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Keep in mind that  Victory would have had a number of configurations depending on the year.   According to W.E. May in Boats of Men of War  first rates carried six or even seven boats and the type and size of boats varied between the time she was launched in 1765 and Trafalgar.  The number, size, and shape would affect how they were stowed.   It is possible that the quarter davits would come into play as well as stowage midships.  Lavery discusses stowage at length in The Arming and Fitting of British Ships of War and gives a number of possibilities, but no solid conclusions so there may be no exact answer from contemporary sources.





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Hi Allan,

I am actually doing a restoration of a Victory model my Uncle completed back in the late 1970's, early 1980's.  I have already added the life boats on the quarters, which my Uncles original build did not have, but was curious about the mid-ship boats.  Based on the plans I was able to acquire, I honestly cannot tell which boats are called for.  On one of my rigging plans, there is an outline of a small boat, but I do not see anything calling for a specific size/type of small boat.  For me, I love the extra level of detail small boats provide, so figured I would reach out here to see what the experts had to say about it! 😉🙂



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17 hours ago, allanyed said:

 It is possible that the quarter davits would come into play as well as stowage midships. 

It is possible, that the quarter Davits were not present at Trafalgar, as they are missing on the Turner drawings and all post-Trafagar drawings too and are shown for the first time on a drawing of 1822 if I recall well.


The stern davits were already disassembled several years ago.


All the best, DAniel

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Hi Daniel,

I guess that makes complete sense, given the boats hanging off the quarter davits could be a hindrance to firing the cannons in that area.  The good thing for me is the model is not an accurate representation of a specific time, so I figure that gives me a little bit of license to personalize it.  I don't want to go crazy with it, but I just love the look of small boats on a larger model. 


Model Ship World also has the greatest participants, with the best information! 🙂


Thanks for the information!


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In the context of 1805,  “Lifeboats” were boats that could be launched quickly to recover a man overboard so these tended to be relatively light seaworthy boats.  In the sailing US Navy these were often naval versions of whaleboats.  Launched quickly means that they had to be hung from davits.


The idea of “man the lifeboats we’re sinking” was a much later concept.  Imagine trying to quickly launch a 30ft+ launch quickly.  These boats were workboats launched to handle specific tasks.  Prior to the Seventeenth Century these boats could be quite large and were often towed astern.  In the Eighteenth Century these boats were smaller and could be stowed on board.


As long as boats have been made of wood they have been a nuisance and hazard in battle.  As late as WWII a burning boat on board was an unwanted source of illumination during a night action.  I therefore believe that Captains during the age of sail did not hesitate to jetson boats when clearing for action.



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