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November 2014
Vol 4, Issue 11


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:

The Nautical Research Guild conference in St. Louis, MO last month was a blast. It was good to renew old acquaintances and make new ones. There was a lot of interest in our display model of CSS Alabama, which we brought even though it was not completely finished yet.

Of course, October brought Halloween, and we like to dress up for it. Lisa, Jamie and Lee Anne were "Charlie's Angels"

(L-R) Evan, Billy, Ruth, Jamie, Lee Anne, Nic, Lisa, Al, Dave, Josh

Here's a close-up of the Angels:

In addition, the town of Searsport holds a Scarecrow and Pumpkin contest on Columbus Day weekend. Here are BlueJacket's entries. Deck Ape Dudley got a first place, and Billy's "Death Star" carving received a second place.


In This Issue
Nautical Terms
Model of the month
Something Fun
Tip of the Month
final message
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Nautical terms and origins

Alidade - An instrument for taking bearings.  This term came, through Middle English and Latin, from the Arabic word albidadah, for turning radius.

Dasher Block - A small block at the aftermost gaff peak of a sailing vessel, used for the ensign, also for signal hoists. It is also a block for a studding sail boom outhaul.  In both applications it was also called a jewel block, possibly because of its small size.  The derivation of dasher is not known.

Tabernacle - A hinged socket at deck level for a mast, to enable it to be lowered.  When the term became a nautical one is uncertain, but masts could be so lowered when changing from sail to oars in the Viking longships.  The term probably started as a nickname, because of its appearance.

Widowmaker - The name given to the long, low-stived bowsprit on a New England fishing schooner.  To be out on one in heavy seas was not a safe place to be.

Information is from the book "Origins of Sea Terms" by John G. Rogers
copyright 1985 Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc. and available from BlueJacket. 
Model of the Month - Extreme Clipper Sovereign of the Seas
Launched out of Boston in 1852  and built by Donald McKay, the Sovereign of the Seas is famous for setting the world's record for fastest sailing vessel in 1854.  Her trip from Honolulu to New York took only 82 days, and the record stood for over 100 years at 22 knots (25 mph).

Ron B. of Tulsa, OK was kind enough to  share his model with us.  According to Ron, he found plans in the James Bliss & Co. catalog in 1958 and bought them. However, when he saw the plans at 1/8" = 1' scale, he knew he wanted a bigger  scale, so he re-drew them at 3/16" = 1'. He got as far as the hull, deck planking timberheads and bulwarks, sanded and painted.  By then it was 1959, and family, jobs, school, and a couple of moves intervened for the next 50 years. (Sound familiar?)

FAST FORWARD to 2007, and Ron's kids are grown, he's retired, and had the itch to finish the model.  Actually, the "itch" never left him, it just got sidetracked. Some of the joints needed to be filled, but otherwise Ron went ahead and made the deck furniture from blocks with stripwood trim. The masts are square poplar, turned down to the proper diameters.  The yards were machined from rock hard maple. Yard hoops and irons are brass.

Ships boats are built-up with styrene strips and sheet.  The oars are brass rod and sheet.  Ron even machined his own belaying pins from brass.

The only components that were purchased are some Britannia metal fittings, cordage and chain.  All the rest is scratched form wood, plastic and brass.

Building the model was a tremendous learning experience for Ron, not only in regard to clipper model building, but also what went into the full-size vessel.  Ron found the book "The American-Built Clipper Ship" by Wm. L. Crothers, and it was a revelation to him.

To quote the end of Ron's letter to me, he says "And now when I look at the finished model, knowing what it took me to build it, I try to envision what it must have taken to complete a full size ship.  That's what makes me stand in awe of the men who built the Sovereign of the Seas."

Ron's model is certainly magnificent, and I am glad he shared it with us. 
What's on the workbench?

Nic's bench: Al has handed off the Alabama to me for rigging, I have commanded our conference room for that purpose. Portland is on hold until the Alabama is done.

Al's bench: Now is Al's time to add all the lettering, wording, and keys to the seven sheets of drawings for the Alabama. In addition, he is finishing up the guns, checking that the photo-etched brass fits correctly.

Something fun

Tip of the Month  - Drill Sizes 
I have a chart taped to the wall at the back of my workbench, listing numbered drill sizes in both inches and millimeters.  I find this very handy, so I thought I would share it.
Thanks for your support


My final message in this newsletter will always be the same because it is what BlueJacket has done for 109 years, and we're not about to stop.


We appreciate our customers, we exist for our customers, and we listen to our customers. What we do is fun, just as I will try to make this newsletter. If you have any suggestions or comments, still, as always, please just give us a shout!


There's nothing I'd rather do than work on, or talk about model boats. Have fun!  




Nic Damuck

BlueJacket Shipcrafters, Inc.