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Age of Sail Replica Ships.

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Well of course, Hermione was built to sail, with a mission that demands touring. That doesn't go for every replica, though. Pride of Baltimore was the case in point. An excellent reproduction of an extreme clipper, but the designer never imagined that she would be crossing oceans, and naturally didn't try to tackle the problem of making such a radical design any safer for modern ideas of acceptable risk.

Read Tall Ships Down lately?  I agree with the problems of building ships too historically accurate, as we don't have the resources, crew, etc. to properly maintain them in that state and definitely don't have the tolerance for human life loss on something that is essentially a tourist/travelling attraction.

 

Very true. I know that here on the Eastern seaboard of the US, almost all of our sail training and historical schooners are in dire straits. Amistad would be the worst loss, if she can't be put to some good use, and there have been a few other schooners kicking around Portland looking sad and neglected.

 

On the other hand, though, when it comes to traditional sail and skills preservation, you do have to keep building. These vessels were never meant to live long, and when we start viewing them as historical artifacts and cherished objects of our heritage, we forget that they are ultimately just disposable tools. Under historical conditions, they all would have provided very worthy service if they had been broken up after thirty odd years. Sooner or later, keeping some of the 19th century and early 20th century survivors operating will just be impossible. And heartbreaking though it may be, even the likes of Constitution and Victory must end up like Vasa someday.

 

The economic crash of this decade has really put some of these great schooners in penny-pinching mode for maintenance.  Unfortunately, they can't be kept up to shape in these situations (reference Bounty, for example), and eventually will hit a point where it is more economical to build a completely new ship.  For something like Amistad, a replica already, I'm okay with that as long as the boats do get rebuilt (or a similar one does).  For originals, I'd prefer to preserve them as much as possible.  As for sailing vs. floating, it all depends on how much of the 'historical fabric' you want to save.  Constitution and Charles W. Morgan have all sailed recently (relatively for their age), and with enough money, I'd imagine that Victory could do the same, though I doubt she ever will.  But, you look at a ship like Constitution, and they estimate only about 10-15% of her wood is original to her construction (much more is original to her active service period, but a lot is also from multiple restorations since then).  If you had the choice to either sail the ship or save as much of that original wood as possible, what's the right answer?  I sure don't know!  Depending on how Victory's current restoration goes, they may not need to end up like Vasa, especially as they weren't submerged, but it would require treating them more like a working ship and replacing parts as needed.  Planking, decking and rigging is fairly sacrificial, and I doubt any of it is 'original' to these boats, as it would be replaced during it's active lifespan (especially in a warship that has seen action).  Essentially, it's the 'grandfather's axe' analogy.  When does it cease to be the original boat and become a replica?  There has been great debate about the brig Niagara's status as either an original 1813 warship or a replica of that boat.  

 

 

From wikipedia (just don't have the time right now to dig up better sources):

 

"The Niagara was constructed from 1812 to 1813 to protect the vulnerable American coastline on Lake Erie from the British and played a pivotal role in the battle for the lake. Along with most warships that served in the war, the Niagara was sunk for preservation on Presque Isle in 1820. Raised in 1913, it was rebuilt for the centennial of the Battle of Lake Erie. After deteriorating, restoration of the Niagara was started again in the 1930s, but was hampered by the lack of funds caused by the Great Depression and remained uncompleted until 1963. A more extensive restoration was carried out in 1988 in which much of the original ship was largely destroyed. The incorporation of new materials and modern equipment makes it ambiguous as to whether it is or is not a replica."

 

"As part of celebrations for the centennial of the Battle of Lake Erie, the Niagara was raised from Misery Bay in April 1913. Its keel was found to be in good enough condition for the brig to be rebuilt. Efforts to rebuild the Niagarawere hampered by the lack of original plans.[32] The restored Niagara was launched on 7 June, complete with a new bowspritrigging and reproduction cannons supplied by the Boston Navy Yard.[32][33] From mid-July to mid-September, the Niagara was towed to various ports on the Great Lakes—including Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo and Cleveland—by the USS Wolverine, the Navy's first iron-hulled warship.[34][35] Ownership of theNiagara was transferred to the City of Erie in 1917, where it remained docked deteriorating.

