The merchant brig Kathryn B, star of the novel Marigold’s End, is a fictional ship, roughly a hundred feet long on her waterline.
Brigs were not uncommon in Phineas’ time, the early 18th century. Where many merchant ships, with exotic names like pinks, snows, and barques, had three masts, schooners, brigantines, and brigs like the Kathryn B only had two.
A little smaller, but with plenty of room below deck for hauling cargo, the Kathryn B sailed with a smaller crew than her three-masted cousins, as there were fewer sails to handle. Fewer sailors to pay meant more profit for Uncle Neville, her captain and business manager, and for John Townsend, her owner.
Here’s a diagram of the Kathryn B:
When I envisioned this fine, durable little ship, I based her on the Black Falcon, a model kit of indeterminate scale from a company called Atlantis. The molds for the kit date back to the late 1950’s, when romantic pirate movies were all the rage. The scale of the model was not as important to Aurora, the company that first made the kit, as getting a model into a box of a specific size. Ah, the ’50’s.
To get her out to a hundred feet on the waterline, I extended the forecastle and added a more prominent beakhead. The original Black Falcon mounted two cannons under the quarterdeck and three more in the waist on either side. To keep the waist clear for the action of the story, I moved one cannon from the waist to the ‘tween decks, and put the other two under the extended forecastle. I think it gives her better balance, and opens up the waist for literary drama.
Although not visible in this illustration, the Kathryn B has nice, big windows across her transom. On the Black Falcon, there’s a rough carving of a big, angry bird – presumably a falcon.
Rethinking the old Black Falcon into the indomitable Kathryn B was a great adventure of its own. Was I you, I might look for this kit online. Even if ye don,’t build her out, I do think she’ll be sparkin’ yer own imagination!
So, that map will take you a long way in walking the planks of the old Kathryn B. But, this deck plan may make it a tad easier to envision things aboard ship. Most things are labeled, but what’s the value of exploring a map if there are no discoveries to make? The deck plan differs a touch from the map above – for one thing, the foremast is moved forward in the plan. The plan, my friend, be the most accurate…