The Thames Rig Triloboat, continued.
by Vermont Rice
The Thames barge could lie quite close to the wind, especially for a flat-bottom boat–about 55 degrees off. The sprit is rigged with vangs to help control the sail, and it also serves as a very versatile crane with a lot of reach. This seems like an incredibly important feature for a working cargo vessel. All in all, the Thames rig presents a really interesting combination of features all needed by our project’s boat.
I find it amazing that in England, boats like this but up to 80 feet long were usually crewed by just two sailors, especially since they were sailing in the narrow and congested Thames estuary with all its bridges and obstacles. The entire rig is also hinged and can be lowered by the forestay in a very short amount of time. Maybe traditional rigs in our region also had this capability…I’m not sure. At any rate, it will be fun to build this into a physical model (rather than a digital one) that can actually be test sailed. 1/8th scale.