Ericson

How good were the Clipper Ships ?

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Lets go with Flying Cloud, which did  almost 1000 miles in 3 consecutive days on her first voyage. Crew size about 25, cargo (freight on board) about 2150 tons (varied). Without regard for size of hull, configuration, or number of masts, how hard would it be to meet the Cloud's performance ?

Restrictions being no power assistance for sail handling or steering, using steel rigging and aluminum masts, and no other special materials. Sails out of dacron. Auxiliary engines to provide power for food and water handling and for propulsion. Hull of wood, fiberglass, or aluminum.

Target voyage, New York to San Francisco. GPS allowed, satellite weather information required for insurance purposes. Flying Cloud did it in 89 days once. Not the all time record holder for day's mileage, but overall fast ship.

Using today's SW tools for hull form, drag, sail design, keel and sail design, would it be easy to beat this level of performance ?

Thursday's Child beat her 15,000 mile NY to SF record in 1989, but there was not attempt to haul cargo, just beat the time, which it did by 9 days.

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Warren Lahrs, Lars Bergstrom , and Courtney Halzeton on Thursday Child broke the clipper ship record of 98 days 11 hours for that route by 9 days. They did it is 80 days and 20 hours. Thursdays Child was a Hunter owned by Warren, designed by Bergstrom and captained by Halzenton.

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The short answer is: The clippers were indeed good.

Especially for their time. Up until the concept of speed in pursuit of commerce welled up early in the 19th century, all ships were built to what amounts to a rating rule. The rating rule was designed by accountants to streamline the taxation of imported cargo. The short formula of L x B x D resulted in boxy hulls which held a lot of cargo relative to their rating. This rule extends, in one form or another, back to the earliest days of international trade when Athens was trading with the states which now comprise Middle East. This design style carried forward to war ships and commercial ships alike right up until the dawning of the clipper era, mainly because it's what the shipwrights knew how to build. No such things as lines plans back then.

The commencement of the clipper ship era was marked by fundamental changes in the world of commerce. Actual shipping schedules were unheard of until the mid-1800s. And the value of getting goods and passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible gave rise to what amounted to a sea-going FedEx. In the mid-1800s, the public followed the construction of new ships like we might follow the football draft. Each new boat was potentially the next fastest boat ever as the designers and builders were evolving their skills in real time. Clipper captains became celebrities and the populace would stop and gaze in admiration as the captains strutted down Broadway on the way to their favorite clubs. Along South Street Seaport, billboards were posted in front of the glorious ships, touting their fastest daily runs and other enticements to potential passengers.

Construction techniques were evolving right along with design. Strict carvel planking was being augmented with steel strapping, hemp standing rigging was being discarded in favor of steel, and so on. But the ships were built with the bottom line in mind: How much money can they make for the owners before they fall apart? These ships were built and operated to pay for themselves by their 2nd voyage, if not their first. After that, it was all gravy. The best, highest paid skippers were able to extract the fastest speeds while keeping the ships from breaking. It was not uncommon for a great captain to double dip--a bonus from the owners for a fast passage (which translated to more and more profitable future business) and a bonus from the insurance company for not filing a claim. A good captain could establish a multi-generational fortune in less than a decade. An owner/driver could halve that time.

 

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Go and stand at the wheel of Cutty Sark. Still your mind and imagine charging down the trades with pressed sails.

Power and grace. 

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Preußen (usually Preussen in English) (PROY-sin) was a German steel-hulled five-masted ship-rigged windjammer built in 1902 for the F. Laeisz shipping company and named after the Germanstate and kingdom of Prussia. It was the world's only ship of this class with five masts carrying six square sails on each mast.

........ snip ......

 

Technical data[edit]

The Preußen was steel-built with a waterline length of 124 m and a total hull length of 132 m. The hull was 16.4 m wide and the ship had a displacement of 11,150 long tons (11,330 t), for an effective carrying capacity of 8,000 long tons (8,100 t)

........ snip ......

Under good conditions, the ship could reach a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h). Her best 24-hour runs were 392 nm in 1908 on her voyage to Japan and 426 nm in 1904 in the South Pacific. The Preußenwas manned by a crew of 45, which was supported by two steam engines powering the pumps, the rudder steering engine, the loading gear, and winches. English seamen estimate her the fastest sailing ship after the clipper era, even faster than her fleet sister Potosí. Only a few clippers were faster than Preußen, and they had considerably less cargo capacity

The rest is here ..

