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Thread: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

  1. #1
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    Default 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    I am new to drawing schooners and am drawing NIĐA at the Needles Lighthouse durning the Fastnet Race but can't find a good photo of her from 1928 to render her sails accurately.
    I have found newer photo with broad seams.
    Any information about how she would have been rigged would be greatly appreciated.
    John

    Work in process
    NINA.jpg
    John H.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    BRILLIANT's style of sail stitching is similar of that's what you're looking for.
    37.jpg
    "So we beat on, paddleboats against the wake of a neighborĺs jet ski, born back ceaselessly into the past." The Great Lakes Gatsby

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Nina was a stays'l schooner as in your drawing, unlike Brilliant.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    1928...I recon the sails may have had vertipickle seams and not full battens .
    How can you see broadseamas in a photo ?

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    rgbarr,
    BRILLIANT, What a beauty, built in 1931 and designed by Olin J. Stephens II who died at 100 years of age. A naval architect that also designed with Starling Burgess for the 1937 America’s Cup races, a J Class sloop.
    Those are modern sails on BRILLIANT, yes. I am looking for historical information.
    Would NIĐA's Sails been made from the standard width of cotton sail cloth of 24-inch out of No. 4, No. 6, and No. 8 cotton duck?
    I am talking about NIĐA a Starling Burgess and Morgan Design.

    Here is an early rough draft of a topsail schooner, none in particular. With some of the seams running parallel with the leech on the main gaff sail, fore gaff sail and fisherman. I have the top sail, flying jib, and main gaff top sail seams running perpendicular to the leech.
    Untitled .jpg
    It seems to be the same seem layout from what I can tell from the fuzzy cover from FORE An' AFT of NIĐA after wining the Transatlantic race pre Fastnet race Aug 1928. NIĐA was designed as a staysail schooner from the get go.
    Fore and Aft.jpg
    There some documentation of the Rose of Sharon one of her sister but I don't know how close they were to one another in sails, standing, running rigging, and deck arrangement. There was a third built but I can't recall her name now.
    Michael A. Mason naval architect of Mason Marine Designs Inc. did the work on NIĐITA in a gaff rigged staysail schooner. A replica for NIĐA that has some information also but it's not historical.
    I am also trying to find out the weather and time of day that NIĐA would have passed the Needles Rock and Lighthouse on her way to the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse and any other vessels that would have been close by. I wrote the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) organization about historical information but they must be busy with more important responsibility. I do enjoy the race very much each year and thank them for their efforts. I will continue looking for information on-line and other resources that become available to me.


    I have also started a new graphite drawing of America and Titania two very different Gaff Rigged Topsail schooners at the 1851 Hundred Guinea Cup race/America Cup Race.
    My hope is not to show too much of my ignorance in my graphite drawings.

    wizbang,
    Thank for the information, a vertipickle seams. huh I am not all that versed in such things and another one of my dilemma it is hard to see seams in a photo.
    John

    NIĐA lost at sea with all hands on board:
    The last known communications with NIĐA and crew was on 3 and 4 June 2013 - when conditions were very rough, said Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ), with winds of around 40knots gusting to 55knots and swells of up to 8m.
    May her brave Captain and Crew souls rest in peace:
    (Captain David Dyche, 58; his wife, Rosemary, 60; and their son David, 17 as well as their friend Evi Nemeth, 73, another crew member Kyle Jackson aged 28, Danielle Wright a woman of 18, and British crew member Matthew Wootton, aged 35.)
    Last edited by John Howland; 05-14-2022 at 09:14 AM.
    John H.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    I looked at Uffa Fox’s “Sailing Seamanship and Yacht Construction “, and the chapter on “Nina” (pages 55 to 60) has photographs of her under sail by Morris Rosenfeld at p57 and by Belen at page 59. The reproductions in the book are no good of course but the firms named will be happy to sell prints.

    A cotton sail of the day will have been false seamed I think. But real sailmakers will know better.

    I have a copy of an American book called “Sailmaking Simplified” by Alan Gray, published by The Rudder in 1940. It seems very clear that mainsails were horizontal cut, from 18” or 28.5” cotton cloth. So we are looking at 8” wide panels, horizontal cut.

