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Marian Perera
01-20-2014, 09:49 PM
Hi guys. It's me again. :)

Here's the situation in the WIP (which is otherwise going quite well).

My heroine has just sneaked on to a large three-masted sailing ship to take someone prisoner. She's got the prisoner now, and is using him as a human shield to try to get past the crew and overboard. Once she gets overboard she's fine and the crew is absolutely not going to attack her while there's any risk of hurting the prisoner.

The captain of the ship needs to get the prisoner back. So far so good, but they're on the deck now. I'm not sure what exactly is there on the deck of a ship that the captain can use to distract her and give the prisoner a chance to escape. I'd love for him to do something clever, but it's not going to be easy since she's worked for years on a ship.

Is there any way he could cut ropes and bring something down? I just need a moment's distraction. Or is there something else that you guys can suggest? I know I'm being vague here, but nothing's coming to mind. I ordered The Frigate Constitution and Other Historic Ships (http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/0486255247/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) a couple of weeks ago to get some ideas, but it hasn't arrived yet.

By the way, this is the tsunami bomb (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=279783&highlight=tsunami+bomb) book which you guys gave me suggestions on earlier and that part is proceeding smoothly. It's just this one scene I'm stuck on.

jclarkdawe
01-21-2014, 12:47 AM
You do have a bunch of lousy lookouts. In a lot of navies, a lookout who didn't spot something, would be hung and then tied to the bowsprit to help him see afterwards. And as an example to other lookouts. That's why falling asleep as a lookout on a ship is a court martial offense in modern navies.

But to solve this problem, I'd send an officer aloft up the ratlines behind the person and at the right moment, throw a Marlinspike (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CEkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FMarlins pike&ei=sIrdUtygDLKlsQTYuIDIBA&usg=AFQjCNFVLrnwCiWZB6zpus-bmWlI261zCQ&sig2=7Cc-c48_bMPbZ2ieucxiYQ&bvm=bv.59568121,d.cWc) near the person. Things falling from aloft are dangerous, and a call of "heads up" and something actually falling would cause most sailors to jump.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Kregger
01-21-2014, 02:25 AM
If the ship has schooner style rigging, have your hero stand to leeward. Have the captain release the sheet controling the boom closest to your duo. A sweeping boom will get a lot of attention. Hostage ducks and hero is knocked overboard.

Problem solved?

jclarkdawe
01-21-2014, 02:38 AM
It's a three-masted ship, so not a sloop rig. Will work on the mizzen to some extent, although probably above head level. Sailors on wooden ships learned to be short, as the deck height was frequently in the five foot range.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Buffysquirrel
01-21-2014, 03:27 AM
Is the ship at sea or moored? I'm having trouble visualising this scene.

Marian Perera
01-21-2014, 03:40 AM
Is the ship at sea or moored? I'm having trouble visualising this scene.

It's moored near an island. Let me know if there are any more details you want, because I've written everything except this one distract-the-heroine act.

Marian Perera
01-21-2014, 03:47 AM
You do have a bunch of lousy lookouts.

I have dead lookouts. She killed them first.


But to solve this problem, I'd send an officer aloft up the ratlines behind the person and at the right moment, throw a Marlinspike (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CEkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FMarlins pike&ei=sIrdUtygDLKlsQTYuIDIBA&usg=AFQjCNFVLrnwCiWZB6zpus-bmWlI261zCQ&sig2=7Cc-c48_bMPbZ2ieucxiYQ&bvm=bv.59568121,d.cWc) near the person.

I wrote my way up to the part where they come out on deck, and I like the idea of someone being in the ratlines.

Though releasing the boom would be good too. Thanks for that suggestion, Kregger. Does the boom sweep through the air fast? Would it make any sort of whirring sound?

jclarkdawe
01-21-2014, 04:13 AM
Booms on a square rigged ship, such as would be more normal in your world, have the boom on the top of the sail. This is unlike the modern sloop rigged ship, where the boom is at the bottom of the sail. On a sloop rigged ship, if the boat is moored, it isn't going to be moving very fast at all. If the ship gybes in a strong wind, then the boom swings across very fast, can knock you out or knock you off the ship.

If the ship is moored, the only thing with the masts having any tension are the standing rigging. Running rigging would have virtually no tension, and the sheets and halyards would have no tension at all. You could chop the standing rig on one side of the ship for one mast, but the mast is going to end up in the water, splintered about ten feet above the deck.

Could cut one of the lines holding the boats in a davit.

It is possible to take one of the blocks for the sheets and wing it outboard from the ship, relying on the sheet to cause it to swing back and return. The wooden blocks used on those ships were rather heavy (probably 25 pounds or more), and would knock someone out. With her watching the captain, I don't see exactly how the captain could do this, and not be obvious.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marian Perera
01-21-2014, 04:27 AM
Booms on a square rigged ship, such as would be more normal in your world, have the boom on the top of the sail. This is unlike the modern sloop rigged ship, where the boom is at the bottom of the sail. On a sloop rigged ship, if the boat is moored, it isn't going to be moving very fast at all.

Damn. I was just imagining how that scene would play out.

Well, at least I got warned before I started writing. :)


It is possible to take one of the blocks for the sheets and wing it outboard from the ship, relying on the sheet to cause it to swing back and return. The wooden blocks used on those ships were rather heavy (probably 25 pounds or more), and would knock someone out. With her watching the captain, I don't see exactly how the captain could do this, and not be obvious. OK, translating all this into captain dummy-speak, to quote Firefly, via Wikipedia...

