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Where did you see rigging like that, with overlapping course and single tops'l with three yards?  I've never seen a picture or model quite like that.  With those double tops'l yards, they would have an upper and lower tops'l, and the course would be off the lower yard.  Of course, for smaller vessels such as this, having the double tops'l would be rather impractical, and it was more of a 19th Century development.  Are you referencing a model or period picture, or is it a bit of creativity for the rig?  Other than that, it's a beautiful cutter.

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Thanks for the reply, you seem to know a LOT more then me about rigging of this era. I have however, relied heavily on accurate plans of Rattlesnake/Alert as well as similar ship models.

Would like to discuss this further with you, I'm all for accuracy but I'm afraid I don't know as much as I like about these ships, especially rigging.


second Edit:

Removed the links to the plans on behest of Captain Armstrong.

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Those plans were posted solely with the intention for internal use in piratesahoy non-commercial projects, be it storm engine games or Hearts of Oak. Know that I and anyone at PA! cannot claim responsibility for their use for a commercial game, as that was entirely not our intention when they were posted. That was your initiative. All of my involvement with this vessel was when you intended it for use in the storm engine or Hearts of Oak, not for use here. That goes for any of the plans one might be able to find at PA!, so I would suggest you and anyone else searching for plans to use in NA look elsewhere.

On a brighter note, it looks really nice!

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I'm afraid it won't actually be the Cheerful. I've tried to copy her plans as close as possible but the plans for naval cutters of this era are so darn inconsistant (except for maybe the Alert). Even for the Cheerful itself I found deviating plans, besides the ones you posted on PiratesAhoy.

This is why I've went for the fictional name. See her as a sistership of sorts. A build from the same wharf, so to say.


PS: I'm the glad the issue is settled!

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Sorry it took a while to get back, but I was researching cutters of the era (and dealing with a toddler, boat projects, house projects and life in general).  Here's some pictures I found online of what I'm talking about for the rig.






First off, none of these have a course sail (the lowest square sail).  Now, I have seen some topsail schooners with coarse sails for just half the yard (the windward side, as the leeward would be blocked by the foresail anyway), and don't doubt that they tried it on cutters as well.  However, there would be no purpose in overlapping sails like that, as one sail would just block the other.  Furthermore, as you can see on the above examples, the fore stay would get in the way of a higher yard.  The coarse was always hung lower than that stay, as it wouldn't do to have a stay just under the sail.


In this last example of a schooner with a coarse set, you can see that there are in fact different yards for the coarse and the lower part of the tops'l.  So, that might have been what the actual purpose of those yards were.


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Gosh, I feel like such a idiot for asking, but doesn't the first picture in your post actually do feature a course sail? Furthermore these are all different ship types (besides the second picture, somewhat).

And how do you explain this picture?


Again, I'm probably wrong and you are probably right. (it doesn't help that I'm not aware of all sailing terminology either) I also agree about the uselessness of overlapping sails, but I have nevertheless seen multiple examples which have done it like this. Even in 'Anatomy of the ship - The Naval Cutter Alert 1777' by Peter Goodwin,  are the sails featured like mine. I believe that book is about as solid as a reference can be.

I hope you find time to reply, I'm really interested in your knowledge.