The City of Erie transferred ownership of the Niagara to the newly formed "USS Niagara Foundation" in 1929, which was tasked with "acquiring and restoring the ship and making it the centerpiece of a museum."[36] The onset of the Great Depression forced the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to take ownership, through the Flagship Niagara Commission, two years later. $50,000 was made available for another restoration in 1931, but by 1938 the state stopped its funding, leaving the restoration unfinished. The Niagara was transferred to the Pennsylvania Historical Commission, predecessor of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and became a project for the Works Progress Administration. The Historical Commission contracted Howard I. Chapelle to draw up plans for another restoration of the Niagara, based on other period ships that were built by Noah Brown, like theSaratoga.[37] According to Chapelle, very little of the original Niagara remained, as parts of it had been sold as souvenirs, and the 1913 reconstruction was not accurate to the period.[37] The hull of the Niagara was launched in October 1943 without any masts, spars, or rigging. It was placed in a concrete cradle in 1951. Discovery of dry rot throughout every part of the Niagara made it clear that a complete reconstruction would eventually be needed.[38] Funds were appropriated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to make the Niagara "presentable" for the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie in 1963 with the addition of rigging and cannons.[39] The Niagara was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 11 April 1973."

 

So, is Niagara really an old warship, or just a recreation of one?  Does that diminish what she is?  Which would you rather see, Victory in perpetual dry dock, or a nearly rebuilt Niagara out there sailing?  I think a good combination of the two is in order, but as time goes on, replicas will likely replace all original sailing vessels as the maintenance of the boats increases exponentially, as well as the inevitable accidents that take others from us.

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Read Tall Ships Down lately?  I agree with the problems of building ships too historically accurate, as we don't have the resources, crew, etc. to properly maintain them in that state and definitely don't have the tolerance for human life loss on something that is essentially a tourist/travelling attraction.

 

 

Ha, I just recently resolved to order it so I could have my own copy. My dad's name is all over the index of that book as a consultant, and was involved with the stability issues on Pride and (IIRC) Marques.

 

I think that building accurate vessels is worth the risk, and it's the mission creep that is really deadly. If you're not going to compromise for safety, that aspect of the organization and vessel management needs to constantly emphasized and planned for, because the teenagers and even experienced mariners that you stick on these vessels are going to assume that everything is fine and dandy.

 

 

 Essentially, it's the 'grandfather's axe' analogy. 

In this context I think that 'Ship of Theseus' is the far better label for the analogy. :P

 

I actually had no idea about Niagara's history; I assumed that she was a rather recent replica.  Vis a vis safety, I do know that they are rebuilding her to be much deeper, with more freeboard. She'll come out looking like she's in ballast.

 

You're right about the small portion of original timbers in many of these ships, but the oldest are now so aged that the original timbers aren't even the problem. I hear that Victory's most rotted planks are the cheap modern decking replacements. Even timber from 50-100 years ago can quickly turn to mush if you're not careful, so as time goes on you are just going to require a snowballing series of refits. And any lull in the upkeep puts you in for a massively capitalized multi-year overhaul project like with the Morgan.

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It might be a good idea for the devs of Naval action to take note of all the working and dockside replica vessels knocking about. A nice bit of advertising targeting a relevant demographic for the game and a small amount of funding for the projects couldn't hurt either way.

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Actually, I'm rather cold-hearted when it comes to the materials, but a firm believer in a vessel's soul :) On a particularly old vessel, I did brag about her % of original timber to others from less 'pristine' vessels - but far more because of the years of continuous service those original timbers represented rather than anything to do with the actual wood. She didn't need a rebuild or a replica, because she had continued to provide a living to those who worked her for well over 125 years and had in return never been driven onto a mud bank to rot, but rather had earned the work her crew put in to keep her going. Conversely, I struggle with some of the bollocks value some seem to attach to replicas. To project the attributes of one vessel on to another is to do disservice to both, as do those 'restorations' which render the vessel unrecognisable to any of her previous crew.

 

From the job market point of view, I love the number of new build traditional and replica vessels that have been churned out in the last 15 years or so by. However, I disagree almost entirely that a new build is required for the practice and preservation of some traditional skills - a major refit is a re-build, just with less than 100% replacement. All the skills from project management to forest management are taxed by such endeavours, just as with a new build. In fact, direct comparison with older/original timbers and works makes the refitter's job, if anything, more exacting than the new-builder's. The continuation of the vessel as an entity is much more important to me (historian by inclination, archaeologist by training and sailor by profession, so I happily admit to being pulled in both directions) than the age of any one of her timbers. 

