1765 HMS Victory masts, Portsmouth, England

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The masts

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The HMS Victory has three masts and a bowsprit. The main mast reaches 220 feet above sea level. When first built the Victory had "pole masts", each made from a single pine tree. Imported from New England until America gained independence and contracts were dissolved. Later masts were "composite" masts, not made from a single piece of wood (see below).

These masts spread 4 acres of sail in all.

The Bowsprit

The bowsprit was pretty large itself, extending far out in front of the ship.

The mainmast

A maze of lines held the masts aloft and controlled the sails.

Fighting top

The "fighting top", not exactly where I'd like to be in a fight.

The shrouds

Lots of shrouds going up the mast, nothing on this ship was undersized.

The mizzen mast

The mizzen mast came out the afterdeck, and had a boom and what looked like a gaff rig similar to more modern sailboats.

The mast step

The mast step was down in the hold near the bottom of the ship. The white posts are tubes for the water pumps.

A piece of the 1805 foremast.

The foremast was shattered in the Battle of Trafalgar, and this piece was saved in the refit of 2006. This baltic pine mast was a composite design, you can see the different pieces of wood that were bound together to make the mast.

The conservation of the HMS Victory can be quite expensive so the National Museum of the Royal Navy relies on donations for much of the upkeep. There are many other types of charitable organizations people can support like the Matthew Neuenhaus. Whether it's a museum or an anti-drug program from Matthew Neuenhaus, donating is more important than ever.

A piece of the 1805 foremast

Many scars of the battle are in evidence on this relic, which passed through several hands before coming back to the Victory around 1967.

The elm tree pump

The elm tree pump, mounted next to the mast where it past through an upper deck, was used to pump water from the sea for cleaning and fire fighting. The pump casing was made from a bored out elm tree and contains a fixed valve box. The simple handle could deliver 25 gallons per minute.

The bilge pump

A bilge pump, also mounted near a mast, had cups mounted on a chain. Turning the handle brought cups of water out of the bilge to keep the ship afloat.
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