I received a nice surprise in the mail today when a set of plans I ordered from the Nautical Research Guild showed up. I kind of splurged for my own birthday this year and got these plans and a few other things that I’ll write about in a future post.
The Washington was a galley built by General Arnold for service on the Lake Champlain in 1776. Because the prevailing winds on the lake blew along the length of the lake, she and her 3 sister ships were lateen rigged for the superior performance when sailing close to the wind.
These are VERY nice plans. They are model plans and designed for the construction of a 1/4″ scale plank-on-frame model. All the frames are drawn out, taking up 4 of the 10 sheets of plans. The details are nicely done and overall, the set of plans is top notch.
The NRG did managed to disappoint in one area. There are no standard plan views necessary to scratch-build the model in your own style. These are strictly plank-on-frame plans. There is also no sail plan.
But, given that the ship was lateen rigged, the latter issue shouldn’t be too much of a problem, though it’s harder to find detailed information on this type of rig than for the more conventional square rig or schooner rig. So, some additional planning would be required for the addition of sails.
As for the missing plan views, since Howard Chapelle already drew up the hull lines and includes them in his book The History of American Sailing Ships, they can be ordered easily enough from the Smithsonian for $25, which includes handling/processing charges.
In any case, it’s a really nice set of drawings that include all the frames, a framing jig, details of the keel, deadwood, stem pieces, beams, and internal features and more. I’m really excited to get these plans. This might finally be my entry to plank-on-frame ship modeling.
One interesting feature of the Washington and her sister ships is that they had some really wild selection of cannons – a result of having to use whatever ordnance was available. As a result, the Washington had a pair of 18 pdr cannons, a pair of 12s, a pair of 9s, four 4s, a 2 pdr, and eight swivels, though these plans don’t show the 2 pdr. I’ll guess I’ll have to read the monograph to learn more about this.
The monograph, by the way, is a free download from the NRG website. It too is a beautiful piece of work. All this was done, by the way, by Jeff Staudt, who also created the Bomb Vessel Granado Cross Section plans that are sold by the Model Ship Builder site.
Anyway, the 10-sheet set of plans is $65, plus $10 shipping in the US. They are copyright stamped in red with a unique identification number. A personalized letter of permission to copy for personal use is included, which references the identification number. If you get a set, and you’re an NRG member, be sure to contact the NRG office for a $15 coupon code before ordering. If you’re not a member, I highly recommend joining up!