The Royal Yacht ‘Isabella’ 1683.

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    Laurence Blundell

      Having just re-read the excellent article by Kelvin Moneypenny and Dorin Paul Bucur about the royal yacht Isabella (MM Nov.2016) I’m slightly puzzled by the term ‘flush deck’ (to which a number of sources refer) and the (dotted) deck line shown in the authors’ profile drawing on p414.
      This seems a slightly odd arrangement which would have placed the deck level at the bottom of the quarter and the stern windows (rendering them somewhat unnecessary) and also resulted in much reduced headroom in the main,aft cabin, presumably much to the inconvenience of their royal personages!

      Most royal yachts of the period had a raised deck(s) aft,and the illustrations cited in the article show vessels with such a raised deck,even though Coronelli did describe these yachts as being “single decked”.
      Assuming the Isabella had such a raised deck aft,to what then,might the term ‘flush deck’ refer?A feature of quite a number of earlier, single masted royal yachts,was the cockpit,built into the vessel roughly in the middle of the aft deck.There was sometimes a change in deck level either side of the cockpit.
      With the adoption of the ketch rig,it may have been realised that it would not be practical to retain the cockpit, especially when it came to handling the vessel. The cockpit idea seems to have been abandoned in favour of a fully planked,or ‘flush’ deck as the new rig found favour.

      The surviving original models of ketch rigged royal yachts all have a raised deck aft,with no cockpit.I wonder if the Isabella had a similar arrangement?The quarter and stern windows would have then have shed light into the main cabin as intended,and this would also have provided sufficient headroom in the main cabin.

      Laurence Blundell.

      Moneypenny K. & Bucur D.P. ‘The Royal Yacht ‘Isabella’ of 1683.The Mariner’s Mirror Volume 102:4.
      Gavin C.M. ‘Royal Yachts’.
      Dalton T. ‘British Royal Yachts’.
      McNarry D. ‘Royal Yachts in Miniature’.
      Culver H.B. The Connoisseur,September 1934.

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