    If you don’t have the Fox book, let me know, as it has quite nice drawings of the boat.










    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 05-14-2022 at 09:53 AM.
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Looking at your sketch of “Nina” in the Needles Channel I am not sure that she would have been where you have drawn her. With the wind where you have drawn it and being bound down Channel she would have freed her sheets before she got that close to the Goose.
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Anndrew,
    Thanks,
    Yea, It is hard to trust a photo that may have been cropped in an offset or distorted for a model for a drawing or painting. But its all we have to work from our armchair.
    The first photo that I used for modeling NIĐA was taken with the boat at the far right hand side of the photo and then moved to the center. Well that is what I think may have happened but not everything I think is true. The mast seemed to be raked too forward in the photo because of the adjustment arraignment of the yacht in the photo and I didn't realize it at first.
    I use the old Larson Persepective Chart sometime to check for distortion in photos for modeling but sail boat are hard to check. A scale model and the eye sometimes works better.

    False seams would be run perpendicular or at an angle through the vertipickle seam/vertical seams that are connecting the 24" wide cotton duck together?
    You see I
    having little knowledge or experience as a sailmaker.
    The drawing above are a work in the process. I do more
    erasing than I do drawing some days.

    The
    maximum camber of different sails is something that has been of great interest to me as of lately. It could show up in the shadows at certain angles as the sun light shines across the sail. I am working at around 32% Aft of tack for the maximum camber as a default. But what the h_ll do I know.
    Well, thanks for sharing your
    knowledge.
    John
    John H.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Here’s a snap of the Needles that I took a couple of years ago, from about the same sort of position, beating out bound down Channel, in the Needles Channel and not yet able to free sheets.

    We are coming up to the Shingles Bank here, and we will have tacked again and got closer to the lighthouse before freeing sheets.

    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 05-15-2022 at 03:01 AM.
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    False seams will have been parallel to the selvedges.
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    Looking at your sketch of “Nina” in the Needles Channel I am not sure that she would have been where you have drawn her. With the wind where you have drawn it and being bound down Channel she would have freed her sheets before she got that close to the Goose.
    I was wondering about that because of the wind being channeled there at the headland.
    I had my boat anchored and had to traverse a similarly spot when leaving anchor but with much smaller bluffs and island and it was always challenging in thick air. The air was moving every witch way even down sometimes.
    One of my sailing mates committed on it also.
    John H.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Anndrew,

    I told my mate they were very brave or very stupid but he wasn't buying it.
    It is hard to see the
    reality of what we are creating sometimes and
    it gets easier after the first couple hundred times of doing something.
    Great photo! I was trying to draw another sailboat farther back for perspective and realized it was just to large for the background. That is one of the short coming for drawing without good photos. The mind eye is only as good as the brain behind it.

    I do appreciate the critic. I am new to drawing historical sailboats at real points of interest, so some failures are just part of the process of learning.

    My ancestor fell overboard on a journey in between England and north America and was pulled onboard after grabbing hold of a sheet dangling behind the vessel.
    It is the journey that counts you know.

    Your knowledge is of great value to me.
    Thanks once again
    for sharing your knowledge freely.
    John
    Last edited by John Howland; 05-14-2022 at 12:29 PM.
    John H.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    I was going to look at my Fox blue books for you,I'm away at the moment ,but I see Andrew has done that already. I have one other idea, I'll check it out when I'm home in a few days.
    Boat fashions and developments often allow us to pinpoint a build date to decade or so, we only have to look at chines on modern cruisers and the current trend to ram and now , scow bows as an example.
    In the same way sail cut and materials hint at period. The first dacron of the late 50s/60s, Kevlar and mylar and now carbon.There are always the luddites and styles built out of the contemporary period for reasons of nostalgia etc but with a famous racing boat like Nina I would be very surprised to see her with vertical cut sails. I might be getting rusty but my feeling is that vertical cut was a very different period , at least 30 or 40 years before her and that she would be up to the minute with cross cut mainsail and mitre cut jibs and possibly staysails. The staysails might be cross cut though, particularly the forestaysail. I look at my boat from 1907 and there is no way she would have had vertical cut, that would be old, from the 1880s.
    And definitely she would have had narrow seams.

