Completing the Spinnaker Boom & Bowsprit

As we progress on our model we become more intrigued with RELIANCE’s “configuration management.” As in the real world, there are “as designed,” “as-built,” “as-initially sailed,” and finally “as-raced” configurations. We are working from the original drawings, yet when we look at various pictures of RELIANCE we note differences. And then there are books, periodicals and folk-lore differences, too; all of which add the mystery and intrigue of RELIANCE.

We have almost completed our “Oregon Pine” (Douglas fir) spinnaker boom; having fastened 4 thumb cleats in place for boom guys and lifts. We’ve also drilled a hole in the outboard end for the strap of a block and have tapered the mast-end to receive the boom holder (4 ½” diameter, 5” deep cup on the original) attached to the mast by a swivel. The boom appears to have stayed in place by pressure only since there aren’t fastening shown on the boom holder drawings. The original boom was 83’4” in length(~14’ in scale), and according to Temple to the Wind was a solid spar weighing over 1,000 lbs, but our drawings show it to be a round, hollow fabricated spar with 1 ½” walls, 9 bulkheads 1 3/8” thick, and 12 ¾” diameter at maximum girth.

Our team is completing the Douglas fir bowsprit by working on the outboard end. We initially thought this was a round conical shape but now find it has flat sides with rounded top and bottom to accommodate a steel strap along its sides and front. Most interesting and confusing to us is the rigging at this end, purpose for the sheave, and attachment of the footropes and topmast stay. Your thoughts? On the RELIANCE the bowsprit was solid Oregon pine; 40’ 7 ½” in length and 14 3/8” maximum in girth.

We have lofted the Douglas fir hollow Club Topsail Club and cut the pieces; and are amazed at how light and flimsy the parts are! On the original club the dimensions were 57’ 6” in length and 7 ½” x 6” at maximum cross section. It was held in place with an 8” scotchman at its foot and a 12” scotchman 20’ further on. The top and bottom walls were 1 1/8” thick and the sides 7/8” thick with internal bulkheads.

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