Employing clear draughtsmanship this book explores the rigging of typical period fore-and-aft vessels, those like Seaflower, the tops’l cutter in which Kydd sailed around the Caribbean.
Author Lennarth Petersson deploys three typical eighteenth-century types – an English cutter, a three-masted French lugger and an American schooner – to represent variations. Illustrations for these ships include full profile and deck plan, belaying plan, topmast shrouds and jib in a complete working examination of these craft.
The American schooner section has the most illustrations, reflecting the complexity of this vessel.
The author is a professional illustrator and amateur model maker. His first book, Rigging Period Ship Models concentrated on the three masted square sail ship rig and it seems fitting to follow this with fore-and-afters.Joseph Conrad wrote, in The Mirror of the Sea, of their special beauty:
A fleet of fore-and-afters at anchor has its own slender graciousness. The setting of their sails resembles more than anything else the unfolding of a bird’s wings; the facility of their evolutions is a pleasure to the eye. They are birds of the sea, whose swimming is like flying…
Rigging Period Fore-and-Aft Craft features some 200 diagrams showing where each item of standing and running rigging is fitted, led and belayed.
The book brings a visual clarity to the complexities of period rigging and will delight anyone with an interest in the rigging of traditional fore-and-aft craft. It’s not just for modellers but a boon to traditional seafarers and readers of historical fiction also. I know I’ve consulted Petersson’s earlier title many times, and this one will as well take its respected place on my reference shelves.