Help support TMP

"SURVEY -Tacking a Square-Rigged AoS Warship" Topic

10 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Remember that you can Stifle members so that you don't have to read their posts.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Age of Sail Message Board

Areas of Interest

18th Century
19th Century

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Workbench Article

Building the Langton Anglo-Dutch British 1st Rate

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian is a big fan of the Age of Sail, and these ships really speak to him - he loves transitional eras, and the Anglo-Dutch Wars was one of those.

Featured Book Review

795 hits since 14 Sep 2021
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
Blutarski14 Sep 2021 11:27 a.m. PST

I'm interested to understand the general opinion among AoS gamers as to the time required (number of turns x time unit represented) to tack a frigate, a two-decker, a three-decker under various weather conditions … say: light, moderate, fresh winds.

Look forward to your responses and coments.


pvernon14 Sep 2021 4:11 p.m. PST

I would not tack a square rigged ship unless I had a very experienced crew, too easy to go into irons. I would wear the ship, easy to do and usually faster.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2021 9:37 p.m. PST

Blutarski, would sea state, crew quality and ship's
readiness (rigging, etc) not enter in to the decision ?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2021 6:46 a.m. PST

This might be of interest:


Blutarski15 Sep 2021 8:07 a.m. PST

Good day, Professor Mohrmann.
You are IMO correct on all counts. The ideal scenario would be a good breeze, smooth seas, ship in good repair, and competent officers and crew.

Assuming that to be the case, the question remains – what do we think would be the typical real-world time required to tack ship?

Jean Boudriot ("74 Gun Ship") mentioned as much as 15 minutes might be required to tack a circa-1780 three-decker.


Blutarski15 Sep 2021 8:31 a.m. PST

Hi pvernon,
I don't believe that tacking ship was an intrinsically dangerous maneuver under normal conditions of wind and sea; I certainly have never read of it being considered as such in the historical literature. I do agree that wearing shp was, as a general rule, easier (and safer in connection with a formation maneuver.

But even Wearing Ship (as I understand it) required a certain degree of caution. Once headed Before the Wind and continuing the turn onto the new tack, the rudder would often have to be eased up to prevent possible broaching if any sort of sea was running,. The tactical diagrams of the frigate actions contained in Roosevelt's book on the naval war of 1812 point to such a phenomenon (which in turn suggests that the loss of distance to leeward was not strictly a matter of the ship's nominal tactical diameter. IIRC, I think Harland also made mention of this.

At least that is what I have deduced.


Blutarski15 Sep 2021 8:34 a.m. PST

Hi 79thPA,
Touche'. I'm a subscriber to Mariner's Mirror and the French articles mentioned in the MM forum thread are actually what inspired this TMP thread.

I'm interested to understand what the gamer community thinks on this topic.


dantheman Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2021 1:25 p.m. PST

In the past I shared, in this forum, videos of the Star of India and the Charles W Morgan tacking. Both took under 5 minutes in light wind with volunteer crew, some working for the first time.

The Star is a handier ship than a SOL, but the Morgan is a tub and closer to an 18th century warship.

Interpret how you wish. you can check the web, the videos are still up. It is a real complicated maneuver though, requiring much coordination and sense of timing. Not easy under fire.

Blutarski15 Sep 2021 3:02 p.m. PST

Hi dantheman,
Comparison of the "Star of India" and "C W Morgan" is interesting. "Star of India has a much longer and "finer" hull than that of "C W Morgan" (L/B ratio of ~5.85 versus ~3.9) and it has been my understanding that (other things being equal) shorter and beamier sailing ships (low L/B ratio) were reputed to be handier. One possible distinction is that the "Star of India" was an iron-built ship (hence heavier, with greater impetus) whereas "C W Morgan" was a lighter wooden ship.


dantheman Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 5:39 a.m. PST

What is interesting is that, either way, they tacked in similar time under similar conditions.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.