HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

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HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

Post by GemmaJF » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:17 am

Early days for a build log, but as there is no separate research section on the forum I thought it might be fun to document this project from first thoughts through to the build. Hopefully it will generate some interest and further research sources too!

Why the Ferret?

I arrived at the Ferret through a slightly odd route. I have a big interest in the golden age of piracy. Sparked by movies the interest soon led to wanting to know about the real pirates and the ships they used. I quickly learnt that ships like the Queen Anne's Revenge were not the norm. Mostly pirates sailed in small, fast, shallow draught vessels. Essentially at the time what was known as a 'sloop'. The tactic of hit and run, or at times simply run, was an essential element to a pirate's career. Beaching and careening the vessel on a regular basis was necessary to give a speed advantage to a pirate ship, and was much easier with a small vessel. The small sloops could use river systems and shallows to hide in.

So an interest in piracy led to an interest in sloops. One then finds there is not so much known about the actual sloops used by pirates. This is not really so much of a surprise, they wanted to remain hidden from the public as much as possible and many of the ships were scuttled or burnt for one reason or another. So that then leads to what do we know about sloops in the early 18th Century? Which led me directly to a plan at the National Maritime Museum of HMS Ferret:

http://prints.rmg.co.uk/art/495547/ferret-1711

Essentially just a hull plan, so not a great deal to go on and nothing to indicate the rigging.

Help on MSW led to further research sources:
Ferret research.jpg
Ferret research.jpg (324.69 KiB) Viewed 1018 times

Model Shipwright #59 - Has an article on a model built by Dana McCalip of the HM armed Sloop Ferret (yep it's our 1711 Ferret :D )

The Sloop of War 1650-1763, Ian McLaughlan - plenty of references and some illustrations of the 1711 Ferret

The Search for Speed Under Sail 1700-1855, Howard I. Chapelle - still to look at this but other sources cite a speculative deck plan for the Ferret

(This only arrived this morning, this particular book dates from 1967, the year I was born! Was picked up from Abe books for a very reasonable sum of 9 GBP. I've had a very brief flick through the book, plenty of other interesting things as well as the Ferret. It also has that awesome smell of a book that is 50 years old :D )


So that is it the story so far. I know the Ferret started life with a single mast, but ended up with two masts and snow rigged. I also know there were some other sloops with very similar specification built at the same time, source the Admiralty Dimensions Book 1660 - 1764:

Deptford, 1711

Ferret

Sharke

Happy

Woolwich, 1711

Hazard

Deptford, 1710

Tryall

Jamaica

All these sloops had very similar dimensions and tonnage


Kit wise the nearest seems to be HMS Sharke (1711) by Sergal:

http://www.cornwallmodelboats.co.uk/aca ... harke.html

I'm considering purchasing this kit as a taster between finishing the Pearl and starting the Bounty.

The HMS Ferret however will be scratch built POB.

I will follow up with a short history article on the Ferret.

There were other 'Ferrets', so just to make it clear this project concerns the sloop built in 1711 at Deptford.
Last edited by GemmaJF on Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

Post by GemmaJF » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:19 am

HMS Ferret 1711 – history

Credit for this article is given to Dana L McCalip – I reproduce it here as a paraphrased summary for those who do not have a copy of Model Shipwright #59 handy, where the original and much more technically detailed article was published in March 1987.

Edit: having read the Chapelle book, perhaps I ought to credit the paraphrased notes below to Chapelle!

Design Requirements

In the early eighteenth century the Royal Navy recognised a need to procure a number of small fast ships. The main role of these ships being escort and patrol duties in the English Channel.

To fill this requirement a number of sloops were built during 1710 and 1711 at Deptford and Woolwich.

The ships were designed to carry a relatively heavy armament comprising of 10 – 12 four pounder carriage guns and a number of swivel guns mounted on stocks.

To meet the required displacement to carry the heavy armament, the relatively small ships were built with a very full midships section. Conversely, to meet the necessary speed requirement they had also to be very fine at both ends. These two design elements led to a very distinctive appearance to the hull. (and I think some 'interesting' handling characteristics!)

An additional feature was the inclusion of ‘sweep ports’. The sweeps (oars) had a dual purpose of propelling the sloop in calm weather and also as a tactical aid to turn the ship rapidly to bring the guns to bear in battle.

The rig of these small vessels was relatively massive. It is known that the Ferret was originally built with a single mast. (which may have been a little unusual at the time)

Service History

Unfortunately very little appears to be known about the service history of any of these craft. We do know that HMS Ferret was captured by the Spanish in Cadiz Bay in 1728. At the time she had been fitted with two masts, rigged either as a brig or snow.

Situationsplan_von_Cadiz.jpg
Situationsplan_von_Cadiz.jpg (97.2 KiB) Viewed 957 times
This image comes from the 4th edition of Meyers Konversationslexikon (1885–90). The copyrights have expired and this image is in the public domain

It would be fascinating if it were possible to unearth any further information on the Ferret’s 17 year Royal Navy career or even her fate after capture by the Spanish, so if anyone comes across any snippets or information or further leads I would be fascinated to hear about them.

At one time in history 'sloop' referred to a type of rig. In 1711 'sloop' commonly referred to a type of vessel, which could be sloop rigged, brig or snow rigged (just to make life nice and confusing ;-) )
Last edited by GemmaJF on Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

Post by zoly99sask » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:15 pm

Hi Gemma,I really like this,I like Brig-sloops,my next build is gonna be POB scratch build brig-sloop,snow rigged. I am following this with a great interest!