It's possible to take a pulley for one of the ropes/chains that controls the corners of a sail, and fling it out from the ship in such a way that it swings back and returns.

The captain could make someone else give that order. In fact, that could work too - maybe he's talking to her while someone else does the pulley-swinging. Basically, she's all but spooning with her hostage, so no one can, say, fire an arrow into her back without killing him too. And with her knife at his throat, no one's going to risk just startling or attacking her in case she rips his neck open.

But if something heavy were to appear out of nowhere and smash into the back of her head, she's go limp, her hand would drop, guy would be saved.

I just have to figure out how it would work with the pulley.

jclarkdawe
01-21-2014, 05:35 AM
Here's a video of kids swinging on a boat -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2Ne7lCF3rU

Normally, you let go at the outermost point of the arc like a rope swing. But this will give you a good idea what I'm talking about.

A pulley is the singular. A bunch of pulleys put together is a block. A square rigger might have twelve or more pulleys side by side forming one block. A sheet is always a rope. Sheets on a square rigger go from the four corners of the sail down to the deck and enable the crew to change the angle of the sail to match the wind.

If the sail is furled, the sheet would be at the outer points of the boom, about twenty feet above the deck. The sheet is tied to either the boom or a point on the gunwale, let's say the boom, because it makes this a bit easier. The sheet runs down to a block on the gunwale, then back up to the boom's block, then back down to the gunwale's block, and keeps doing this however many times as necessary to get the leverage you want. Twenty or more ratios (twenty or more pulleys) were common. With a 20:1 ratio, 100 pounds of pull on the sheet equals 2,000 pounds on the boom. Final run from the boom's block leads to the tie off point for the sheet.

The block on the gunwale is held in by a pin at the bottom of the block. If the boom is 20 feet above the deck, the gunwale block is probably going to be about 40 feet away. In other words, the gunwale block is going to be quite a few feet astern of the boom. Unhook the pin, and you swing it just like those kids are swinging.

Remember if instead of the bad guy, it clocks the hostage, you might have better results.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marian Perera
01-21-2014, 06:15 PM
Hi Jim, thanks for the very detailed explanation and the video. Both of those helped me visualize the situation. I really appreciate your time and efforts. :)


A pulley is the singular. A bunch of pulleys put together is a block. A square rigger might have twelve or more pulleys side by side forming one block. A sheet is always a rope. Sheets on a square rigger go from the four corners of the sail down to the deck and enable the crew to change the angle of the sail to match the wind.

If the sail is furled, the sheet would be at the outer points of the boom, about twenty feet above the deck. The sheet is tied to either the boom or a point on the gunwale, let's say the boom, because it makes this a bit easier. The sheet runs down to a block on the gunwale, then back up to the boom's block, then back down to the gunwale's block, and keeps doing this however many times as necessary to get the leverage you want.

So basically, a lot of pulleys.

The next time I watch Master and Commander, I'm going to pause it often and look for the pulleys, because I feel like I've never really noticed them before.


Twenty or more ratios (twenty or more pulleys) were common. With a 20:1 ratio, 100 pounds of pull on the sheet equals 2,000 pounds on the boom. To control something as large as a sail when there's a strong wind.


Final run from the boom's block leads to the tie off point for the sheet.

The block on the gunwale is held in by a pin at the bottom of the block. If the boom is 20 feet above the deck, the gunwale block is probably going to be about 40 feet away. In other words, the gunwale block is going to be quite a few feet astern of the boom. Unhook the pin, and you swing it just like those kids are swinging. OK.

I read this carefully and closed my eyes and tried to imagine it happening, and I sort of have the hang of it, but I have a few other questions before I write the scene (and when I do, everything will be over except the last chapter).

So the gunwale block will basically be tied to the boom at one end and loose at the other. Is it difficult to remove the pin - would that make a distinctive sound, for instance?

Also, what might the dimensions and weight of the gunwale block be?

Oh, the reason I mentioned chains was that when I looked up "sheets" on Wikipedia, it said "a sheet is a line (rope, cable or chain)". And what can I say, I have a fondness for chains used in combat. But a chain would clink and might alert the heroine as the block was flying at her.

ETA : I don't suppose you have a picture of a gunwale block? I tried entering that into Google Images, but didn't find anything useful. I just want to have some idea of what it looks like, because the heroine will have to notice it or something during the first part of the scene, so I don't need to explain too much when it makes a reappearance later.


Remember if instead of the bad guy, it clocks the hostage, you might have better results. Given that that's a heavy block of pulleys, that might hurt him badly, wouldn't it?

I don't even plan on having it clock my heroine, because she'd probably be killed. I wanted her to hear it whishing at her at the last moment and just turn her head enough that it grazes her, she sees stars, the hostage gets away and she goes over the side.

Buffysquirrel
01-21-2014, 08:28 PM
I tried an images search for "sailing ship" + "block" and got some decent pictures :).

jclarkdawe
01-21-2014, 08:31 PM
Never saw MASTER AND COMMANDER, so I don't know how well they show them. However, here's a picture of the USS Constitution (model) to help you.

http://www.handcraftedmodelships.com/pictures/big/662-uss-constitution-model-ship206.jpg

If you notice the light tan ropes running vertically in front of the boat in the davits, those are the sheets. There are two blocks for each sheet. One is at the top, towards the boom, and one is at the bottom, on the gunwale.

I don't know whether removing the pin makes a noise, but am inclined to doubt it.

