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    Re: Massachusetts schooners, 1750s
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2008 Dec 22, 13:44 -0800

    George, you wrote:
    "I would like to discover a bit more about those schooners, particularly
    their rig. It would be interesting to discover how the mainmast was
    supported from forwards: whether it had a mainstay coming down to deck level
    near the foot of the foremast. And if so, how clashes were avoided with the
    gaff foresail, whether  it was loose-footed or was stretched by a boom. I
    wonder if that information exists."
    According to Chapelle's "History of American Sailing Ships" there are no plans 
    of American schooners from that early and only a handful from a few years 
    later. Nonetheless, there are a couple of highly detailed drawings and sail 
    plans in the book which attempt to show the layout of the rigs of some 
    representative types. 
    The short answer to your question is that there appear to be stays coming from 
    the mainmast down to the sides of the vessel at about the same distance from 
    the bow as the foremast. And the sail was stretched by a boom. But Chapelle 
    seems to say that much of this is speculative, and I gather that he believed 
    that there was great variability in rigs at that time. Schooners might have 
    various square sails and still be called schooners. 
    I remember being advised years ago that the detail in Chapelle's plans can be 
    misleading. They are modern guesswork. This book was published in 1935. 
    There's no question that there's been some considerable research on this 
    topic since then. But I don't know anything more.
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