The sprit topsail in place and ready for rigging. I figured to place this yard and sail before attempting the upper stays for the foremast. They are complicated and will clutter up the areas of the topmast top and trees, which would make rigging the yard and sail difficult afterwards..
This is the fore top gallant forestay. The kit has a very abbreviated one that is nowhere near the real thing. This one is right from the prints of the real SOS. I am doing as much rigging as possible from good sources. It does however require a pretty good amount of additional rigging supplies such as deadeyes, blocks, and cord. If you are anything like me, you have built up a good stash of supplies over the years. I have been raiding my stash pretty heavily, but have not had to buy more yet, but I will eventually have to replenish my stock.
The trick with this forestay was getting each level fairly taut. I started from the mast end and built each layer separately, using weights like alligator clips to put tension on the lines while each section is rigged. There are several more stays for the spritsail topmast and the mizzen that are even more complicated than this one. It is fun however to do these.
The fore topmast stay rigged in place. I made some little rope coils for where it belays to the bowsprit. I took some suggestions from modelers of this forum for making the coils and they came out great. I never had much luck with them before. I mixed some wood glue and water to make it real thin. Then wound the coils on a tapered wood dowel, soaked them in the glue, peeled them off the dowel and let them dry. I put a weight on top of them to keep them flat . Perfect.
The Spritsail Topmast Backstay. This was a dilly. I had a hard time trying to get everything taut. The thing has 3 separate sections that all connect together. I did the best I could and had to redo it twice. For the last section that ties onto the foremast topsail stay, I had to make special blocks. These are 3mm deadeyes that are pinned to 3mm single blocks.
Here are photos of the completed bowsprit. I decided to do a loose furl on the sprit sails to give more exposure to the bow. It is the kind of furl they would do to trim sails with a ship under sail on the seas. I think it looks OK. The only running lines not done on the bowsprit are the sheet lines in the lower corners of the sails. Since they are way outboard on the hull, they will get in the way in rigging the foremast. I will complete them after completing the foremast rigging and the forward hull such as the gun port doors and the anchors.
I added a feature to the rigging that is left out in the kit. Ships of the period had knights with lifts and halyards for hoisting the lower yards on the masts. This is what they look like rigged. The lift is heavy rope that is attached to a triple sister block and passes through the cheeks below the mast top trees and is lashed to the yard. The halyard is reeved back and forth through the sister block and knight and is secured to a cleat on the knight.
The amount of rigging for this ship with the realistic method and the sails is quite complex. Building the masts off ship and completely installing the yards, sails and starting the running rigging before setting the mast on the ship is critical. Once the foremast is set on the ship, all of the running rigging must be completely finished before rigging the shrouds. As far as I see it, doing it any other way will make it very difficult to get to the pinrails, cleats, and other belay points. This is different from the way I did it with other ship builds, but they did not have the complexity and very tight quarters in working on the rigging. This will hold true for the other masts as well. If you build the kit as the plans dictate, with the abbreviated rigging, there would be no issue, but completing it as I am doing with the more detailed rigging, and adding the sails, makes it a whole different ball game. I am almost done with the entire bowsprit and foremast. I will post photos to show what I mean.
These are crowsfeet. They were used to keep the bottom of the topsails from fouling on the mast tops. The kit does not address these but the SOS had them. I added them as per rigging diagrams of ships of the period.
I fimished all of the running rigging from the bowsprit to the foremast and the foremast to the deck. The starboard side has the shrouds of the foremast rattled as well. I added all of the little rope coils to the belay points on the deck and the mast tops. I am having nightmares about making clove hitches and still have to do a few hundred in the port side.
As another little feature, I left the forecastle grating partially open.
I just found another glitch in the kit design. The main mast at its base is 12mm. When it is stepped into the ship, there is a cutout in the keel that the bottom of the mast sits into. Well I don't know how I missed this but when I placed the mast temporarily before planking the hull, to make sure it would sit straight up vertically and not tilt to either side, everything looked good. Turns out that I must not have pushed the mast all of the way down to the bottom in this slot.
I am now starting construction on the main mast and again placed it in the hole to make sure it was true but I could not get it down far enough without tilting it slightly to port. I figured that the decks were slightly off, so I started filing the hole to get the mast straight. As it turns out, it had nothing to do with the alignment of the decks. They were right on. The damn slot in the keel is only 9.5mm and the mast is 12.0mm. So, I had to shave off both sides of the mast base about 10.0mm up so it measures 9.5mm across. Now the mast fits correctly.
If you are going to build this kit, fix the slot by making it 12.0mm before constructing the hull.
I bought this little work table made by Dremel to hold the ship on the table while allowing it to be moved around and rotated for access to the rigging and such. The keel clamps inside the gap in the table top and I made some custom chocks to cradle the hull. It holds the ship quite securely.
I saw this little table on Anja's build log and asked where she got it. She gave me some info. It seems that Dremel no longer makes this, but the TGM Shop from Amazon still sells them. It came all the way from Germany.
This will make it much easier to get all around the ship for the rigging.
Here is the Union Jack raised on the bowsprit pole. The flag provided in the kit is not authentic in that the Union Jack was not correct for the time period. The one provided was a later version flown long after the SOS was sailing. I am not that efficient in English history to know that, but my friend Denis is from the UK and picked up on it right away. He was nice enough to have some correct flags made and he shipped me some for my ship.
The first photo shows the incorrect flag and the second the correct one.