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Hi John,

 

The main yard was 115 long. A real whopper!

  That's what I figured too. Where they mounted, how long they were, and how thick have me puzzled. Maybe at the same level as the catheads? Clippers mounted what were called wisker booms there to spread the jib boom rigging that folded up in port. I wish there was a photo, the ship was around a long time.

 

Bruce

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I'm surprised that you haven't been able to find a paintinhg of her with them swung out, Bruce.  Would they have been that far forward, or would they have been closer to the main mast to take the clews when she was running with the wind aft?  If she were close hauled the lee clew would be close aboard, surely.

 

John

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The article states that she had bumpkins for her four tacks, then mentions the swinging bumpkins to spread the sail when going free in light winds. I'm not sure what "free" means.  Could you help?

 

Unfortunately this ship was not sharp lined like McKay's other clippers, and actually was more of a huge packet. Her heavy rig allowed fast passages though. I think she got skipped over a bit fame-wise as she set no famous records. In this article she sounds like a magnificent ship visually inside and out. She has an interesting deck arrangement similar to Lightning's.

 

There are so few photos, and I don't trust most paintings. As a marine artist I can catagorically state that most clipper paintings are not so hot.

 

Bruce

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Bruse,

 

She would be 'running free' when she wasn't obliged to brace up the yards - either running on a broad reach or with the wind right aft - that would add weight to the thought that the swinging bumpkins were back near the main mast to stretch the foot of the sail out as much as possible.

 

John

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Frankie,

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not trying to say that you're wrong or to put you down. The information that you've provided on Bruce's thread is quite correct, but the source that he's found is talking about a bumpkin being used in a very different way to what we're used to, and is of an earlier period than Underhill's particular area of expertise. I find that the mid 1800's is a bit of a 'black hole' with regards to rigging as it was a time of very rapid development in rigging practice and is not nearly as well documented as the periods before and after.

I think it would be really helpful to Bruce if you could use your expertise to help us to understand this apparently particular and unusual use of a bumpkin to spread the foot of a sail when running free. I, for one, have never heard of this use before. Do you know of any other examples?

John

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Hi Guys,

 

Druxey, there are a lot of folks like that wandering around my area in North Florida! They mostly talk about hawg dawgs and how they should grab an ear right away.

 

A reporter called Duncan Mac Lean reported on clippers launched in Boston and is used as an historical source frequently. I think for the Boston Daily Atlas. His articles were in depth on the better known clippers.

 

On line these articles are under a site that I can't seem to post, it keeps disappearing when I go to post. They are put up by a guy named Bruzelius. Some of his articles are included in the book Search for Speed Under Sail by Chapelle, but not this ship. However a look see will covcince you of his know how. I have spotted an unusual use of a term or two.

 

Hi Jersey City Frankie,  Thank you for your input. As I refer to above it is possible the reporter may have confused a term, or used it in a way particular to his time or location, but I don't think so. I have the Underhill book too, this sounds different. Also this book is lacking on info for the American clippers.  Most info regards Iron and steel ships. It's a great book though.

 

Bruce

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Bruce,

 

I've been having a look at Kipping, Biddlecombe and Lever and none of them mention your boom (that's easier to write than bumpkin)!

 

I've also had another random thought.  If the booms were where they would presumably have had most effect in spreading the mainsail when running free, then where were the lower studding sail booms?  They should have been in the same area - if she carried them.

 

John

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Hi John,  it's a real problem, what they looked like and where?! It does seem like the front corner of the upper main channel might work. She had triangular lower studding sails. So maybe a boom something like a short studding sail boom. This sail info is mentioned right after the bumpkins.

 

This is the sort of piece that would be a nice touch on a model of this ship if I can be accurate.

 

Druxey, if you want to see what a bonified bumpkin looks like I'll try and get a photo of my neighbor feeding his Spotted [unintelligible Southern drawl name here] Hog Dogs. [some kind of mangey hound.] I have to speak very slowly and with small words a lot here. The accent is so thick sometimes it's like being in a foreign country!  The converations on this site a real blessing to me.

 

Bruce

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Frankie,

 

I think there's something wrong with your link, as it comes up as 'page cannot be found' on my computer, however your clue to the site's existance led me to it and to the article to which Bruce originally referred, so thanks very much for that.

