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Schooner upper yards fastening

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Here are some references for determining rigging sizes. I haven't yet sorted through them all to determine the rigging sizes for my model.


George Biddlecomb's The Art of Rigging, page 117, has 38 pages of detailed information about rigging sizes for a wide variety of ships. The book also gives detailed instructions how to rig ships, spar dimensions, etc.


James Lee's The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War, page 185, describes the proportions of rigging to mast diameter. He says "With only a very few exceptions the sizes of both standing and running rigging can be worked out in relation  to the size of the appropriate mast stay. The sizes of the stays can be ascertained by comparison with the size of the lower stays which in turn are  given in ratio size of the lower masts."

If the mast diameter = M

Lower stays = 1/2 M

Topmast stay = 1/2 the size of the lower stays = 1/4 M

Topgallant stays = 1/2 the size of the topmast stays = 1/8 M

and so on. He then goes on for five pages describing the remaining standing and running rigging relative to the stays.


Harold Underhill's Masting and Rigging of the Clipper Ship and Ocean Carrier, Chapter X, (30 pages), page 244,  gives tables and formulas for calculating mast, spar and rigging dimensions.


Wolfram zu Mondfeld's Historic Ship Models, page 272, has a relatively short two page table of standing rigging sizes, and page 308 has a two page table of running rigging sizes. These tables are for different periods. They give rigging diameter relative to the thickness of the main stay, which he says is 0.166% of the diameter of the main mast at deck level. I think that must be a typo, maybe 16.6% or 1/6 the diameter of the mast.


These proportions are for hemp rigging. Steel rigging was about 33% smaller diameter.


If you aren't too anal about the rigging of your model zu Mondfeld's book is a very good reference.


Also, note that the "authorities" don't agree about the sizes of rigging. For example, Lee says the lower stays are 1/2 the diameter of the lower masts - 50%. But zu Mondfeld says they are 16.6% the diameter of the mast. That is a huge difference! Biddlecombe and Underhill just list rigging sizes for "characteristic" vessel sizes.


I have never seen a model or actual ship with stays half the diameter of the mast. However, stays are often doubled, so each strand need only be half the diameter of a single strand. And often an extra "preventer" is rigged just in case one of the stays fails. Keep in mind the amount of material in a line is not directly proportional to the diameter. The cross section area is = pi times the radius squared. So doubling the radius give four times the area. The diameters of the lines in a doubled stay would need to be only about 70% of the diameter of a single line for the stay. So, using Lee's figures, a single strand of a doubled stay would need be only 35% of the mast diameter. Still, that is more than twice the diameter zu Mondfeld gives!


Also, Lloyd's of London produced tables of rigging sizes required for ships they would insure, and this strongly influenced the rigging on vessels. I don't have those tables, but they might be on line somewhere.


One of these days, when I get caught up on a bunch of other projects, I will figure out the rigging layout and calculate the rigging sizes for my Baltimore clipper model.

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