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vulcanbomber

How Would A Longboat's Mast & Rigging Be Stored?

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I have a question regarding the stowage of the mast and rigging for the longboat when it is not in use / being readied for use.

 

I am toying with the idea of having the longboat I am making, shown being lowered from my Pegasus's spars, as though it was being readied for launching, but I don't know how the mast and rigging would be stowed and how much would be in place before it is lowered to the water?

 

What rigging (if any) would be attached to the mast ready for stepping it when the boat hits the water?

 

How would the shrouds and ratlines be stored, would any of it be left attached to the longboat? Same with the stays?

 

Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

 

Thanks guys.

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Good Morning Vulcan; 

 

I would suspect that oars would be lashed to the thwarts (different boats would almost certainly have had different lengths of oars. The contracts for supplying these are very specific about lengths, of which there are a large variety) and the masts and yards would perhaps be also. These latter, though, could also have been lashed to the skid beams or the spare topmasts etc on which the longboat was stowed. 

 

The rigging and sails were probably removed and stowed in a sail room or the bo'sun's store room. As the boat might not be used for a long time, anything left in the bottom of the boat would be exposed to damp, and would only dry slowly, leaving them vulnerable to rot, especially the canvas sails.

 

However, if you are depicting the boat being hoisted out, I would believe that all the masts and rigging would be brought out of store, and put on board before she was hoisted, ready to be stepped and set up once she was in the water. 

 

Some boats had lockers under the seats, and perhaps in the bow. Some of the rigging may have been stored in these, in which case it would be unseen during the hoisting.

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

Edited by Mark P
something added

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If the boat were intended to be nested, oars and spars could not be stored on board.  Us Navy small boat specifications even specify that ALL thwarts for boats to be nested be removable,  and that heavy longitudinal clamps be substituted for thwart knees.  Boats were heavy, bulky objects and care was taken to cut down on the height of the boat stack to minimize the effect on the ship’s center of gravity and to reduce wind age.

 

Roger

Edited by Roger Pellett

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Thanks for the help guys,

 

I have also found this passage from 'The Elements and Practice of Rigging and Seamanship', 1794 By David Steel, a digital copy of which is freely available on the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association's website.

Quote

SLOOPS, SMACKS, BARGES, and LIGHTERS, that go through bridges, have the mast confined in a trunk or wooden cap, above the deck, and fastened in by an iron strap on the aft-side: some have a strong iron hinge at the heel of the mast, or a bolt through the heel; so that it can be lowered at pleasure, by the stay-tackle easing away the fall by degrees. To raise the mast, the fall is brought to the windlass, and hove upon, until the mast is up in its place: the fall is then stopped to the windlass bitts.

 

So could the stay tackle falls and windlass also be used to raise the mast on the longboat that is in the process of making ready? 

 

Your suggestions and the above text has given me an idea. Would the following set up look plausible while the longboat is being hoisted from the deck of Pegasus? The forward thwarts would need to be removed to clear the bow for the mast to rest as shown below - plausible?

 

The shrouds (shown in blue) attached to the mast and longboat chain plates, (the lanyards loose so they would be tightened when the mast is upright)

 

The stay (shown in green) attached to mast, the lead attached to stem (again the lanyard would be loose as would the stay) and the fall to the windlass.

 

Do you think all the standing and running rigging would be attached before lowering onto the water or just the main standing parts as shown below? My thinking is that if all of it was attached while the mast is lowered, it would be easier than trying to climb up the mast when it is set, to attach all the rest. 

longboat-idea.jpg.376b33cbc9e57e1f6429db6d06406cd6.jpg

 

 

Edited by vulcanbomber

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The thwart supporting the mast on eighteenth Century longboats was fixed-that is secured by knees to the clamps running fore and aft inside the boat.  Furthermore, the mast is secured to the aft side of this fixed thwart.  This scheme would, therefore, not work.

 

Roger

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41 minutes ago, Roger Pellett said:

The thwart supporting the mast on eighteenth Century longboats was fixed-that is secured by knees to the clamps running fore and aft inside the boat.  Furthermore, the mast is secured to the aft side of this fixed thwart.  This scheme would, therefore, not work.

 

Roger

 

Drat! Back to the drawing board!

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My thinking is the mast would be stowed in the boat or lowered down to the boat crew after launch, then rigged.  Seems like a boat with mast rigged and protruding fore or aft would be difficult to maneuver through the ships rigging. 

 

FWIW,

 

Keith

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1 minute ago, el cid said:

My thinking is the mast would be stowed in the boat or lowered down to the boat crew after launch, then rigged.  Seems like a boat with mast rigged and protruding fore or aft would be difficult to maneuver through the ships rigging. 

 

FWIW,

 

Keith

 

That makes sense for manoeuvring through the rigging from it's resting place.

 

The mast is longer than the length of the boat, so maybe it was put into the longboat while held alongside Pegasus, before lowering onto the water?

 

Still trying to find clues in old seamanship manuals, but there doesn't seem to be much mention of the process of making a ship's boat ready.

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Keeping a boat's spars less than the boat's LOA is why so many were rigged with lug sails and various fors of gunter/dutch gaffs.  Thas, as so many of those rigs featured sails with "club" spars to extend their height.

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