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Old 20-07-2011, 20:03   #16
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

Howard Chapelle has written several books about American sailing designs including one about the Baltimore Clipper designs.

A square tops'l schooner has squares on the foremast above gaff foresail, with squares on foremast and gaff on the main mast she is a brigantine, squares on both masts she would be a brig.
Then you have stays'l schooners, hermaphrodite schooners, pinky schooners and other variations.
Get Chapelle's book or books and knock yourself out.
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Old 20-07-2011, 20:05   #17
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

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Originally Posted by Amgine View Post
I note you have a quote from R.D. "Pete" Culler in your signature file. He's a rather noted schooner builder/designer of the 20th century, and there are a couple of books by him about his work. You might read his book "Skiffs and Schooners".
Thank you, and I have. I'm just trying to reach out there to the CF community to gather information from different perspectives.
Thanks again everyone, I'm not trying to be a pain in the @ss, I'm just trying to pick the brains of people that appreciate boats and everything that comes with them.
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Old 20-07-2011, 20:06   #18
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

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Originally Posted by sailronin View Post
Howard Chapelle has written several books about American sailing designs including one about the Baltimore Clipper designs.

A square tops'l schooner has squares on the foremast above gaff foresail, with squares on foremast and gaff on the main mast she is a brigantine, squares on both masts she would be a brig.
Then you have stays'l schooners, hermaphrodite schooners, pinky schooners and other variations.
Get Chapelle's book or books and knock yourself out.
will do and thanks
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Old 21-07-2011, 23:25   #19
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

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I apologize Skipmac,
I don't even know enough about tall sailing ships to even specify a question. And that's why I have'nt done so. In any case what is downwind performance of a schooner with a square topsail vs a fore and aft rig?
Okay, if you've read the books you say you have you'll already know some of the things I'm about to write - and you'll know this is just opinion and might be considered wrong by others because there isn't a lot of hard-and-fast objective information.

Gaff and other non-bermudan fore-and-aft rigs developed with relatively low masts, and used additional yards to raise light-air sails above the working sails. At the same time square rigs developed ever-more-complex methods of rigging very tall masts. The fore-and-aft rig was able to sail upwind better, the square rig was able to sail better off the wind. Trying to gain the benefits of both was an obvious step, and many experimental compromises were tried, generally starting with the mizzen because a fore-and-aft sail on the mizzen was exceptionally useful for steering a rather unhandy hull.

The rig, sails, rigging, hull, and materials used in them were in a constant state of evolution. As things evolved the supremacy of the fore-and-aft rig for coast-wise work, and the supremacy of squared yards for downwind work, with limited crew sizes became more established. The topsail schooner developed as a compromise rig, not unusually with full yards for all masts carried on deck and the entire rig would be altered from fore-and-aft to square at different points of a passage.

The benefit of each highly-developed rig was it could be managed by a minimum of crew. Only the navy could set or strike all sail in trice; on most ships sail was gradually added or taken in, with enough men in each watch to work on a single sail at a time. A 70-100' vessel might be run with a crew of 6 (further development continued until the 1940s, by which point a 100' spritsail Thames Barge coaster generally had a crew of 3-4 including the captain.)

Sail control was of greater importance in the square rig. The area of masthead spinaker was broken up into 4 or more sails, each controlled by a yard on one edge and attachehed to another at tack and clew. The lengthy yards may have allowed slightly more sail area per mast than a modern flying jib, but had a greater cost of raising the center of gravity, which is a part of why such ships could not sail without cargo or ballast. The topsail schooner generally carries fewer yards per mast, with less extreme length to yards, so is less efficient off the wind than the square rig. It also carries the windage of the fore-and-aft gear plus whatever permanently rove gear for the yards.

Much of the commercial sail setting was far less neat and homogenous than what I'm saying may indicate. A boat might set off rigged as a topsail schooner, and the ship's carpenter might sacrifice the booms and gaffs to make crossing yards and arrive at her destination under a clipper rig. A boat might start as a two master and arrive as a four master. I've read of one voyage initiated to collect Canadian furs, and arrived home 6 years later carrying Chinese textiles and pottery, 34' shorter and many tons smaller.

