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Steel's Rigging & Seamanship

The Elements and Practice of Rigging and Seamanship by David Steel, first published in 1794.  Now available with a new Foreword by Dr. Alan McGowan of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.  The offering is a limited edition of 500 copies only.

Rigging and Seamanship was the bible for many midshipmen who joined the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary Wars, Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812.   The coverage includes how to make all the sails, the masts, the anchors, how to tie knots, rig the ship, and actually sail the ship.  Lastly, how to fight the ship.  Where Naval Architecture shows you how to build the hull, Rigging and Seamanship covers everything else which formed part of the ship as well as how to use the ship.

Our customers have been those who care for the worlds great historic ships, as well as model builders around the world.  Although many new publications have been printed in an effort to supplant the work done by David Steel, none achieves the thoroughness of the original.  To know that this is the work that thousands of young sea officers relied upon, makes a very big difference!-

The two volumes Quarto contain nearly 600 pages of which 150 are tables.   These provide all the dimensions for Standing and Running Rigging for every type of ship in the Royal Navy in 1794.  There are also tables which cover the same information for Masts and Yards, and for each and every Sail used onboard every ship, whether of the line or smaller.  There are also 95 plates to illustrate the above and these plates include:


6 plates referring to Mastmaking.

2 plates referring to Ropemaking.

2 plates referring to Anchormaking.

34 plates referring to Sailmaking.

3 plates referring to Blockmaking.

3 plates referring to Knots and Rigging.

4 plates which cover the position of all sails and rigging of a fully rigged ship.

12 plates describing the features of sailing craft from around the world.

2 plates and 2 moveable vovelles describing the sailing of a fully rigged ship.     

3 plates referring to the Mooring, the Stowing, and the use of a ship's Anchors.

19 plates referring to Naval Tactics.

2 Miscellaneous plates which refer to Emergency Rudder Repair, and Awnings on the Upper Deck of a Ship.

Rigging and Seamanship comprises two volumes Quarto (10.6" x 9.2"/ 270mm x 235mm). 

ISBN 978 0 905 887 02 9 Buckram Edition. 

Limited edition of 500 copies only with each having a signed numbered certificate.

Prices:  For estimating the cost of postage, both volumes packed together weigh 5 KG / 11 Lbs.

Bound in Blue Buckram with gilt title and devices housed in two green card cases:  400 plus p. & p. We now have fewer than 200 sets left.

To order, please email for payment details and shipping costs to or telephone us in England on 44 (0) 20 8944 8747.


Rigging & Seamanship.jpg (87323 bytes)                      Sailmaking.jpg (164532 bytes)   

R & S Binding.jpg (79327 bytes)                          Running Rigging.jpg (94207 bytes)