It has been possible to establish the length and height
of the Beagle’s forecastle and poop decks within a few inches.
The bulwarks remain the same as before the Beagle’s captain FitzRoy had the deck raised 12in forward and Sin aft.
This was suggested by John Chancellor, whose magnificent painting of HMS Beagle in the Galapagos has now been reproduced .
His suggestions have been helpfu l in many ways and this one is corroborated in one of FitzRoy’s letters to
the Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty’s Navy, July 9th, 1831:
“The Beagle is ordered to carry only two six pound guns,-therefore raising the deck will not be of consequence as respect the guns, and their ports.
By making this alteration, the stowage and comfo rt of the vessel will be very greatly increased.
She will be much dryer upon deck;-Her waist will be less deep, and as she carries only two guns, the stability of the vessel will not be affected … “
11 The concern of the Beagle’s commander did not, in the end , keep him from carrying four six pound brass guns,
Outboard Profile two nine pounders, also of brass, and a six-pound boat carronade.
The positions of these is described by FitzRoy. 12 After the voyage, FitzRoy is able to comment that raising the deck.
” … afterwards proved to be the greatest advantage to her as a sea boat, besides adding materially to the comfort of all on board .”
The hammock rail , channels and chains are based upon contemporary paintings and drawings made by the Beagle’s artist, Conrad Martens, and her officers, as well as Admiralty draughts.
13 Although Captain FitzRoy mentions ” hammock netting” in his Narrative, there is a possibility that he was using a phrase which remained in use long after true hammock nettings were abandoned.
Inconclusive evidence suggests that the Beagle’s hammock ” nettings” may actually have been hammock boarding, commonly in use by 1831.
The angles of the chains seen on Draught #3861 shown here are interesting as they confirm
Outboard Profile the heights of the masts in John Edye’s Naval Calculations, which I’ll take up later under ” Sail Plan.”
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