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furling sails


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Old boy,


There is a PDF file, which is downloadable, in the MSW Articles and Downloads section:




I used this as a guide when making furled sails for my Oneida model, which can be found in the completed model gallery.




Regarding sail 'cloth' materials silkspan is, as far as I'm aware, still manufactured and available. That is what I used on my Oneida sails. It is available in three different weights. I used the lightest weight version as it is thinnest, and thus rolls into the tightest furled sail.


I happen to really like furled sails on a model as a way to present the model as a 'sailing ship' without obscuring too much of the rigging details.


All the best,



Edited by Elia
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Ciao. Thank you for your help. To get a realistic furled sail on a model I agree it is necessary to reduce dimensions of the sail.  I know a metod to do it in order to get a partially furled sail. I have seen the Oneida model too.

Well, what I would like to learn is how to fold the canvas of the sail to be in the form of the photo I posted. You can see that a big part of the sail is folded in the center of the yard, then is bowsed by a rectangular gasket and the clues come out from each side of the gasket. I am reading the book " Seamanship in the age of sail" by John Harland,  but it is difficult for me to well understand the  description. :(

Hoping someone can help...

ciao. oldboy

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A couple of thoughts:


- in order to look to scale when furled, the material for the sails should be of scale thickness; for most, but the largest scales, it is virtually impossible to get woven cloth of suitable fineness due to the limitations of thread-size and weaving practicalities.


- one answer is, as noted before, to make the sail shallower/shorter.


- actually, as only the outside and the clews will be visible, a narrow piece of cloth draped around a suitable filler, e.g. made from papier-maché or modelling clay may be the better solution.


- other people, like myself, make the sails from silk paper.


- most text-books decribe naval practice; in the merchant navy things may not have been as 'ship-shape and Bristol-fashion'.


- each navy had its own rules for furling.


- the way of furling depends on the shape of the sail, which in turn depends on the period; the relatively rectangular and shallow sails say of clipper-era ships were not furled towards the mast, but parallel to the yard (with no bulge in the middle); the earlier trapezoidal and deeper sails were furled towards the mast, resulting in the characteristic bulge in fron the mast.



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Ciao a tutti.

Thank you for your help. I did a champion  of sail and yard and I've tried a folding method. The result looks good to me and then the method could be credible.

Note: Small pliers are used to hold the canvas in various stages of folding, to be able to photograph.

Well, for now this is satisfactory for me, but each new suggestion will be appreciated.

Ciao !    :piratebo5:        oldboy









Edited by oldboy
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Oldboy:  I like the looks of your furling; it looks good.  

What did you use for sailing material?

Do you have the bunt lines, chew lines and leech lines on your model's yards?

I assume that the photos are not of the actual yard for the model.


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Hi guys and thank you for your attention.

@  wefalk  and Ken: yes I know there was a change to furling sail before and after the jack-stay. The prototype show in the protos is made by a simple wooden stick and a canvas just cutted rectangular.  That prototype is equipped with 2 leechlines each side and 2 buntlines on the bottom, all made by a simple black sewing thread. 

In other words, I tested if there is the possibility to obtaining a result at last similar to the photo of the model I show.  The big question , for me, was "how the clew lines can come out from the top of the furled sail". Now I know how it's possible to do it.

It is clear that on a real model the job must be done with accuracy.

Just till before this test, I was able to furl a sail only as shown in this photo:


This new experience will be usefull on some next model, currently I am building a shooner and I think the sails will be "to the wind".

ciao ! :piratebo5:  oldboy.

Edited by oldboy
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