A topsail schooner pond sailer - Page 4 - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Sep 10, 2009, 03:28 AM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
Tiger, you read correctly. The typical 1800's square-rigger could not sail closer than 6 points to the wind (67deg), compared to 4 points (45deg) for a modern sloop. This difference is mostly the result of yards not swinging as far as a boom: The boom can be positioned at 15 deg off centerline (or 0 deg, though you'd not go anywhere with that boom position), but yards, at that time, were limited to 45 deg off centerline. By the end of the square-rigger era, the steel ships could achieve 30 deg off, while my RC's can get to 20 deg or less (due to liberties I take in constructing my yard cranes and rigging).

Tacking was limited to moderate winds. This was a rigging limitation: when the ship goes head to wind, the full force of the backwinded sails must be absorbed by the forestay & companions. It's not wise to trust the whole rig to the strength of 1 or 2 stays. Steel rigging allowed the skipper more options, but all square-rigger skippers, for all the era, were loath to trust their safety to stays.

The shrouds and backstays were multiple lines, able to spread the load of the sails drawing in the usual manner. So, wears were not rigging limited (you could always strike sails to reduce stress if you had concerns). Rather, the risk of a high wind/high seas wear was that the waves would overtake the hull and either sweep the helmsman away, or lift the stern&bury the bow, causing a broach (uncommanded right angle turn). Broaches could be fatal as they would likely lead to a knockdown as the great inertia of the masts and rigging would pull the ship over. I've had inertial pull my models over in a wear, though I've not lost any yet :-). Many cargos, eg. loose grain, coal, nitrates, could shift in a knockdown, destroying the self-righting capability of a ship. The real Pamir was sunk by just such a knockdown=>shifting wheat=>foundering scenario.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Sep 12, 2009, 05:38 AM
meatbomber's Avatar
Brooks, can you please show how your brace lines run from the bottom screweyes up ?
Sep 12, 2009, 03:41 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar

Brace details (photos of the brig, similar to schooner)

Photo captions:
Overall view: Mainbraces (Red) run up from underdeck servos thru teflon tube thru deck to turning block (black bead), then to yard pendant ( black dress snap) then to black button bowsie.

Forebraces (Green) are similar: run up from deck to turning block, then over to yard pendant (brace should be straight, in photo the brace had slack so that's why the dogleg at the button bowsie).
Mainbrace turning blocks tie to the mast at the mast top. The pair (port & starboard) are just tied to the ends of a longish piece of thread, then the thread is clovehitched to the mast. I usually put another hitch on to reduce the chance that the beads will shift.
Detail of the yard pendant: The pendants are rolling hitched to the yard, with extra hitches to keep the thread from loosening. The pendant has 1/2 of a dress snap, the brace has the other half. The pendant ties to it's half snap, but the brace runs thru a sewing hole in it's half snap, thus is adjustable with the button bowsie. These detachable braces, at the dress snap, are very handy; you can instantly get slack in the braces so that the yards fold flat and you can lay the ship on the ground w/o worrying about breaking a yard. Also, when lifting the deck, slackening the braces first makes it easy to stand the deck on edge to get at the RC gear.
Forebrace turning blocks are rigged similarly to mainbrace's. Note that they hang down in front of the sail, and are tied to the mast higher than the yard to give it more clearance to swing. Note: the schooner does not have a squaresail at this location, so the bead location can be lower (even with the fore yard). I had to move them up when I installed the new brig's sail seen in the photo.
Under the deck: Bow is to the left. Mainbrace servo has plywood arm, Forebrace servo has same size plywood arm, hidden under the blue disk. The Main servo is mounted higher than the fore servo, so each arm can swing w/o interferance with the other. The ends of the main arms are asymmetrical; I had to trim them where they got close to the brass screweyes for the forebraces, otherwise they would have overlapped the screweyes, entangling the fore braces. Not much space below decks :-).

The blue disk is made from recycled plastic file folder. The disk reduces the chance that droopy main braces will entangle the fore servo arm. Pure parallelogram does not give droopy braces, but the 2:1 reeving does, when the arms are swung for a beat. The plastic warped after a week, and I had to stick it down to the plywood with double sided tape.

The braces are tied at the brass screweye, run thu the small screweye on the plywood arm, then back to the brass screweye and up thru the teflon tube. This is the reeving necessary to get the 2:1 magnification of brace haul. For a pure parallelogram, like I used on Pamir and the first bottle topsail schooner, the brace is tied to the arm's small screweye, and then goes straight to the brass screweye and thence up thru the deck. Pure parallogram would be suitable for the brig, and reduce some below-decks line clutter (and the need for the blue plastic disk).