Here's a smaller wooden block. They come in a variety of sizes to meet the requirements of the job.

http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/121204/121204,1254791632,11/stock-photo-close-up-of-a-wooden-block-on-a-vintage-yacht-38321140.jpg

The block would probably be about 10 inches cubed and weigh about 15 - 25 pounds. They're heavy and made from hardwood.

Depending upon the force, it could kill someone. More likely, it would knock them off balance, and hurt like hell.

Sheets are normally rope, although they can be cable or chain. But in your situation, they were nearly always rope. Made from manila rope, they were braided together in ropewalks, which were long buildings (1,000 feet or more). A clipper ship could have 20 miles of manila rope.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Kregger
01-22-2014, 01:05 AM
J ClarkeDawe's got it covered, a moored boat wouldn't have sails aloft. A gaff rigged schooner would have a lower boom, so no need to be aft by the mizzen.

I have an idea, but without the whistling by your MC's head. Look at the model of the USS Constitution, the sail to the stern (by the flag) is the mizzen sail. It has a boom(lower piece of wood) and a gaff(upper piece of wood) that spread the sail between them. I found this picture. A two masted schooner would have this configuration plus head sails. A three master would add a mizzen.

A square sail sailboat took approximately ten men per sail to furl/unfurl. The Constitution has four square sails on main and foremast and three squares on the mizzen. That's at minimun 100 men not counting the rest of the crew. That's a lot of people standing around your MC and her hostage. Even the Santa Maria had a crew of forty and that was a puny ship in comparison.

Here's an example.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fa/Gaff_rig_spars.jpg/220px-Gaff_rig_spars.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gaff_rig_spars.jpg)

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When the boat is at anchor or moored (Two different things) The boom is supportedby a topping lift and keeps the boom elevated so that sailors can walk underneath it without whacking their heads. Without the topping lift the boom would lay on a cabin top or the deck.

If some one released by uncleating or cutting the topping lift it would make a hell of a racket. Literally, it would sound and feel like the ship was hit.

Enough of a distraction?

ULTRAGOTHA
01-22-2014, 02:01 AM
Where are the other crew on this ship? Can't one of them come up behind her (bare feet on most crew) and smack her over the head with a belaying pin?

Are there Marines on board? With pistols?

Marian Perera
01-22-2014, 02:52 AM
Where are the other crew on this ship? Can't one of them come up behind her (bare feet on most crew) and smack her over the head with a belaying pin?

She rescues a girl who's being held prisoner.

The girl goes just ahead of her + hostage to make sure the crew are well out of the way - it's clear that if anyone gets too close, she'll cut the hostage's throat. If she kills the hostage, the crew is done for, so they stay out of the way. I don't think any of them will take the risk of trying to sneak up on her when either she might hear them or the girl might see them.

Even the captain only takes the huge risk of attacking her from a distance when it's clear she's not going to leave the hostage behind as she and the girl escape.


Are there Marines on board? With pistols?

Royal Marines firing from the platform? I wouldn't mind that in a later book, but this ship is a holdover from the Age of Sail. No one has guns.

Marian Perera
01-22-2014, 03:58 AM
When the boat is at anchor or moored (Two different things)

Anchor meaning it's dropped anchor, moored meaning it's tied up to something?


The boom is supportedby a topping lift and keeps the boom elevated so that sailors can walk underneath it without whacking their heads. Without the topping lift the boom would lay on a cabin top or the deck.

If some one released by uncleating or cutting the topping lift it would make a hell of a racket. Literally, it would sound and feel like the ship was hit.

Enough of a distraction?

I don't think that would work, because they can't risk startling the heroine. She literally has a knife pressing into the hostage's throat all the time, and she's jumpy (as she would be on an enemy ship). If they scare her, she might cut his throat - even a nick might make him bleed to death. Her arm might jerk away from him as the impact and sound travels through the ship, but her arm might jerk towards him too.

So they need to do something which incapacitates her very quickly, without getting close, which is why I think the trick with the gunwale block might be better. There's one moment when she's got her back to the crew, because she's preparing to get herself and her hostage over the side, and they could try to take her out then.

Marian Perera
01-22-2014, 04:00 AM
Never saw MASTER AND COMMANDER, so I don't know how well they show them. However, here's a picture of the USS Constitution (model) to help you.

Thanks for the picture, Jim, that helped so much.

Just want to clarify one thing. How far from the top of the gunwale does it look like the gunwale block is, exactly?

jclarkdawe
01-22-2014, 04:25 AM
Anchored means you've dropped the anchor and the boat is secured by the anchor line, which may be chain, cable, and/or rope. Usually a chain at the anchor and then a cable. The cable, however, may technically be a rope.

Moored means to be attached to a dock or a mooring. A mooring is a buoy floating in a harbor, with an anchor (or very heavy weight) to which a ship ties up with a mooring line. Moorings are found in most harbors and are where you'd stay rather then an anchor. A well designed harbor has the moorings designed for the tidal swing and making sure a ship doesn't connect with another ship or the bottom.

Feel like you're having to learn a whole new language?

The gunwale attachment for the sheet depends upon the designer. it can be fastened to either inside or outside, or the top. Various considerations which aren't important to you are involved. However, to make your life easier, I'd attach them to the top of the gunwale. That's the basic design of the block in the picture.