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preußen_(ship)

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9 hours ago, sailorman44 said:

Warren Lahrs, Lars Bergstrom , and Courtney Halzeton on Thursday Child broke the clipper ship record of 98 days 11 hours for that route by 9 days. They did it is 80 days and 20 hours. Thursdays Child was a Hunter owned by Warren, designed by Bergstrom and captained by Halzenton.

Warren Luhrs....I probably would have been the 4th on that crew if not for a life changing tangle with the Feds...I was out of the racing scene for a few years , burned out. I pulled into Snead Island Boat Works 83 or 84 and saw this sitting there, I my interest was instantly reignited. I immediately was involved sailed along with the SORC fleet shaking Thursday Child for the OSTAR, I was at the helm the first time she busted 20 knots. I later did all the boatbuilding mods getting her ready for the Single hand around the world race....

 

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Point to remember- the clipper ships were built to make a profit, they were expensive relative to their size & capacity BUT still built with an eye to economy.

Comparing them to racing yachts isn't really fair to either.

One of the things that interests me is the advances in design and engineering; look at the difference between McKay's clippers of the 1850s and the later ships of the 1860s, by which time they were using iron knees and strapping for stronger/more rigid hulls, and steel rigging. Or you can go to the details of the differences between CUTTY SARK and THERMOPYLAE (my own favorite).

FB- Doug

 

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First to market back in London was a huge prize for ship owner captain and crew...a fascinating time 

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2 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

First to market back in London was a huge prize for ship owner captain and crew...a fascinating time 

And for the tea company bringing the first tea of the season to England.    Back then, there was lots of demand for tea, especially the freshest tea from China.

Clippers transported anything that was light and valuable: Tea, spices, silks, opium, mail and people.   China clippers were the fastest built.   Cutty Sark was one.

- Stumbling

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Just now, kent_island_sailor said:

And *one* privately owned Baltimore Clipper captured more British ships than the entire US Navy combined during the War of 1812 B)

Keeping the prize you captured was a real economic incentive to be bold, daring and good.    

Too bad the navies of the world don't operate under the same rules, it would be a great incentive to strive to be captain!

- Stumbling

 

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4 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

Warren Luhrs....I probably would have been the 4th on that crew if not for a life changing tangle with the Feds...I was out of the racing scene for a few years , burned out. I pulled into Snead Island Boat Works 83 or 84 and saw this sitting there, I my interest was instantly reignited. I immediately was involved sailed along with the SORC fleet shaking Thursday Child for the OSTAR, I was at the helm the first time she busted 20 knots. I later did all the boatbuilding mods getting her ready for the Single hand around the world race....

 

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Had not thought of "Lars from Mars" in a long time.    Too bad he could not get enough of aerodynamics with just sailboats.

Route 66 was on the hard in Salt Creek 4 years ago.   I have pictures, but need to get some hosting set up for them.

- Stumbling

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Just now, stumblingthunder said:

Had not thought of "Lars from Mars" in a long time.    Too bad he could not get enough of aerodynamics with just sailboats.

Route 66 was on the hard in Salt Creek 4 years ago.   I have pictures, but need to get some hosting set up for them.

- Stumbling

I worked closely with Lars for many years, built the 1st US B&R rig in the sand on LBK  1973...sad is he not around to see many of his ideas come to fruition as building materials caught up ...bulb keels...canting keels...forget sailing dead downwind reaching is faster....thing was he was very frustrating to work with when actually delivering his ideas on time....virtually everything thing you see on the Volvo etc boats he was talking about in the 70's.....Lars was to co-inventor  of the Windex masthead fly...along with Sven Ridder...both were Swedish aeronautical engineers 

Lassa.jpg

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38 minutes ago, stumblingthunder said:

Keeping the prize you captured was a real economic incentive to be bold, daring and good.    

Too bad the navies of the world don't operate under the same rules, it would be a great incentive to strive to be captain!

- Stumbling

 

Works fine if you're a privateer attacking heavy, slow, unarmed ships. Not so great if you go after a Naval vessel - or get caught by one.

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9 minutes ago, PaulK said:

Works fine if you're a privateer attacking heavy, slow, unarmed ships. Not so great if you go after a Naval vessel - or get caught by one.

