Plough Boy Journals

The Plough Boy Anthology

Richard Henry Dana, Jr.'s


from his:

The Seaman's Friend; Containing a Treatise on Practical Seamanship, with Plates, a Dictionary of Sea Terms; Customs and Usages of the Merchant Service; Laws Relating to the Practical Duties of Master and Mariners. 1841.


Aback. The situation of the sails when the wind presses their surfaces against the mast, and tends to force the vessel astern.

Abaft. Toward the stern of a vessel.

Aboard. Within a vessel.

About. On the other tack.

Abreast. Alongside of. Side by side.

Accommodation. (See Ladder.)

A-cock-bill. The situation of the yards when they are topped up at an angle with the deck. The situation of an anchor when it hangs to the cathead by the ring only.

Adrift. Broken from moorings or fasts. Without fasts.

Afloat. Resting on the surface of the water.

Afore. Forward. The opposite of abaft.

Aft—After. Near the stern.

Aground. Touching the bottom.

Ahead. In the direction of the vessel's head. Wind ahead is from the direction toward which the vessel's head points.

A-hull. The situation of a vessel when she lies with all her sails furled and her helm lashed a-lee.

A-lee. The situation of the helm when it is put in the opposite direction from that in which the wind blows.

All-aback. When all the sails are aback.

All Hands. The whole crew.

All in the wind. When all the sails are shaking.

Aloft. Above the deck.

Aloof. At a distance.

Amain. Suddenly. At once.

Amidships. In the centre of the vessel; either with reference to her length or to her breadth.

Anchor. The machine by which, when dropped to the bottom, the vessel is held fast.

Anchor-watch. (See Watch.)

An-end. When a mast is perpendicular to the deck.

A-peek. When the cable is hove taut so as to bring the vessel nearly over her anchor. The yards are a-peek when they are topped up by contrary lifts.

Apron. A piece of timber fixed behind the lower part of the stem, just above the fore end of the keel. A covering to the vent or lock of a cannon.

Arm. Yard-arm. The extremity of a yard. Also, the lower part of an anchor, crossing the shank and terminating in the flukes.

Arming. A piece of tallow put in the cavity and over the bottom of a lead-line.

A-stern. In the direction of the stern. The opposite of ahead.

A-taunt. (See Taunt.)

Athwart. Across.

Athwart-ships. Across the line of the vessel's keel.

Athwart-hawse. Across the direction of a vessel's head. Across her cable.

Athwart-ships. Across the length of a vessel. In opposition to fore-and-aft.

A-trip. The situation of the anchor when it is raised clear of the ground. The same as a-weigh.

Avast, or 'Vast. An order to stop; as, "Avast heaving!"

A-weather. The situation of the helm when it is put in the direction from which the wind blows.

A-weigh. The same as a-trip.

Awning. A covering of canvass over a vessel's deck, or over a boat, to keep off sun or rain.


Back. To back an anchor, is to carry out a smaller one ahead of the one by which the vessel rides, to take off some of the strain.

To back a sail, is to throw it aback.

To back and fill, is alternately to back and fill the sails.

Backstays. Stays running from a masthead to the vessel's side, slanting a little aft. (See Stays.)

Bagpipe. To bagpipe the mizzen, is to lay it aback by bringing the sheet to the weather mizzen rigging.

Balance-reef. A reef in a spanker or fore-and-aft mainsail, which runs from the outer head-earing, diagonally, to the tack. It is the closest reef, and makes the sail triangular, or nearly so.

Bale. To bale a boat, is to throw water out of her.

Ballast. Heavy material, as iron, lead, or stone, placed in the bottom of the hold, to keep a vessel from upsetting.

To freshen ballast, is to shift it. Coarse gravel is called shingle ballast.

Bank. A boat is double banked when two oars, one opposite the other, are pulled by men seated on the same thwart.

Bar. A bank or shoal at the entrance of a harbor.

Capstan-bars are heavy pieces of wood by which the capstan is hove round.

Bare-poles. The condition of a ship when she has no sail set.

Barge. A large double-banked boat, used by the commander of a vessel, in the navy.

Bark, or Barque. (See Plate 4.) A three-masted vessel, having her fore and main masts rigged like a ship's, and her mizzen mast like the main mast of a schooner, with no sail upon it but a spanker, and gaff topsail.

Barnacle. A shell-fish often found on a vessel's bottom.