 

Original materials have immense value as research and evocative educational tools...but there's no trouble, in my mind, squaring that with the punishing maintenance schedule all vessels must follow to not fall into disrepair; particularly wooden vessels; particularly those over a decade old. Happily, such materials better serve that purpose when removed from a vessel anyway :)

 

Just because an axe is a "disposable tool" is no reason not to replace the handle... ;)

 

Baggy

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In general I agree Baggywrinkle, but beyond about a hundred years ago, there are very few examples still around.  I do put value on the few that survive, but I also value replicas that help to fill in especially older styles of boats that aren't around anymore, or to undergo 'experimental archaeology' tests with them.  For example, since there is practically no chance of Cutty Sark ever floating again, I know that there is a move to build an accurate replica.  That way, people can see the actual museum ship, as well as see a copy in action.  This is unique especially because I know of no other boat that has had a replica built while the original is still in existence.  In that, I feel that it's the best of both worlds.  You can protect the original ship from storms, groundings, incompetent crews, etc. while at the same time learning how she (likely) behaved underway.  Who knows, maybe this will start a trend and we'll have replicas of Victory, Constitution, Trincomalee, etc. sailing around one day.  At least I can dream!

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A dream I very happily share! I didn't mean to be quite so disparaging about all replicas (above post edited to soften it slightly), nor to do a disservice to the many that do a lot of good work for a lot of good causes.

 

An exact replica of something extinct is magical, and the Cutty Sark point is spot on too (there is no chance of her floating again, and considering that the damage done to her fabric in the latest revamp is only just shy of criminal in my book). There is, without doubt, value in all of the pristine original (I would find it very hard to support a move to recommission Vasa or Mary Rose); the 'working original' (my favoured balance, if perhaps the trickiest); the replica (how cool is Hermione? I was not alone in wanting to use Grayhound, above, to mount a cutting out expedition... :) ) and the 'spirit of tradition' type of enterprise (Tres Hombres perhaps the most extreme/exciting example). I get worried and frustrated when attributes of one get superimposed on another, that's all really - it always seems to lead to information or material being lost.

 

I was going to post some pretty pictures (earliest photographs, vs. original vs. replica pilot cutters), but I spent so long browsing that I've run out of time! Bloody boats...

 

Baggy

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I wouldn't mind seeing the mystery snow being raised, preserved and then rebuild as an accurate replica.

 

edit:

haesten.jpg

The actual wreck, as she lays on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

 

~Brigand

They Should make a premium of it with a small % of sales going towards the project.

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The replica of the French frigate Hermione has started her transatlantic voyage tracing the route her namesake took in 1780. With that voyage she brought General LaFayette to aid the American colonies in their bid for independence. Volunteer as an information 'ambassador' to get the information out about her and her mission.  Information on volunteering can be found at  http://sot.ag/3QrwL
Exciting stuff.

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Lets not forget that the "surprise" is actually a replica of HMS Rose, and had cosmetic alterations by the movie company to make her look like the surprise.

hms_rose_by_putastockinit-d50dh0t.jpg

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6097.jpg

And then of course there's HMS Pickle - a working replica of the ship that brought the news of the victory at Trafalgar to England

Edited by mouse of war

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Lets not forget that the "surprise" is actually a replica of HMS Rose, and had cosmetic alterations by the movie company to make her look like the surprise.

 

 

Unfortunately, they were more than cosmetic.  The bow and stern sections were almost completely rebuilt (and quite crudely so).  This is a big factor in her current unfortunate state.  Money should have been put in early after the film to make better, more permanent, and more faithful alterations.  As it is, the front could fall off and stern gallery is a mess of machine-sawn timbers with exposed bolts everywhere.

 

 

Yes but she was renamed the HMS surprise by the RN for the film.

 

She was never legally renamed before or during filming.  The Maritime Museum of San Diego were the ones who officially changed the name after they purchased her in 2007.

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She was never legally renamed before or during filming.  The Maritime Museum of San Diego were the ones who officially changed the name after they purchased her in 2007.

 

Thanks

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HMS Lenox is planned.

Jean Bart 74gun is laid down

JeanBart.jpg

anyone got recent pictures of the Delft build at rotterdam ? 56gun

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i just hope they dont build it acording to that shity model they show but to an actual 74 otherweise i have to borrow a Panther from Sinsheim and pay them a visit rubing the actual plans all over their faces.