I realized as I was writing this that a pin to hold the block is probably incorrect for your time period. It requires more advance metal work then your people are probably capable of. I'd use a U shaped shackle like this:

http://static.summitracing.com/global/images/prod/mediumlarge/SMT-13046B_ml.jpg


The bolt holding it is threaded on one end, and free on the end towards the eye end. One way to loosen this bolt is to put a marlinspike into the eye and spin. This is only tightened to the point where it doesn't work loose, as the tightness of the bolt isn't important to the holding strength of the shackle.

With iron, I wouldn't tighten too much, as the process of rusting would secure it successfully. And to make this easier to do, I'd have the crew replacing shackles a few days earlier as part of their maintenance. My guess is that to replace the shackles, they probably either cut or snapped the bolt because it would be rusted in place. And I don't think there's enough grease in the world to counteract the rusting power of salt water.

By the way, did you get the email I sent you a couple of days ago with the manuscript?

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marian Perera
01-22-2014, 06:36 AM
Feel like you're having to learn a whole new language?

What do you mean, feel like? I am learning a whole new language. :)


However, to make your life easier, I'd attach them to the top of the gunwale.

Probably be easier for my heroine too. Either the pin or the shackle would work to hold the block, because she doesn't see the crew loosen it. She can notice it when she climbs aboard, though.


By the way, did you get the email I sent you a couple of days ago with the manuscript?

I did! Sorry, I completely forgot to let you know I got it.

One last thing. I'm now on the scene where part of the island breaks off and falls into the water, creating the huge wave.

I've read that a ship should face such a wave head-on, so it's not likely to be capsized by being hit broadside. If a ship faces the wave head-on, could the wave still pick it up and carry it some distance away?

jclarkdawe
01-22-2014, 07:53 AM
Wave theory is an interesting subject. Storm waves are different from tsunamis. A tsunami at sea may not be noticeable, while highly destructive near the shore. Glaciers calving would probably be the closest to what you're describing.

Here are two videos -- CHASING ICE" captures largest glacier calving ever filmed - YouTube (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDAQtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhC3 VTgIPoGU&ei=ZjbfUtXHIfTPsAS5k4HgBA&usg=AFQjCNECjSco_mYy9CAe_FEU_SUPtj3K0A&sig2=OGqpocstAf93aP4f2ya1BA&bvm=bv.59568121,d.cWc) and Glacier Calving, Huge Wave - YouTube (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDYQtwIwAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DRL3 EjH9-WSs&ei=ZjbfUtXHIfTPsAS5k4HgBA&usg=AFQjCNHj1BeCYcHV7zoFcXjdN1x93CeKzw&sig2=8z4-JxIeCTeP4N0Culrmhg&bvm=bv.59568121,d.cWc)

It appears that the wave pattern is somewhat the same as when you throw a rock into water, where you get sharp, steep waves that gradually flatten and spread. Both the crest to crest measurement and the trough height measurement are important.

If your ship is anchored, you need to meet the wave bow on. Your anchor will probably drag in the process.

If your ship is underway, there are four possible courses -- straight into the wave, angle into the wave, straight away from the wave, angle away from the wave. Meeting the wave sideways can result in being rolled.

Meeting the wave bow on is a power struggle. Do you have enough power to keep going forward against the wave. If you don't, you'll be pushed backwards and broach. Changing from head on to a slight angle (about 10 degrees) reduces the wave's force without reducing your power. Advantages of meeting a wave head on is better control because the rudder works better and if the wave breaks over the bow, probably will cause minimal damage.

Taking the wave from the stern produces surfing. Surfing produces a massive speed increase, as you ride the wave. Problem is that the rudder has very little purchase power and can cavitate easily. Result is that it is very easy to broach. However, in this case, the energy of the wave is reduced as the wave gets away from the center and the further you can get from the energy source, the better off you are.

Making life even more interesting is the fact that I think you're going to have waves from different places, as different chunks of the island go into the water. This will create a condition called "chop" where you have waves coming and going from different directions. This is going to make choosing a course even more complicated.

The skipper of the tourist boat chooses to take the wave from the stern, and at a slight angle. In a sailing ship, you always have to complicate this with wind direction, but given a wind that I can work with, I think I'd prefer take this type of wave from the stern. It's probably going to be breaking, which is a hard wave to take bow on. I also like the idea of running away from it rather then towards it.

However, either choice is reasonable, and no ship will survive all waves.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marian Perera
01-22-2014, 08:03 AM
If your ship is anchored, you need to meet the wave bow on. Your anchor will probably drag in the process.

Yay. I just finished the scene, and my brain is like mush from too much writing, but I have the perfect place to insert this part about the anchor.


Meeting the wave sideways can result in being rolled.

Yeah. Definitely not going to do that.


Meeting the wave bow on is a power struggle. Do you have enough power to keep going forward against the wave. If you don't, you'll be pushed backwards and broach. Changing from head on to a slight angle (about 10 degrees) reduces the wave's force without reducing your power. Advantages of meeting a wave head on is better control because the rudder works better and if the wave breaks over the bow, probably will cause minimal damage.

That's a great detail. I have the helmsman being swept off the deck by the wave breaking over the boat, but now I can include the part about changing course from head on to a slight angle.


Taking the wave from the stern produces surfing. Surfing produces a massive speed increase, as you ride the wave. Problem is that the rudder has very little purchase power and can cavitate easily. Result is that it is very easy to broach. However, in this case, the energy of the wave is reduced as the wave gets away from the center and the further you can get from the energy source, the better off you are.

I had to look up "cavitate". The formation of vapour cavities in a liquid? But basically, the rudder can't do much and the ship might go over. They do need to head back to the island, so I'd rather they weren't carried too far away.

