Hello Clayton, The last picture in your 1:50 rigging process gallery seems to show your model without the Fore and Main Topgallant masts. Am I correct? If so, was this done for practical height considerations? Is there any doubt that the Vasa indeed had these Topgallant masts? Regards, Shel
You are correct that the topgallant masts are not present on my model.
Fred probably knows better than me where the topgallant masts would have been at the time of Vasa's sailing, whether they were onboard or were at the naval base that the ship was sailing to or somewhere else. There might be some documentation from the inquiry after the sinking that talks about set masts and sails, or an inventory of equipment that went with the ship.
The main reason that I omitted them was because it was rare practice in the early 17th century to have set topgallant masts on a ship like Vasa. (I think it would mostly be something to do when the wind was dead to nearly dead calm) There are a lot of old paintings that show 17th century warships under sail and it is most typical that topgallants are not used. I am actually glad that this is the case because without them I can just get my model into our newest and biggest vehicle. With topgallants this would be impossible.
Also, the sail configuration that is on my model is the sail configuration that Vasa used when the ship sailed in 1628. This is based on the sails that were found on board (the ones that were set were not stored and so not found), and as I mentioned probably some documentation from the failed government inquiry to figure out who was responsible.
Vasa was a brand new warship, and I am quite sure the ships leadership did not want to set too much sail (even though the ship had a less than glorious fate, the people on board were not bad sailors). Even with the amount that they set the ship couldn't stay upright and it would have been worse with topgallants. So setting a smaller amount of sail as they did was a safer test of the ships handling characteristics.
Hope this helps. Would be interesting to know exactly where the topgallant masts were when Vasa sailed.
What great news! No topgallant masts saves me a lot of overhead work. My workshop is very long and skinny (it used to be a ski tuning workshop) so I haven't room to position a low work surface for the cradle. It will also simplify and lighten the display case a lot.
Just to amplify what Clayton has written, we know that the topgallant sails were not set at the time of the sinking (they were found in the sail room). The topgallants were usually sent aloft on their yards in this period, so that means that the topgallant yards were not rigged either. In order to reduce top hamper, it was also a common practice to rig the topgallant masts only if the topgallant sails were going to be needed. One source talks about the topgallantsails being needed if sailing in warmer climates (the Mediterranean), and there are no images from Northern Europe in this period which show topgallants or the mizzen topsail set. So it is a reasonable conclusion that Vasa did not have the topgallantmasts set up in August 1628, and that they were stored on deck or in the chains, along with the topgallant yards. Fred