Basic Elements of Rigging

Donnie

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I thought I would post my viewpoint on "The Basic Elements of Rigging" and in hopes, it might bring some help to those new to this.

All warships will have basically the same rigging "Pattern". The easiest as has been mentioned is to work in an orderly fashion and I would go as far as saying that it is really a necessity to work in an order to avoid being trapped in a situation that you can not reach or get to a particular section.

A quick word about your Mast and building it and how it relates to rigging.
Before diving into this article, I want to mention that carefully consider how you build your mast. My suggestion is to build your mast UP TO the FIRST tops and DO NOT add anymore upper mast sections until you complete all the LOWER shrouds for all the mast. It is much easier if you do not have the UPPER mast section installed and interfering. IF you do build your entire mast, then you will be faced with threading your Shroud pairs inbetween the "Main Top Mast Bottom" and the "Head of the Main Mast" trying to feed in also down into the Trestletrees. If the upper Mast tops were not installed yet, then you have the freedom of just looping your shroud around the "Head of the Main Mast" (stump) without any other interference.

Below is, in my opinion, is a good order of things with the first item mentioned would be the FIRST thing to rig up:
EDIT: Shrouds are all installed first, then the stays are looped over the entire shroud pairs. Please see the following thread/post as more correct info has been posted about this subject.

STANDING RIGGING (Stationary)

  • All Stays. All Stays support the mast running in the CENTER of the ship from Fore to Aft. For instance, a "Stay" will run from the very top foremast down to the bowsprit tip. Then with that in mind, you will also have another stay on the foremast located about halfway down that will run down to the bowsprit. This "pattern" is repeated with the Main Mast. An example, the top of the Main Mast will have a line that will run from the TOP of the Main Mast to the BASE of the foremast. And again, take the Mizzen Mast. From the TOP of the Mizzen Mast, a line to the BASE of the Mainmast. What I mention here is an example or typical. It is possible to have several STAYS but they all run center-line fore to aft. It is also possible to have some stays that attach to the mast and will run to each side of the ship to offer even more support. They are all STATIONARY.
  • All Shrouds. All Shrouds support the mast as of Port to Starboard (or side to side support). All Shrouds will attach to the Deadeyes which have their own rigging. The Shrouds also have Ratlines that run horizontally. ALL mast will have Shrouds.
  • Stays for the "Flying Jibs and Staysails". This portion of rigging could be allocated in either section, but I chose to include it here because according to some research I did, the Flying Jibs and Staysails need to have a STATIONARY line of which the sail is "supported by". For a Staysail that is mounted between teh foremast and mainmast, there would be for instance one line that would run from the BASE of the aft foremast up to the end of the staysail, then run the length of the staysail, using a pulley and then terminating at the "fore" BASE of the Main Mast. Where the line travels from mast to mast at the top is where the staysail will be "attached" with loops or rings. Then each staysail will have its own line to tie off (running part)
RUNNING RIGGING (lines that move or make adjustments to sails or yards)

  • Yard Lifts. All yards must be lifted up and down. Most yard lifts are basically rigged the same. Each end of the yard has lines that travel up to the mast with a pulley of some sort and that line eventually makes it way (usually) to the BASE of its Mast.
  • Yard Braces. Yard braces have lines that attach to each end of the Yard. The Yard must be able to swing from side to side to allow the wind to capture which makes the ship go forth. Yard braces also will have pulleys that the line eventually ends at a "BELAYING PIN RAIL" This applies to every yard must have braces.
  • Sail Management. ALL sails must be managed. Lifted up and down and managed the tightness, etc. You will have Sheets, Leech lines, Bunt lines, Clew lines, etc, ALL of which MUST be used and eventually terminate at the BELAYING PIN RAILS. It should be noted here that there is an order for tieing off the belaying pins. The LOWEST sail management will tie off at the LEADING pin whilst the TOP most sail management will tie off at the most TRAILING pin.
All of which is simply repeated over and over again for each Yard, each Mast, and each sail. It will become obvious that at some point, you will see that just doing one mast - yard - sail situation that all of them are rigged the SAME. Nothing is different basically. Everything is GROUPED. The PIN RAILS will be grouped for EVERYTHING that has to do with that one mast and yard set. You will have the first group of Pin Rails for the running rigging of the Foremast. Then you will have a second group of Pin Rails for the running rigging of the Main Mast, and lastly another group of Pin Rails for all the running rigging for the Mizzen mast. remember that most of the time, the yard lifts most likely will have a PIN RAIL or BITTS at the BASE of each Mast that handles the Yard up and down motion.