Oh, one more question. :)

Assuming this island is like the Canary Islands, how deep might the water be where the ship is anchored? I'm just trying to work out how much anchor chain they have.

Thanks again for walking me through all this.

jclarkdawe
01-22-2014, 08:58 AM
Let's see,

Cavitation for rudders is caused by air bubbles in the water. Causes in this case are from the turbulence from the speed of surfing (speed causes turbulence at the stern of a ship) and the bubbles formed in waves, especially breaking waves. The result is instead of the rudder being in water, it is actually in air and has nothing to work against.

If a ship is anchored, unless it has power, it has no control. It can't do anything. Period. And the helmsman would not be on deck of an anchored ship. A ship's rudder only works when the boat is moving through the water.

Canary Island varies from nice harbors, to beaches (minor slope under the water), to cliffs (steep slope under the water). Here's a problem for you. For the land to fall into the water and form a massive wave you need a lot of slope under the water. If a cliff breaks off and hits shallow water, it's not going to generate much of a wave.

Problem is you don't tend to anchor in deep water and steep slopes. First problem is that if your anchor drags, with a steep slope you can end up with the anchor off the bottom. On a minor slope, it just moves a little bit but stays in touch with the bottom.

Second problem is getting out enough scope to help the anchor hold. Scope is the term for the difference between the depth of the water and the length of anchor chain you have out. For example, if you anchor in 10 feet of water and have 70 feet of anchor chain out, you have a scope of 7. That's the ideal number. Change this to 10 feet of water and only 30 feet of chain and you've now got problems. The angle of the anchor chain to the bottom is more lifting rather then sliding along the bottom.

You can anchor in about 100 feet of water for a wooden sailing ship. You can stretch this to about 150 feet but that's pushing it. Normally you want to anchor in about 30 - 50 feet of water.

If the helmsman gets washed off the deck, you're going to have some serious damage. If the wave came over the bow, that means it flooded the entire deck to the height of the quarterdeck. Lots of damage. If the wave came over the stern, you're going to have less damage, but a significant probability of broaching.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marian Perera
01-22-2014, 04:24 PM
If a ship is anchored, unless it has power, it has no control. It can't do anything. Period. And the helmsman would not be on deck of an anchored ship.

I see. I was thinking of the ship trying to turn to face the oncoming wave head-on, and that the helmsman would be needed for that.

I guess I have a choice between two cool details - the anchor chain snapping and the helmsman being washed off the deck. I do want water coming over the deck, though, even if it doesn't sweep someone overboard. The whole book has built up to this point. It's going to seem like an anticlimax if the wave just goes under the ship and only spatters the deck a little.


Here's a problem for you. For the land to fall into the water and form a massive wave you need a lot of slope under the water. If a cliff breaks off and hits shallow water, it's not going to generate much of a wave. I figured it's a large enough island to have both the cliff and the beach, with the wave being caused at the cliff part and the ship being anchored at the beach part.

So we could say the water is twenty fathoms deep at the point where they're anchored. Thanks!

Kregger
01-22-2014, 07:14 PM
QoS,

JCD covered the difference between mooring and anchoring.
I get the why of no sudden sounds so as to not nick the hostage. I'm glad you've worked it out.

Let's set the picture. You have an anchored ship at 20 fathoms which is 120 foot of water. With a 7:1 scope you'll need 840 foot of anchor line. The distance from the boat to anchor will be approximately the length of the scope(831).

If this is an island in an open ocean on the windward side--your boat will be stern to the island.

If the island is on the leeward side--your boat will be bow to the island.

At dead calm, which can happen, or an inland island--the boat will swing at the slightest breeze--take your pick.

No captain will anchor where a wind change will push their boat ashore. So the anchor will need to be over 1800 feet from shore, even at that distance, I would not sleep well.

Honestly, a single rogue wave followed by progressively smaller waves won't break an anchor line. There isn't enough shock on the line. (Think of rapidly over streching a rubber band) Unless this is a poorly maintained boat.

You could, of course, have a situation where the captain does everything wrong. Anchored in shallow water with a rocky bottom (sandy shore?) and short scope (really short scope). The anchor gets caught on a rock and doesn't break free when the rogue wave hits.The bow of the ship goes through the wave. Then the wave can wash over the deck, sailors washed overboard. Then the anchor line breaks so that when the next piece falls off that cliff--the wave hits the boat broadside. You pick the level of devastation and have fun with it.

Good luck

Kregger

Marian Perera
01-22-2014, 07:25 PM
No captain will anchor where a wind change will push their boat ashore.

Does that go for a steamship as well? There's two ships in the story - one is a sailing ship and that's the one I had all the gunwale block questions about. The other is a steamship, and that's the one anchored by the island when the wave hits.


Honestly, a single rogue wave followed by progressively smaller waves won't break an anchor line. There isn't enough shock on the line.I was going by the video posted in my tsunami bomb thread, where one of the reports was of how the wave snapped forty fathoms of anchor line.

Even though this wave isn't as violent, I still need it to cause some level of immediate damage to the ship that a non-nautical person can grasp.


You could, of course, have a situation where the captain does everything wrong. Anchored in shallow water with a rocky bottom (sandy shore?) and short scope (really short scope) the anchor gets caught and doesn't break free when the rogue wave hits. Then the wave can wash over the deck, sailors washed overboard, breaking anchor lines so that when the next piece falls off that cliff the wave hits the boat broadside. You pick the level of devastation and have fun with it.I don't want the ship hit broadside, because if that happens, this book will end pretty sadly, but otherwise it's good. :)

Kregger
01-23-2014, 06:37 AM
QoS,

Let's see...two boats, huh...now that's a barge of a different color. Just kidding.

