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Author Topic: Pre-Braine gear gear  (Read 406 times)

Cutter

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Pre-Braine gear gear
« on: July 10, 2020, 09:01:25 pm »

Does anyone have any information about pond yacht steering control before the invention of Braine gear in 1904? I have a large American pond yacht to re-rig, dating from about 1900. It has its screw clamp tiller, but the forward part of the device seems to be missing. There are only some circular marks on the deck for clues.
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roycv

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2020, 11:01:12 pm »

Hi can you show us any photos of the marks, clues?  Has your own model yachting association anyone to help? It would be good to know what the length of the yacht is and where the rudder is located.

There are many pictures of old pond yachts on the Internet and although deck photos are limited does this link look like your model?
https://inanutshellantiquesandinteriors.co.uk/Huge-Antique-Pond-Yacht

regards
Roy
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Cutter

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2020, 12:34:48 pm »

Thanks Roy. Wasp's hull is 63" and she currently measures 77" overall, almost 2 metres. She was originally yawl rigged, and dates from about 1900, if not a little earlier. I am seeking information from the US Vintage Model yacht Group, and researching assiduously, but there seems to be very little known about the many "steampunkish" steering devices developed in the decade or so prior to Braine Gear in 1904, to quote the Central Park Model yacht Club website. An article written in 1902 describes an "up-to-date" quadrant design described as far superior to the "old screw gauge"--which is what I think Wasp has. Her tiller can be screwed down to clamp it at 11 different angles or released to work against a centering elastic. Attached photos show the current tensioning fitting, which is a later addition, and the circular marks on the deck beneath it with the fitting removed.
Photos on te internet have not helped me at all. They are mostly Braine gear or vane gear, or damage and/or incorrectly rigged! Thanks.
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roycv

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2020, 01:12:21 pm »

Hi cutter did you open up the link OK?
 
If you work along the pictures there is a very similar picture to yours with the tiller controlled by lines to the main boom.
I have to say the last thing you want to do is screw down the tiller and thus fixing the rudder angle.  If the wind changes you will go round in circles.  I had a rudder servo stick over like that and every time the wind blew shew went into wind and stayed there.
Have you sailed RC or free sailing yachts before?
Regards
Roy


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Cutter

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2020, 01:23:39 pm »

Thanks again Roy. I just opened your link, and that model is very interesting. I had postulated a similar arrangement and it is nice to see it in reality.
I don't do RC, and haven't free sailed since I was a kid. Wasp was built for free sailing (not skiff sailing) and is associated with a club on Long Island that formed in 1898 and is still very active, but with no early records unfortunately. They sail on a tide Mill Pond. I am trying to understand Wasp's steering control, which is clearly very old and clearly screws down to clamp it. I am therefore hoping to find documentation for the "old screw gauge" to ascertain what it was and how it worked. And those circular marks on the deck baffle me!
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Cutter

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2020, 01:27:54 pm »

I plan to re-rig Wasp, if I can figure out an authentic period set up, but don't know yet if she will be restored for sailing. I am still getting to know the model, and won't touch her until I am sure that I know what I am doing.
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roycv

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2020, 01:55:58 pm »

Hi well done with the not touching her until you know what to do.  Can you take a photo of the marks in the deck in more relation to the tiller position etc?
The main boom is enormous, almost certainly a gaff rig, have you got the mast?  In fact how much have you got?
The hull and deck condition look very good.
I contacted and later got to know the Chairman of the Vintage model yacht group here in the UK and showed him an old yacht (circa 1904) that I have, he commented on its relatively good condition and said:-

"It was probably not much good racing and got put in the loft"!  Damned with faint praise indeed.

regards
Roy


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Cutter

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2020, 02:10:23 pm »

Wasp was originally a yawl, and was later dressed as a cutter with that extra-long boom, probably for display rather than use. Although large she displaces only 20 lbs and can't carry that amount of sail.
A cutter's mainmast should be much further aft.
The crutch that supports her boom today sits in the mast coat for the mizzenmast.
Other than the short bowsprit I have no other spars, and no sails or rigging. She was acquired locally in the 1980s by a member of that Long Island club,  evidently as a derelict hull.  He restored her cosmetically and she was one of the boats in an exhibit marking the club's centenary in 1998.
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Cutter

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2020, 02:30:00 pm »

Here are some more photos of Wasp's steering gear and those mysterious marks on the deck.
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roycv

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2020, 02:38:55 pm »

Hi the lock down screw looks superflous as shown. 

Could it be that it is sitting in its resting place and when in use is taken out and put into one of the holes so just limiting the movement in one or other direction?  Are the holes by any chance threaded?

Then the row of knobs would be to vary the tension on the elastic for centring the tiller.  Just a light tension for light winds etc.
Parts of the Braine steering make provision for having a different 'stop' placed either side of the tiller.
regards
Roy
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Cutter

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2020, 04:14:22 pm »

A good thought Roy, but the holes are not threaded. The screw in the reverse end of the tiller terminates in a pin that fits into the holes.
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tarmstro

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Re: Pre-Braine gear gear
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2020, 05:18:34 pm »

My father around 1960s kinda "invented" a system that looks similar to the pictures. He had no Internet, of course, and no access to any single person doing model sailboats.... trial an error only. What I remember is this:
  • Elastic was holding the tiller to the front - kike the picture above - you could change the position of the elastic to change the tiller centering force
  • the stubs for the elastic were located in a plate that could rotate - rotation point was at the front of the plate
  • over same rotation point there was a vertical post with an T-shape on top - the top part of the T has several little holes (like a servo horn)
  • main boom had two sheets, attached to points on the hull sides - one for each tack. Each sheet went through its own sheeting point, through a common turning point near the base of the mast, and then to the T
The idea was that when wind blows harder, it used the sheet to move the tiller to the windward side, turning the boat to leeward.  Pretty basic but worked, thought knowing what we know nowadays I do not recommend this setup. Also, it used a thin fishing line attached to the bow for retrieval: let it sail away from you until the line runs out, then a gentle pull made it tack back to you....
 :embarrassed:


BTW the sailboat had a LOA of 45cm....



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