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This ship is built solely on the description given by Colbert. They therefore have no plans, just the description, at best they have some sheets of drawings. but nothing else. The ship will not be an exact replica.

L'Hermion also has lots of difference compared to the original frigate.

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It's nearly impossible these days to make exact replicas of these vessels.  There are many factors that necessitate changes, and they're often for good reasons.  First off, the availability of original materials might be a large factor, so different woods with different qualities, densities, strengths, etc. might be used.  This could have the benefit of a stronger, less expensive (possibly), more stable, and more rot resistant vessel.  Then there is safety.  Obviously none of these originals had engines, as nearly all of the replicas do (the schooner Shenandoah is engineless, and there is a move to create a potentially engineless Cutty Sark).  There are also modern safety laws that must be adhered to including stability, egress options, watertight bulkheads, navigation equipment, lights, etc.  These are best taken in to consideration from the onset of planning, unless you want nothing but a dockside attraction (and even then many of these factors need to be at least addressed).  Lastly, when spending so much money building a boat, you really want it to last as long as possible.  Some newer techniques, materials, etc. don't detract from the overall appearance of the vessel, but add strength and longevity to it.  Lastly, we don't have the ability usually to pay a large, qualified crew to maintain and sail an exact replica of any large vessel of the era.  The best that can be done is to try and hide as much modern equipment and materials as possible.  For example, steel rigging can be made to look like rope with some parceling and tarring.  Canvas covers for liferafts hide the blatant white plastic.  Modern navigational tools can be hidden behind cabinet doors in a binnacle.  For 99% of people, these differences would hardly be noticeable, and very trivial or even desired (such as safety equipment).  A perfect example of the folly of trying to create an exact replica is shown in the building of Pride of Baltimore.  Some of the follies were due to an attempt to be as historically accurate as possible (the natural rigging, for example, was replaced with steel rigging after sea trials).  Other follies were due to a change of mission from a dockside attraction that occasionally would sail around the bay, to an oceangoing ambassador vessel.  Pride of Baltimore II was designed with lessons from the Pride of Baltimore taken in to account.  Yet, at a profile, the two ships look nearly identical except to a trained eye.  Two books that explain this in much greater detail that I would recommend are Pride of the Sea and Tall Ships Down.

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Pride was certainly no pure replica. She was designed to no historical plans, and was shoddily built as a dockside attraction.

Pride could also be afloat today if she had a slightly larger, more experienced crew with understanding of her inherent stability issues.

Edit: Those are both fantastic books and I've been meaning to reread the latter.

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Pride was not a replica of any exact boat, but she was a replica the baltimore clipper style boat.  Of course, historically they weren't all that seaworthy either, as they were the go-fast blockade runners of their day and, especially in time of war, there was a much higher acceptable loss rate among sailors than there is today.  For most boat sinkings, you could claim that a larger and/or more experienced crew could have saved the ship.  In this case, it doesn't look like shoddy building practices necessarily contributed to her very fast sinking after being capsized in a squall (although some design issues, such as an offset hatchway may have contributed, as well as stability of course).  She just wasn't designed for ocean travel.  She was originally conceived as an in-harbor attraction, but her mission changed.  Her successor, Pride of Baltimore II, is much better suited to the role, and still retains the appearance of a classic American style of boat from the early 1800s.

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Thought I'd throw this in since it may be of interest to a few people.  HMS Surprise is currently at Marine Group where repairs are being finished (? maybe, she's been there a while and I haven't heard any news).  To the right is the Museum's brand new San Salvador, which hasn't been launched yet.  She was moved yesterday from her build site in a parking lot onto a barge and then to Marine Group's yard. Not sure exactly when she'll be formally launched, they've had a lot of trouble throughout the project, so it's no surprise the project is giving trouble now as well. She's a replica of the flagship Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed in when he was the first European to sail up the west coast of what's now the United States in 1542.  She's beautifully built, and I can provide a few more pictures if people are interested.

 

11703107_935351833193842_361318817998206

 

Of note: The vessel in the TraveLift is also the Museum's.  She's the 1904 Scottish steam yacht Medea, one of only three of her kind left in the world; and one of only two vessels left in the world to have served in both World Wars.

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