Funnel rigging

Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Yes, that's why they were called 'messengers'...i.e. always available on call. Otherwise, there was no way of re-rigging them unless sending a man up inside ... not a pleasant task I can assure you. Besdies which, very often, the C/O would decide on the spur of the moment to have the funnels washed.

Jim C.

Bob Godfrey

Because they were only one inch in diameter. If you're looking at a full-length photo of the ship it was taken from a distance at which even the funnel's supporting shrouds can be hard to see, and they were 4-inch steel cables. At that range, a one-inch rope is effectively invisible.
David G. Brown

David G. Brown

Beware of mistaking “diameter” for “circumference” when discussing the size of cordage in ship's rigging.

Traditionally, nautical cordage (“rope”) has always been measured by circumference. I've read this is because rope makers quickly learned that the amount of material – hence cost – in making a rope is more easily calculated from circumference rather than diameter. Maybe so, maybe not. But, a “1-inch” manila line in traditional measurement is actually about 1/3-inch in diameter, probably 3/8-inch in reality. This is well suitable for the purpose of a messenger, but hardly big enough to carry a man aloft.

That 4-inch circumference cable works out to be about 1 1/4-inch in diameter, which matches what we see in photographs of the funnel stays.

The concept of measuring cordage by circumference may be steeped in tradition, but it's a bit confusing to the uninitiated. These days, American yacht shops sell rope of all sizes up to 1-inch by diameter. Ship chandlers sell larger cordage for commercial use. Everything over 1-inch diameter is still measured by circumference.

Now, it's time for a piece of pi.

– David G. Brown
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Hello David.

Circumference is the essential argument in the formula for detemining the strength and working load of Manila and Hemp ropes.

For occassional lifts use circimference squared divided by 7. (C divided by 7.)
For continuous use it is 1 sixth of the circumference squared divided by 3. (C squared over 3 divided by 6)

The circumference..C... of 1 inch rope is Pi x D = 3.1426 x 1 =3.1416.
3.1416 x 3.1415 = 9.9.
9.9 divided by 7 = 1.14 Long tons. For occassional use. i.e. painting and cleaning work

However for continuous use the same rope would only be used with loads up to 0.56 Long tons
i.e. for use with a snatch block in running tackle used in cargo work.

The use of diameter is mainly for eye-ball purposes. The length of the top joint of an adult human thumb is about
1" It follows that using the thumb as a rough guide, a sailor can determine the diameter of the rope he's using or is sent to fetch.

Jim C.