The topsail schooner has probably developed most as a leisure craft rig. It has been rigged as gaff, bermudan, staysail, and spritsail that I know of, probably many others. The problem is the rig is unnecessary, so every variation to it today is in part an anachronism - it is not evolving to be easier/faster/simpler/cheaper but at the owner's whims. And a lot of that means making the rig worse rather than better.
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Old 22-07-2011, 01:15   #20
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

Top Square Sail Schooner: A boat with a rig that looks good and sails badly with a lot of effort.
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Old 22-07-2011, 11:33   #21
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

Amgine, Thanks a lot. good info there!
Cheers
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Old 22-07-2011, 13:04   #22
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

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Top Square Sail Schooner: A boat with a rig that looks good and sails badly with a lot of effort.
And this is based on your vast experience sailing a Square Topsail schooner??
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Old 22-07-2011, 13:22   #23
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

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Ok, let me clear this up before it gets out of hand. I am trying to gather information about top square sail schooners. I would like and welcome any information on this type of ship that anyone may have. Particularly, ones that have intimate knowledge of this type of sailing ship. Now I'm not sure how many of you have that, but again, I am trying to gain as much knowledge on this type of ship as I can. Everything from how they sail, to how you sail them, to the pros and cons, the history as to why the are rigged the way they are as opposed to other tall ships, etc....... So again to clear it up a bit, I am reaching out to hear what people think of a top square sail schooner, in any capacity.

Go to the Library.
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Old 22-07-2011, 13:30   #24
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

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Go to the Library.
Hey thanks for the valuable input!! Library huh? I was really planning on gathering all the info I needed from CF.
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Old 22-07-2011, 13:39   #25
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

It is important to remember that these rigs were developed in the age of commercial sailing. Each was a development to enable quicker passage (better prices for the product arriving first) with smaller crew.
Schooners were developed initially for coastal trading as they go to weather better than ships and barks. Square tops'ls add a great deal of power as soon as the wind is abeam and are easy to gybe and forgiving of trim.
Baltimore Clippers were developed as the "speed demons" of their day. They were very popular with smugglers, slavers and the Revenue Service (precursor to USCG) much the way "cigarette boats" were popular with drug runners.
Chapelle noted that Baltimore Clippers had two main faults, 1) they would capsize at anchor (light ship with current perpendicular to wind because of the large rig) and 2) they would "sail themselves under" i.e. exceed hull speed and the bow wave would go over the foredeck and down flood the ship if hatches were not secured.

As to sailing ability, they are great except hard on the wind. Offshore we could make 250nm days (100 foot waterline helps!) and had runs of 4 to 5 hours at better than 14 knots average (slightly above hull speed) sailing from San Francisco to Long Beach. Yes they do take experienced crew and some work but what the heck, it's a great ride.
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Old 23-07-2011, 07:36   #26
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Re: Top Square Sail Schooner

toosail
The French Navy still operates 2 square tops'l schooners, "Belle Poule" and "Etoile". Tops'l schooner translates into "goélette". So, if you read French, you can find a wealth of info on the Net.

I have sailed on these ships on a few occasions. Their particulars are:
Displacement 275 tons (full load).
Length OA 38m, hull 32m
Beam 7.4m
Draught 3.65m
Sail area 450sq m
Complement: 1 officer, 10 petty officers and 8 seamen

An interesting feature of these ships is the square tops'l: it has roller furling instead of reefs. Then, there is no need to send men aloft in heavy weather. The down side is that the upper yard is very heavy, carrying a roller underneath.

When I was a boy, I met a man who had sailed on the tops'l schooners carrying salt from France to Iceland and bringing back salted cod. He said that at that time, the crew consisted of 5 men (the master, the mate, 3 seamen) and a boy.

Alain
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