Both boats will act the same at anchor. You may have different size anchors if the boats have an appreciable weight difference. But the scope remains the same.

Let's go back to your 20 fathom depth(120 ft). The rode is 840 feet. Consider what a boat does to raise an anchor. It has to take in all of the rode until the boat is directly above the anchor, and then it is tug of war, and the anchor loses. Believe me, the anchor is meant to give before the rode, otherwise every boat would have to leave behind their anchor.

So to break an anchor loose with a scope of 840 ft in 120 ft of water, well, those waves don't exist on this planet. Anchors drag, however, especially across a sandy bottom. Think of 10 ft waves over 18 hours. If you're talking about boats in a harbor, they'll have super short rodes, because of the protected nature of harbors. I can imagine a tsumani flowing into a restricted area and lifting a ship to break loose an anchor. But it doesn't sound like this is the case for your story.

I haven't seen the tsunami bomb thread, they are destructive, but mostly to those on land. Like JCD said, they aren't tall until they roll up on shore. They also don't have steep faces or a deep trough until very near shore.

I suppose if you're writing for non-nautical people, just have the boat anchored very close to the cliff. Pick your damage by what hits the boat.

By the way, most powered boats can be tipped practically 90 degrees sideways and recover, fixed keeled sailboats can do a 360 and recover, but imagine the damage to crew and cargo. Think what happen to the passengers in a car when it rolls over.

I doubt I helped much, but good luck.

Kregger

jclarkdawe
01-23-2014, 07:24 PM
You ask a question of an expert, and the expert sits there and grumbles and complains and says you can't do it. Then the expert gets to thinking and figures out how to make it work. It's a process. Thank you for understanding this, Queen.

A common geological feature of shorelines is a headland, with a crescent shaped beach on either one or both sides. Waikiki and Diamond Head are an example of this. It's caused by the headland being harder material and less subject to erosion.

This doesn't form a desirable anchorage, as it is subject to onshore winds. Offshore winds will blow you away from the beach and aren't very dangerous, as a lot of the force of the wind will be reduced by traveling over the land. But an onshore wind that's strong enough will push you onto the beach. However, hitting a beach is the best type of grounding you can have with the exception of tidal mud flats.

So if you've got a good reason, you anchor off the beach. Water is going to be relatively shallow, with a gradual slope off the beach. You'd anchor in about 5 - 10 fathoms (30 - 60 feet or 10 - 20 meters) of water, with the swing towards shore being limited by wanting to be outside the low tide surf line. Remember that the closer you are to the beach, the less distance your crews have to row to get ashore. As a captain, you keep a close watch on the weather, ready to put to sea if an onshore wind starts getting too strong to not drag the anchor.

You'd probably have between 35 - 70 fathoms (210 to 420 feet or 70 to 140 meters) of anchor line out. You set up the anchor with a slip pin, so that you can just basically cut the anchor line to go to sea, with a float on the anchor line to come pick it up again. This type of situation arose a lot in California during the 1800s for the shipment of cattle hides. Sails were kept ready to drop at a moment's notice. You could get underway in less then 30 minutes.

Then we've got the USS De Soto, a less then famous ship that does have a wikipedia entry. The De Soto, sitting in harbor, was struck by a tsunami, broke its anchor cable, crashed into a dock, and then washed back out into the water.

Okay, all of the above are actual facts, that really exist. Let's see what we can do with this for Queen.

She anchors her ship or ships off this beach, where the crew can enjoy a lovely view of the headland. Suddenly, a massive rumble and the headland falls into the sea. The captain, seeing this, and being a smart captain, immediately yells at the crew, who is oohing and aahing about the headland, to start getting ready for sea. Because the captain, being a smart man, knows that a big, honking wave is coming his way, and he's not in a good position.

So the crew works like hell, the captain shouting commands, as they all now see the wave approaching them. (Notice how this is following the video I suggested you see on an iceberg calving.) But before they can get underway, the wave grabs them, having more force because it's in shallow water and lifts and carries the ship towards shore, snapping the anchor line.

The ship hits bottom while still in the wave, causing the upper decks of the ship to roll over, hitting 90 degrees. This gets a few crew into the water, does some damage, creates more excitement, and leaves the boat on shore. Next wave, being a bit smaller, picks up the ship, and as the wave retreats from shore, carries the ship back out to sea. In the case of the De Soto, it took about ten days of pumping and repairs before the ship was seaworthy again.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marian Perera
01-23-2014, 08:40 PM
Then the expert gets to thinking and figures out how to make it work. It's a process. Thank you for understanding this, Queen.

Please. I'm the one who should be grateful to all of you for taking the time to explain complex matters in simple ways a non-nautical person can understand, with diagrams and pictures and videos too. Not to mention finding ways to make my scenario work. :)


You'd probably have between 35 - 70 fathoms (210 to 420 feet or 70 to 140 meters) of anchor line out. You set up the anchor with a slip pin, so that you can just basically cut the anchor line to go to sea, with a float on the anchor line to come pick it up again. That's really interesting. I didn't know people would just cut their anchor line and leave the anchor there to be retrieved later.


She anchors her ship or ships off this beach, where the crew can enjoy a lovely view of the headland. Suddenly, a massive rumble and the headland falls into the sea.Pretty much what happens, yes.

