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The terms are from historical records for Royal Navy ships. I recall a rather lengthy discussion on MSW 1.0 about this very topic.

 

I'm not sure we found the definitive answer but there were some good references given!

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Unfortunately, no.  It was all lost in the great crash of 2013.  I am away from most of my research materials this week but will look through what I have with me and see if I can turn anything up.

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If I recall, a rebuild was considered to be restoration usually after battle or a storm.  It was put back to it's "original" or last known configuration.   A Great Repair was removing planking, replacing frames as needed, reworking stern and quarter galleries and generally "modernizing" the ship.  It's possible I have that backwards.. :huh:  :huh:  :huh:

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  • 4 weeks later...

To add to what Mark as said, this comes from David Lyon's book the The Sailing Navy List, All Ships of the Royal Navy, Built purchase and captured.

 

A Note on Rebuilding and on Establishments.

 

At this stage in the story of the development of the sailing warship it is as well to clarify the way in which the two word rebuilding and Establishment are used here. The full story of the change of sense in which the former was used has been clarified by Brian Lavery, and the present author's researches have certainly confirmed the picture he has drawn. In outline form this is as follows. Up to the beginning of the War of Spanish Suyccession (1702) ships that were getting old, worn out, rotten or old fashioned would be rebuilt by being put in dry dock, taken to pieces to a greater or lesser extent, and then the good timbers reused in the rebuilt vessel. Rotten timbers would be stripped out and replace, and the pooortunity might well be taken to modify the lines, insert more frames(and therefore lengthen the ship)or to make other alterations to the shape, size or structure of the ship. The resemblance of the result to what had been there before was variable quality, but basically the term rebuild was and accurate description of what had been done. It is therefore fair to presume a degree of continuity between the ship before and after its rebuild.

 

From 1702 this is no longer the case. Because of the need to use the comparatively small numbers of docks available for wartime repairs and refits it was undesirable for them to be occupied by a vessel undergoing rebuild-a necessarily long drawn out process. Instead, the operation was reallocated to slipways in place of docks. Increasingly, the ship might be taken to pieces on one slip and the rebuild on another, not always even in the same dockyard. Some timbers from the old vessel might be used in the rebuilt one, but in effect the operation became an administrative fiction for building a new ship. Ships continued to be described as being rebuilt into the 1740's when the pressures of a new war caused the term to be abandoned. It should be made clear the that contemporary documents then(and later) make a clear distinction between rebuilds on the one hand and Great, Middling and Small repairs on the other. Normally, the repair did not involve a major change in the ship, through there are a few exceptional cases in which dimension and/or appearance might change, and a very few when some sources use the word repair when the others use rebuild. In this work, when there is doubt the operation has been treated as a rebuild, and rebuilds are treated as new ships by being given separate entries, though it should be borne in mind that pre-1702(and therefore for all the ships in Chapter 1 and the majority noted in Chapter 2)there is a strong through variable element of continuity which diminishes rapidly after that date.

 

Brain Lavery does give a good explantion of this in his book, The ship of the line Vol 1 page 64.

 

Gary

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