Half hull ships’ Models

15th May 2024

A presentation model of America’s Cup winner America by G. L. Watson

Wooden half hull model ships were constructed by shipwrights as a means of planning a ship’s design and ‘sheer’ and ensuring that the ship would be symmetrical. ‘Sheer’ is a naval architect’s term for the longitudinal curvature of the main deck. This increases volume and buoyancy, which in turn stabilises the vessel by keeping the ends from diving into an oncoming wave and slowing the ship.

Originally half hulls were exact scale replicas of ships before production and were integral to the design and construction processes. Below is an image of the model rooms of the Salem, Massachusetts shipyard and one of Halsey Herreshoff in his work shop.  The Herreshoff family is world famous in yachting circles as they produced a succession of undefeated America’s Cup defenders between 1893-1920.

With the advent of computer design, half hulls are now built after the ship is completed as a gift for the owner or for a sponsoring yacht club. The most glorious model room in the world is that of the New York Yacht club, which proudly displays an astounding 25 victorious America’s Cup  yachts in a 3-storey gallery under a stained glass ceiling.

 

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