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Stuns'ls in real life?

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I just started shaping the spars for my Constitution cross section model and was reminded of a question I've wondered about for many years.

How exactly were studding sails actually put into use. From my kit plans, and any photos I've seen they don't seem to have any rigging like footropes or rigging to haul them out into place. Looks like they're bound in place with rope at the inboard end when not in use, then run through iron fittings mounted to the yard. To deploy them, did they unbind that inboard end and just push the stuns'l boom out manually, bind it in the out position, and reverse that when they were no longer needed?

You couldn't attach the sails to the boom while the boom was in the inboard position or it wouldn't run through the iron fittings. Did sailors have to go out on the boom,minus foot ropes to mount the canvas? Just this second it occurred to me that a more likely plan would be for sailors at the very end of the yard would attach the stuns'l bit by bit as the boom was run out. Anyone know for sure how this was done?
However it was done, the image of a clipper with all stuns'ls out is wonderfully beautiful.

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The answer is a bit complicated but I hope you get the gist. 

You are referring mostly to the stuns'l boom which is run out by means of a jigger tackle that is hooked on one end to the ring on the inside end of the boom and on the other end is hooked to a convenient point near the outer end of the yard arm.  The same tackle can be employed to haul the boom in by hooking it to a point near the mast.  Foot ropes are not needed because everything is rigged prior to running out the boom.

The booms are lashed in place whether hauled in or out.


At the outer end of the stuns'l boom there are seized two jewel blocks.  Through the lower one of these is rove the stuns'l halyard, by which the stuns'l is hoisted up to the end of the boom.  The top of the stuns'l is bent on to a short spar called the stuns'l yard.  The halyard is hitched to the center of the yard.

At the bottom of the stuns'l there are the inner and outer sheets attached at the clews.  The outer sheet reeves through a jewel block on the lower stuns'l boom.  The inner sheet is sometimes taken directly inboard.

At the inside top of the stuns'l a tack line is seized and runs inboard to extend the head of the stuns'l along the yard.

The stuns'ls are set flying (no lifts or braces and lightly bound to their yards to be loosed after being hoisted aloft)



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Thanks Henry. Do you by chance have a picture or diagram of this? I'm new at the ship building game and am not up on all the terminology yet.


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Thanks, that's a big help towards understanding this.

It never ceases to amaze me that sailors could do all of this sail handling perched on thin foot ropes high above the deck of a pitching and rolling ship, often in bad weather, perhaps freezing, without benefit of modern foul weather gear.

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