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What rigging goes where? Was it standardized?


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coming to the end of my 1/72 build of the Victory, and i was asked a question about it on another site,

"how did 18th century sailors know what rigging went where" 


subject to the masters fine tuning, if two identical ship were built would each line go in the same position and tied off at the same point


how were young sailors taught this as i quess very few could read


so basically he is asking how would a young sailor know what rope to handle if told to do a specific job





Its all part of Kev's journey, bit like going to the dark side, but with the lights on

All the best

Kevin :omg:



On the build table

HMS Indefatigable 1794 by Kevin - Vanguard Models - 1:64 - Feb 2023 



HMHS Britannic by Kevin 

SD 14  - Marcle Models - 1/70 - March 2022 -  Bluebell - Flower Class - Revel - 1/72   U552 German U Boat - Trumpeter - 1/48  Amerigo Vespucci     1/84 - Panart-   HMS Enterprise  -CAF -  1/48     


St-Nectan-Mountfleet-models-steam-trawler-1/32 - Completed June 2020

HMS Victory - Caldercraft/Jotika - 1/72 - Finished   Dorade renamed Dora by Kevin - Amati - 1/20 - Completed March 2021 

Stage Coach 1848 - Artesania Latina - 1/10 -Finished Lady Eleanor by Kevin - FINISHED - Vanguard Models - 1/64 - Fifie fishing boat

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"Rigging Period Ship Models" by Lennarth Peterson shows deck belaying plans. There were standards to follow like most things in the navy at that time which could be modified to fit the needs and peculiarities of individual vessels (example- bomb ketch).

Completed scratch build: The armed brig "Badger" 1777

Current scratch build: The 36 gun frigate "Unite" 1796

Completed kits: Mamoli "Alert", Caldercraft "Sherbourne"

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What Spyglass said.   However, captains were free to change the rig such as belaying points, angles of the masts, etc. to maximize performance.  

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans - ON HOLD           Triton Cross-Section   

 NRG Hallf Hull Planking Kit                                                                            HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               


Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         



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Whilst there was a degree of standardization, the bosun (I think, may have been another non-officer) and sailing master had great leeway with where running lines terminated (belaying points), obviously within the physical constraints of the vessel and total rig.


Once the landsman learned his way around the vessel, including the riggong, he would "test" for his next rate.  If moving to a different ship of same class, there was a shallow learning curve.  A different class or size, though, could be quite different.


There are no references (official or otherwise) from the period which I am aware of that specified the precise run for a line, but rather specified diameter, blocks, attachment points at fixed end and so forth. 



Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.

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Almost half the time, the rigging was handled in the dark.  Crew was open to change at every port.  Their nationality was varied.  Navy crew altered.

In severe weather the lines were handled under real stress.  There was every reason for having which line was where be as standardized as possible.

NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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A certain standardisation and composing gangs of men of different levels of knowledge and experience. Most parts were too heavy to handled by one sailor alone, so one would group experienced and unexperienced sailors together. Experience comes very fast with the nine-tailed cat being around ...

There were no formal qualifications and exams for sailors of non-officer grades. They were moved on in hierarchy, if their superiors were satisfied with their qualities.



panta rhei - Everything is in flux



M-et-M-72.jpg  Banner-AKHS-72.jpg  Banner-AAMM-72.jpg  ImagoOrbis-72.jpg
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