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Weighing anchor with no jeer capstan


timboat
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Hey guys, I have a question.  I'm making a 3d model of a ship based on the HMS Blandford 1719 and I'm trying to figure out how they rigged a messenger or viol when weighing anchor.  Based on my research there was two ways an anchor was raised, 1: using a viol lashed to the anchor cable, then ran through the viol block strapped to the main mast, then taken to the jeer capstan and 2: after around 1730 using a messenger cable lashed to the anchor cable, led through a series of rollers, taken to the main capstan and back.  I completely understand this. 

 

The ship I'm making is from 1719 with no jeer capstan, so they had to have used the main capstan as if it was a messenger cable, however the blueprints I have show no rollers attached to the stanchions.  I'm guessing the system of rollers wasn't developed until after 1730.  That means if the main capstan was used with a messenger cable the cable when taut would rub up against the stanchion, elm tree pumps and chain pump housing, which I'm sure this would damage those parts.  So I'm thinking they warped the messenger cable to the side with a viol block or a snatch block.

 

My question is where would they attach a viol or snatch block to the side to warp the messenger cable?  I'm thinking some of the bolts for the channel's chain plates had on rings on the inside for this.  I'm guessing the side of the hull was strong enough to take part of the stress of the anchor cable.

 

By the way does anyone have any good pictures of a viol block?

Arma3_x64 2019-10-04 14-07-38-18.png

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Steel has a drawing of one.

 

https://maritime.org/doc/steel/part5.htm

 

VOYOL or VIOL BLOCK is a large single-sheaved block; the length is 10 times the thickness of the sheave-hole, which is three-eighths more than the thickness of the sheave; the thickness of the sheave is one-tenth more than the diameter of the viol, and the diameter of the sheave is seven times the thickness. The breadth of the block to be 8 times the thickness of the sheave, and the thickness to be two-sevenths of the length. This block is double scored, the sheave is coaked with brass and the pin is iron, and near the thickness of the sheave. It is used in heaving up the anchor. The viol passes round the jear-capstern, and through the block, which is lashed to the main-mast; and the cable is fastened in a temporary manner to the viol in several places. It is seldom used but in the largest ships in the royal-navy.

Edited by trippwj
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Timboat,Lees states in his Masting and Rigging book that viols were not used on ships below 36 guns. Blandford was a 20 gun ship. It's probable/possible that the Anchor Cable was led straight to the Capstan as their heaviest anchor was only 23 cwt according to Steel.

 

Dave :dancetl6:

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Looking through Falconer, he includes a very similar description to Steel (also noting only used on the largest vessels page 45) and a drawing on Plate III.

 

Falconer, William. A New and Universal Dictionary of the Marine: Being, a Copious Explanation of the Technical Terms and Phrases Usually Employed in the Construction, Equipment, Machinery, Movements, and Military, as Well as Naval Operations of Ships: With Such Parts of Astronomy, and Navigation, as Will Be Found Useful to Practical Navigators. T. Cadell, 1830. https://books.google.com/books?id=2TAyAQAAMAAJ.
 
 
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On 10/5/2019 at 1:08 PM, davyboy said:

Timboat,Lees states in his Masting and Rigging book that viols were not used on ships below 36 guns. Blandford was a 20 gun ship. It's probable/possible that the Anchor Cable was led straight to the Capstan as their heaviest anchor was only 23 cwt according to Steel.

 

Dave :dancetl6:

 

Well that raises new questions and a lot of complications.  The Blandford's capstan goes through the deck, so there's no way of throwing the cable over the capstan when you need to use it.  So they would either wrap the cable around the capstan just before dropping anchor and leave it there or pull the entire cable out of the hold and wrapped it around the capstan when preparing to weigh anchor, requiring time and man power.

 

That still leave the question of warping the cable around the stanchions, chain pump housing and elm tree pumps.

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1 hour ago, timboat said:

 

Well that raises new questions and a lot of complications.  The Blandford's capstan goes through the deck, so there's no way of throwing the cable over the capstan when you need to use it.  So they would either wrap the cable around the capstan just before dropping anchor and leave it there or pull the entire cable out of the hold and wrapped it around the capstan when preparing to weigh anchor, requiring time and man power.

 

That still leave the question of warping the cable around the stanchions, chain pump housing and elm tree pumps.

 

I don't think that an 8 to 13 inch circumference cable would be wrapped around the capstan.  On the largest ships the line comes in through the manger and the viol is rigged on the lower deck, not the weather deck.  On a 20 gun sloop of war, it is likely some other method was used.  There may be something in Lever about weighing the anchor on a sloop.

 

 

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2 hours ago, trippwj said:

 

I don't think that an 8 to 13 inch circumference cable would be wrapped around the capstan.  On the largest ships the line comes in through the manger and the viol is rigged on the lower deck, not the weather deck.  On a 20 gun sloop of war, it is likely some other method was used.  There may be something in Lever about weighing the anchor on a sloop.

 

 

No, I agree.  I think it would be more practical to use a messenger.  The AOS Blandford book mentions all three methods, but dismisses the vyol way because the Blandford didn't have a jeer capstan and said more than likely a messenger was used.  He did mention the anchor cable may have been small enough to go around the capstan but simply that's just not practical trying to man handle the entire cable around the capstan.  Look at the picture I posted, there's no way to put the anchor cable over the capstan because it goes up to the next deck.

 

But a lot of research says the messenger wasn't used until around 1730, and along with the fact the book shows no rollers leads me to believe the Blandford didn't have any rollers systems to prevent the messenger from damaging the pumps.

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14 minutes ago, bruce d said:

Hi Wayne,

I can't get the book via that link: PAGE NOT FOUND message comes up.

Any thoughts?

 

Thanks,

Bruce

 

Dang - they revised the website on me!  I pulled it down back in 2015.  Try this link (it's 25mb so can't upload it here)

 

ftp://ftp.library.noaa.gov/docs.lib/htdocs/rescue/rarebooks_1600-1800/VK541S81795.PDF

 

or this one:

 

https://noaa.sirsi.net/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=240545{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

 

 

Let me know if that works for you!

Edited by trippwj
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19 hours ago, mtaylor said:

As I recall, rollers weren't always hard mounted but tied off in place as needed. 

 

3 hours ago, trippwj said:
Steel, David. Seamanship, Both in Theory and Practice. Printed and published for, and at, Steel’s Navigation-Warehouse, Tower-Hill, 1795. docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/rarebooks_1600-1800/VK541S81795.PDF.

 

See description for ships with no jeer capstan on page 156.

 

I'm inclined to believe, despite Arming and Fitting of English Ship of War saying the messenger didn't come into use until around 1730 and the AOS showing no rollers, that they did use rollers.  Maybe it just wasn't a standardized thing until 1730.  I'm guessing they looked like this  http://www.shipmodell.com/img_tall/_HMS_PANDORA_118.jpg  I don't know who made this model but wow.

 

Thanks for the help guys, I appreciate it.

Edited by timboat
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