Nautile aka Charles Hamel's personal pages

page 2
   page 1     page 3     page 4   page 5    




(by 'unknown' I am meaning : not in ABoK's splices or any other English language books 
I happened to have read)

I found it in Paris Musée National de la Marine

Museum was founded by Charles X King of France in 1827.
It reunite all the precedent "royal collections" of The Kingdom of France that were
previously dispersed in Royal Naval Yards, Royal Ropes Factories, Royal Arsenals.

Contrary to what is too often the case in many museum or private collections  the greater
part of the models are in their original state, the rest having been restored using exacting
search of historical archives to get back to the original condition.
In the work shop there they even make their own cordages to specs !

This  one of a kind astonishing piece is not a reconstruction but an authentic piece.
No other instance of this kind of splice is known  :
 'épissure en boudin' / 'pudding splice' or 'sausage splice' if I go word by word.

It is a short fragment of " un maître-cable". Words means " a master-cable" but my 18th
bilingual Marine Dictionary Français-Englais/French-English say that the correct translation
is 'sheet-shot'.
This cable was for the vessel main anchor.

It was salvaged off the wreck of Le Juste

The yellowish cordage marks the restored parts, following in that the rule of professional
restoration. Restored parts are are to be made conspicuous even to the lay person's eyes.

It is presented in such a manner that the viewer can imagine being underwater looking
upward toward the surface to look at the cable entering the sea and leading to the anchor.

The 'maître-câble' was used to manoeuvre the ship great anchor weighting approximatively
3 metric tons.

A 'maître-câble' usually comprised 3 "touées" .
[ 'touée', a  word no longer in use in France.
 - - - as a noun it denotes the unit length shot when anchoring.  It is also the length
of a tow-line, about 120 brasses (French fathoms ) or 194,4 metres ( remember we use ','
and not '." for the decimal part so this is almost 200 meters )
- - - this is also the final length of  laid cordage in an over 300 metres long ropewalk -  
( La Corderie Royale de Rochefort was the longest ropewalk in the world in the
17th : 340 m.)
---" touer", as verb,  means the action of  pulling a ship using an immerged anchor.
 I believe that for you it is using a kedge anchor, ] .

This salvaged splice allow the supposition that this particular one was made with at least
2 "touées".  Usually it was 3 'touées'.
There are approximatively 1800 hemp yarns in this cable.

"Le Juste" wreck was that of  a 74 guns (in fact  70 to 80) launched in 1724.
In 1759 it ran aground on "Basse du Vert", and sank.
That was after leaving  River Loire estuary where it had taken refuge following
  La Bataille des Cardinaux / the battle of the Cardinals  against the British Royal Navy.
( Les Cardinaux are rocks off Brittany - Morbihan - which in these days sport a lighthouse,
 East of Belle-Île  island ).
The wreck was found, by happenstance, 4 miles (maritime mile) South of La pointe de
Chemoulin by 10 meters of depth.
Soon identified this frigate buried in the silt had its guns salvaged. Some can still be seen
on Brittany south coast were they were put to fire in anger during the war waged by
Louis XV King of France.

Note that from yarn to cordage its formulation is Z S Z (for 3 strands)
(different from these one which are Z S S  (for 3 strands).
All of these cordages are historical pieces (I regret that a cable of huge section has
disappeared from public view)

At each of the extremities of the splice proper, the strands are disposed around the cable
in an helicoidal coil which is seized around it :  3 strands of cable -6 strands splice-
3 strands of second cable.
Photographies should be clearer in meaning that my words.

Using 3 coloured ropes on each side instead of  the 3 strands of the a full rope on each side
I made this repro of it.
I thought that  I had got the right interpretation of the central part
                                               ...provisionally at least until...

Compare with what using 3 fully unlaid strands on each rope  with the "rythm" of a usual
I used this algorithm for the splice.

...provisionally at least until. I tried a different algorithm which give this appearance which
seems to me to be in greater accord with original

So...again provisionally I think I got it right...
Do not forget when making judgement the 'scaling' effect.
Here it is not changing the cordage size but putting less splice in.

I think that the reason not to do it the usual way is...geometry.
Much more compactness in the splice using "Le Juste" 's way. But may be I am wrong
in the interpretation of what I believe I am seeing.

Come to think of it green and red are the colours of La Légion Etrangère, one the most
ancient corps d'élite. Honor to them all " French by the blood shed".

This is the situation on  2006 Sept 29th

To be eventually continued...with a 'in the rope' reconstruction ( only noble cordage : hemp ! ;-) ). 


CANOT A MISAINE RIGGING ( canot à misaine )

Canot à misaine ( mizain sloop ? I am not really sure it can be translated ) is a traditional
boat of Le Morbihan specific of the south coast of Brittany.

It was manned by one or two men, the mast can be put up and down by a man alone and
some 'canot' did not even had not any rigging to the mast.

Nowadays models take the 'lines' but are full of metal where it was wooden pieces and they
are decked.
There are very scarce original ones remaining  that are under the protection of enthusiasts.

This particular one in Le Musée de la Pêche in Concarneau is a very old one showing
traces of how hard it worked at sea.



This boat, from the end 19th-early 20, is in Le Musée de la Pêche in Concarneau..

This particular boat actually hunted 'cachalot', ( Physeter Catodon ; Physeter Macrocephalus).
This whaler is bigger by 2 metres than the whale boats that were 'attached' to a main ship.
Reason is this one was autonomous, hunting alone, and not depending on a mother ship.
I am told that it is closely related to Bedford whalers.

The rigging is simple and very astute : eyes at the head of the mast, maintaining themselves by
shear tension it seems and a tensioning device that many will recognize in this diagram.

Copyright 2005 Sept - Charles Hamel / Nautile -
Overall rewriting in August 2006 . Copyright renewed. 2007-2012 -(each year of existence)

Url :