About the ship rolling over and hitting 90 degrees - would it be facing the wave head-on, or would the wave have to hit it broadside for this to happen? If the wave hit it broadside, would that be likely to break windows and portholes and cause significant flooding, especially if water got in through gunports?


This gets a few crew into the water, does some damage, creates more excitement, and leaves the boat on shore.Lying on its side or still upright?

The damage to the De Soto sounds a little more serious than I can take in the story, because while they're stranded miles away trying to repair the ship, there are people trapped on the island, but I can tone that down.

jclarkdawe
01-24-2014, 01:53 AM
You'd probably have between 35 - 70 fathoms (210 to 420 feet or 70 to 140 meters) of anchor line out. You set up the anchor with a slip pin, so that you can just basically cut the anchor line to go to sea, with a float on the anchor line to come pick it up again. That's really interesting. I didn't know people would just cut their anchor line and leave the anchor there to be retrieved later.

Preferably you don't cut the anchor line, just let it slip out. Basically an anchor line has an anchor on one end and is attached to the ship on the other end. Normal practice is that the anchor line is clipped when you've let the anchor out enough. That clip serves as the primary stop, with the secondary stop at the end of the anchor line. Normal practice is in an emergency is to just let out more anchor line.

However, if you need to go to sea quickly, you set up the line so that it will all just slide out without being attached to the ship. It's a pain in the ass, but a lot faster then bringing in the anchor or getting sunk.

I've never read a good description of the actual process in big sailing ships. Normally all you get is "they slipped their anchor" and came back and got it later. You put a float on the anchor line and its going to stay pretty much in place even in a hurricane.


She anchors her ship or ships off this beach, where the crew can enjoy a lovely view of the headland. Suddenly, a massive rumble and the headland falls into the sea. Pretty much what happens, yes.

About the ship rolling over and hitting 90 degrees - would it be facing the wave head-on, or would the wave have to hit it broadside for this to happen? If the wave hit it broadside, would that be likely to break windows and portholes and cause significant flooding, especially if water got in through gunports?

It doesn't really matter which way the ship is heading when it happens. Bow pointing straight out from the beach is fine, indicating a slight onshore breeze. Bow pointing straight towards the beach indicates a offshore breeze, and a further distance from the shore. No matter what position the boat is in, it's going to be carried towards the beach.

As soon as the bottom of the ship hits sand, it's going to try to swing broadside to the beach.

Damage can be as extensive or minor as you want. With modern sailboats, the range is from being totally destroyed to virtually no damage. It's all a matter of luck and the quality of the construction. It's not going to fill with water instantly. It's going to ship a lot of water probably, but not enough for it to sink. It will just be floating below its Plimsoll Line (normal waterline -- red line on side of ship), but that doesn't mean you're going to sink.


This gets a few crew into the water, does some damage, creates more excitement, and leaves the boat on shore. Lying on its side or still upright?

The damage to the De Soto sounds a little more serious than I can take in the story, because while they're stranded miles away trying to repair the ship, there are people trapped on the island, but I can tone that down.

Probably somewhere between 30 to 60 degrees, depending upon the hull shape. But with the next wave washing it back out to sea, you're not going to be in that position for long.

Remember that a ship can be doing repairs at the same time it's doing other things. Some repairs have to be done immediately, some can take some time. For instance, let's say you've got some holes in the hull. As long as the pumps can keep ahead of the water flowing in, there's no rush to repair the holes. You can live with the problem.

Losing a mast, however, needs to be fixed immediately as you can't go anywhere in a sailboat with no mast. However, if you've got three masts, you can keep sailing with one, or even two, gone. Admittedly not as well, but again, a problem you can live with.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marian Perera
01-24-2014, 02:13 AM
Thanks, Jim. I think I'll have the captain shout an order to cut the anchor line, but no one has time to do that before the wave hits. Then we can still have the drama of the anchor chain snapping.

The scene where the wave hit was so much fun to write - partly because the whole book built up to that, partly because it was terrifying for the characters.


No matter what position the boat is in, it's going to be carried towards the beach.

As soon as the bottom of the ship hits sand, it's going to try to swing broadside to the beach.

Hm.

Given that there are other, smaller waves being generated and that the ship no longer has its anchor, I hope it's realistic that the ship is going to be carried a little distance from the island (I wrote over a mile). That's not a major detail, so it can be changed if I got it wrong.


Losing a mast, however, needs to be fixed immediately as you can't go anywhere in a sailboat with no mast. However, if you've got three masts, you can keep sailing with one, or even two, gone. Admittedly not as well, but again, a problem you can live with.

It's actually the steamship which is anchored by the beach and which gets caught in the wave. By that time the sailing ship has been run aground on rocks at the other side of the island so it's completely out of commission. I actually had the beached sailing ship being torn off the rocks by the force of the wave and never seen again - could that happen?

Buffysquirrel
01-24-2014, 02:14 AM
I think one of Patrick O'Brian's books has a good description of the crew retrieving the anchor. Of course I can't remember *which* book, but there's only nineteen. Ahem.

Most ships would carry more than one anchor. In the worst-case scenario, you rig up a sea anchor.

Marian Perera
01-24-2014, 02:32 AM
Most ships would carry more than one anchor. In the worst-case scenario, you rig up a sea anchor.

Thanks! That's another good detail I can include in the wrap-up, let's-go-home scene at the end.

jclarkdawe
01-24-2014, 03:10 AM
Most ships have two anchors rigged, one to the port side and one to the starboard. They sometimes carry a third anchor, not rigged. Usually you only drop one anchor. Sometimes you drop both anchors, but that's a project and a half.

