Spars and Masts

One of our readers asked for a sailplan diagram showing the spars and masts. I enclose a sketch which answers this question.

I should also note that RELIANCE carried three sets of topsails yards and clubs. #1, #2 and #3 from largest to smallest. Thus there were four sizes of topsails including a gaff topsail.

The same philosophy extended to the headsails where there were multiple sizes of jib topsail (flying jib), jib, staysail, balloon jib and spinnaker. We also noted that during the course of her short sailing life they made 6 sets of sails of each size! (Going downwind RELIANCE carried a balloon jib to leeward and spinnaker to windward; each with its peak at the topmast tip.)

We have also noted that spare spars were made for each mast, boom, gaff and topsail spars. Some of these were re-purposed for later boats. Most spectacularly, the Schooner Katoura (1914) carried RELIANCE’s spare mast as her mainmast and Constitution’s’s spare mast as her foremast.

Size of these spars is:
Mast 112′ 5″ long with max diameter of 26″ (106′ was above deck) – fabricated metal
Boom 105′ long with max diameter of 21″ – fabricated metal
Gaff 68′ 7/8″ long with max diameter of 14″ – fabricated metal
Bowsprit 40 7 1/2″ long with max diameter 14″ – solid douglas fir
Spinnaker boom 83′ 4″ with max diameter of 12 9/16″- hollow douglas fir
Telescoping Topmast 58′ 3″ long with 13″ diameter. (8’4″ was inside the mast when erect) – hollow sitka spruce with nicket steel fabricated cone
Club topsail yard 68′ 0″ long and 13 5/8″ x 10″ in cross section – hollow douglas fir (The scotchman attaching this yard to the top of the topmast was placed 32′ from the top of the yard)
Club Topsail Club 57′ 6″ long and 7 1/2″ x 6 3/4″ in cross section – hollow douglas fir

It is interesting to note the relative size and cross section of the topmast (13″ dia) and the longer club topsail yard (13 5/8″ wide) which is made up alongside the topmast when under sail.



3 thoughts on “Spars and Masts

  1. Pingback: The Reliance Project 2 |

  2. Sandy Lee

    We have a typo in our original blog. The boom is actually 115′ long not 105′. As originally built the boom was 111′ long or 112′ to the center of the boom hanging device. In May, shortly after delivery, 3′ was added to the boom (making it 115′) and 18″ was added to the gaff making that spar slightly longer than stated above. It turns out that HM Co. made pencil changes to the original drawings and that these changes did not copy onto our set of drawings. All of which caused a special trip to the MIT Hart collection and Kurt Hasselbalch’s kind support.


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