Dressing Properly!

So, one of the things I am quite traditional about is flags. To me, a vessel of any size needs an Ensign, and any boat with sails needs a Burgee. If only to tell which way the wind is blowing. Poor Superfluous had facilities for neither. So, I set out to establish some.

Traditionally, the Ensign is afforded the highest honour, atop the mizzen mast. That’s fairly straight forward on a lugger, just attach a cleat and a block, and run some halyards. To this, I added a nice new 1/2 yard burgee, which is  46 x 23 cm. Although I could theoretically go up to 3/4 yard, (Size: 69 x 35cm) I personally think that would look too big at the mizzentop.

Now, the Burgee is a different issue. It should, in theory, fly from the maintop, however, with the Lugger’s rig, the mast ends much lower than the top of the gaff, as this picture from the original owners manual shows…

Because of that, the Burgee is going to have to be flown from the end of the gaff. I had hoped to use a halyard, but experiments with that have not proven succesful. I think I will have to attach some small blocks to slot and pin/lash the burgee staff to, and use the blocks and halyard on the mast on the rare occasions when the main is not up.

so, on the subject of Burgee and Ensign staff…

Burgee – Drascombe Association
Red Ensign

This is the burgee I have chosen to fly, which belongs to the Drascombe Association. You will note that this features a very familiar looking boat, under sail.

The staff that the Burgee is fitted to is an interesting family heirloom, recently given to me by my Dad. He made it to hoist the ensign to the top of the mizzen mast of the Colvic Atlanta, named “Caldy of Trym” that my parents owned in the late 80’s and 90’s. This was often my job to hoist or lower, or even dip if we passed a naval vessel at sea! NB te burgee has had its rope and toggle removed to fit.

The red ensign has also had its string unpicked, and been fitted to a new staff I made for it. A bit of 4mm brass rod, and a spruce staff all from b and q. I would have preferred hardwood, and stainless, but until I can get to better suppliers, needs must. Gets added to the list of things awaiting varnish.

For those of you who do not know, the purpose of the metalwork is to prevent repeated tacking, gybing, or wind direction changes leaving the flag wrapped around the staff.

The bottom end of the metal is formed into a ring, which fits around the staff, but is free to rotate. A pin through the staff prevents it sliding up. The top of the rod is bent in such a way that it fits into a hole in the top of the staff. It is sized so that the rod has to be bent slightly to clear the wood to get into the hole, and once straightened, can sit freely in the hole, free to rotate, and the bottom ring sits free of the pin.