Several books have how to retrieve an anchor. Sometimes they don't want to leave the bottom, and need some serious work to get back to the surface. Richard Dana mentions slipping the anchor in his first person book, TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, and I've seen it in a couple of other books, but never the details.

You'd cut the anchor line with an axe, although a knife would work. If it's stretched tight when it breaks, it will go zinging through the air, and the boat will take off like an unbroke horse hearing a stick of dynamite go off under its ass.

Current along a beach goes either left to right or right to left, but it always goes one way or the other. This can be seen on shore by the fact that waves don't hit the beach head on, but at an angle, going back to sea on the opposite angle. So a ship will be carried to shore, but then carried back out will be slowly (or rapidly depending upon the current) from left to right or right to left.

So how far you drift depends upon how long it takes to build power or drop your other anchor. Which depends upon how fast you get things organized. It could take any where from a couple of hundred feet to never. One thing that would happen in the roll is that the other anchor can get tangled from being at an weird angle.

Lots of ships have hit the rocks on the first wave, tore out their bottoms, been lifted up and off the rocks on the next wave, and immediately sunk. Wish I could remember one of the passages describing it.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marian Perera
01-24-2014, 10:53 PM
You'd cut the anchor line with an axe, although a knife would work.

I thought the anchor line was a chain.

Also, one final question (for real, this time). Let's say the wave is caused at exactly the northernmost point of the island. In the west side of the island is a cove. Would that be a safe place to moor a ship, if the captain knew when the wave would begin? I know no place would be really safe, so... safer than open water?

jclarkdawe
01-25-2014, 12:30 AM
I thought the anchor line was a chain.

Usually the first 30 to 50 feet would be chain, then it would go to rope or cable, most likely cable, which was actually three ropes twisted together. The initial chain would make sure that the pull on the anchor was along the bottom, causing the anchor to drag rather then rise. One of the problems with the entire anchor line being chain is the weight. On a warship, weight spent on an anchor chain limited your armament and supply situation.

When the anchor was brought up, members of the crew would have to flake or lay out the anchor line along the cable tier of the ship. Miserable work, but the heavier the weight, the more difficult it would have been. The weight of the anchor line needed to be distributed the entire length and width of the hull in order for the ship to be neither listing to the side, nor bow or stern heavy. A chain would be next to impossible to do this with.

In your time period, an anchor would be made out of wrought iron, a relatively soft metal. A hacksaw would cut it somewhat easily, and a bolt cutter, if the right size (very big) would make short work of it. But a captain would not rely on that for slipping an anchor rapidly.

The chain would probably have a chain link that could be removed every 100 feet or so, and the chain broken. Then the anchor side of the chain would be secured to the ship, probably through a shackle. My guess would be that for a temporary situation, where the captain realizes the risk of a more permanent attachment, would put the bolt end of the shackle through, with a pin holding the bolt end in place. Knock out the pin, then knock out the bolt, and then it separates.

Also, one final question (for real, this time). Let's say the wave is caused at exactly the northernmost point of the island. In the west side of the island is a cove. Would that be a safe place to moor a ship, if the captain knew when the wave would begin? I know no place would be really safe, so... safer than open water?

Wave dynamics remain the same regardless of scale. If you throw a rock into flat water, you'll see a series of waves expanding from the point of impact in circles. Now if you throw the rock along the shore line, you'll see only the water part of the circle, with the land side having no circle.

Basically, a cliff falling into the water would do the same thing, with the wave going from the cliff in a circle, although only the portion of that circle that is in the water will be seen.

If the cove is not in a direct line from the cliff, all it will receive are waves that bounce off of another solid surface. Many harbors accomplish this by adding breakwaters. Each time a wave bounces off of a solid surface, it loses strength.

The more the cove is blocked from the open sea, the safer the anchorage. Good natural harbors tend to have a lot of channel to get into the harbor, and are surrounded by land on most sides. Man-made harbors tend to accomplish the same thing through breakwaters.

I know some coves that are very sheltered, and others that are not. Since this fiction, you can make the land meet your needs.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marian Perera
01-26-2014, 12:39 AM
I know some coves that are very sheltered, and others that are not. Since this fiction, you can make the land meet your needs.

Thanks, Jim, I think it's all worked out now. So there's a safe place nearby where the terrorist's ship can take shelter from the wave, and I've got the effects of the wave on any other ships in the vicinity.

Much appreciate all your help and information!

Duncan J Macdonald
01-27-2014, 04:28 AM
<snip>
Richard Dana mentions slipping the anchor in his first person book, TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, and I've seen it in a couple of other books, but never the details.

Jim Clark-Dawe

From The Boy's Manual Of Seamanship and Gunnery (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pbtyc/B_S_M/Fittings.html)

Slipping a cable:

Q. What precaution is taken before slipping a cable ?

A. A buoy-rope is passed in through the hawse-hole, and as soon as the armourer has unshackled the cable, the buoy-rope is bent to the end of it and paid out through the hawse-hole again ; the buoy is then streamed, the cable paid out through the hawse-hole as far as the slip-stopper ; when all is clear and the ship's head has taken the right way, the slip is knocked off.

There is a shackle every length (twelve and a half fathoms) of anchor cable.

R/
Duncan

jclarkdawe
01-27-2014, 05:57 AM
Thank you, Duncan. Pretty much what I imagined, but wasn't positive of, and too lazy to want to do the research on.

Thanks again,

Jim Clark-Dawe