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Capstan and History by Red Dragonette

Capstan and History

Red Dragonette

One of the places found at Nelson's Dockyard. I took a picture of the Capstan, but I didn't know there was also a house to take a picture of, which is why I don't have it to go along with the second sign at the bottom.

Capstan Restoration
"The Capstan House was destroyed in a 1925 hurricane and never rebuilt. In 1950, the old wooden capstans were removed by the crew of the visiting Canadian frigate HMCS Ontario and new replicas were built and installed in 1952 by sailors of the HMS Devonshire and HMS Enard Bay.

In 2004, they were rebuilt once again by shipwright Jerry "Chippy" Bardoe of Cobb's Cross."

The Capstan House
"Around 1807, a central Capstan House was built to heave down ships for careening. Prior to this, capstans were mounted on the hulk of a decommissioned ship moored along the waterfront were used as a careening pit. The Capstan House was built in the post-and-beam style, typical of the other wooden structures in the Dockyard. The ground floor was open to allow the working of the capstans, but the roof above had a floor creating a loft above where the seamen were quartered during the careening of their ships.

Capstans were simply large winches and ropes from the ships masts were wrapped around them, the ship crew then turned the capstans, pulling the ship down onto its side. When in position, the main mast was secured to the stone heave down the blocks nearby. It is reported that the turning of the capstans was accomplished by a fiddler who played sea shanties to keep the men in time; however it was against regulations for the men to sing along. Officers believed that only they should be heard and singing would interfere with them giving orders."