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Subject: Effect of Full Sails on Battle rss

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Lee K.
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Is there any effect on battle due to a ship being under full sails? I would expect that the additional attention of the crew to the sails as well as added speed would make a ship under full sail less battle ready. But I can't find anything in the rules that explicitly states this.
 
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Pretty sure the effects in battle for being under Full Sail are in the rules. The one thing I do remember is that rigging hits are doubled against a ship under Full Sail.
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Lee K.
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Yes, I saw that. My question is about firing cannons and grappling. Based upon my sailing experience, running under full sails requires additional attention to the rigging, not to mention (espescially if you are sailing before the wind) added speed and other distractions. I would expect that would add challenges to combat maneuvers, espescially grappling.
 
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Gerald Todd
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There are men whose battle stations are in the rigging - the topmen. Their job is the handle the rig.

To increase sail requires a few men to cast off gaskets, and haul up the t'gallant yards. To reduce it they lower the yards and haul in bunts and clews (see the ship pictured on the box lid) It really only take 3-5 men per mast to do either job. In this scale, the effect on gunnery/man-power isn't noticeable.

Based on MY square-rig sailing experience, the whole premise of "men-in-the-rigging" in Tournament WS&IM and Close Action is actually quite silly - it does not take a third of the crew to set or reduce sail, or to monitor it while sailing. If the tops'l were involved, or handling stuns'ls, etc - THEN you might have a case.
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Walt
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A square rig ship is a ponderous ship. It isn't like sailing a little sloop. Typically, they're going to fight at about walking speed, maybe a fast walk. Top speed with a good wind is running speed.

The square sails are mostly just catching wind, without the aerodynamic effects of a modern Bermuda rig, much less an America's Cup airfoil.

So, when the ship needs to turn or adjust its sails for some other reason, there's lots of time. A member of each gun crew leaves the gun and adjusts the sails. So, for a 72 gun 3rd rate, you have an extra 72 men adjusting the sails, out of hundreds.
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Gerald Todd
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But you don't need one from every gun crew to "adjust sails" there's already crew on deck and in the tops whose job that is. It takes 3 men to brace three yards on one mast, that's 9 men total, leave the t'gallants out and you're down to 6. In the scale of this game - that's negligible if even noticeable.

Now, tacking is another matter, and is treated as such in Close Action, not so in WS&IM.
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I was speaking in general, not about WS&IM, specifically; though WS&IM is all about 60 degree turns and wind shifts, which is a complete rearrangement of sails. (I had started talking in terms of a frigate, 24-44 guns, and I probably should have stuck with that.)

In any case, each gun crew is handling a multi-ton monster; Constitution's long guns weigh about 3 tons each, including carriage, and would need a crew of at least a dozen. Each crew has a gun-captain, a swabber, a loader, and so forth. Also, one man of each crew is designated the sail-trimmer and another the boarder; when sail-trimmers or boarders are called for, only these men leave the gun crews and trim or board. (This is exactly set out in the watch and quarter bill so guns can still be fired while the sails are being trimmed; we learned it from the Royal Navy.) Very often, the crews are abbreviated for the side of the ship not toward the enemy, but one quarter bill I see online has 13 men for each pair of guns on Constitution, so she could not fight both sides at the same time.

Even a small frigate is a thousand tons total mass, being pushed through the water with its sails. USS Constitution, a heavy frigate, is 2200 tons, and can be pushed through the water at 13 knots. The sails and rigging have a lot of force on them, and it takes a lot of men to adjust each sail.

A ship, in the strict tall ship sense, has three masts, each of three parts: the fore-/main-/mizzen-mast, the topmast atop that, and the top-gallant mast atop that; it could have quite a few other sails, royals above the t'gallants, and would have several jibs and staysails even if it was reduced to battle sails.

Each square sail hangs from a yard that crosses one of the masts. (In larger ships, the topsails and/or t'gallant sails may be two sails, upper and lower, for each mast, of course.) The yard is adjusted by braces, one at each end. The top of the square sail is fixed to the yard, but the bottom has a sheet at each corner, and the courses (bottom sails) also had clewlines to adjust the shape of the sail. (But, the mizzen, aft, course was lateen- or gaff-rigged; HMS Victory originally had a lateen.)

Bottom line, just adjusting one sail requires a lot of men, and ships have dozens of sails. Since wind speed increases with height, even the smaller upper sails are under a lot of strain. You may notice Constitution usually sails just using her topsails, not using her courses.

Here's a painting of Constitution. Not all sails are rigged, and I doubt the accuracy of sail positions and flags; it's an artist's impression. More detail is in the Wikipedia article.



USN USS Constitution page:
http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=1...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Constitution
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Gerald Todd
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In your painting, the ship is dipping her colors and firing a salute. That and her sail set are completely correct. She's carrying "all plain sail" the highest sail state in Close Action (CA) and what WS&IM refers to as "full sail." The square sails from the bottom up are "corses" "tops'ls" "t'gallants" and "royals" The sails between the masts are stays'ls. The triangular one's up front are technically stays'ls and each has it's own name, but are collectively called "heads'ls." Back aft at the flag is the "driver" sometimes called a "spanker." Stays'ls, heads'ls, and the driver are all fore-and-aft sails like those found on cutters and schooners.

CA's next lower sail state from "plain sail" is "medium sail" which represents the ship with tops'ls and t'gallants, plus fore-and-afts.

The next sail state down in both WS&IM and CA is "Battle Sails" which CA calls "Maneuvering sail" This is fore-and-afts and the three tops'ls - the largest square sail on each mast second from the bottom, as depicted in the image on WS&IM's box cover.

