Noticeable equipment and structural elements .1.

The Rudder

4 steps clearance of the rudder (Drawings by M. Guérout)
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- Remains of the rudder -
Archaeonautica no9, p.33, pic.11 - E. Rieth
The lower part of the rudder consists of a 1.45 m-long oak sole supporting remains of the rudder blade, itself made up of four poplar pieces laid at a back angle of 78°. The rudder is 27 cm thick, and is reinforced laterally by wooden strengthening pieces, by a pin crossing the four remaining parts of the rudder blade, and also by iron hinges that were probably used for goosenecks fixing.

The wrecks of the Mary Rose (1545) and that of the Basque whale boat Red Bay (the presumed San Juan, dated 1565) are the only 16th century wrecks still equipped with, respectively, a partially preserved rudder and an entire rudder

Its 1.45 m width is almost equivalent to the 1.44 metres of the rudder found on the 18th century 74 cannons vessel.

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- Reconstruction of the rudder -
Drawing by Roberto Greco

The Ports

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- A port and a flap in situ -
Photo by C. Pétron
We found a port, with its flap still in place, together with the section of another flap. The first port is almost certainly a gunport. This is particularly interesting since gunports are known to have been invented at the very beginning of the 16th century. The gunport discovered is therefore one of the most ancient of this type.
The port was bored above a stringer, 60 cm above the first deck.
The opening is 78 cm wide and 64 cm high. The lower part is formed of the ends of three frame futtocks located exactly at the level of the upper part of the stringer, or 1.60 metres above sea level.
The hull is reinforced around the port thanks to a particularly careful assembling of the two pairs of frame futtocks on each side of the hole. This is a double Jupiter assembling technique: the two Jupiter cutting lines are performed on two perpendicular planes.
The upper part of the hull above the port had not been preserved.

The flap itself consists of 7 elements assembled with iron nails: three horizontal plankings strengthened inside by three vertical cross beams laid on a horizontal block. Two vertical iron pieces cover the flap's planking on the outside.
The flap opened by pivoting around its upper edge.
At the time of discovery, it was caulked with packing, which proves that there was a fear of water infiltrating inside the ship with this type of opening.

The location of the lower part of the port above the first deck allowed the use of the gun discovered on its carriage, and the use of small wheels (30 cm of diameter).

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- Barrel in battery -
Drawing by R. Greco
Two archaeological references are available: - the Mary Rose wreck (1545) whose ports were probably fixed at the time of its reconstruction in 1536 (passage from a hull built according to a lap joint technique to a carvel planking technique); - the Aurigny wreck (1592), where a 46 × 37 cm port flap with two vertical iron pieces was found.

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- A Flap -
Photos by M. G.

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- Schems of the founded flap -
Drawings by M. G.

The powder hold

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- Powder kegs -
Drawing by M. G.
The remains of the powder hold were discovered thanks to the presence of 21 kegs containing a black powder, which after analysis was identified as charcoal: the only substance in powder (made of saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal) that did not dissolve in the water.
The study of the powder hold was carried out on the basis of several preserved elements: pillars, floor and partitions. Its structure, volume and the methods according to which the hold was built have thus been studied.
The hold is located at the stern of the ship, at a place where structures vary considerably: the total width of the hold at beam level is 6.40 metres for its back partition, while its front partition is only 4.40 m wide. These two partitions are at a distance of 1.85 m, and height under the orlop deck beam is 1.20 m. It is not known for sure if the hold went higher than this beam.
If this was the case, then 60 to 70 powder kegs could possibly be stored in the hold, each keg containing 35 to 40 litres on average.
No special protection was noticed on the floor or on the partitions, which is contrary to the safety requirements of that time.
The location of the powder hold at the stern of the ship, while it would later be located at the back (particularly in France), was probably due to the fact that the kitchen was at that period traditionally placed on a firebrick sole at the back of the ship. The presence of an open fire was probably the reason for the powder being kept as far away as possible from the kitchen. This location appears clearly on a Genoese building contract that we have studied.
This is the only known indication of such a type of hold location.

© Max Guérout