Privateers ran away from the Royal Navy whenever possible. There was no money to be had fighting a ship with no cargo and lots of potential damage to be had from all those nasty cannons.

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54 minutes ago, stumblingthunder said:

Had not thought of "Lars from Mars" in a long time.    Too bad he could not get enough of aerodynamics with just sailboats.

Route 66 was on the hard in Salt Creek 4 years ago.   I have pictures, but need to get some hosting set up for them.

- Stumbling

We went to the shop (Goetz I think?) to see Route 66 near completion when up there for the '92 Sunfish NA's. Was a wild looking boat back then compared to what was 'normal'.

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On 2/19/2019 at 4:16 PM, HFC Hunter said:

Go and stand at the wheel of Cutty Sark. Still your mind and imagine charging down the trades with pressed sails.

Power and grace. 

I have and a thing of beauty it was.... I was also struck by the relative comfort of the crew’s cabins on deck and thinking it was more comfortable than some of the off shore racers I had sailed on at the time....

If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, it is worth the effort:

 

77E26FC1-AC56-4210-8991-B6DB9AAF40EC.jpeg

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My interest in the clippers starts to flag when they broke the tops'ls into upper and lower tops'ls, late 1850s.

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35 minutes ago, Laser1 said:

It's been a while since I heard how the repatriation/preservation attempts are going for the 'Falls of Clyde' in Honolulu.

Prospects don't look good http://www.friendsoffallsofclyde.org/ships-log

Damn shame.

 

The ship recently had external pumps going and divers in the water making patches and trying to keep it off the bottom of Honolulu Harbor.  The deal to haul it back home to Scotland fell through.  The harbor authority wants it gone but is nervous about towing to sea because if it sinks in the entrance, we'll all be out of toilet paper for a long, long time.  No one is sure what to do and no one has the money to do anything to move the situation along.  

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Alan Villiers "Last of the Windships" and Eric Newbys "Learning the Ropes" are a couple of really great reads

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1 hour ago, Laser1 said:

It's been a while since I heard how the repatriation/preservation attempts are going for the 'Falls of Clyde' in Honolulu.

Prospects don't look good http://www.friendsoffallsofclyde.org/ships-log

Damn shame.

Can't one of those oligarchs provide some pocket money to save it? Maybe sell one of their spare 250 footers?

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1 hour ago, Somebody Else said:

My interest in the clippers starts to flag when they broke the tops'ls into upper and lower tops'ls, late 1850s.

For me it was Stuns'ls - the Bloopers of the clipper ship era. :D

Not actually - they were very old by then but the sentiment applies.

People here complain about having to hoist stays'ls - imagine how much work stuns'ls would have been. :blink:

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3 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

 

People here complain about having to hoist stays'ls - imagine how much work stuns'ls would have been. :blink:

Well they didn't know any better....but the conditions were tough and seriously dangerous...ill fitting boots and clothing...leaky oilskins...lines big hard and rough...canvas heavy ,stiff and abrasive as 60 grit...frozen at times...but then there were beautiful days folks onshore could not even imagine...certainly captured my imagination as a boy

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35 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

People here complain about having to hoist stays'ls - imagine how much work stuns'ls would have been. :blink:

Gale carries away a topmast or two. Shorten sail and carry on, repair when we get back to port? HELL NO! We got the timber; make a new topmast from scratch, haul it up and make it fast.

Insurance man, once you make port: "Any claims?"
Captain: "Nope."

captn_robert_waterman.jpg.85f10d6734ebea6cb3850f44d8d78291.jpg

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3 hours ago, Hawaiidart said:

The ship recently had external pumps going and divers in the water making patches and trying to keep it off the bottom of Honolulu Harbor.  The deal to haul it back home to Scotland fell through.  The harbor authority wants it gone but is nervous about towing to sea because if it sinks in the entrance, we'll all be out of toilet paper for a long, long time.  No one is sure what to do and no one has the money to do anything to move the situation along.  

Call Jean. He'll have Rimas on it in no time.

Just need a big enough tug to tow it beyond the environment.

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On 2/19/2019 at 12:19 PM, stumblingthunder said:

Had not thought of "Lars from Mars" in a long time.    Too bad he could not get enough of aerodynamics with just sailboats.

