George F. Campbell

The neophyte shipmodeller`s jackstay


It has been truly said that the rankest amateur modeller can successfully rig, though he know not his mast from a hole in the ground. Rigging is basically simple, the progressive addition of a number of details, each logical and uncomplicated. Let us first consider the square rigged ship. The rigging of smaller vessels such as barks, brigs, brigantmes and the like is similar in principle and detail to that of a full rigged ship which we treat with here. The rigging of the three masted ship was based on the lower masts: fore, main and mizzen masts. Any mast mounted on these takes the appropriate designation — fore topmast, main topmast or mizzen topmast. Mounted on the topmasts were the topgallant masts—fore topgallant, main topgallant, etc., Fig. 53.


to carry the square sails were hung from these masts. Each yard was named after the sail it carried. Definitions


A general name for all timbers used in setting up the rigging and sails when not specified by their actual place name.


Vertically fixed spars to which were swivelled:


Which were spars used to support square sails.


Spars by which fore-and-att sails were spread.


The LOWER MASTS were the heaviest spars on the ship, setting (stepped) on the inner keelson. They had little taper, though at the head (top end) they were flattened on the sides to take CHEEKS. Above the cheek's the mast was squared for fitting of trestletrees, cross'trees, the top and cap. These parts supported and stiffened the topmast and its rigging. Fig. 53A. To avoid confusion in terms note that the whole structure with the platform at the head of the lower mast is known as the TOP although it comprises trestletrees and crosstrees, whereas the whole structure at the head of the topmast is known as the CROSSTREES, also comprising trestletrees and crosstrees, but not platform (or very rarely).

The shape and size of the platform TOP varies with the period. Into the 17th century tops were round, as on the MAYFLOWER. Fig.53D is typical for merchant sailing vessels late 18th to 19th century; Fig. 53E, naval from say 1750 up to 1800 (a 100 gun 1st rate would have a top about 21 feet wide). Fig. 53F is for merchant vessels from about 1850, after the introduction of double topsails. Some of these had 3 crosstrees instead of the more usual 2.

Fig. 53G is the final arrangement on windjammers and late clipper ships up to modern times, usually formed by an angle iron frame with metal plate cheeks underneath.

Form the mast's taper with a small plane adjusted to a fine cut, then finish and sandpaper. With г knife or chisel form the flats on which the cheeks lie, and square the masthead above. Note that on smaller vessels (schooners, sloops and the like) the masthead was left round with shallow mortising to take the trestletrees. Caps were generally fitted as in sketch Fig. 53B.