Reply To: Historical evidence to prove ship rigged sloops outsailed brigs on a bowline?

Home Forums Nautical Research: 1830 – Present Day Historical evidence to prove ship rigged sloops outsailed brigs on a bowline? Reply To: Historical evidence to prove ship rigged sloops outsailed brigs on a bowline?

#9465
Frank Scott
Participant

    Not sure what you mean by non-fiction if it is not history.

    Unfortunately the only full-rigger making long passages today that is small enough to be comparable to the larger brigs is the Georg Stage, which is a training ship that was built for sea-kindliness, rather than speed. I have sailed small & large brigs (83 to 306 grt), as well as full riggers and barques, etc., but direct comparison is hard. Admittedly the large brig was rather sensitive, and much easier to get out of balance than a barque or a ship, but when handled well she was very quick indeed on all points of sailing (283 miles was our best noon to noon run). My experience is that given a reasonable hull, performance on any point of sailing is largely down to the set-up of the rig and the skill of the crew. Just to take one example, the hull speed difference between a skilled and an average person on the helm is dramatic. These days this is easy to measure, simply reset the trip log at each helm turn over.

    What I do understand from various action reports was that brigs tended to be heavily reliant on the gaff mainsail for tacking, and if this if the gaff was shot away in action they had severe manoeuvring problems. However, the old TS Royalist (1971-2014) (scrapped at the end of last year) would tack even if that sail was not set, and Fryderyk Chopin has a tiny one that has little impact on manoeuvring. In the past I am sure that a ‘star’ captain of the Napoleonic era could (and would) have set up his vessel to be as resilient and flexible as possible.

    Frank