Reply To: The Bentinck Boom

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Frank Scott

    Bill Bedford of the MarHst-L forum has kindly dug around and come up with a photograph of a vessel under sail with the Bentinck boom rigged. This is the brig Ebenezer, owned by the Robinson Brothers of Littlehampton (built Shoreham, 1860) in Basil Greenhill’s The Merchant Schooners, vol 2 (London, 1968) plate 19, where it is credited to Douglas Bennet. For some unknown reason this picture did not make it into the later combined edition, published in 1988, which is the one that I have. However, that same photograph is shown in David MacGregor, Merchant Sailing Ship 1850-1875 (London, 1983) fig: 82, p 72, this time credited to the Nautical Photo Agency. MacGregor apologises for using ‘this well known picture’ and also notes that this is a rare shot of a vessel with a Colling & Pinkney Roller Reefing/Furling topsail actually set. No date is given in either source, but it must be around 1880-1900.

    Following this clue I tracked down a different shot of the Ebenezer, which must be a bit later as she has been cut down to brigantine rig, see

    Neither of these photographs are particularly good quality, but they are useful. All that is now lacking is any record of the Bentinck boom prior to 1840; preferably within the reputed inventor’s lifetime (1737-75).