Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Stupid question related: where the oars were stored? I'm looking on Pandora's anatomy book, and oars look ridiculously long if you think how to store and move them inside the ship... Or they were made out of a multiple sections, that could be assembled and locked together?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 years later...


If a ship was fitted with sweep ports, there are hinged covers to keep any water from splashing in when not in use.  If the sweeps are deployed, it would be most likely be due to the ship being becalmed so no worries for water coming in those conditions.   

I see this as your first post.  Welcome to MSW!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
On 8/26/2019 at 10:18 PM, Mary Stanton said:

and wondered how water does not enter the ship through them?

There are a number of "holes" in wooden sailing vessels.  So, you design the vessels to collect that water and drain it away.


A small vesel, like a cutter or sloop is likely to have the lee rail be very wet when tacking upwind.


Pretty common, in contemporary reports, to show the bilges were sounded once per watch, and pumped as necessary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/26/2019 at 11:18 PM, Mary Stanton said:

I was looking at the sweep ports on the sides of the US brig niagara today, and wondered how water does not enter the ship through them?

Neither her gunports or her oarports can be shut, they have no covers and can’t be closed. On Niagara those ports are six feet above the waterline, and they’re all slightly higher than the MUCH LARGER gunports anyway so they represent no greater significant way for water to get aboard. Niagara was designed as a lake boat and not optimized for blue water ocean sailing so her low freeboard isn’t necessarily a drawback. 

This would be an entirely different story were she intended for ocean sailing though and all her ports would likely be closeable and very likely she’d have higher freeboard designed in.  In fact I’ve heard talk that the modern day Niagara is financially constrained by her inability to safely transit deeper ocean waters under the stability certification she holds from the US Coast Guard and her owners are considering structural changes-including raising the height of the bulwarks-to make her more seaworthy. This would certainly include portlids.

As things stand on Niagara I’ve never seen photos of water coming aboard as she sails healed over. Sailors love the excitement of sailing in intense conditions and there would certainly be photos of Niagara “burying the rail” if it’d ever happened. But instead you can’t even find photos of Niagara healing at all,she appears to be remarkably stiff. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


There are period sketches of sweeps in bundles stowed outboard over the quarters of brigs, cutters, And Schooners.



I would assume that her stability certification involves her range of stability as from what your observation indicates that she is plenty stiff.  With her large open gun ports her righting arm would dimish once her deck edge becomes submerged.  



Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, bruce d said:

Roger, could you point me at one of the sketches? I have been over-thinking how to store sweeps and maybe a good picture will clear my head-clog.

Thanks, Bruce

Here’s shots of modern Niagara in which her sweeps are visible stacked on a pair of crutches. Frequently the crutch is incorporated into the fife rail as depicted in the drawings. Many ships of all sizes would carry spare topmasts and if the ship was too small to feature a hatch with skid beams large enough to acomodate those spars lying on deck, they were sitting on the crutches. Often the ships boats were in turn lashed onto the spare topmasts. Many ship models can be seen with the spare topmasts but few of them also include the sweeps. 





Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Roger Pellett said:

… his work is generally considered to be highly accurate.

… and it helps untie the knot I have made for myself. My impression, based on who-knows-what long forgotten source, was that the channels were used if sweeps were stowed outboard on a small vessel. The picture clearly shows another arrangement. Thanks Roger.


3 hours ago, JerseyCity Frankie said:

modern Niagara in which her sweeps are visible stacked on a pair of crutches.

Frank, thanks, that is useful but the only contemporary images of my subject do not show a structure of that height. I believe if the sweeps were stowed on deck they must have been lashed or secured under the ship's boat(s) and even that seems crowded. I am still looking for contemporary models for clues. 


Much appreciated, will let you know if I find anything..


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/29/2019 at 3:25 PM, JerseyCity Frankie said:

Neither her gunports or her oarports can be shut, they have no covers and can’t be closed. 

That is as one has to think differently. The problem was not water coming over, the issue was to evacuate very fast the water that managed to come over. Big risk of instability and draining inside. 


Graham Moore describes in his diary nicely the situation, where the carpenter managed only in last second to knock of the lids of some ports to let all the water out after a big wave came over.



Edited by dafi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...