Route 66 was on the hard in Salt Creek 4 years ago.   I have pictures, but need to get some hosting set up for them.

- Stumbling

Where  is this boat now?

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12 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Can't one of those oligarchs provide some pocket money to save it? Maybe sell one of their spare 250 footers?

Exactly!!!  Drop on a hot plate for them and save a piece of sailing heritage.  + kudos for decades after.

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You'd think that cat would have learned to stay below. :D

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A lot depended on the cargo being carried.  Something like tea, wool, sacks of grain etc that can be wedged in and won't shift compared to coal, nitrates and similar bulk loose stuff.

Newby's The Last Grain Race is one of my favorite books, along with his Short Walk in the Hindu Kush.

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The Challenge by A.B.C. Whipple...

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On 2/19/2019 at 2:22 AM, Terry Hollis said:

Preußen (usually Preussen in English) (PROY-sin) was a German steel-hulled five-masted ship-rigged windjammer built in 1902 for the F. Laeisz shipping company and named after the Germanstate and kingdom of Prussia. It was the world's only ship of this class with five masts carrying six square sails on each mast.

........ snip ......

 

Technical data[edit]

The Preußen was steel-built with a waterline length of 124 m and a total hull length of 132 m. The hull was 16.4 m wide and the ship had a displacement of 11,150 long tons (11,330 t), for an effective carrying capacity of 8,000 long tons (8,100 t)

........ snip ......

Under good conditions, the ship could reach a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h). Her best 24-hour runs were 392 nm in 1908 on her voyage to Japan and 426 nm in 1904 in the South Pacific. The Preußenwas manned by a crew of 45, which was supported by two steam engines powering the pumps, the rudder steering engine, the loading gear, and winches. English seamen estimate her the fastest sailing ship after the clipper era, even faster than her fleet sister Potosí. Only a few clippers were faster than Preußen, and they had considerably less cargo capacity

The rest is here ..

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preußen_(ship)

 

Mikael Krafft, the guy who owns Star Clippers line, is building his newest sailing cruise ship using an unfinished steel replica hull of the Preussen.  Watched a great video about it on our cruise on the Royal Clipper in Europe last Fall.

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I read the best review ever of a cruise ship when researching the Star Clippers. I can't remember the exact wording, but to paraphrase it was an elderly passenger who complained that the captain was a maniac and would not reduce sail in storms. This passenger was highly upset that they heeled over so far during dinner he fell over in his chair and then all the food slid off the table and landed on him. I never ever had the slightest desire to go on a cruise before reading the review, but I was thinking "I would pay extra for THAT" :D 

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On 2/19/2019 at 11:10 AM, stumblingthunder said:

Keeping the prize you captured was a real economic incentive to be bold, daring and good.    

Too bad the navies of the world don't operate under the same rules, it would be a great incentive to strive to be captain!

- Stumbling

 

 

it seems a few of our destroyer captains would be owning a couple of merchant ships lately..

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On 2/22/2019 at 1:57 PM, Svanen said:

Three more relevant books, all worth reading:

 

 

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that looks like an ozzie regatta there..      now those ships don't turn on a dime, wonder how that cross is going to work out

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8 minutes ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

 

it seems a few of our destroyer captains would be owning a couple of merchant ships lately..

I think that the merchant ships owned a few of our destroyer captains.

- Stumbling

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On 3/5/2019 at 7:25 AM, Whinging Pom said:

A lot depended on the cargo being carried.  Something like tea, wool, sacks of grain etc that can be wedged in and won't shift compared to coal, nitrates and similar bulk loose stuff.

Newby's The Last Grain Race is one of my favorite books, along with his Short Walk in the Hindu Kush.

All Newby's books were great, he wrote one about taking a rowboat down the Ganges.

FB- Doug

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This is a great thread.

I recommend this book:

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On 2/18/2019 at 10:12 PM, Somebody Else said:

The short answer is: The clippers were indeed good.

Especially for their time. Up until the concept of speed in pursuit of commerce welled up early in the 19th century, all ships were built to what amounts to a rating rule. The rating rule was designed by accountants to streamline the taxation of imported cargo. The short formula of L x B x D resulted in boxy hulls which held a lot of cargo relative to their rating. This rule extends, in one form or another, back to the earliest days of international trade when Athens was trading with the states which now comprise Middle East. This design style carried forward to war ships and commercial ships alike right up until the dawning of the clipper era, mainly because it's what the shipwrights knew how to build. No such things as lines plans back then.