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Having looked more specifically for the cutter Alert, I believe you do have it right.  I wasn't trying to refute the use of a coarse sail, as especially a naval cutter would be well fitted out, even with seldom used sails (yes, the top picture has a coarse - I mis-typed and didn't review before posting...my bad).  I was not familiar with the unique rigging of that coarse sail on its own yard above the lower yard of the topsail.  The pictures posted were of other naval cutters (two British, one American-though the last one is a schooner just to show another example of a coarse on a square-tops'l gaff mast) to show examples of their rigging (in fact, I searched for quite a while to find a decent one of a cutter flying a coarse sail, making my mis-typing all the more embarrassing).  Now I am not very familiar with the Alert, and haven't read the book you mention, so I will concede that she is probably accurate to that particular cutter, especially since I have now looked up that boat closer.  However, this does seem to be a non-standard rig setup.  As for the overlapping sails, another drawback is chafing.  Any lines or canvass overlapping in close proximity has the high potential for chafing, which drastically reduces the lifespan of the materials.  I will add one additional point, that sometimes a rig will have certain sails for certain conditions that would conflict with other sails.  They would often not be used at the same time (such is the case with a brig's main coarse sail and its gaff spanker-most brigs didn't even have a main coarse, but people did experiment with them).  However, a rigging diagram might show all the sails, and a modeler might have them all set just to show off the canvass.  Either way, a beautiful model and I hope you don't take my comments as harsh criticism, but rather hopefully as constructive (if not for this particular boat, possibly a future one).  I'm getting anxious to play the game and see the various renditions of craft available, and I hope they keep adding to their fleet!


Below, a more standard cutter rig setup:


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One last point, I found the following as a model for Alert with a single coarse yard.


I cannot speak to it's research or authenticity (though it seems pretty well made, which usually goes hand in hand with good research).  It might also just be from a different time period of the ship.  It was not unusual for boats to have changes in their rigging throughout their life.  A great example is the Lady Washington, which was changed from a one masted sloop to a two masted brig.

Edit: Though not shown, a coarse sail could easily be bent on to this lowest yard.


Lady Washington as a sloop (right):


As a brig (reproduction):


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Oh sir, it was never my intention to prove you wrong. I merely had conflicting references and decided that I should follow the plans of the Alert (better to model more then less, I suppose). I can always leave out the course sail.

I'm actually glad that people review and judge my cutter to their knowledge, for I am not an expert at all (just a enthusiast). I just wanted to point out there were examples of Cutters with my setup as well as yours. What I'm wondering now is, would it be innacurate to just hide the additional parts to get your suggested setup? Or is there more to it then that? I'd very much like 2 variants now but I wonder if it's as simple as leaving some bits out:



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What a cool discussion :) Forgive my wading in here without doing any of the research put in by the two of you, but just drawing on practical experience: unless someone has a decent reference to the contrary I'd be surprised if the four-yard three-squares'l thing was ever used all at the same time. It strikes me, as mentioned by AKPyrate, to be the plans and model makers showing all possibilities rather than the realities :) Do either of you know how the course yards are rigged? I'm trying to come up with ways that don't involve them fouling the luff attachment for the mains'l.


To me that collection of spars and canvas would be used in progression on a downwind passage as the wind lightened - first tops'l, probably, although maybe the small course (the one that sheets home to the lowest yard). Then the little course/tops'l. Finally if conditions allowed the the small course would be stowed and the large course set...and maybe eventually all three set at once. Mental! Would love to see/hear and details about how these yards are attached, and how it looks like that would effect hoisting/lowering the gaff. Brailing mains'l? 


I certainly wouldn't complain to see versions with just the tops'l, tops'l+small course, tops'l+large course and tops'l+small+large courses. Four vessels for the work (-ish) of one, and all that extra in-game variety.


Nice one coen020, she looks stunning :)



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Looks good to me.  Also, it's great to have these different rigs represented.  With historical reenacting, I often hear the phrase 'don't make the uncommon common', and went in to the discussion with that in mind.  However, I was also fairly new to the forum and hadn't realized just how many various ships are planned (and I hope they keep adding more in patches and updates).  With that in mind, as much variety as possible would be a good thing.  She's looking great so far!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Well she's finished. She was actually already almost done a few months ago but I kept beeing busy with school stuff so I couldn't quite finish her.

Her is the final result:







I've sent the project to the NA devs, hopefully they can use her.

I'm wondering what ship to do now, I've found ok-ish plans for HMS King Fisher, a Merlin Class (14-gun sloop of war). I really like her lines and she has an interesting quirk: gunport-like holes for oars.

Otherwise, I'm also inclined to create a plain Indiamen or other cargo-type vessel.
Do any of you per chance have high res plans for this?


(In game name: Edward Harvey)

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