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question about sail position


Warnerade
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I am currently finishing up a union brigantine by constructo and on the box the main sail and fore sail are partially furled (I believe that is the right term) and I was wondering if the topsail and royal sail would ever be the in the same partially furled position? I am just curious, I was considering doing this to make more of the rigging visible.

 

This is the picture on the box

 

Image result for union constructo brigantine

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On the picture, the two lower sails are 'clewed up'. This is done in order to take the wind out of the sails, e.g. to slow the ship down. 'Furling' means that the sails are hauled up onto the yards and securely stowed there. It would be a lot of writing to describe the respective procedures and what part of the rigging would be involved. You may want to consult books such as Harland's 'Seamanship' for this.

Most sails could be clewed up in one way or another. Sometimes the very light top-sails could only be lowered to be furled. On your type of ship I would expect all sails to be fitted with clew-lines, which are the ones that run from the lower corners of the sails to a point on the yard near its centre.

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The lower yards are called the Course Yards and they are more or less fixed in position and always remain at the same height above the deck regardless of sails on them being set or furled. The yards ABOVE the Course Yards are nearly always “Hoisting Yards” meaning they are hoisted up (using hailyards) when sail is set on them and then lowered down again when sails are furled. (Split topsails and split tagalents partially break this rule). The upper and lower positions the hoisting Yards can occupie are more or less determined by the masts they are attached to via their Parrels: the yards are hauled up as high as possible and lowered down as far as possible. 

A shocking number of ship model builders don’t understand this and one often sees models with furled sails with all the yards hoisted high into their upper positions, a condition they wouldn’t ever realy be in on actual ships. Some model builders build their ships “bare polled” but position the yards high. There is ample room to debate this practice. 

Another trap to fall into is misunderstanding the Lifts on hoisting Yards. Many smaller spar upper yards have lifts that don’t run, they are fixed lengths of line that can not be adjusted from the deck, they are only tight when the yards are in their lower positions and when the yards are hoisted up, the lifts droop dramatically. (Topsail Yards however have lifts that do run) Many model builders don’t understand these lifts and depict them as being tight with the yard hoisted.

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Good points. A good book on the rigging of ships of the period and region of interest should be in everyone's bookcase. Also a copy of Harland's 'Seamanship' would be a must for every half-way serious shipmodeller. Personally, I find it rather difficult to model something that I don't understand.

 

As for topping-lifts: the name itself may lead to the misconception and, hence, misrepresentation. The name seems to convey the idea that they serve to raise and lower the yards, while in reality the serve to stabilise them against swinging in the vertical plane. Although, for instance the German, French, Spanish and Italian do not convey the idea of 'lifting', modellers in these countries seem to fall into the same trap.

 

Having said that, I was aesthetically and otherwise rather surprised last weekend to see several of these modern square-rigged ships that have been fashioned from old trawler-hulls and the likes and that go by the denomination of 'windjammer' to not lower their yards down to the mast-caps, when sails are furled:

 

https://forum.arbeitskreis-historischer-schiffbau.de/download/file.php?id=9547&mode=view

 

https://forum.arbeitskreis-historischer-schiffbau.de/download/file.php?id=9546&mode=view

Images by S. Borgschulze on https://forum.arbeitskreis-historischer-schiffbau.de/

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

paintings and old photos are other good reference sources.  Each sail also have operating ranges for wind speeds.  direction of the wind also dictates which sails are set. Clippers would sometimes have their main and mizzen courses clewed or furled with the fore course set when close hauled.  It's my understanding that it had to do with balancing the driver.  You can find old photos and painting reflecting this set with the top sails set.

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Both, the sail-plan as well as the underwater body have centres of gravity that shift with the ship heeling and the number and position of sails. As all sailors know, you can change a ships tendency to turn into the wind or away from it by adding or taking away sails at different positions of the rig. This is why certain sails may not be set under certain conditions.

 

Also, on a square-rigged ship certain sails under certain conditions will blanket other sails. In fact, they would not be of use or even detrimental due to increased turbulence and friction. Thus, you often see the main-sail being clewed up or furled in order to not blanket the fore-sail.

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On ‎10‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 3:59 PM, Warnerade said:

I am currently finishing up a union brigantine by constructo and on the box the main sail and fore sail are partially furled (I believe that is the right term) and I was wondering if the topsail and royal sail would ever be the in the same partially furled position? I am just curious, I was considering doing this to make more of the rigging visible.

 

This is the picture on the box

 

Image result for union constructo brigantine

Clewing up canvas, at times was done to harmonize the balance of the vessel.  To answer your question, it would not be unusual to see topsails clewed up or partially furled.  As pointed out, the fore and main course is probably clewed up to slow the vessel down for maneuvering in battle or in preparation for anchoring/towing or in response to weather change. In the case of the latter, the royals would be furled first to eliminate undue stresses on the royal mast.  Remember...if you are going to clew up the top sail or royal...lowering the yards themselves would need to be considered as well.  An entirely different matter.

 

Rob

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