Reply To: "Stoop to her canvas"

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Frank Scott

Dr Paul Adamthwaite of the MarHst-L forum came up with a fairly detailed response to the query that I posted on that site:

Adding planking to the bottom would probably change the moments of inertia, thus decrease the roll period, which may be what Quilliam was sought.
Not sure of the exact meaning of ‘stooping to her canvas’, but there seem to be two possible interpretations:
(1) Frank Scott’s suggestion. The Spencer was over-canvassed both as regards sail area , and spar weight aloft. As a result she was too tender, and the crew had to reduce sail early
(2) HMS Spencer took a long time (excessive roll period) to recover from wave or wind gust induced heel.
If (2) was the case, then Quilliam’s suggestion was sound. Static/dynamic stability, inertia and stiffness, vanishing stability and roll periods, etc., are complex, but changing moment of inertia is a valid concept.

Although Anglophone authors tend to give Jean-Louis Barallier short shrift as a designer, it is worth noting that the Admiralty continued to use him to design warships after the Spencer, culminating in his largest, the Rochfort (80), which was built at Milford (keel laid 1814, completed 1814) (a sister was scrapped on the stocks in 1811).
His French reputation, either prior to his enforced ‘emigration’ to England as a Royalist in 1793, or after his eventual return to France in 1815, is a little more obscure. However there is a fairly detailed article in Provence historique, 12th series, Vol 3, pp.40-148, by Emmanuel David: ‘Un toulonnais, Jean-Louis Barrallier, ingénieur de la marine, constructeur d’un port et de vaisseaux anglais (1751-1834)’. This rather confirms that his reputation was more as an ‘engineer’ than a naval architect, but he was taken on as Directeur des Constructions Navales at Toulon on 7 December 1815.