At this time we can discuss Sails, no Sails, or Furled Sails:
This topic always stirs up some facts, fiction or otherwise. So, I admit that I have limited understanding of this matter too, but I am willing to give it a go and again this is my personal viewpoint that I use on my ships.
  • Sails: Rigging with sails. This is simple. Apply all the fore mentioned elements as all aspects of blocks and tackle to manage the sails will apply here.
  • Furled Sails: These are sails that are partially lifted position. Either the ship is at sea and does not need this particular sail, or all the sails are in a furled position. The main point is that you will again fulfill ALL aspects as all the sails installed - even if the furled sails are neatly tucked all the way to the yardarm. The point is that you allow the impression that they sails could still be let down and used again if the ship needs some other maneuvering.
  • No Sails installed - but stowed away: This is the tricky one. Remember that ALL standing rigging is still there. The question to ask is if all the sails are taken down, then you know that the CLEW Blocks and LEECH blocks if there are any, will REMAIN on the sail itself. The other question that remains is what to do about SHEET lines, LEECH lines, and BUNT lines and the associated Blocks. The question arises is this: Do these lines stay installed on the yardarms? My answer would depend on how long the sails would be stowed and for what purpose. For temporary maintenance for a few months at the dry dock, then the Captain might order that all the sail management lines stay affixed on yardarms and those lines brought down to the belaying pins as well. I would assume that if the sails were to be taken down for a very long period of time, perhaps the Captain might order that all sails management lines and blocks be completely removed. I think this part would be under the decision of the modeler as there would not be any fast rule. This would, of course, include even the ropes fixed on the yards that help hold the sails in place as well. I think this latter part should be a decision that the modeler would take. The last ship that I built, the Panart San Felipe, I built it with no sails as if the sails were stowed away. Therefore, there was no rigging on the ship for Leech, Bunts, sheets, clews lines. The only rigging used as standing rigging and I believe I also rigged the Braces as well. The Braces are what steers the yards to capture the wind. When a ship is at sail, most of the time, the yardarms are NOT going to be at 90 degrees of the Mast, but rather offset may be up to 30 degrees and it is the braces that perform this. The Braces are not part of the sail management but are kind of in a category of there own.
In conclusion, I hope that you find this basic course helpful as you make your decisions on how to rig your ship.

John (Neptune) adds to the discussion and he is correct: The shrouds usually go on first with the stays over the top of them. Thank you @neptune

Kindly,
Donald B. Driskell
 
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Donnie - on a boat or ship, are all STAYS or fixed lines usually a dark tar color? Are all running lines usually a tan color? Do you know, on a shrimp boat, would any of the lines be cable instead of rope and, if so, the color of cable? I'm at the point in building my shrimp boat where I now have to tackle rigging. I'm still unfamiliar with so many nautical terminology when it comes to a ship! Lindberg directions are incredibly basic and vague on the rigging. I'm trying to work off this one diagram that I was able to download online. I made several copies and plan to use colored pencils to account for the different fixed and running lines.


jenny- diagram.jpg

shrimp boat diagram.jpg
 

Donnie

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Hi Fright,
let me look into this. I live near a coast that does a lot of shrimping and I will see. I am thinking that some of those cables (in today's time) would be more like steel cabling. If that is the case, then I know that places like Hobby Lobby have string (for beading) that looks just like miniature steel wire.
 

Donnie

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What I have seen so far is rope, chain, steel cable. Now, where those are used is to be determined and I think I have some images that I took the last time I was at my gulf coast. Now my curiosity is up now and will need to investigate further.
 
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Donnie - please do not go out of your way but I appreciate your interest and knowledge that you have with your involvement with model making. Ship-1 I think we'll all have some quality time to spend on a hobby!
 

Donnie

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Hi Robert,
I am ok - I am interested in this situation. I have done a little more reading and there is just is not much info out there on this subject. So, the next time I go to our port (which will be about 3 weeks from now) - I can get really up close to these Shrimpers - I mean standing right near the deck. Then I can take some pictures as I will be within feet of some.
On this Lindberg, didn't they supply the model with a rigging line? Or you might not be happy with it - not sure. In either case, I would rig the heaviest line with maybe a .7 mm or about 1/32 inch. and work down in size from there. Usually, on a model like this, the rigging line is not really representative.

In the meantime, if you are antsy about wanting to go ahead and rig one, this is my advice.

