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"Nymphe vs Cléopâtre, 18th June 1793 - Part Two" Topic

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634 hits since 8 Jul 2018
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Red Trotsky Red08 Jul 2018 8:25 a.m. PST

Hi everyone here is part two of my exploration of Post Captain and the frigate action of Nymphe and Cléopâtre.


If you are a glutton for punishment and missed the first part, it is here:


IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2018 1:55 p.m. PST

I have followed your posts (pun intended) with great interest as I have been toying with the idea buying Post Captain.

A superbly well written account of the action using photos of the ships in relation to each other and the wind in conjunction with rule equipment. This makes it much clearer for the reader to follow the action and get a sense as to how the rules work.

Well done! I am looking forward to the next installment.

Red Trotsky Red08 Jul 2018 2:28 p.m. PST

Thanks Iron Duke

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2018 6:24 a.m. PST

Really gives you the feel of a ship to ship action in the Age of Sail – thanks for posting and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Blutarski09 Jul 2018 11:51 a.m. PST

RTR – I do not have a copy of the Post Captain rules at hand. Your AAR states that "Cleopatre's" foremast fell. Does that statement mean to say that her entire mast – lower mast, topmast and topgallant mast – went by the board?


Red Trotsky Red09 Jul 2018 1:55 p.m. PST

Alas for the poor Cléopâtre it was her entire mast that fell. The loss of her jib caused her entire foremast to become sprung – at least that is how I read it – always pleased to be corrected :) I am pretty new to this age of sail wargaming.

Blutarski09 Jul 2018 5:04 p.m. PST

Hi RTR – I'm curious about the logic underlying this in the rules. First, could you clarify one additional point: when it is said that the "jib" was lost, was that referring to the jib boom alone or to the entire bowsprit and jib boom?

The forestay of a three-masted square-rigged ship runs from immediately beneath the fore-top to the head of the bowsprit; if that is severed or the bowsprit is lost, then I would agree that the stability of the entire fore-mast would be compromised. On the other hand, the jib-boom only receives the stays for the fore-topmast and fore-topgallant spars. The loss of the jib-boom would certainly compromise the stability of the upper spars, but I'm not sure that the lower fore-mast would necessarily be put at risk.

Also, the loss of the entire fore-mast would (by my understanding at any rate) pretty comprehensively disable the entire ship in terms of movement and maneuver. The sail plan of a square-rigged ship consisted of fore-sail and after-sail and the two pretty much had to be in balance in order for the ship to sail satisfactorily. The fore-mast carried all the fore sail of the ship (with the possible exception of a sprit-sail yard beneath the bowsprit, which had largely gone out of fashion by the end of the 18th century). Without any fore-sail, the ship would be unable to make way ahead; if the after sail could catch the breeze, the ship would uncontrollably yaw up into the wind when moving. Also, I cannot see how a ship lacking fore-sail would be able to tack; the fore-topsail for example was essential to getting the bow of the ship to fall off the wind.

Please note that I am not by any means criticizing either your conduct of the game or your AAR, which I consider an exemplary (and engaging) piece of work. Just wondering about the rule mechanics. Very much look forward to your next game report!

Strictly my opinion, offered as food for thought.


Stew art Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2018 5:48 p.m. PST

Hi Red,

Another great product / AAR. Fun to read and again, the ships look cool. I get the trim sails now BTW.. : )

@ Red and Blutarski and any one else wondering:
RE: Jib hits.

I admit the rule could be clearer in it's application. It obviously says on the critical hit section that the hit to the job boom makes the foremast sprung, however it's also very clear in the rules that a mast is not one but 3 parts, so fore main / course, Fore top, and fore t'gallant. Each one of these can be sprung individually and an entire mast is NOT sprung like in he AAR. The lost of a mast section makes the mast section directly behind it sprung (also clearly in the rules).

So, this is how I do it: When the Jib boom is taken out by the critical roll, only the fore t'gallant mast is sprung (the upper part). The rest is fine. I think this makes more sense and I think what was intended in the rules. It' still a dangerous situation because the ship also has a rigging check at the end of the turn now…

This would alter you battle… : )

again, another great job. These rules were made for actions like this…

while we're at it, let me offer one more thing; strictly speaking ships take the rigging checks BEFORE rolling for repairs. However, I let ships roll the repairs first just because I feel it'smore sporting to the efforts of the repair crew. : )

so if I did an AAR with much less quality than you, if a pristine ship took a critical jib boom it and the 4 rigging it would go:
take hit, fore t'gallant sprung.
rigging and repair phase, rigging check because no crew is assigned yet to repairs,
assign crew to repairs; one for 2 rigging repair rolls
next 3 phases…
rigging and repair, and allow the ship to roll the repairs first to simulate the hands getting the repairs in place before more damage could manifest..or if they fail then rigging check.

also with sprung masts; let the ships reduce sails right away if they so desire to improve the chances of the mast not falling…

keep up the fun posts!
hopefully I'll have a game or two of PC in 2 weeks.


Blutarski09 Jul 2018 6:01 p.m. PST

Just looked into the details of the historical engagement. Wow.

938 tons
240 men
26 x 12lbr long guns
2 x 9lbr long guns
14 x 32lbr carronades
weight of broadside – 389 lbs
faster sailer

913 tons
320 men
28 x 12lbr long guns
8 x 6lbr long guns
4 x 36lbr carronades
weight of broadside – 286 lbs

Cleopatre pretty much gave as good as she got casualty-wise despite a 4:3 inferiority in weight of broadside and an untimely loss of control due to her mizzenmast having been shot away. She must have had a good crew and captain aboard.


Red Trotsky Red10 Jul 2018 1:10 a.m. PST

Hi guys, thanks for your insights. I am a new recruit to the age of sail genre and lack the detailed understanding of sailing ships as you do.

When the critical hit on the jib boom was taken I did check the rules carefully to make sure I didn't miss anything. The rules state, ‘Results in the loss of the jib boom, disabling the jibs and four rigging boxes.' Because of the four rigging damage – which is quite an extreme result – I thought having the main foremast sprung was reasonable. I will post over at the ODGW forum and check this out – your insight might be correct and the rules are unclear.

Blutarski, the loss of the foremast had pretty well disabled Cléopâtre and appeared to be the end the battle for her, except for another critical hit which changed things around again!
In the rules, the loss of a foremast has the following effects:
Greatly reduced the speed she could sail at. From the rules, ‘Loss of the foremast shifts the center of effort aft, causing a ship's bow to tend upwind. Changing course downwind now requires expending 2 MFs for each Turn Arc shifted to offset it. However, she can NOT tack and can only sail slightly less than 90° to the wind. The lack o' jibs and foresails prevents a higher course or forcing her bow through the eye o' the wind ontae a new tack.'

Stewart, for narrative purposes I might have change the order I have done but I have been following the Game Turn sequence closely. I find assigning crew before knowing the outcome of a repair a little strange but have been doing so. Also, Captain Mullon aboard the Cléopâtre learnt his lesson for not ‘loosing' the sails on a sprung mast… he would not do that again.

The game is completed just need to write it up from my notes…

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