Mark P Posted March 9, 2015 Share #1 Posted March 9, 2015 As I am researching the building of a 74-gun ship, HMS Tremendous launched in 1784, I have read many articles regarding boat stowage in the fighting ships of the Georgian era Royal Navy, and there seems to be a lack of concrete information regarding how it was actually done. One alternative, and well established custom, was to have the longboat stored on deck in the waist, which would seem rather to get in the way of working the guns and access to the hatches etc. The assumption has always been that the advent of the beams across the waist meant that the boats were then stowed here, as would certainly seem logical. The beams started to appear from around the middle of the 18th century, and gradually became permanent features of the waist. How long old habits of stowage lasted would seem to fairly well settled; boats in the latter half of the 18th century were stowed on the beams, thereby replacing the older custom of sometimes using the deck in the waist. However, and very interestingly, the contract for HMS Ganges, dated 1778 (NMM ref. ADT0012) and others of a similar date, describe removable capstans, in order that the longboat can be stowed on deck; and not really removable, but actually lowered down! So old habits died hard, perhaps. It seems that the entire spindle, and both the capstan and trundle-head from each deck was lowered as a unit I will quote the relevant paragraphs from the contract: 'Step for the Jeer Capstand' (on the gun-deck) 'The step for the Jeer Capstand to be prepared to shift for the Capstand being lower'd down to stow on the Orlop out of the way of the Long boat, as the Ships lately fitted in His Majesty's Yards, or as shall be described.' 'Partners for the Capstands' (on the upper-deck) 'The Partners for the Jeer and Main Jeer Capstands to be 7 ins thick and to be fitted as is done in the Kings Yards for Ships of her Class, that the Fore Jeer may be lowered down out of the Way of the Long boat.' The capstan is then described, and sounds perfectly recognisable and normal. No further description is given as to how it may have been lowered down. 'Capstands' 'To make & sett a Jeer Capstand afore, & a Main Jeer Capstand Abaft on the upper Deck of 1ft 11ins dia. in the Partners, each fitted with 12 Ash Bars of 12ft 6ins long, with ribs & Hoops in the Partners, & Hoops sole & Bolts on the Step, Cranks for the Bars, Iron Pins & Chains, & four Iron Pauls on the Deck, & in every aspect to be completed as is done in his Majestys Yards.' I would be very interested to know if anyone has any knowledge of how this lowering may have been achieved, or of any models that show something similar. I have seen references to removable capstans from the 17th century, but I was sure that such had died out by the later 1700s. Obviously not, though! All the best to all those who read this. Mark P Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.