A Restoration Yacht’s Design Secrets Unveiled: An examination of a ship model with reference to the works of William Sutherland

By Effie Moneypenny & Effie Moneypenny, published May 2021

Abstract

The design methods for many vessels during the Restoration period (1660–88) are only partially understood. Charles II’s 23 yachts represent the pinnacle of design and construction for small, fast vessels of this era but there are no extant design treatises or draughts relating to any of them. The only primary archaeological data comes from contemporary models. One such model, in the collection of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich catalogued as SLR0375 circa 1680, is a particularly fine example. With the aid of modern scanning techniques supported by extensive background research, it has been possible to suggest the design method employed by Sir Phineas Pett in shaping the hull and the possible reasoning behind it. Reference to Pett and his yachts, along with a ‘hanging-conoid’ method of design, is described in some detail by William Sutherland in his eighteenth-century shipbuilding treatises. Sutherland’s ideas and observations have helped to unlock secrets relating to the design of the yacht, which represents a major step forward in the understanding of the design of these vessels.

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Filed under: English Civil War
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Ship Models & Figureheads

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