Scaled-down galleon??

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by themossylog, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. themossylog
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    themossylog New Member

    I have always been interested in somehow trying to build a scaled down version of a 17th century galleon or other similar type ship that would be able to be put on smaller lakes and such. I was thinking for it to be under 25' long. My question is has anybody ever tried, thought of or seen anything like this? This is something i have always wanted to try, just never knew if it was even possible haha any information would help a lot, and pictures, plans, sources, etc..would be great.
  2. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The problem is that physical objects do not scale down directly. You could build something on that size that would evoke a galleon, but the proportions will be different.
  3. themossylog
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    themossylog New Member

    That's good to know, thank you.
  4. Rurudyne
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    While these are not about manned boats, in the past I've come across some stuff relating to model square rigged boats, both old school and remote control, that may be of value as they represent something more extreme scale-down wise than you are interested in and also because they may help provide ideas about controlling a lot of sails with limited resources.

    The first is called "On the Rigging and Sailing of Model Windjammers" and "appeared in the British Journal The Model Yachtsman and Marine Model Magazine (later renamed Marine Models) from November 1932 to April 1933." for first web page.

    It includes information on things like classic mast placement and sail sizing — square sails aren't much addressed these days.

    Another was a thread I came across titles "Design Details for R/C Square Rigger Operating Systems" here:

    That one goes into aspects of rigging and contains a link-a-palooza-lite. I read through some of it once and saved the link ... so here's hoping. A quick glance and I found that they'd been working on ideas for tensioning braces so that a single servo drum would properly work the yards.

    Hope that at least gives you food for thought.

    EDIT: is a beginning of a series of articles that I've saved that might be worth looking at too.

    EDIT #2: I just realized I'd made a summery of the proportions of the sails for design presented in the Windjammer article. Not much but here...

    The following formula for 3 masts ship rigged is intended for use with classic full keel ship hulls whose lateral center is found accordingly.

    LWL / 2

    Main placed 5% LWL behind that point.

    Fore placed 30% LWL forward of that point.

    Mizzen placed half way between main and stern

    Mast height is more or less set in relation to their sails

    Jibs 21˚ from horizontal to bowsprit (approaching 1/3rd LWL)

    Base yard length: approximately twice beam at their widest ( at the mainmast) and equal to beam for the royal.

    Main Yard: hangs from about 1 beam above the deck

    Upper Topsail: hangs from about 1 beam above that

    Lower Topsail: halfway between the two

    Top Gallant: hangs 2/3rds beam above upper topsail

    Royal: hangs not quite 1/2 beam above Top Gallant

    … and so forth for skysail and moonsail: 1/2 beam each.

    Dismissing skysail and moonsail that puts the height of a mast at around 3 1/6x beam above the deck or gunwale — 3 1/3x to 3 1/2x to allow for rigging and stays.

    To get a handle of the sail plan balance being led towards let's look at the sail plan for Eileen O'Boyle semi-scale .

    Fore mast located 6" along LWL with 213 square inches — rake unknown.

    Main mast located 16.5" along LWL with 276 squirt inches — rake unknown.

    Mizzen mast located 23.5" along LWL with 145 square inches — rake unknown.
  5. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Back in the late 1970s a well known old school, traditional wood boatbuilder Ferdinand Nimphius built a, I think, half scale replica of a 17th century Dutch frigate in Neshkoro, Wisconsin. I made a couple of visits to the yard in the summer of 1979. Of course it was still a massive ship, It was named Red Lion.

  6. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    I think with something like a Galleon, you could probably get a nearly exact geosim to work down to 25 feet by adjusting the cg to compensate for the geometry issues. This assumes you won't be having a bunch of 1" canon on the main deck. An all internal ballast boat (lots of it, too) would let you substitute lead or iron to get what you need, plus the spars can be lighter and the tophamper less. It would probably help if you didn't replicate the 1000 ton sort, but worked with a mid-sized example with a high D/L and fat beam.
  7. themossylog
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    themossylog New Member

    Thanks Rurudyne, that certainly gives me a lot to ponder on haha and all that info is fantastic, thanks again, it really helps.
  8. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    If you intend it just for show, such as a parade boat, than scaling it down exactly, and using ballast down low would make it safe to operate, as philSweet suggests. however it will not be a very practical boat to use. It would befine as a show boat, but the perforce would be poor and it will be difficult to operate.

    If you want a more practical boat for recreational sailing, I would find plans for an all wood sailboat about the size you like, preferably a design that has a good reputation for good sailing performance, and than you simply decorate and trim out the above water line appearance to simply look like a gallion.

    I would also ditch the idea of square sails, you will not be happy with their performance, nor the amount of work they are to trim and control. It would be an exercise in obsolete sail design and frustation in not being able to go where you want except under power (so the sails are just there for decoration).

    What I would do is switch the sail plan to something that looks traditional, like a gaff rigged ketch configuration, using wood masts and the synthetic sail cloth they make that looks like traditional canvas fabric. this would still look historic and authentic (though the technology period would be incorrect, most would not know that) and than you can have a gallion "look-a-like" rather than a true scaled replica. And you would actually get a cool looking but still very useful boat that would be fun to look at as well as fun to sail. Darned if I was going to all that trouble to build a 26-30 ft sailboat and than end up with something that is difficult and not very pleasant to sail.
  9. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    oh - and the other useful thing to add to a scaled down sailing ship, is a sneaky pivoting centreboard, that cant be seen when operating.
  10. Rurudyne
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    I hope so.

    I'm still interested in something similar to what you want in terms of sails (not the hull) but finding info on sail balance for and control of square rigs seems iffy: that Windjammer article is the only thing I'd found that gave proportions to start with. A sort of "Ship Sails for Dummies".

    One thing I'd considered at the time, obviously not yet undertaken, that may be useful for you as well is to start with a small sail boat (I was thinking about a hull modified from Sea Wren or similar, external keel, from The Rudder magazine, which can be found on Google Books for free) but equipped with a very flexible system of mast steps and adjustable gear in terms of actual position and rake. That way my first efforts would be for an experimental platform to develop on what little I had to work with and thereby avoid discovering that whatever I'd built was, like it or hate it, something that left me so that I couldn't afford to try again.
  11. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    This may be close to what you are aiming for:

    The website has very good photographic documentation of the build, trials and sailing.

    You should find plenty of footage of model square riggers on Youtube, which might offer some insights into rigging and sailing, though obviously an R/C model doesn't have the practical issues you'll face with a design you can sit in! Here's a couple:

    Firing cannon!:

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014

  12. themossylog
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    themossylog New Member

    Thanks everyone for all the info and help, it is much appreciated.
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