Battens. Thin strips of wood put around the hatches, to keep the tarpaulin down. Also, put upon rigging to keep it from chafing. A large batten widened at the end, and put upon rigging, is called a scotchman.

Beacon. A post or buoy placed over a shoal or bank to warn vessels off. Also as a signal-mark on land.

Beams. Strong pieces of timber stretching across the vessel, to support the decks.

On the weather or lee beam, is in a direction to windward or leeward, at right angles with the keel.

On beam-ends. The situation of a vessel when turned over so that her beams are inclined toward the vertical.

Bear. An object bears so and so, when it is in such a direction from the person looking.

To bear down upon a vessel, is to approach her from the windward.

To bear up, is to put the helm up and keep a vessel off from her course, and move her to leeward.

To bear away, is the same as to bear up; being applied to the vessel instead of to the tiller.

To bear-a-hand. To make haste.

Bearing. The direction of an object from the person looking. The bearings of a vessel, are the widest part of her below the plank-shear. That part of her hull which is on the water-line when she is at anchor and in her proper trim.

Beating. Going toward the direction of the wind, by alternate tacks.

Becalm. To intercept the wind. A vessel or highland to windward is said to becalm another. So one sail becalms another.

Becket. A piece of rope placed so as to confine a spar or another rope. A handle made of rope, in the form of a circle, (as the handle of a chest,) is called a becket.

Bees. Pieces of plank bolted to the outer end of the bowsprit, to reeve the foretopmast stays through.

Belay. To make a rope fast by turns round a pin or coil, without hitching or seizing it.

Bend. To make fast.

To bend a sail, is to make it fast to the yard.

To bend a cable, is to make it fast to the anchor.

A bend, is a knot by which one rope is made fast to another.

Bends. (See Plate 3.) The strongest part of a vessel's side, to which the beams, knees, and foot-hooks are bolted. The part between the water's edge and the bulwarks.

Beneaped. (See Neaped.)

Bentick Shrouds. Formerly used, and extending from the futtock-staves to the opposite channels.

Berth. The place where a vessel lies. The place in which a man sleeps.

Between-decks. The space between any two decks of a ship.

Bibbs. Pieces of timber bolted to the hounds of a mast, to support the trestle-trees.

Bight. The double part of a rope when it is folded; in contradistinction from the ends. Any part of a rope may be called the bight, except the ends. Also, a bend in the shore, making a small bay or inlet.

Bilge. That part of the floor of a ship upon which she would rest if aground; being the part near the keel which is more in a horizontal than a perpendicular line.

Bilge-ways. Pieces of timber bolted together and placed under the bilge, in launching.

Bilged. When the bilge is broken in.

Bilge Water. Water which settles in the bilge.

Bilge. The largest circumference of a cask.

Bill. The point at the extremity of the fluke of an anchor.

Billet-head. (See Head.)

Binnacle. A box near the helm, containing the compass.

Bitts. Perpendicular pieces of timber going through the deck, placed to secure anything to. The cables are fastened to them, if there is no windlass. There are also bitts to secure the windlass, and on each side of the heel of the bowsprit.

Bitter, or Bitter-end. That part of the cable which is abaft the bitts.

Blackwall Hitch. (See Plate 5 and page 49.)

Blade. The flat part of an oar, which goes into the water.

Block. A piece of wood with sheaves, or wheels, in it, through which the running rigging passes, to add to the purchase. (See page 53.)

Bluff. A bluff-bowed or bluff-headed vessel is one which is full and square forward.

Board. The stretch a vessel makes upon one tack, when she is beating.

Stern-board. When a vessel goes stern foremost.

By the board. Said of masts, when they fall over the side.

Boat-hook. An iron hook with a long staff, held in the hand, by which a boat is kept fast to a wharf, or vessel.

Boatswain. (Pronounced bo-s'n.) A warrant officer in the navy, who has charge of the rigging, and calls the crew to duty.

Bobstays. Used to confine the bowsprit down to the stem or cutwater.

Bolsters. Pieces of soft wood, covered with canvass, placed on the trestle-trees, for the eyes of the rigging to rest upon.

Bolts. Long cylindrical bars of iron or copper, used to secure or unite the different parts of a vessel.

Bolt-rope. The rope which goes round a sail, and to which the canvass is sewed.

Bonnet. An additional piece of canvass attached to the foot of a jib, or a schooner's foresail, by lacings. Taken off in bad weather.

Boom. A spar used to extend the foot of a fore-and-aft sail or studdingsail.