    Nina. I spent many many hours looking at weather, looking at currents, going back over every bit of public data. Within a month or so I was crewing on a delivery between New Caledonia and Australia ,right across the coral sea ,wired and watching out in the hope of some sign of her.
    Subsequently ,two separate parties stayed with us in Auckland before making their way North on a pilgrimage of sorts to see where she left from, which was Opua.
    Only a couple of weeks ago I went and anchored beside the boat left behind by one of her crew, it's still there and I live in the vicinity now.
    That whole tragedy affected me and I'm not shy to admit it.
    Last edited by John B; 05-14-2022 at 03:16 PM.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    I would look through the work that traditional rigging co does as I know they make period correct sails for many vessels of similar age.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    For 1928, a gaffer which was not a workboat and which was raced, would probably have had a cross-cut gaff main, narrow-paneled by using false seams. They are parallel to the selvedge edges, where the fabric is folded back on itself into a "Z" and sewn down. Once sewn, they look pretty much the same as the panel-joining seams. Thus a 24" panel can look like it is made from two or three narrower panels sewn together. While it does look nice cosmetically, the actual function of dividing up the panel thusly is to increase the sail's bias stability, always a problem needing attention with natural fiber sails. Any and all triangular sails would likely be miter-cut and also false-seamed for maximum shape stability along both their leech and foot edges. Most corner patches would be tongue patches like these. This is something that is frequently done wrong on modern "traditional look" sails. You'll see plenty of narrow-paneled sails from cream Dacron, made to look like 1930 with silly radial corners from 1990.

    zz.jpg

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    rgbarr,
    I hope I didn't come off like I knew what I was talking about, because I don't. T
    ruly working with a limited amount of information.

    John B,
    I can't believe how much
    research it takes to do a accurate drawing of a vintage ship/yacht at a specific place and time 100 years in the past without a good references.
    A vessel materials and styles tell a story to the
    astute historian, thank for your insights.
    Uffa Fox’s
    “Sailing Seamanship and Yacht Construction" seem like it is a keeper.
    Look at some photos of your WAIONE. Very slippery looking indeed.
    As for thous that have gone before use. I do try to celebrate their lives the best I can but sometimes are harder than others. It can seem as if their leaving has left a large hole that sucks.

    As for the drawing of NIĐA I think I will add some waves, gray clouds and a couple seagulls and cut my losses.
    I have gone from knowing very little to almost nothing about schooner. But that's a good start.
    John

    John H.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    John, here I hope is the whole chapter from Uffa Fox’s “Sailing, Seamanship and Yacht Construction”, which was published in 1934 and has four later companion volumes, “Uffa Fox’s Second Book”, “Racing, Cruising and Design”, “Sail and Power” & “Thoughts on Yachts and Yachting”. The set are well worth looking out for; the style is consistent and they cover an awful lot of notable boats.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?



    Black Rose was an elderly schooner that Fox owned for a while
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Last one:

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    I like your drawing !
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    For 1928, a gaffer which was not a workboat and which was raced, would probably have had a cross-cut gaff main, narrow-paneled by using false seams. They are parallel to the selvedge edges, where the fabric is folded back on itself into a "Z" and sewn down. Once sewn, they look pretty much the same as the panel-joining seams. Thus a 24" panel can look like it is made from two or three narrower panels sewn together. While it does look nice cosmetically, the actual function of dividing up the panel thusly is to increase the sail's bias stability, always a problem needing attention with natural fiber sails. Any and all triangular sails would likely be miter-cut and also false-seamed for maximum shape stability along both their leech and foot edges. Most corner patches would be tongue patches like these. This is something that is frequently done wrong on modern "traditional look" sails. You'll see plenty of narrow-paneled sails from cream Dacron, made to look like 1930 with silly radial corners from 1990.
    Tood,

    Thanks,
    For the leg up and you always seem to show us where the next hand hold.
    You packed a lot of information into one paragraph there. I like that and that the internet can be such a great educational tool.
    I have learned much from you and the others here at the WoodenBoat Forum.
    John
    Last edited by John Howland; 05-15-2022 at 08:37 AM.
    John H.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Andrew,
    I appreciate the kind words but most of all all the great information that all here have shared over the many years.
    I have been studying Ivan Aiazovsky work lately. There are so many great maritime artist and naval architect.
    I am humbled by their artistic abilities.

