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Plastic sails or cloth sails? With a little work ,both can look great!

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  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Derry, New Hampshire, USA
Posted by rcboater on Sunday, February 18, 2018 10:45 PM


We know, from diaries, logs, and such, that it was very common to fight under just topsails, and typically, fore and main topsails, and a main topgallant.  This meant onnly three sets of braces needed to be manned to trim sails.  Fore-and-aft sails depended upon the wind angle, and wind ahead of the beam was not considered a poor heading.

Now, sometimes the courses were only hoist into clews and bunts, which renderes a three or five lobed sort of shape.  Which could be shaken out by only 4-6 men--and manpower was wanted for guns and the anti-boarding/boarding party.

I get a frownyface every so often when I see sails set unrealistically.  Like staysails set in a way that they catch no wind.  (You set staysails if the wind is too fine for a broad reach, so from a beam reach right around to an upwind tack.)


Capn is right here— that was certainly the most common set of sails.  When ships are slugging it out broadside to broadside, you just don’t have the manpower to fight the ship and work a full set of sails. Plus, damage aloft is exacerbated if all sail is set- more of the lines will be under tension/load.

I also notice sails set improperly- like when some are set for sailing off the wind, while others are set for working to windward...!

But I will say that we generally did set the staysails on EAGLE when on a broad reach, they were still effective.  We needed the foreward  sails  to offset the spanker and reduce the need for weather helm.  One thing we did often do when on a broad reach was to clew up the windward side of the main, so it didn’t blanket the foresail.  (we didn’t call them “courses”.) That also helped to balance the helm.


Webmaster, Marine Modelers Club of New England


  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Sunday, February 18, 2018 11:42 PM

That sounds like a dream come true!


 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    June 2011
  • From: St.Peters,Mo.
Posted by Mark Carroll on Sunday, April 8, 2018 9:43 AM

Does anyone out there have a comment on how to "fix" dented or wrinkled plastic sails?


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