In terms of La Belle's scantlings, it should also be noted that the sided dimension of La Belle's keelson is on average 8 inches, the same as the proposed sided dimension for the centerline "design" timbers.

Frame Spacing

It is important to highlight that consistent with conventions of orthographic drawing, the upper points a and b' of the floor diagonals fa (f'a) and fb' (f'b') (Figures 27f, 28b) actually represent points on the endposts. In relation to the design sequence, this concept is illustrated in Figure 20c and in relation to the archaeological remains in Figure 30. Comparison with French drafts from the 1680s as well as analysis of the archaeological evidence suggests that the frame spacing on La Belle was determined relative to the horizontal distance between the endpoints of the floor diagonal on the endposts. In all the French drafts from the 1680s presented in this essay (Figures 6, 7, 19), the last frames both forward and aft whose shapes are developed are located at the ends of the floor diagonal. The last frames with surmarks on La Belle are VIIIIA forward and XIID aft. Since surmarks are found on every third frame, it is reasonable to speculate that frames XIIA and XVD and XVIIID might have also borne surmarks. Since the areas where the surmarks would have been located are not preserved, there is no definitive proof that these marks were there. However, the endpoints of the floor diagonal at the 3'6" and 5'6" heights do fall at the locations of the remnants of frame XIIA and, assuming one more equivalent frame-spacing, at the location of XVIIID (Figure 30).

Relative to frame locations XIIA and XVIIID at the ends of the reconstructed floor diagonal, the midship frame is located 4/10 (2/5) the diagonal's length from its forward end and 6/10 (3/5) from its stern end (Figures 20c, 30). As was mentioned, the midship section is also at 3/8 the design keel length from the keel's forward end and 5/8 from its stern end. If both these ratios were used, then somehow the designer or shipwright had to coordinate them. This may have been accomplished by locating frame XVIIID exactly in-line with the after endpoint of the design keel length.

What is certain is that the length between the floor diagonal endpoints was a primary consideration for establishing the frame spacing. The floor timbers of the surmarked frames are evenly spaced along this length (Figures 20d, 30). The spacing from the labeled face of any surmarked frame floor timber to the corresponding face on the next surmarked frame floor timber is 4 ft 9 inches, and the room and space between any two adjacent floor timbers is 1 ft 7 inches. In the bow, frame XIIA is actually fastened 3 inches aft from where the regular spacing of the other surmarked frames would theoretically place it. Either the positioning of this frame on the steep curve of the stem gave the shipwrights difficulty or they intentionally altered its position to adjust the curvature in the bow. NEXT