Needed Help with Rigging Conundrums

We need some insight into rigging the RELIANCE model. She has a metal mast, boom, and gaff, so we suppose her rigging differs from wooden-sparred large cutter/schooner rigged boats. You can see this in the mast drawing (86-111), where there are angle iron cheeks.


Here are some questions we have:
1. How exactly is the main sail lashed to the gaff? What material is used?
2. What line is the mate holding onto below?
3. What line are the sailors hauling below?
4. What is the attachment half-way along the gaff which has a loose pennant hanging down? Is that the attachment for the Club Topsail Club? How was that rigged?

Raising Mainsail

5. How are Gaff Span wires attached to the boom? RELIANCE rigging plan (86-101) indicates that these are attached to “collars” which we’d presume are angle irons like the ones on the mast. (P.S.: on the Museum’s large model of COLONIA, it has thumb cleats mounted on the underside of the gaff, but then she had a wooden gaff.)

86-101-2 - Copy

Some insight would be greatly appreciated!

Plan drawings courtesy of the Curator, Hart Collection, MIT Museum
Photo courtesy of Mystic Seaport

2 thoughts on “Needed Help with Rigging Conundrums

  1. Ben Fuller

    1. No reason that lacing line is any different from what was common at the time, manila, hemp or linen.
    2. Mate could be using the flag halyards to guide the gaff.
    3. Sailors could be hauling a halyard, but the pennant looks light. It could be slacked as it gets loaded. Diameter matches the other halyard that is visible. Are there other lines that need to get hauled as the sail goes up? Some topsail lines maybe?
    4. Check with the recently set up club topsail yacht I think in the UK. There was an article in WB.
    5. There is no reason to suppose that the spans can’t go around the gaff using the collars to keep them from sliding. Look at bridge building practice of the time.

    How are the full models down at the Model Room rigged?

    1. Herreshoff Marine Museum/America's Cup Hall of Fame Post author

      Dear Ben,
      Thanks for the blog comment.
      Some answers.
      1. We haven’t found any flag halyards back aft such as from gaff peak. Flag halyards seem to be at mast to spreaders or peak of topmast. Since topsail has yet to be set, I have to believe the mate is keeping topsail sheets clear. These would have been brought to deck level to raise the topsail club.
      2. We are looking forward to seeing 1915 Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. schooner Mariette when she visits Newport before competing in the Volvo transatlantic race. So, we think alike. We’ve had conversations with crew on other Herreshoff Schooner replicas and NY 50’1 and found that their rig is different, sometimes even backwards!
      3. We found a description at the bottom of the gaff drawing showing location, radii, and size of seven half-pound angle iron collars to keep the gaff spans in place.
      4. Models in the model room are much smaller scale and do not have the fidelity of large model.


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