 

The relevant part of the long contemporary description of the ship states, "She has bumkins for the four tacks, and swinging bumpkins for the clews of the mainsail, to spread the sail when going free in light winds. Her lower studding sails are triangular, consequently she has no swinging booms"

 

Bruce,

 

From that megre description I think I'd be inclined to fit the bumpkins, as you suggested, at the fore end of the main channels.  The photo below is from a prior period, - the frigate Trincomalee of 1817 - and of a swinging boom - but it may be useful to you in showing one method of attaching the heel to the channel.

 

John

 

post-5-0-29761400-1369259962_thumb.jpg

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What you illustrate is the inboard end of a studdingsail boom and its iron, John: this isn't quite the same thing as a swinging bumpkin. The latter is shorter and has (usually) several blocks attached to it.

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I just ran into a similar problem when rigging braces that were supposed to go to the pinrails along the bulwarks. They just did not clear the tops!!!! And I can see that a bumpkin going outwards would do that.

 

Of course, there are other solutions, but again, I would not be surprised if somewhere, some one suggested a 'hinged or swinging bumbkin'.
Is it that important?

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Hi guys,

 

I'm not getting e-mail notification of replies, so am a bit slow getting back.

 

The swinging bumpkins would be just long enough to reach out to the outer corners of the sail to spread it then. I think...  What do you think?

 

Would the front corner give an OK  working point leverage-wise for the lines? It would draw the corners down though. I guess in the end I'll have to put on a dummy sail and experiment for length and mounting point and later correct the plan. Also I'll need a belaying point. The whole setup raises questions!

 

As this ship used these they must have been in voque for a time, unless McKay was the first. Funny no other ships of this era have this, at least that I can find in photos. I also have several plans of other clippers. There is so little info on this period, especially photos [ or deguerriotype? however it's spelt.]This ship was the last of 4 McKay built for the James Baines Co. of Liverpool as emigrant ships sailing to Melbourne. They were Lightning [my model is being rigged now], Champion of the Seas, James Baines, then this huge blunter one.

 

The Crothers book American Built Clipper Ships doesn't mention these either. Not much on rigging.

 

By the way, I found a well drawn 1/8 scale lines plan in Bergens Sjofartsmuseum. I'll need to check out the lines carefully though and redraw them.

 

Bruce

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Bruce,

 

I'd think that the forward cormer of the canannel would be a good place for the bumpkin and, yes, just long enought to spread the sail would be right for length.  As for belaying points for the guys and martingale, I think the only answer is that they "be secured at a convenient point".

 

There is so little info on this period, especially photos

Ain't that the truth!!  It's one of the joys of building ships of this preriod, though!

 

John

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Wait a minute! There's the bumpkins for the 4 tacks too! I have to say, this is an interesting ship.   [i also have other questions that this article brings up.]

 

If the mainsail was spread by swinging bumpkins .....what about the foresail. I wonder what they did? Besides, as I think about it wouldn't this sail be the one most used going free?

 

Jesey City Frankie, my web site is www.vonstetinaartworks.com

 

Modeler 12, There are rigging problems like that. Another example is that when the crossjack yard is braced up sharp the yard's brace fouls the rear-most main backstay, and so would have been attached not on the crossjack yardarm, but farther in towards the center. Plans aren't  always accurate. I very much want mine to be.

 All of this is very important to me. Especially as I'm modeling a clipper, they rarely are modeled accurately. I feel the American clipper period is very  important, it represents a huge change in marine architecture.

 

Bruce

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Hi guys,

 

Longridge's book on the cutty has a nice illustration. Unfortunately I don't have access to the book, but I've looked at that photo for hours trying to figure out how I was going to model it.

 

This is the boomkin and not the stun sail boom.  By the way, the cutty didn't use a boom for the lowest stunsail - it was triangular.  This was common with some clippers, but not warships.

 

The drawing in Longridge's book shows that the boomkin is square in cross section and hinged to fold forward with a stop to prevent it from going aft when deployed. The boomkin has a ring on the aft side which connects with a chain to the hull aft .  From what I've read it is so that it can be folded when in port.

 

Hope this helps.

Marc

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Marc,

 

That's really interesting.  Can you let us know just where Longridge describes this?  I've had a look through his book and the only illustration I have of a square bumpkin is the fore brace bumpkin.  On page 177 of my edition he describes the lower studding sails as, "A large quadrilateral sail with four right angle corners."

 

Looking forward to your advise. :)

 

John

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