The commencement of the clipper ship era was marked by fundamental changes in the world of commerce. Actual shipping schedules were unheard of until the mid-1800s. And the value of getting goods and passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible gave rise to what amounted to a sea-going FedEx. In the mid-1800s, the public followed the construction of new ships like we might follow the football draft. Each new boat was potentially the next fastest boat ever as the designers and builders were evolving their skills in real time. Clipper captains became celebrities and the populace would stop and gaze in admiration as the captains strutted down Broadway on the way to their favorite clubs. Along South Street Seaport, billboards were posted in front of the glorious ships, touting their fastest daily runs and other enticements to potential passengers.

Construction techniques were evolving right along with design. Strict carvel planking was being augmented with steel strapping, hemp standing rigging was being discarded in favor of steel, and so on. But the ships were built with the bottom line in mind: How much money can they make for the owners before they fall apart? These ships were built and operated to pay for themselves by their 2nd voyage, if not their first. After that, it was all gravy. The best, highest paid skippers were able to extract the fastest speeds while keeping the ships from breaking. It was not uncommon for a great captain to double dip--a bonus from the owners for a fast passage (which translated to more and more profitable future business) and a bonus from the insurance company for not filing a claim. A good captain could establish a multi-generational fortune in less than a decade. An owner/driver could halve that time.

 

 

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23 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I read the best review ever of a cruise ship when researching the Star Clippers. I can't remember the exact wording, but to paraphrase it was an elderly passenger who complained that the captain was a maniac and would not reduce sail in storms. This passenger was highly upset that they heeled over so far during dinner he fell over in his chair and then all the food slid off the table and landed on him. I never ever had the slightest desire to go on a cruise before reading the review, but I was thinking "I would pay extra for THAT" :D 

Me too, and that passenger would probably also complain if it wasn't a fast passage.

"You can have fast or comfortable, pick one."

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On 3/5/2019 at 9:40 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

I read the best review ever of a cruise ship when researching the Star Clippers. I can't remember the exact wording, but to paraphrase it was an elderly passenger who complained that the captain was a maniac and would not reduce sail in storms. This passenger was highly upset that they heeled over so far during dinner he fell over in his chair and then all the food slid off the table and landed on him. I never ever had the slightest desire to go on a cruise before reading the review, but I was thinking "I would pay extra for THAT" :D 

 

Very surprising to hear that?  We have cruised with them twice, first on the Star Flyer, and then the Royal Clipper, and both times the motor was the main source of propulsion, but they do put up all the sails when they help.  The worst we had was blowing 30+ for a couple days, and they shortened sail to match.

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2 hours ago, Importunate Tom said:

Me too, and that passenger would probably also complain if it wasn't a fast passage.

"You can have fast or comfortable, pick one."

Amended, "You can have fast, comfortable or fashionable.   Chose two of three."

- Stumbling

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4 hours ago, billy backstay said:

 

Very surprising to hear that?  We have cruised with them twice, first on the Star Flyer, and then the Royal Clipper, and both times the motor was the main source of propulsion, but they do put up all the sails when they help.  The worst we had was blowing 30+ for a couple days, and they shortened sail to match.

Probably a memo went out after the food thing ;)

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10 hours ago, SloopJohnB said:

What is it time to show our libraries?;)

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That just got me all wet Sloop.

Even though its not about sailing, have you ever read the Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monserrat? Haunting book but a great read!

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'Snorkers - good oh!'

After the Cruel Sea read Das Boot, the other side of the same coin.  Also, if you are ever in Halifax NS do visit HMCS Sackville, the last remaing Flower-Class corvettte.

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15 hours ago, SloopJohnB said:

What is it time to show our libraries?;)

20190307_092535.jpg

20190307_092542.jpg

 

Serious book/library envy!!!!

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13 hours ago, shaggybaxter said:

That just got me all wet Sloop.

Even though its not about sailing, have you ever read the Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monserrat? Haunting book but a great read!

Concur. Just fantastic. 'HMS Marlborough Will Enter Harbour' and 'Master Mariner', also by Monserrat, are both good as well.

12 hours ago, Whinging Pom said:

'Snorkers - good oh!'