Boom-irons. Iron rings on the yards, through which the studdingsail booms traverse.

Boot-topping. Scraping off the grass, or other matter, which may be on a vessel's bottom, and daubing it over with tallow, or some mixture.

Bound. Wind-bound. When a vessel is kept in port by a head wind.

Bow. The rounded part of a vessel, forward.

Bower. A working anchor, the cable of which is bent and reeved through the hawse-hole.

Best bower is the larger of the two bowers. (See page 16.)

Bow-grace. A frame of old rope or junk, placed round the bows and sides of a vessel, to prevent the ice from injuring her.

Bowline. (Pronounced bo-lin.) A rope leading forward from the leech of a square sail, to keep the leech well out when sailing close-hauled. A vessel is said to be on a bowline, or on a taut bowline, when she is close-hauled.

Bowline-bridle. The span on the leech of the sail to which the bowline is toggled.

Bowline-knot. (See Plate 5 and page 49.)

Bowse. To pull upon a tackle.

Bowsprit. (Pronounced bo-sprit.) A large and strong spar, standing from the bows of a vessel. (See Plate 1.)

Box-hauling. Wearing a vessel by backing the head sails. (See page 75.)

Box. To box the compass, is to repeat the thirty-two points of the compass in order.

Brace. A rope by which a yard is turned about.

To brace a yard, is to turn it about horizontally.

To brace up, is to lay the yard more fore-and-aft.

To brace in, is to lay it nearer square.

To brace aback. (See Aback.)

To brace to, is to brace the head yards a little aback, in tacking or wearing.

Brails. Ropes by which the foot or lower corners of fore-and-aft sails are hauled up.

Brake. The handle of a ship's pump.

Break. To break bulk, is to begin to unload.

To break ground, is to lift the anchor from the bottom.

To break shear, is when a vessel, at anchor, in tending, is forced

the wrong way by the wind or current, so that she does not lie so well for keeping herself clear of her anchor.

Breaker. A small cask containing water.

Breaming. Cleaning a ship's bottom by burning.

Breast-fast. A rope used to confine a vessel sideways to a wharf, or to some other vessel.

Breast-hooks. Knees placed in the forward part of a vessel, across the stem, to unite the bows on each side. (See Plate 3.)

Breast-rope. A rope passed round a man in the chains, while sounding.

Breech. The outside angle of a knee-timber. The after end of a gun.

Breeching. A strong rope used to secure the breech of a gun to the ship's side.

Bridle. Spans of rope attached to the leeches of square sails, to which the bowlines are made fast.

Bridle-port. The foremost port, used for stowing the anchors.

Brig. A square-rigged vessel, with two masts. An hermaphrodite brig has a brig's foremast and a schooner's mainmast. (See Plate 4.)

Broach-to. To fall off so much, when going free, as to bring the wind round on the other quarter and take the sails aback.

Broadside. The whole side of a vessel.

Broken-backed. The state of a vessel when she is so loosened as to droop at each end.

Bucklers. Blocks of wood made to fit in the hawse-holes, or holes in the half-ports, when at sea. Those in the hawse-holes are sometimes called hawse-blocks.

Bulge. (See Bilge.)

Bulk. The whole cargo when stowed.

Stowed in bulk, is when goods are stowed loose, instead of being stowed in casks or bags. (See Break Bulk.)

Bulk head. Temporary partitions of boards to separate different parts of a vessel.

Bull. A sailor's term for a small keg, holding a gallon or two.

Bull's eye. (See page 53.) A small piece of stout wood with a hole in the centre for a stay or rope to reeve through, without any sheave, and with a groove round it for the strap, which is usually of iron. Also, a piece of thick glass inserted in the deck to let light below.

Bulwarks. The wood work round a vessel, above her deck, consisting of boards fastened to stanchions and timber-heads.

Bum-boats. Boats which lie alongside a vessel in port with provisions and fruit to sell.

Bumpkin. Pieces of timber projecting from the vessel, to board the fore tack to; and from each quarter, for the main brace-blocks.

Bunt. The middle of a sail.

Buntine. (Pronounced buntin.) Thin woollen stuff of which a ship's colors are made.

Buntlines. Ropes used for hauling up the body of a sail.

Buoy. A floating cask, or piece of wood, attached by a rope to an anchor, to show its position. Also, floated over a shoal, or other dangerous place as a beacon.

To stream a buoy, is to drop it into the water before letting go the anchor.