The jib sheet is out of view, tied to the shaft of the port screweye of the fore servo arm. It leads from arm to a screweye located directly under the arm when the arm is "neutral", ie square to the hull. Then the sheet runs forward to screweyes, then up thru the deck via teflon tube. The end terminates in a fishing swivel, which collects the jib sail sheets. The single RC sheet is kept under tension with a single strand of rubberband tied to the fishing swivel and to the bulwarks. If the sheet is not tensioned, slack below decks can catch on stuff. Since the actual sail sheets are not tensioned, they are free to let the sails cross over (in theory :-)
Scotch doublesided poster tape is tenacious stuff; I use it to keep the servos from twisting under load. I don't have enough vertical height below deck to mount the servos with their normal rubber grommets. The 2-56 mounting bolts don't fill the servo mount holes, so the servos could possibly twist w/o the tape. The tape's been wet several times, and still retains it's stickem. Suggestion: when mounting servos, plan to remove them: glue the mounting bolt heads so that they stick up, rather than as I did, with them loose and pointing down with the nut underneath the servo tray. Restarting the 2-56 nuts on my bolts after a servo swap-out is a pain.
Last edited by Brooks; Sep 12, 2009 at 09:06 PM. Reason: more explanation added
Sep 12, 2009, 05:06 PM
meatbomber's Avatar
awesome brooks thanks!
Just one question, don`t youhave problems with the square braces restricting the movement of the foremast Gaff sail ?
Sep 12, 2009, 08:26 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
Yes, that is why I went to the 2:1 ratio in the lead of the braces (below deck). By doubling the haul, I was able to move the braces farther out along the yard than the 1:1 ratio would have allowed (with a pure parallelogram design). The interference is not as noticable with the spread braces, and since I sheet the f&a foresail (when present, not set on the brig) for the beat, there is not much rubbing of gaff on brace, anyway.

Best would be to use sail winches so that I could rig the braces to the yardarms, per the real ships. But this simpler setup works, and I can use the cheaper regular servos w/plywood sail arms.

If I feel the need for more sail area (unlikely, given the size of the brig's foretopsail and fore course), I can always string up some triangular staysails in the space previously occupied by the f&a foresail on the schooner. I left the schooner gaff up to make conversion back easier; you can see the end is just tied to the triatic stay to keep it from swinging - gaff vangs, leading from gaff end to the bulwarks would be the proper rigging. Some brigs set a smaller gaff staysail, called a "trysail" on the gaff, so I could go that route, too.
Sep 16, 2009, 12:26 AM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
For completeness, the brig conversion of Aldebaran discussed here:

I split the forecourse (compare to the large blue ink stained forecourse of the brigantine) to a) make the ship look less like a converted topsail schooner with it's huge fore course b) to make the rig more flexible wrt sail selection for high wind cruises.
Last edited by Brooks; Oct 02, 2009 at 08:13 PM. Reason: added photo
Sep 18, 2009, 03:58 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
Some questions came up regarding the braces and jibsheets. I addressed them, with photos and diagrams, over on MeatBomber's "Experimental Footy Brigantine" thread:
Oct 02, 2009, 07:55 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
John & I sailed Aldebaran today. I restored her to Brigantine rig. We had a lot of trouble with excessive weather helm. The previous brigantine version used a single large forecourse, just what the topsail schooner would have flown (this was the blue ink stained sail seen in photos). I don't remember this excessive weather helm as seen today.

Today's brigantine version used the split (2 piece) forecourse that worked well with the Brig. My guess right now is that the single course was more aerodynamic than the split course. So, the single generated more lift fore of the CLR than the split course generated. Thus, the single course balanced the large f&a mainsail aft of the CLR, and the blue ink brigantine balanced w/o lots of weather helm needed.

Racing clipper ship skippers used to send their men aloft to lace the foot and head of their split topsails together. They sacrificed easy furling of the upper topsail when they did this, so only made the mod when they were in steady tradewinds (after leaving the swirly winds of the Coral Sea and the Celebes Islands). They recognized the loss of drive (lift) from the split sail, and used the lacing to increase speed. I think we may have experienced the same effect today with the split course.
Oct 06, 2009, 03:46 PM
meatbomber's Avatar
good god you have SNOW there already ?? i hope you will have some liquid water left for a bit longer to sail in or you`ll have to build an ice breaker ! That Brig is looking fantastic !
Oct 06, 2009, 11:17 PM
Taking care of the pond.
Cute helper.
Oct 08, 2009, 01:48 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
Some movies posted in the usual place.

Dec 22, 2009, 10:41 AM
Retired for now
Brooks the boat is beautiful but the puppy steals the show. Nce pics. Pete
Jul 08, 2011, 01:06 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar

light wind cruise 2011

First cruise of Aldebaran this year...submarineing stole sailboat time this Spring :-)

Light intermittent winds, the ship's favorite, actually. Once I figured out which hole to attach the fin keel, she would tack and wear in the lightest of breezes. I'd marked various holes on the keelson, but the only markings left were apparently for the brig rig. This cruise was in the original fore & main topsail schooner rig; this rig needs the keel to be positioned aft, otherwise there is too much weather helm...eventually I figured it out, the ship will tell you what to do if you just listen *smiles*. Wears were slower than I remembered, but I suffered from dumbthumbs :-).

Took a video, but the camera registered on the mountains, so the sails are pretty washed out, not going to post the movie.
Jul 11, 2011, 03:55 AM
meatbomber's Avatar
I really love the looks of Aldebaran Brooks

That low black hull, the white sails above, a real classic ! Have you ever tried to sail her without the squares ? i`m wondering if you need to shift the keel to get manouvering under a F&A only rig ?

In these conditions there wouldn`t be much of a chase between Aldebaran and Somers you`d clearly run her under the horizon in no time !

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion Topsail Schooner Bottle Boat Brooks Sailboats 31 Jun 15, 2016 04:43 AM
Discussion A 4-masted barque pond sailer Brooks Scale Sailboats 106 May 26, 2016 09:03 AM
Discussion Schooner Pond Yacht Mac Obsessed Sailboats 16 Jul 31, 2009 09:03 PM
Discussion Need help to Identify this pond sailer Aten W Arthog Sailboats 8 Jul 14, 2007 11:25 PM
Sold Uss Constellation Tall Sailing Ship (Square Rigger - Really Sails) Pond Sailer Or Rc flightdog Boats (FS/W) 0 Feb 03, 2006 02:31 PM