For this work, sections were generated for all the frames and not just the surmarked frames, although only the surmarked frames are included in the final presentation drawings. The original graphic investigations of the design method were not simply based on the reconstructed outlines of the frame sections; instead, composites of scaled-down recordings of the original timber components were used for all such work. This was done to minimize any departure from the original curves cut by La Belle's shipwrights. Furthermore, to assure accuracy, these drawings and all subsequent graphic research was done at a 1:10 scale.
The study of La Belle's design and construction was greatly facilitated by the high percentage of the original hull preserved and its distribution. The better-preserved starboard side represents 49 percent of the complete original starboard side of the vessel as reconstructed. Relative to the hull below the reconstructed level of maximum beam, preservation goes up to 71 percent. Since most of the change in curvature on a hull occurs below the maximum beam, this high percentage should correlate with the reliability of the reconstructed hull shape. These percentages take into account the sides of the hull, the centerline timbers as well as the area of the transom, but they do not include the surface area of the upper decks. Decks represent a large area, but, once the run of a deck is determined, its general shape and structure are relatively easily reconstructed with the help of historical records.
Although the preservation of La Belle's hull falls off at the forward and after ends of the vessel, several features of its distribution benefit the process of hull reconstruction. The percentage of preservation reduces from amidships forward and aft fairly gradually and evenly until abruptly falling off after frames VIIIIA–XA forward and frame XIIID aft (Figure 8). As a result, the curvature of the bilge is preserved along most of the vessel's starboard side. Even with an abrupt reduction in preservation at the extreme ends of the vessel, at minimum the bottoms of all of La Belle's original frames, with the exception of the fashion pieces, are preserved. Furthermore, there is sufficient preservation of the lower ends of both the stem and sternpost to project their as-built shapes with great reliability.
When uncovered, La Belle's spine had a general twist along its length and was cracked at the keel scarf with the forward section depressed downward. Furthermore, the hull was pushed upward where it rested on the starboard bilge, and the upper part of the hull forward was splayed out and pulled aft. These various deformations were fairly easy to identify and account for in recreating the as-built orientations of the timber remains. Three partially preserved bulkhead partitions as well as a forward hull platform served as useful checks for reconstructing the transverse shapes of the hull as well as the curvature of the lower hull forward. NEXT
© 2014 TARAS PEVNY