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USS Constitution: upper gaff topsail

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I have a copy of some pages from Thomas Macdonough's 1817 letter book. He was at the commander there 1815-1818.


There is a set of measurements for the masts, yards & sails of the USS Constitution. They are undated but are entered in with the letters of 1817. There are also figures for some of the 74's.


It is pretty straight forward stuff except there is a sail listed as "upper gaff topsail" .


There is a gaff topsail as well. This is the well known triangular fore & aft sail shown so clearly in the Ware sail plan. The dimensions of this sail are leech 56', foot 36' & tack 54'9". When I draw it out the results look just like you might expect.


The upper gaff topsail measures leech 24'3", foot 10'6", & tack 25'9".


It appears to be a smaller version of the gaff topsail. Being as the gaff topsail is essentially a light weather kite, I cannot see the need for a "storm" version of it.


Didi the upper gaff topsail somehow set above the gaff topsail? Is it some kind of gaff top gallant sail?

Edited by michaelpsutton2
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