    The brig Mercury encounter after defeating two Turkish ships of the Russian squadron (1848)
    Attachment 111275
    By: Ivan Aivazovsky

    John
    John H.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Three dust jackets by the late Winston Megoran:

    He was a good marine painter in oils but his book jackets are works of real genius. The last of these three, showing the Needles, is my absolute favourite.







    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 05-15-2022 at 10:04 AM.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    NIĐA was set afloat in 1928. One of the most iconic schooner for me that I could attempt render.
    W. Starling Burgess wrote the THE ETERNAL LAUGHTER a book of poems published in 1903.
    It is a Prognostication for me of NIĐA and his tragic lose a quarter of a century prior.
    The last poem in the collection is.
    MY LITTLE GIRL HOU art the spirit,
    The angel of life.
    Thou art the being
    That leadest through death.
    I love thee, dear,
    As God in life;
    I love thee, still,
    As hope in death.
    And more than all
    My little girl.


    NIĐA translations in Spanish is Girl, Child, Daughter.

    W. Starling Burgess a man of No Ordinary Being.



    Like pirates we should lift our glass of sprits high in
    celebration of thous that have gone before us.
    Cheers!
    John
    Last edited by John Howland; 05-15-2022 at 10:18 AM.
    John H.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    That cover of The ú200 Millionaire is BRILLIANT! I’d love to do more book covers. Fun thing to do.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post

    The last paragraph of page 57 begins.
    "Reaching she would be faster than a cutter, and there is no doubt headsails, loose foots and sheeted at the clew, lift rather than driving the a vessel along."
    This is such a subtle detail to draw. My eye was drawn to it once. I haven't quite connected sailing a boat to drawing one in my mind completely. In your mind you have to walk out on deck, cleat the sheets, adjust it's halyards, etc...

    With this sail arrangement one can gently exert control over the vessels longitudinal and latitude centre of buoyancy or its Center of Resistance CR and Center of Effect CE easily with the sheet line tension and moving the jib block fore and aft. We steer our boat with its weight and sails.
    I think the best can draw all of that and more.
    Well I am hoping its get easier after the first couple hundred times.
    Last edited by John Howland; 05-15-2022 at 11:40 PM.
    John H.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Both Lighthouses at Fastnet Rock 1904 the smaller one was moved to shore later in 1904. The Larger stone lighthouse was first lite in 1904.

    The Irish Teardrop / Fastnet Rock
    Untitled.jpg
    Schooner "Pegleg" port of call the Imagination.

    John
    198 to go,


    John H.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Rob,
    I think you would like this Youtube of Tom Keanting On Painters E01 Turner
    Here He paints J.M.W T
    urner's The Fighting Tamerail in reverse.
    J.M.W Turner's The Fighting Tamerail.jpg

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MDmiOmYnwKk
    John H.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    PEGLEG a stays'l schooner? I don't understand the main mast.

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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Thad,
    Heck, I don't understand either. It's my first drawing of a schooner.
    If you could be more explicit I could explain?
    Last edited by John Howland; 05-16-2022 at 09:13 AM.
    John H.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: 1928 gaff schooner sail construction?

    Was the image taken from a photograph?
    The pole foremast carries the stays'l tack with a triangular sail above, as well at the three for's'ls, one flying (the stays'l rig unusual pre 1904 I would think). An upper stays'l, presumably tacked near the foremast spreaders and hoist high on the mainmast/maintopmast, covers a section of the mainmast, including presumed topmast fittings, "presumed" because the line of the lower mainmast and the upper spar carrying the main tops'l do not seem in line.
    Something like that.

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