Note in that image that the courses, and t'gallants are NOT FURLED, but "hanging in their bunts." A few lines were pulled from the deck and the tops to bundle up the sails to their yards. This is how sail states are changed in-game. When you reduce from "medium sail" to "maneuvering sail" in CA, or "full sail" to "battle sail" in WS&IM a few men loose the sheets, haul the bunts and clewlines, and lower the t'gallant yards to get the ship to the state shown on the box cover. To increase sail, they do the reverse, loosing bunts and clews, hauling up the t'gallant yards, and sheeting the sail home. Hauling the t'gallant yards up would take a minimum of 2 men, "sweating and tailing," but would typically entail 4 to 6 each yard to save time. Blocks and tackle are wonderful things. Let's say the main t'gallant with it's attachments and sail weights 2000 pounds. It's halyard is basically a four part tackle pulling one end of a two part tackle, so to lift this gear up to it's 'set' position requires pulling 250 pounds - this is done tug-of-war style, not yanking it from above, and it's done by men that do this day in and day out, not some yachty sailing a bleach-bottle 6 weekends a year and thinks spinning a winch is hard work.

It takes very little effort to brace yards. Despite Victory's course yard weighing a couple of tons, it's held up with lifts, slings, jeers, parrel, etc, and DESIGNED to pivot. Even with sail set, in a "normal breeze" you could cast off the brace to port, and haul the yard round to starboard all by yourself. Your pals could do the same on the tops'l yard, t'gallant, and royal, so the 4 of you could brace the entire mast's worth of square sails with hardly any effort. More men might reduce the time, but even that is insignificant in the scale of these games.

Your "sail handler" on each gun crew didn't leave his post for every yank at the yards, he responded to "All hands to the braces!" when coming about or some other major sail handling event came up. On liners these fellows would be only in the upper most gun's crews, or would you have the lower deck's crews trudging up and down in the ship every time ol Bob ordered a 60° turn on his log sheet?. These ship's had Marines as well, who also handled lines and served guns.

Neither game supports assigning crew in less than full sections, each about one third of the total. The bottom line STILL is that it does NOT required a crew section to handle sails in the way sails are represented in either WS&IM or CA. It MAY take more time to achieve a change in sail state, especially when increasing sail. It may require a section to tack the ship as just about every sail has to be handled. It may take a section to clear away fallen masts and spars. But the operations that would require a significant number of the crew to perform are not generally represented in these games.
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Walt
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SgtTodd wrote:
In your painting, the ship is dipping her colors and firing a salute. That and her sail set are completely correct.

I wasn't clear. The foresails aren't at the same angle as the main- and mizzen-sails. From the gun smoke, the wind is coming approximately from the viewer of the painting, so while the headsails/jibs look about right, the staysails and spanker are too flat and the pennant is totally wacky: it should be streaming away from the viewer.

SgtTodd wrote:
She's carrying "all plain sail" the highest sail state in Close Action (CA) and what WS&IM refers to as "full sail."

That's very artificial to make the games simpler. Really, you'd use as little sail as you could get away with. More sails are more things to catch fire and fall, though the yards are chained to the mast as part of battle preparation. For example, HMS Shannon vs. USS Chesapeake was a pure slugging match: both captains wanted the fight, so few sails:



On the other hand, you set the sails you need (Constitution being chased by a British squadron):



So, back to the OP, yes, this all does affect the battle, but mostly it's "below the detail level" of WS&IM, just like headings would be finer than 60° increments. Just as in modern racing, a tacking duel is possible, but I don't recall that you can really simulate that in WS&IM.

SgtTodd wrote:
It takes very little effort to brace yards. ...

However, you have to deal with six lines for each course (as I described) and the power of the wind on the sails can be considerable. Modern winches make it seem pretty easy, but I've spent a lot of time in small boats where you're just dealing with pulleys as tall ships used. Even the strength needed to deal with the mainsail of a small boat is considerable in high winds (at least with racing sails instead of the tiny sails they put on rental boats). And, of course, when you tack (or wear), or even just turn 60°, you have a lot of jib and staysail sheets to deal with. You can't just hang sails out any old way and expect to get where you need to go.

SgtTodd wrote:
Your "sail handler" on each gun crew didn't leave his post for every yank at the yards, he responded to "All hands to the braces!"

Uh, no. All hands would be all hands. That order would mean the guns would be abandoned.

SgtTodd wrote:
On liners these fellows would be only in the upper most gun's crews, or would you have the lower deck's crews trudging up and down in the ship every time ol Bob ordered a 60° turn on his log sheet?

On a liner, you might have a point. Still, I've been on HMS Victory, a first rate (largest) three decker, and cleared for action, it's a whole lot of nothing. What were called bulkheads back then we might call curtains; they were nothing, and they were taken down and put in the hold as part of clearing for action. The gundecks are just huge open spaces, with nothing but ladders and the bottoms of masts. And the gundecks are just tall enough to allow the guns to be operated (and people were shorter then), so even from the gundeck (the lowest deck with guns), the climb is only about a dozen feet, and several ladders and hatches allow access to the main deck (the weather deck, the top full gundeck--more guns were on the poop).

SgtTodd wrote:
These ship's had Marines as well, who also handled lines and served guns.

However, regulations did not permit them to be ordered aloft to handle sails. If they were up there, they needed to be in the tops (the platforms at the tops of the [lower] masts), sniping at the enemy (another item below the detail level of WS&IM, IIRC).

"The crew [of a gun] included the captain of the gun, the second captain, a sponger, a fireman, some boarders and sail-trimmers, and a powder-boy, with perhaps a couple of Marines to help in the heaving."--Men of War: Life in Nelson's Navy, p. 30, Patrick O'Brian.

SgtTodd wrote:
But the operations that would require a significant number of the crew to perform are not generally represented in these games.

Not represented in the game, I agree.

Note: Message above corrected: it's about 4 gun crew per ton.
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