Several rigging trucks were recovered from the wreck of the Royal Navy's first Invincible, which sank off Portsmouth U/K under very ignominious circumstances in the early hours of the 19th February 1758. Rigging trucks were a much used and integral part of the rigging on the wooden ships of yesteryear, and on a ship the size of Invincible there would have been hundreds on board. When in service they were lashed into the STANDING RIGGING and were there to act as a guide for the RUNNING RIGGING coming down form the masthead and upper yards. This also kept the miles of rope tidy and reduced the risk of tangling. They allowed for the running rigging to be adjacent to be not in direct contact with the standing rigging, thus avoiding chafing.

You will appreciate that in the days of sail this type of object was cheap to produce and would have been a 'throw away' item after becoming worn through use. Artefacts falling within this category, particularly ships equipment, have generally failed to survive the passage of time and this is why the many different types of every day objects found on Invincible are so rare today! Indeed, these trucks are doubly rare due to their incredible condition. When you pick up one of these objects, it is difficult to believe that it has been underwater for more than 230 years! You can handle it now in the same manner as the person who made it way back in 1758.

When the excavation was underway, it was necessary to sell some of the artefacts to pay for the excavation. We found that the smaller objects were perhaps more desirable than the larger ones because the owner could display them easily in whatever manner they wished. We tried many methods of creating suitable ways to display the trucks. The most popular was to have a beautiful hand crafted mount, made from original oak also recovered from the wreck. The overall package included a certificate of authentication and a short piece of original tarred hemp rope for the owner to demonstrate to guests viewing the object just how it originally worked when on the Invincible.

These mounts came in different styles according to the purchaseres personal preference.

The size including mount is 160 x 110 x 120 mm approx. and the whole unique package sold for £195 pounds sterling.

NOTE - There are still eight trucks remaining and available for sale to private collectors.


Another really nice way of presenting these artefacts is to mount them on a small length of the original cable laid rope and then have a length of the smaller rope running through the middle. This smaller diameter rope is finished off with a neat wall and crown knot to stop it falling right through. When held upright it is easy to demostrate exactly what the rucks were used for.


Some might say that to sell off artefacts in this way is unethical. The point is that we received no government funding and the excavation had to be paid for out of our own pockets. At that time, it was agreed that in order to preserve our countries heritage, the recently nominated Chattham Historic Dockyard in Kent, would select at least one of every type of artefact recovered. The resulting collection at the end of the excavation, would form the Invincible Representative Archive to be held in the dockyard. All other artefacts not required by them could be sold to raise funds for the continueing excavation.