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Top Rope Pendents

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Regarding Litchfield an English 4th rate of 1695.   According to Lees (page 56) the top ropes were not un-rove at this time (before 1800)  but rather left in place and rigged.  My question is what is the length of the pendant?  Lees states that the length for the top rope pendants are equal to the length of the lower yards.  This makes no sense as the distance to the deck is about 40 feet and the main yard is about 70 feet long.  To me, the pendants would have to be of such a length to allow the top rope falls to be rigged to the pendants and through their appropriate blocks at the deck.  I am probably missing something obvious, but cannot come up with an answer.  Any insight to this would be appreciated.  

Allan

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Good evening Allan.

 

Do you have access to R.C. Andersens 17th century Rigging or Rigging in the Days of the Spritsail Topmast ? You may find some info there. I'm away from home just now so can't check my copies. The first book has a rigging plan of the St George 96 and I seem to recall the Topropes and their Tackles were led well abaft their respective masts. 

 

Dave :dancetl6:

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Are you sure the measurement of the main yard is correct?

it sounds so long compared to the distance to the deck

 

anderson does not give very precise numbers, just text and rather basic drawings....

 

Jan

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I’m a huge fan of Lees  but I gotta say, In my view it isn’t possible to have tackle attached to the toprop if it’s used to lower the Mast to the deck. Any block and tackle that starts out at deck level won’t be long enough to allow the Mast to reach the deck as the toprope must be  in length AT LEAST twice the distance from the crosstrees to the deck. Start with the Mast fidded aloft, the toprope can’t have a block on it’s hauling end since the block would hit the sheave in the heal of the Mast at a point precisely halfway to the deck.

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I agree with with Frank.  The top rope may have been called a pendant, but it was just one length of rope.  It came down to the deck and was redirected to a horizontal direction using (usually) the fourth sheeve of the knight and then probably taken to a capstan.

 

Regards,

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Thanks to all of you!

 I just looked at Anderson and it may clarify a bit.  He calls the top rope pendant a misnomer, and it is more of a runner with a block hooked on the end of the top rope and a tackle beneath it.   He mentions that there should be a drift of about 10 feet between the block at the deck and the block at the "pendant".   This is based on the model of the St. George.   With a distance of 10 feet between blocks, the "pendants"  will be about 40 feet long.

 

Jan, my mistake,  the main yard is actually 64' 4" long, and the foreyard is 57' 10" long.  Length from the main mast cap to the upper gun deck is about 70'. 

 

I have no build log as I am still in the throes of my first real drawings from which the build will take place.   Most of the drawings second draft are done for the hull and decks, frames, &c.  as is the list of the hundreds of scantlings dimensions.  Drawings and description of the rigging is probably the next 6 to 12 months effort.    Hopefully will start to cut wood about that time.   Couple basic drawings on progress below.  The carvings designs are a compilation of ideas from multiple sources.

 

 

Profile Litchfield 1695.PDF

Framing disposition Litchfield 1695.PDF

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Allan,I have had a think about this,how long is the lower masthead cap above the trestle trees ? Consider the distance there,the top rope is attached on one side of the cap to an eyebolt. It runs from there through the Topmast sheave back up to a block on the opposite side then down and aft to its tackle attachment point. That could perhaps account for the 30 foot difference. Only guesswork by me of course as I'm no expert.  Just out of interest,does the Litchfield have a single or double top ropes.

 

Dave :dancetl6:   

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Pretend the lower Mast is 100’ to the cap. With the Topmast fidded and in place the TOPROPE is fixed to the starboard side of the cap, runs through the sheave at the Topmast heel, back up to the lead block on the port side of the cap, then 100’ down to the deck. Paint the TOPROPE red at the point it’s belayed on deck to mark that portion of the rope. 

Now lower away. The Topmast has descended to deck. In order to get there, 200’ feet of TOPROPE had to run through the leadblock at the cap, with 100’ more feet to still get back to belay on deck. The TOPROPE had to be AT LEAST 300’ long to appear as it does in the second drawing. The red painted portion of the Toprope would have passed through the leadblock when exactly 50’ of the Topmast had descended need to the deck. If there was a block at that point on the line, the Mast could not descend any farther. 

Theres a chance a rig that includes tackle on the Toprope isn’t INTENDED to lower the Topmast all the way to the deck. A Toprope with tackle on it could be intended for use only in HOUSINGthe Topmast, that’s only INTENDED to get the Topmast halfway down. This was common enough and done in bad weather to reduce windage aloft in storms.

AEC44661-52DF-4E01-8852-09AF73010D73.jpeg

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Yes, Litchfield would have had two top ropes for each top mast thus two sheaves in the mast according to Anderson and Lees.  Lees shows this relatively clearly on page 55. The main mast cap is approximately 9 feet about the trestle trees.  He states that the length of the falls does not include the portion from the eye under the cap through the sheave and block at the cap.  

 

Thanks again to both of you for your thoughtful input.  I have not rigged anything larger than a Gloucester schooner in 39 years, so this has carried a huge learning curve for me.


Allan

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In Steel's Art of Rigging he desribes the method of hoisting up and rigging the top mast.  According to this method the top mast is hoisted up  using a hawser rigged in the old manner (pre 1640 or so) as has been described in posts above. The hawser was used to hoist the top mast high enough to pass through the lower mast cap where at the topmast cross tress and head rigging were fitted over the top mast head.  The top mast was then held in  place by tackles from the lower mast head while the hawser is un-rove.  The top rope pendant is then rove in the method described by Lees (1640 on).

 

So, everyone is correct here.  The top rope, after 1640, as described by Lees was never intended to allow the top mast to be lowered to or hoisted from the deck.  That job was accomplished by a separate line.  Which also sort of explains the differences in whether the top rope was un-reeved or left rigged during different time periods.

 

Regards,

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Greetings everyone;

 

There are some interesting ideas put forward here.  Frankie's diagram is quite correct.  In order for the mast heel to travel 100 feet,  the block in the end of the pendant must travel 200 feet.

 

However,  there is one point to keep in mind here,  which is why was the top-rope not unrove once the topmast was hoisted.  This could be for safety reasons,  in case the fid broke (in later times a preventer fid was fitted to counter just this event) 

 

But in the Restoration Navy,  and later,  it was customary during stormy weather to lower the topmasts,  but perhaps they did not remove them and stow them away.  This was done to lessen the weight at high level,  and reduce the roll of the ship.  There are some famous paintings showing ships in stormy weather with lowered topmasts. I will have to dig one out and see if the masts were removed or not in these circumstances.

 

Perhaps they were lowered enough for the topmast trestle-trees to be above the lower mast cap,  and the heel of the mast was lashed to the lower mast to prevent movement.

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

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Hello all

 

I managed to find in this site https://forum.game-labs.net/forum/62-age-of-sail-historical-discussions/ what Mark was looking for.

A painting by Antoine Roux of a frigate in a gale with topgallant masts taken down to the deck, topmasts lowered

and mainspars pulled forward by the tacks (unless I translated it wrong) away from the masts.

 

Hope it helps

 

Zeh

 

ant-roux-1820.jpg

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