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Monday, December 24, 2012

Free Ship Plan: 77-foot North River Schooner

Another interesting free ship plan from Wooden Ship Building by Charles Desmond is the North River Schooner.  The plans are a little rough, as the pages are yellowed and the ink faded, but the missing bulwark lines can be recreated using a coffee stir as a batten. Hold it on edge and bend it to match the existing lines on either side of the missing portion. The wood will give you an accurate curve to trace with a pencil to fill in where the lines are too faint to see.
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Sail Plan for a 77 foot North River Schooner
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Section, Sheer, and Waterline Plans of North River Schooner

This 77-footer is typical of the shoal draft centerboard sailboats used on the Hudson River to haul bulk cargo in the  19th Century. When it was extended, the centerboard acted as a keel, giving the boat stability when tacking to windward, keeping it from "crabbing" - moving sideways rather than forward. When retracted, it allowed the boat to get into shallow waters common along the river, or even be beached for unloading where a harbor wharf wasn't available.

From The Sloops of the Hudson, by By William E. Verplanck and Moses W. Collyer (The Knickerbocker Press 1908):

 The North River schooner was built on somewhat the same plan as the sloop, having a center board, and her bowsprit carried out almost horizontal, and one head-sail, the single jib, attached to a jib-boom, as with the sloop.* (A few of the later schooners carried a flying-jib.---W.E.V.)  She carried not foretopmast. The skippers contented themselves with a maintopsail only and set it like the sloop’s. The foresail was of good size compared with the mainsail and not a mere “ribbon” such as the racing schooner yacht now carries.  The quarter-deck was replaced in the later schooners by a trunk cabin, lighted from the side and end, affording smaller and less pleasant accommodations than those below the quarter-decks of the old packet sloops with their large windows for light and air at the stern.

The schooners were not as good in windward work as the sloop, but with a fair or beam wind they were faster.  The rig, however, soon commended itself for the sloop with her long boom, tall mast, and heavy mainsail was difficult to handle at all times and especially in a blow and required a crew of six men to the schooner’s four. The first of the schooners were converted sloops. From which many of the larger ones were changes to save expense of operation. Late, about 1865 there was built  a new type of schooner for the Hudson which though rigged the same was a wider and shallower boat thus giving her greater carrying capacity and permitting all the cargo to be placed on deck for expedition in loading and unloading. She was quite sharp forward, which—with other good points in her model—made her good sailer.

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