In the above diagram, it mentions ALL the "stays". Back then on an older Shrimper, I do not think they would be using steel cable. All the stays would be a heavy thick line. As the MAIN boom (trawling boom) would be hauled up, then you would have slack in the line, when the trawling boom lowered, then the stay would, of course, tighten up. So, this trawling booms STAY (B) would have to be substantial enough to carry all the weight. Now, it is possible that this might be a steel cable. Not sure. I am thinking that steel cable would be rusting in that environment unless it is galvanized - not sure. I think that (B) would be the heaviest line of all. The remaining stays would gradually decrease depending on the load-bearing.
You also have some blocks and pullies. I am sure they would be rope too. (C) would be the heaviest block and rope line as it is doing all the work of raising and lowering the main boom. The other pulleys/lines would be reduced in size according to the load.
I do think that on the nets, you have a combo of rope and chain. With chain being on near the net end. The winch would be hauling in a rope most likely and not a steel cable. Even on the show, the biggest catch, they are using the rope on the winches.

Not sure if this helps but - If I knew your shrimpers dimensions of the model, I could probably tell you what the ropes dimension of B and C. It would be a matter of reduction of size from that point. Usually, Stays are black or darker and blocks and pulleys will be using a lighter or tan. But, in this case, I am not sure if that would even matter or even be related to square-rigged ships and warships.
 
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Donald - Thank you for this information. Your knowledge of stays, lines etc. certainly surpasses mine. LOL So my thought that fixed lines are darker and working lines are a tan sounds correct. I'm not in any rush to get this to a finished state. I don't plan on being 100% accurate with the rigging but I'd like to get a little closer than what the instructions call for.
The scale is 1:60 scale. Length of boat measures 12" and the widest part of the beam is 3 and1/4". The average Louisiana shrimp boat ranged from 60-80 ft in length. The line that is provided with the kit is strictly black and no mention to size.
;)
I'm planning on using tan and black lines. On the doors (spreaders), I plan on using a fine chain. I would imagine that the chain would have a dark and salty weathered look to it.
With all of that said, again I thank you for your interest and your time on this kit! Cheers and stay safe
 

Kkonrath

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Donnie, any chance you have a text or word document of the rigging information you posted, so I and others can save and print it out.

Or is they a way to print the one posting by itself from the system.
 
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Awesome info...thanks! May I add some thoughts for new modelers. From my experience researching these same issues over the years I have developed some simple maxims...any rope rigging that will not move over its life is usually protected from the elements with some type of coating such as pine tar. Thus all standing rigging is modeled with black threads...black being the simplest representation of pine tar (pine tar being a very dark brown rather than true black). Any rigging that will move...as in pulled through block and tackle rigs...can't be coated or the coating fouls the blocks. Thus all block and tackle rigs are modeled in tan threads. Grey threads are usually used to model steel cable. Sometimes we can find very fine braided steel wire to use for modeling cable...but the trick is to use a braided wire not a single strand. Another option for modeling steel cable is to use a rope walk to make thin braided line from grey threads. Some braided steel fishing line is also suitable for modeling steel cable as long as you can stay in scale. Working with braided steel line on models is challenging to get the proper drape and simulating cable clamping in scale. Chain is chain and the challenge for the modeler is to stay in scale. Usually chain in scale is smaller than we might think. Thankfully many online sites carry model chain. As we rig our models, knowing what the line is doing helps to understand the reason for the type threads needed. This includes the "size" of the line. I know most of us understand this but I find that sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of some very basic concepts...and it may well help someone new to the hobby. Thanks!
 
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Awesome info...thanks! May I add some thoughts for new modelers. From my experience researching these same issues over the years I have developed some simple maxims...any rope rigging that will not move over its life is usually protected from the elements with some type of coating such as pine tar. Thus all standing rigging is modeled with black threads...black being the simplest representation of pine tar (pine tar being a very dark brown rather than true black). Any rigging that will move...as in pulled through block and tackle rigs...can't be coated or the coating fouls the blocks. Thus all block and tackle rigs are modeled in tan threads. Grey threads are usually used to model steel cable. Sometimes we can find very fine braided steel wire to use for modeling cable...but the trick is to use a braided wire not a single strand. Another option for modeling steel cable is to use a rope walk to make thin braided line from grey threads. Some braided steel fishing line is also suitable for modeling steel cable as long as you can stay in scale. Working with braided steel line on models is challenging to get the proper drape and simulating cable clamping in scale. Chain is chain and the challenge for the modeler is to stay in scale. Usually chain in scale is smaller than we might think. Thankfully many online sites carry model chain. As we rig our models, knowing what the line is doing helps to understand the reason for the type threads needed. This includes the "size" of the line. I know most of us understand this but I find that sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of some very basic concepts...and it may well help someone new to the hobby. Thanks!
 
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Danielsje - thank you for your mention on using grey thread as cable. I also like your suggestion about using possible braided steel fishing line, if in scale. I would never have thought of that.
 
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