A buoy is said to watch, when it floats upon the surface of the water.

Burton. A tackle, rove in a particular manner.

A single Spanish burton has three single blocks, or two single blocks and a hook in the bight of one of the running parts.

A double Spanish burton has three double blocks. (See page 54.)

Butt. The end of a plank where it unites with the end of another.

Scuttle-butt. A cask with a hole cut in its bilge, and kept on deck to hold water for daily use.

Buttock. That part of the convexity of a vessel abaft, under the stern, contained between the counter above and the after part of the bilge below, and between the quarter on the side and the stern-post. (See Plate 3.)

By. By the head. Said of a vessel when her head is lower in the water than her stern. If her stern is lower, she is by the stern.

By the lee. (See Lee. See Run.)


Cabin. The after part of a vessel, in which the officers live.

Cable. A large, strong rope, made fast to the anchor, by which the vessel is secured. It is usually 120 fathoms in length.

Cable-tier. (See Tier.)

Caboose. A house on deck, where the cooking is done. Commonly called the Galley.

Calk. (See Caulk.)

Cambered. When the floor of a vessel is higher at the middle than towards the stem and stern.

Camel. A machine used for lifting vessels over a shoal or bar.

Camfering. Taking off an angle or edge of a timber.

Can-hooks. Slings with flat hooks at each end, used for hoisting barrels or light casks, the hooks being placed round the chimes, and the purchase hooked to the centre of the slings. Small ones are usually wholly of iron.

Cant-pieces. Pieces of timber fastened to the angles of fishes and side-trees, to supply any part that may prove rotten.

Cant-timbers. Timbers at the two ends of a vessel, raised obliquely from the keel.

Lower Half Cants. Those parts of frames situated forward and abaft the square frames, or the floor timbers which cross the keel.

Canvass. The cloth of which sails are made. No. 1 is the coarsest and strongest.

Cap. A thick, strong block of wood with two holes through it, one square and the other round, used to confine together the head of one mast and the lower part of the mast next above it. (See Plate 1.)

Capsize. To overturn.

Capstan. A machine placed perpendicularly in the deck, and used for a strong purchase in heaving or hoisting. Men-of-war weigh their anchors by capstans. Merchant vessels use a windlass. (See Bar.)

Careen. To heave a vessel down upon her side by purchases upon the masts. To lie over, when sailing on the wind.

Carlings. Short and small pieces of timber running between the beams.

Carrick-bend. A kind of knot. (See Plate 5 and page 50.)

Carrick-bitts are the windlass bitts.

Carry-away. To break a spar, or part a rope.

Cast. To pay a vessel's head off, in getting under way, on the tack she is to sail upon.

Cat. The tackle used to hoist the anchor up to the cat-head.

Cat-block, the block of this tackle.

Cat-harpin. An iron leg used to confine the upper part of the rigging to the mast.

Cat-head. Large timbers projecting from the vessel's side, to which the anchor is raised and secured.

Cat's-paw. A kind of hitch made in a rope. (See Plate 5 and page 50.) A light current of air seen on the surface of the water during a calm.

Caulk. To fill the seams of a vessel with oakum.

Cavil. (See Kevel.)

Ceiling. The inside planking of a vessel.

Chafe. To rub the surface of a rope or spar.

Chafing-gear is the stuff put upon the rigging and spars to prevent their chafing.

Chains. (See Plate 1.) Strong links or plates of iron, the lower ends of which are bolted through the ship's side to the timbers. Their upper ends are secured to the bottom of the dead-eyes in the channels. Also, used familiarly for the Channels, which see. The chain cable of a vessel is called familiarly her chain.

Rudder-chains lead from the outer and upper end of the rudder to the quarters. They are hung slack.

Chain-plates. Plates of iron bolted to the side of a ship, to which the chains and dead-eyes of the lower rigging are connected.

Channels. Broad pieces of plank bolted edgewise to the outside of a vessel. Used for spreading the lower rigging. (See Chains.)

Chapelling. Wearing a ship round, when taken aback, without bracing the head yards. (See page 80.)

Check. A term sometimes used for slacking off a little on a brace, and then belaying it.

Cheeks. The projections on each side of a mast, upon which the trestle-trees rest. The sides of the shell of a block.

Cheerly! Quickly, with a will.

Chess-trees. Pieces of oak, fitted to the sides of a vessel, abaft the fore chains, with a sheave in them, to board the main tack to. Now out of use.

