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    Re: Massachusetts schooners, 1750s
    From: Hewitt Schlereth
    Date: 2008 Dec 23, 18:28 -0400

    You know who might have the right stuff on this is Geoff Hunt, who did
    the cover art for Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin books.  -Hewitt
    On 12/23/08, George Huxtable  wrote:
    > It's always gratifying when a new topic tempts old-lurkers from their dens
    >  and brings them out, blinking, into public view. I hope for further
    >  postings. So thanks to William Sellar, John Rae, and  Frank Reed too, for
    >  helpful and perceptive comments about the New England schooners of colonial
    >  days. Clearly, I need to consult Chappelle when the University awakens after
    >  its break (not until Jan 5).
    >  Both William and John mention a stay that joins the heads of the two masts,
    >  the "triadic" stay, as John calls it, though I'm more familiar with
    >  "triatic". That was indeed a common way of supporting, from forward, a
    >  schooner's mainmast (and also the further-aft masts on multi-mast jobs). It
    >  had serious snags, though. Because the masts were no longer supported
    >  independently, if one failed, it could bring down the others too.
    >  In their book on the 4-mast Schooner, "Bertha L Downs", Greenhill and
    >  Manning describe an event on the 5-mast "Gov. Ames", which must have been
    >  around 1900-
    >  "The stretch which developed in her new rigging gave concern, so she was
    >  anchored and her sails furled. The violent pitching that ensued caused a
    >  splice to fail in one of her headstays. Almost immediately the foremast and
    >  mainmast snapped close to the deck and crashed overboard to starboard,
    >  followed in short order by the three after masts, which fell fore and aft
    >  along the deck".
    >  But my curiosity about the smaller and earlier schooners wa aroused by the
    >  attached picture of "Baltick", a thumbnail of a well-known picture by an
    >  unknown artist held at the Peabody Essex Museum. The text (rather fuzzy in
    >  this low-resolution image) reads  "This shews the Schooner BALTICK Coming
    >  out of St Eustatia, ye 16th Novr 1765". That's a schooner of the right
    >  period, presumably of New England build.
    >  It's a pretty picture, but does it represent reality? You will see that the
    >  mainmast is held up by a mainstay, which judging from its angle won't reach
    >  deck-level until some way along the bowsprit, and what's more, carries its
    >  own, large, staysail. And that stay, and staysail, occupy just the
    >  swinging-room, aft of the foremast, which the boomed gaff-foresail needs to
    >  occupy when changing tack. The arrangement Frank described, having two such
    >  forestays, going down to deck-level port and starboard, presents similar
    >  problems.
    >  So how would you contrive to put such a vessel about? It would be somewhat
    >  easier if the foresail was loose-footed, without a boom, and the sail could
    >  then be brailed up and over the mainstay when going about, perhaps given a
    >  pair of sheets, one each side: the leeward one held taut, the other passing
    >  loosely over the mainstay. It would be even harder to manage, if the
    >  foresail was boomed, as the Baltick picture clearly shows it was. Many
    >  pictures of schooners I've seen show that it was common for two masted
    >  vessels to have a loose-footed foresail and a boomed mainsail.
    >  Does that rig of Baltick give others the same difficulties that worry me?
    >  Not all ship-artists knew about the practical working of such vessels,
    >  commonplace though they would have been in their era. Did this one get it
    >  right?
    >  George.
    >  contact George Huxtable, at  george@hux.me.uk
    >  or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    >  or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    > >
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