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sail and rigging help

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I'm building my first wooden boat model...the Albatros by Constructo...Im looking for help/tutorials on sewing the sails and rigging the masts/attaching sails. Ive searched here and found a few good pointers but not step by step types....maybe a video of sail sewing and rigging? Below are pictures of my progress thus far...any hits or tips or what ive done wrong appreciated...as stasted this is my first attempt at ship modeling.

Thanks loads


















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Congratulations, you’ve discovered the best hobby in the world. And, lucky for you, you have also discovered a great website where you can ask questions and make comments in a like minded knowledgeable community. If you narrow down what information your looking for and ask specific questions about one aspect or another, you can get good answers about anything you are likely to want to know. The short answer I would give to your question about sails and rigging is: get some books on the subject. The Neophyte Shipmodeller’s Jackstay is inexpensive and very helpful on the steep end of the learning curve of ship model building, it was one of the first books I got when I started. Three other books I got in my first year of ship model building, which I still recommend, are Ship Modeling From Stem to Stern by Milton Roth, Ship Modelers Shop Notes by Merrit Edson (and there is an updated version of it now too) and Historic Ship Models by Wolfram Mondfeld.

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Firstly, a welcome to MSW from me. Congratulations too, on the hull and masting of your Albatros, they look really great. :)


Your spars too look fine, although to me the gaffs look a little short, but what needs some attention is your rigging. You've obviously sussed out that the brown is the running rigging and the black the standing, but it's a bit confusing to work out what is what with the former, since you already have it cut off, I presume to length, and attached.  


It would probably have been easier to do it the usual way and work on the standing rigging first, starting with the mast shrouds, and then the stays. I don't know why you have what I presume is the shrouds, half way up the masts, when these should really go round the lower mast heads, resting on the crosstrees, and be in pairs on each side, with the lower end fastened to the upper deadeyes, just above the ship's sides.


After you have completed the standing rigging, you can begin on the running rigging although I've a feeling here that you may have to remove some of the attached lines, and start over. However, I'm sure you can re-use some of it. Btw, a good idea when attaching yards to masts, is to put a small metal pin in the mast at the position you want the yard to be. A corresponding hole drilled a little way into the yard from the rear, not all the way through, will secure the yard to the mast with a touch of metal/wood glue. This will hold the yard while you carefully rig it.


Frankie has given you a few books to pursue and I suggest you read them, in fact all you can, to understand the methods of rigging. There are many different viewpoints on sails, and these will probably be covered in many books.


One thing however, is not to rush your build. Take your time, and you will end up with a far better model. Good luck, and do keep asking qustions here on MSW. I'm sure you will have many expert replies.

Edited by Stockholm tar
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quote ""I don't know why you have what I presume is the shrouds, half way up the masts, when these should really go round the lower mast heads, resting on the crosstrees, and be in pairs on each side, with the lower end fastened to the upper deadeyes, just above the ship's sides."" The lines I've tied around the mast were just tied there as not to lose them and are not attached permanently, those lines are for the ratlines, I've just cut them to length to run next. I have them doubled in length to run up one side of the mast and back down the other side to be attached to the deadeyes at each side of the hull. I doubt I'm doing much right but so far I've done what seems like a good idea, at least to me.


I don't know what the "usual way" is of doing anything as this is my first ship build and don't even have down yet what parts of the ship are called. As for the rigging and standing or stays, I just did what the plans and the manual for the kit said to do and the gaffs and any of the other mast parts also were cut to the length and shaped as per the manual and plans sheet. I thought I did quite well in most respects considering this being my first attempt at this type of model.


I started on the sewing of the sails around noon today and just barely half way done with those, I haven't run a sewing machine since home economics class in junior high school and didn't pay much attention as I was mostly just there to check out the girls lol. I will post a few pics of the sails later this evening in my post of my progress build at http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/3188-albatros-by-constructo/ Then plan to tackle the ratlines and hope they turn out ok.


I appreciate all of the advice so far and appreciate any more advice or criticism. 

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Hi, Shawn, I am getting near to the same job as you on the Constructo Mayflower, my first model. The masts are complete, and I am staring at the rigging plan, trying to make sense of it . The instructions are no real help, they devote four sentences to the rig! 

My plan is like yours, the halyards are shown led to a spar, and no guidance is given as to how it is attached. You have them tied on somehow, is that with a lashing, or a clove hitch, or what ? And did you get that from a book, or is it your idea?  What is there to stop them sliding along the spar, apart from the use of glue?

I think that there are going to be so many questions that I am going to need a book just on rigging. I have 'Ship Modelling from stem to stern' by Milton Roth, which appears to cover everything, but when I look for specific advice, it's not there.

I am in no great hurry, as I have one arm in a sling from a motorbike accident.


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Del, I know what you mean by the instruction manual for Constructo kits being very vague and not very helpful. I just looked at the pictures in the manual and the plan for guidance with my halyards...what i did was tie around the masts and spars and where it looked like a block was hanging from like a small 1/8 inch long rope type thingy, I just tied a few knots in a row and pulled/stretched the knots lengthwise to give a short rope effect and it seemed to do the trick (i hope that made sense), I then tack glued each in their respective place on masts and spars. I too need some books and plan to buy a few, especially something that covers rigging and sails. Mainly so far, I've pretty much played it by ear as far as building this model has gone in the hopes it ends up at least sort of looking like its supposed to. It helped  having a lot of past building and fabricating from years of other balsa and plastic kits building.


I hope I've answered your questions, if nothing else I was more informative than the crappy manual with the ship lol.

Edited by shawn
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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, looks great what you've done on the hull. Real nice. The rigging can be a nightmare! I can't help you in regards to sewing sails as I never instal them on any of my ships. But as Stockholme Tar had suggested about the pin in the yards is a winner. Saves a lot of hassle. I don't tie my blocks to the yards, just wrap the line around once and cross it over it self. Then use a small drop of CA to hold it. Other than that your doing great

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