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Re: HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

Post by GemmaJF » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:26 pm

Great to have you on-board Zoltan! Brigs and sloops seem to have been rather overlooked in books and kits in favor of the 'rated' ships. Time to put that right. ;-)
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Re: HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

Post by GemmaJF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:46 am

Exciting day, the NMM plans for the Ferret have arrived :banana-dance:

Ferret Plans.jpg
Ferret Plans.jpg (142.19 KiB) Viewed 913 times

There is no deck plan, but Chapelle gives a speculative one, McCalip altered this so it made more practical sense and McLaughlan further develops McCalips ideas. So I think I have a 'plausible' layout for the deck. McLaughlan also sheds enough light on the rig to have a proper go at modeling the Ferret.

I am building the Ferret as a first step towards getting closer to pirate sloops (Jamaica Sloops were favoured by many pirates, superior speed and made of Cedar the worms didn't eat the hulls) there is an excellent academic paper here:

http://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/o ... m/PDF/view

It is a heavy read but one might see how it is possible to start to get close to a particular ship or type of ship where there is no known surviving plan, by studying earlier designs and then the trends in future developments. The Ferret is very much the start of the story. :D
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Re: HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

Post by GemmaJF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:04 pm

I recently mentioned elsewhere that many British designs were developments of captured French ships. What is interesting is there were 'sloops' in the English Navy before the Ferret and her sister ships.

These earlier sloops were not very successful though, nearly every single one of them being captured by French privateer ships. These French privateers were fast and well armed and would hunt in pairs and the poor old slow poorly armed English sloops stood no chance against them. This is a typical example of the 'stuffy' Navy Board not wanting to innovate or develop new ship designs, preferring instead to build everything to the 'rule book' rather than risk experimenting with designs. (this might seem like a rather irreverent statement, but it should be tempered with the knowledge that some very promising designs were reject on grounds of cost and politic).

That the 1711 Ferret heralds a 'new' era in British sloop design can be linked with the capture of a single French ship.

The 'Advice Prize'

She was a captured French privateer, Le Saint-Sulphice, if one compares the plans at the NMM, one can easily see the lines of the French privateer being transferred to the 1711 Ferret and her sisters:

Advice prize: http://prints.rmg.co.uk/art/494184/untitled

1711 Ferret: http://prints.rmg.co.uk/art/495547/ferret-1711

So it only seems fair to state the story of the successful fast and heavily armed British sloops really starts with the Advice Prize. (Credit to Ian McLaughlan for identifying the link). The 1711 Ferret and her sisters are the first to benefit from the lines of the captured French Privateer.
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Re: HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

Post by GemmaJF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:48 pm

So what next, copy the Ferret plan, bung it in CAD hey presto model designed. Well not quite. Firstly we know the plan is not really an engineering drawing (though at a casual glance it could be mistaken for one), so it will need some work. It is probably somewhat distorted already, paper moves over time and it has already gone through at least one copying process. So the first step will be to get it into Photoshop and have a go at roughly removing any distortion that can be determined.

As it is my first go at developing a model of a ship in CAD, I need plenty of references and understanding of the process, rather than attempting to re-invent the wheel. Fortunately there is a run of articles in Model Shipwright giving guidance to both interpreting admiralty plans and the structure of period ships, that is handy. I do have some experience of the process with steam engines (locomotives to a lot of you) and plenty with aircraft, so just some adjustments needed to fall in line with what is traditionally logical with ships. (Intentionally optimistic understatement)

There is some guy called DaveS (no idea who he is ;-) ;-) ;-) ), who ran a thread on this on MSB. That might help a lot too! Anyone interested in the process, take a look here:

http://modelshipbuilder.com/e107_plugin ... php?4506.0

For this project I am not aiming at POF or admiralty style build. I am more interested in the lines of the hull. Without wanting to sound too disrespectful to anyone or the long tradition of admiralty models, the frames do not concern me too much, not at this stage, it is a POB build right now and one could assume that given a fully developed and corrected hull profile in CAD, one could if desired add the frames as a subsequent rework of the project.

The interest for me now is getting the lines of the hull, build the model and then see how those lines can be developed towards the Jamaica sloops used by pirates.
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Re: HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

Post by zoly99sask » Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:15 pm

Hi Gemma,this is very interesting I will be watching this build,that link is interesting from MSB,I want to build the Hms Ontario in POB but should be nice to have an Ontario cross section beside her,I have to contact Dave to see if he can help with a Pof cross section plan .

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Re: HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

Post by GemmaJF » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:10 pm

Thanks Zoltan, glad the material is of interest. :handgestures-thumbup:

The Ontario was (is!) a very pretty ship.

Have you seen this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yex5ymLKqOw

Will enjoy your build of the Ontario when you are ready.
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Re: HMS Ferret (1711) 1:48

Post by Canoe21 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:09 am

Hello Gemma

Your HMS Ferret looks like a very ineresting little ship to build. She reminds me of the HMS Bounty but a bit larger, she should be a joy to build along with many hours of enjoyment. Will be waiting for this one, ENJOY.

Regards Canoe21 {Lawrence}
canoe21 { Lawrence }
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