Very good! Thanks so much.


But it looks like it has little travel side-to-side to be of much more advantage than an eyebolt? But then I know near nothing of handling a boom...............



You are quite right about the travel distance. It seems very short. In this case it may have something to do with clearing the stern gun port. But, than again, that would mean that it should be a lot wider.


On most sailboats, the travel sideways is usually done by having a slider on a metal track. It is used to control the boom and hence the sail so it can be switched from lee to windward when tacking.

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