After the Cruel Sea read Das Boot, the other side of the same coin.  Also, if you are ever in Halifax NS do visit HMCS Sackville, the last remaing Flower-Class corvettte.

Thanks for the recco. I did read "Wings Of A Dove' set in a RN submarine in the dying days of WWII. Sad.

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2 hours ago, Black Sox said:

Concur. Just fantastic. 'HMS Marlborough Will Enter Harbour' and 'Master Mariner', also by Monserrat, are both good as well.

All of Monsarrat's books are great. The Ship That Died of Shame was one of my favourites.

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My namesake posting pics of his nautical library got my competitive juices flowing so here's mine - which got started 46 years ago.

 

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mZ4MiIpwRAMkT-2ahBvqRQwZOKsCqWQBsewM9Cr_

Two more shelves with local cruising guides and other goodies. Kim Bottles will be along shortly to show some real collecting skills.

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20 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

My namesake posting pics of his nautical library got my competitive juices flowing so here's mine - which got started 46 years ago.

 

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You put your namesake to shame, SJB!!!  But seriously, how do you find the time to go sailing?

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So, earlier this week on a cable channel - I think it is the Impossible Engineering series it featured the design and construction of the Black Pearl. Anyways..... it started by discussing the Cutty Sark - why it was designed and successful - for some products being first was a really big deal and was twice as fast as any ship before her. The Black Pearl segue was how the basic design was a copy of the Cutty Sark.  IIRC it could do 17 kts. 

Good thread and filled another void in my sailing knowledge bank.

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6 hours ago, billy backstay said:

You put your namesake to shame, SJB!!!  But seriously, how do you find the time to go sailing?

Like I said - 46 years worth. Didn't have a boat when the kids were small so I had to read & dream & learn stuff.

The big coffee table ones were all Xmas presents.

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Those shelves look familiar. The Sea Scouts just got a lot of it.

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On 3/8/2019 at 6:29 PM, SloopJonB said:

My namesake posting pics of his nautical library got my competitive juices flowing so here's mine - which got started 46 years ago.

 

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can we assume you keep the Patrick O'Brian and Hornblower books on different shelves?

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I've got pretty well everything Forester wrote, including some 1st editions. The Hornblowers are old friends. About once a decade I read them all from the beginning.

I'm not a fan of O'Brien or the other Forester wannabes. I tried some but they failed in comparison.

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1 minute ago, SloopJonB said:

I'm not a fan of O'Brien or the other Forester wannabes. I tried some but they failed in comparison.

O'Brien a "Forester wannabe"? Now I have to question your judgement on everything. Forester can't hold a candle to O'Brien when it comes to historical fiction.

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Yeah, well you're an American so...... ;)

Forester created the genre - The Happy Return was written more than 80 years ago.

His other books are excellent too. In one he theorized what would have happened if Hitler had invaded using those barges they accumulated. In simplest terms, he figured it would have been a disastrous failure because they wouldn't have had any heavy equipment - it would have been much the same as an invasion only by paratroops.

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31 minutes ago, fstbttms said:
34 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

I'm not a fan of O'Brien or the other Forester wannabes. I tried some but they failed in comparison.

O'Brien a "Forester wannabe"? Now I have to question your judgement on everything. Forester can't hold a candle to O'Brien when it comes to historical fiction.

Well, I wouldn't call O'Brien a "Forester wanna-be" since he never wrote anywhere near the wide scope of historical fiction the Forester did. Not at all sure Forester would want to hold a candle but frankly he tells a better story. In the Hornblower books for example, they sail to real places and the action of sailing the ship is also real, many of the incidents recounted are heavily based on historical occurrences.

I can see why many people enjoy reading O'Brien for his fancy wordsmithery but it doesn't appeal to me personally. My own fave is Capt Marryat

FB- Doug

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I wouldn't say that Forester created the genre; the aforementioned Captain Marryat books preceded Hornblower by about 100 years.  Although I think that Forester certainly brought it into the modern literary age.  

As for O'Brian vs. Forester, I don't think you can really compare the two; so very different in style, substance and purpose.  Hornblower was like a comic book character; impossibly heroic, unflappable and modest (to a fault).  The British Ideal Man.  And also like a comic book, the stories sort of falter and slow when there's no action.  But when there's a battle or the like:  wow.  Just the best.

