Amati Gunboat “Arrow” Build – The Sails Again

It’s been a while since I posted about the Amati American gunboat “Arrow”. As you can see in the photo below, I have the model mounted on a cherry wood base that I cut and routed the edge.This photo is from a ship model meeting back in March of this year, and shows the sails installed with the final rigging lines going in.


Unfortunately, I am not one to leave well enough alone. The kit plans show two reef bands on each sail. Also, the sails turned out a bit small for the lateen yards. Finally, I didn’t like the run of the brails, the ropes used to haul the edge of the sail in and up into the lateen yard.

So, I cut another set of sails, sewed the seams, added the new and improved reef bands and the reef points, added bolt ropes and sheet blocks, and rigged them to new yards. I stopped then, as I still had to add all the brail and other blocks, plus the pendants for the vangs, etc. I had other things to do, so I let this sit aside and kind of just stew for a while.

And, since I didn’t show this sequence of tying the reef points before, I thought this would be a good time to do it, starting with the cloth with the reef bands glued into place. You can see how I pierced a hole in the band at the center of each of the sail panels. For this, I used a sewing needle that I’d also use for adding the reef points.

First thing, is to tie a knot in the line with enough of a tail for a reef point, and pull the line though the sail cloth, right up to the knot.

Turning the sail over, I loosely tied a knot on the other side, using my thumb to keep tension on the original line that comes out of the hole. I then pull the line with my thumb as close as possible to the hole, still keeping tension on the line.

The trick is to keep holding tension on the line with the thumb as close to the hole as possible, while pulling the knot slowly tighter. Finally, the knot is pulled tight and the excess line is cut.

It takes a little practice, but then it becomes easy to do repeated reef points this way.

A little glue is applied at the knots, and when all the reefing points are done, they are trimmed to length. Afterwards, I used a very small amount of thinned glue to straighten out the reef points and to get them to lay straight down. In the photo below, you can see that this has mostly done on the sail on the left.

After I finished the new sails, I had to take a break to finish some model repair work I’d promised to do. After that, another project came along, as well as some family emergencies, so the completion of the gunboat took a bag seat for a while.

After playing around with some new projects, which got me out of the Summer non-modeling slump, I’m happy to be back at it. Not far to go now.

I’ve started stropping new blocks and gathered the rigging line and blocks I’ll be using to finish the model. The next post about the gunboat model SHOULD be the final post for this project. Stay tuned!







1 thought on “Amati Gunboat “Arrow” Build – The Sails Again

  1. agesofsail

    Reblogged this on Ages of Sail and commented:
    It’s good to see this build of Amati’s American Gunboat “Arrow” back again after a long hiatus. This post shows the adding of the reef points to the sails.

    This War of 1812 era gunboat is an interesting and unique subject, and Amati’s intermediate level model makes for an interesting display.

    If you’re interested in building this kit, you can find it on our online shop here:


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