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Sending aloft and striking Topgallant masts

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Presentation on theme: "Sending aloft and striking Topgallant masts"— Presentation transcript:

1 Sending aloft and striking Topgallant masts
aboard the full rigged ship BALCLUTHA 1886 A Primer on traditional rigging

2 Dedicated to Jack Dickerhoff Master Rigger
“Dickerhoff was royalty and he knew it for he was recognized as master of a vanishing art.  He was a rigger extraordinaire and all about him, ordinary men became obsequious when he spoke.  When he cared to expound, there came from his thin lips all the wisdom of a hard-sailing generation at sea”. – Ernest Gann.


4 “Traditional” rigging is traditional so you don’t have to make 200 years of mistakes…”
Sending spars to deck and swaying them aloft is an evolution that is well within the skill set of anyone who has gone to sea on a square-rigger. The most important aspect of the evolution is to anticipate and to “listen and feel” what the ship is saying. If at anytime the work becomes heavy or the crew is having to overly strain…BELAY and investigate. Remember, sailing ships are machine meant to work with effort; not undue exertion. Many a top rope and mast rope has parted due to “Let’s just add a few more hands to the capstan” mindset

5 To strike a Mizzen Topgallant mast to deck
Inspect mast rope and safety/preventer line Inspect ALL blocks and slings Inspect ALL deck fittings and belay points Inspect pawls on capstan for fractures Shift dead end of upper topsail yard tye chain outboard to allow T’gallant heel to clear Brace lower yards sharp up.

6 Top Rope dead end Top Rope lead block Topmast cap stay Top Rope web sling & preventer sling (safety) Stb. Side view fwd. Stb. Side view aft

7 Initial Set Up Rig Top block and top rope / safety preventer Cast off shrouds Slack away stays & backstays Rig heel preventer web sling below gate Inspect ALL leads for chafe

8 Web sling heel safety /preventer rigged
Cast off after initial 3” hoist to remove fid and settle onto top rope T’gallant mast heel Preventer heel sling

9 Always prevent chafe Top rope and lead block to midship capstan
Preventer ranged out on deck

10 Top rope lead to midship capstan
Preventer is tended aft at the stern bitts to afford some protection to crew member Top rope

11 Mast is hoisted 3” to remove fid
Be vigilant about the top rope being pinched in the gate Rig heave a head and heel tag lines Allow rig to fold upon itself

12 Prevent any kinking of shrouds, stays and backstays
Tend heave a head and heel tag line to control mast Coil stays and back stays as the turn backs settle to deck Note order of gang and remove rigging eyes – standing weight of wire is held by stoppers placed at spreaders during initial set up.

13 When royal hounds are accessible and pole section is still captured in the doubling –
rig top rope lizards to prevent the mast from pitch poling as the pole clears the trees.

14 Pole section captured by gate.
Truck tenon Pole section captured by gate. Top rope lizards rigged Stays stopped off at trees & spreader

15 Guide the spar to deck using the heel and heave a head tag lines.
Land heel on plywood/carpet skid or cart to prevent damage to decking or land ashore. Settle onto deck and properly block to prevent introducing a set into the spar. Reeve off Top rope and preventer and strike below – do not leave exposed to weather or UV longer than necessary.

16 Sending aloft a Fore Topgallant Mast

17 Swaying aloft a Fore Topgallant
Inspect all deck fittings, capstan pawls, etc. as noted on mizzen evolution. Ensure Top rope is lead INSIDE of gate at trees and then rig through heel sheave etc. Rig heave a heads and heel taglines

18 Sending mast aloft from the Pier
Rig hold backs to heel that will become heel tag lines Lift heel with a sling using a basket hitch to fork lift blades –rig hold back from sling to forklift mast.

19 Take a light strain and check all gear
Top rope lizards Preventer (safety) Rig lizards with shackle bales on the Top rope not the pin!!! This will prevent the pin from unscrewing itself.

20 Hauling round on the capstan
Note I am using hand signals to communicate to line handlers

21 Lead blocks in use Note wood blocking at boat skid beams to prevent chafe
Use 2 points of belay on older historic fittings that may be suspect

22 Once mast will clear topgallant rail, slack away and settle mast inboard

23 Haul away Tend heave a head and tag lines

24 The “target” Top rope bight through spar Note: the hauling end of the top rope is lead forward of the topsail and fore yard and to the capstan

25 Slow and steady – always checking for binding and chafe

26 Once royal pole section is inside the gate prepare to cast off top rope lizards to allow mast to travel.

27 Begin stacking the gang in the proper order as they came off!!!
Settle eyes with a block of wood and a top maul or single jack



30 The last 12” is the most dangerous part of the evolution.
All the weight of the standing rigging and the mass of the mast is on the top rope!!! That’s over 3,500 lbs. on Balclutha

31 Rig the heel preventer before last 6” of hoist to be a safety in case the top rope & safety carry away.

32 Haul away until fid hole is 2” above trestle trees and slid the fid home.
Settle top rope until fid is taking all the weight. Strike top rope and preventer as soon as possible to avoid undue exposure to elements

33 Click on projector … Movie will begin in a new window.

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