On the other hand, O'Brian focused as much on his characters and their relationships as he did on the battle scenes.  His aim was to put interesting, believable characters in a fully-realized world.  I think he succeeded brilliantly.  Aubrey and Maturin will probably go down as two of the finest characters in english literature.

I love both series, and have read through each of them at least twice.  I don't like the Alexander Kent books so much; Bolitho and his ilk are too much like Hornblower; and, everyone's too perfectly good or evil.  

My favorite of the newer versions of Age of Sail stories and the James L. Nelson books.  The "Revolution at Sea" saga (the American Revolution) is particularly good, although his two Civil War books are just as enjoyable.

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Another vote for CS Forester.  I can't get on with O'Brien.

Bernard Cornwell can write a decent historical novel.

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1 hour ago, Hukilau said:

 Hornblower was like a comic book character; impossibly heroic, unflappable and modest (to a fault).  The British Ideal Man. 

Hornblower was based on historical accounts of Nelson.

You didn't go from a country doctors son to a Lord married to Wellington's sister without being impossibly heroic, unflappable and modest

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2 hours ago, Whinging Pom said:

Another vote for CS Forester.  I can't get on with O'Brien.

Bernard Cornwell can write a decent historical novel.

Kenneth Roberts

FB- Doug

 

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19 hours ago, Whinging Pom said:

Bernard Cornwell can write a decent historical novel.

Cornwell also wrote something like four or five modern "sailing" thrillers.  Loved them too.

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I guess historic sailing fiction is OK if you've already read all the excellent nonfiction out there, which I have not.

"How good were the Clipper Ships?" Good enough to alter the way the world conducted commerce in a mere 20 years--altered more than had evolved in the previous 2000 years.

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Back in day, maybe the 1960s, there was an article in Yachting about running a model of the America in the tank at Steven's. The jist was that it would be difficult to draw a hull that would carry the same load with less resistance.  Men had been building ships for a long time before the clippers and they had learned  a thing or two. 

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On 3/12/2019 at 2:55 PM, Somebody Else said:

I guess historic sailing fiction is OK if you've already read all the excellent nonfiction out there, which I have not.

"How good were the Clipper Ships?" Good enough to alter the way the world conducted commerce in a mere 20 years--altered more than had evolved in the previous 2000 years.

Oh, I dunno, there was a lot happening.

Packet service, ships sailing at a given date rather than whenevr they attracted enough cargo, was a revolution. Insuring ships & cargo was a revolution. Steam powered saws in shipbuilding was a small revolution. Collecting data on prevailing / seasonal winds and current was a revolution. Accurate charts were a revolution. Reliable navigation tools & techniques were a revolution.............

Some of these trends came together in the clippers. 

FB- Doug

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58 minutes ago, SemiSalt said:

Back in day, maybe the 1960s, there was an article in Yachting about running a model of the America in the tank at Steven's. The jist was that it would be difficult to draw a hull that would carry the same load with less resistance.  Men had been building ships for a long time before the clippers and they had learned  a thing or two. 

That's a non sequitur. Ship builders had not learned "a thing or two" in the preceding 1,000 years. Design had changed very little up to the time of the racing yacht America (and the clippers) because the hull shapes were largely governed by "rating" rules, i.e. the rules for determining port taxes on cargo. This produced slow boxy ships for thousands of years. Hull shapes didn't evolve much. Most ships were designed by the builders and they built what they knew how to build -- what had proven to sort-of hold together enough to satisfy the insurance companies. Really pragmatic and simple concerns.

It was not until the US merchants hit upon the concept of "first to market" and charging a premium for their cargo that ships began being designed for speed. It was then that ship (and yacht) design finally started to evolve at something quicker than a snail's pace.

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18 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

Oh, I dunno, there was a lot happening.

Packet service, ships sailing at a given date rather than whenevr they attracted enough cargo, was a revolution. Insuring ships & cargo was a revolution. Steam powered saws in shipbuilding was a small revolution. Collecting data on prevailing / seasonal winds and current was a revolution. Accurate charts were a revolution. Reliable navigation tools & techniques were a revolution.............

Some ALL of these trends came together in the clippers. 

FB- Doug

Fixed it. Except the Harrison chronometer preceded everything else by 100 years.

Up until that time, shipping had been stagnant for over 1,000 years.

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