The Diaries
November 16th 2008
:: 2008 :: 10/27 - 10/28 - 10/29 - 10/30 - 10/31
11/01 - 11/02 & 11/03 - 11/04 - 11/05- 11/06 - 11/07 - 11/08 & 11/09 - 11/10 - 11/11 - 11/12 - 11/13 - 11/14 - 11/15 - 11/16 - 11/17 - 11/18 - 11/19 - 11/20 - 11/21 - 11/22 - 11/23 - 11/25 - 11/26 - 11/27 - 11/28
11/29 - 11/30
12/01 - 12/02
- More than 300 listed objects -  

General plan of the performed excavations
Photo : Max GUEROUT

Thomas reconstitutes a skeleton
Photo : Jean-François REBEYROTTE

As with accustomed, each one finds an occupation; inactivity does not seem to be the speciality of the team.

Joe and Jean-François move with Jean B.P. towards the site of the shipwreck to try to turn some underwater images. Filming in apnoea in such an agitated sea is a challenge, the results are mitigated because the water is turbid and to obtain a stability of sufficient image is quite difficult.

On his side, Thomas lists the found bones and tries to reconstitute the skeletons on the table-tennis table.

The photography of the updated objects continues, we have just exceeded the number of 300. The Copper containers, cleaned a little, show an impressive “patchwork” of repairs. During the winter, a strap hinge of iron rudder was recovered; it was deposited at the foot of the mast of pavilion (flag) in the general indifference. It is now a question of checking if it really comes from “l’Utile”.
The strap hinges are metal parts (here of iron) being used to fix the rudder on the stern post.
These fittings, in the shape of a pitchfork, enclose the rudder on a side and the stern post of the other, to allow the rudder to swivel, they carry at the side of the rudder hook (called pintle), and at the side of the building a hole (called gudgeon).
The strap hinges are out of iron before the appearance of the doubling of ships with copper (the hull is covered with copper plates), which is the case of “l’Utile”.

Numerous repairs on the containers
Photo : Jean-François REBEYROTTE

A subtle rule, which I kept in memory, is going to allow us to do some verification. The use of the plan of construction being spread a little in the XVIIIth century, the Master manufacturers use a whole series of mnemonics rules which connect dimensions of all the parts of the ship to a standard measurement, very often the width of the building, or the length of the skittle. For the diameter of the gudgeon, here’s the rule: “The diameter of the gudgeon expressed on line is equal to the width of the building expressed in feet”.
Crikey! No panic, it is not as complicated as that!

Strap hinge of rudder
Photo : Max GUEROUT

The line is the twelfth part of the inch, it is worth 2,2558 mm, the diameter of the gudgeonof our strap hinge is of 67 mm is approximately 67/2,2558 = 29,7 lines. The width of the building is thus of 29, 7 feet or, in measurement of that time, 29 feet 8 inches.

Deep in my computer, I have the characteristics of “l’Adour”, the “sister ship” of “l’Utile”, one reads there: “Width: 29 feet and 6 inches”. Not so bad, no?