Chimes. The ends of the staves of a cask, where they come out beyond the head of the cask.

Chinse. To thrust oakum into seams with a small iron.

Chock. A wedge used to secure anything with, or for anything to rest upon. The long boat rests upon two large chocks, when it is stowed.

Chock-a-block. When the lower block of a tackle is run close up to the upper one, so that you can hoist no higher. This is also called hoisting up two-blocks.

Cistern. An apartment in the hold of a vessel, having a pipe leading out through the side, with a cock, by which water may be let into her.

Clamps. Thick planks on the inside of vessels, to support the ends of beams. Also, crooked plates of iron fore-locked upon the trunnions of cannon. Any plate of iron made to turn, open, and shut so as to confine a spar or boom, as, a studdingsail boom, or a boat's mast.

Clasp-hook. (See Clove-hook.)

Cleat. A piece of wood used in different parts of a vessel to belay ropes to.

Clew. The lower corner of square sails, and the after corner of a fore-and-aft sail.

To clew up, is to haul up the clew of a sail.

Clew-garnet. A rope that hauls up the clew of a foresail or mainsail in a square-rigged vessel.

Clewline. A rope that hauls up the clew of a square sail. The clew-garnet is the clewline of a course.

Clinch. A half-hitch, stopped to its own part.

Close-hauled. Applied to a vessel which is sailing with her yards braced up so as to get as much as possible to windward. The same as on a taut bowline, full and by, on the wind, &c.

Clove-hitch. Two half-hitches round a spar or other rope. (See Plate 5 and page 48.)

Clove-hook. An iron clasp, in two parts, moving upon the same pivot, and overlapping one another. Used for bending chain sheets to the clews of sails.

Club-haul. To bring a vessel's head round on the other tack, by letting go the lee anchor and cutting or slipping the cable. (See page 76.)

Clubbing. Drifting down a current with an anchor out. (See page 77.)

Coaking. Uniting pieces of spar by means of tabular projections, formed by cutting away the solid of one piece into a hollow, so as to make a projection in the other, in such a manner that they may correctly fit, the butts preventing the pieces from drawing asunder.

Coaks are fitted into the beams and knees of vessels to prevent their drawing.

Coal Tar. Tar made from bituminous coal.

Coamings. Raised work round the hatches, to prevent water going down into the hold.

Coat. Mast-Coat is a piece of canvass, tarred or painted, placed round a mast or bowsprit, where it enters the deck.

Cock-bill. To cock-bill a yard or anchor. (See A-cock-bill.)

Cock-pit. An apartment in a vessel of war, used by the surgeon during an action.

Codline. An eighteen thread line.

Coxswain. (Pronounced cox'n.) The person who steers a boat and has charge of her.

Coil. To lay a rope up in a ring, with one turn or fake over another.

A coil is a quantity of rope laid up in that manner.

Collar. An eye in the end or bight of a shroud or stay, to go over the mast-head.

Come. Come home, said of an anchor when it is broken from the ground and drags.

To come up a rope or tackle, is to slack it off.

Companion. A wooden covering over the staircase to a cabin.

Companion-way, the staircase to the cabin.

Companion-ladder. The ladder leading from the poop to the main deck.

Compass. The instrument which tells the course of a vessel.

Compass-timbers are such as are curved or arched.

Concluding-line. A small line leading through the centre of the steps of a rope or Jacob's ladder.

Conning, or Cunning. Directing the helmsman in steering a vessel.

Counter. (See Plate 3.) That part of a vessel between the bottom of the stern and the wing-transom and buttock.

Counter-timbers are short timbers put in to strengthen the counter.

To counter-brace yards, is to brace the head-yards one way and the after-yards another.

Courses. The common term for the sails that hang from a ship's lower yards. The foresail is called the fore course and the mainsail the main course.

Cranes. Pieces of iron or timber at the vessel's sides, used to stow boats or spars upon. A machine used at a wharf for hoisting.

Crank. The condition of a vessel when she is inclined to lean over a great deal and cannot bear much sail. This may be owing to her construction or to her stowage.

Creeper. An iron instrument, like a grapnell, with four claws, used for dragging the bottom of a harbor or river, to find anything lost.

Cringle. A short piece of rope with each end spliced into the bolt-rope of a sail, confining an iron ring or thimble.

Cross-bars. Round bars of iron, bent at each end, used as levers to turn the shank of an anchor.

Cross-chocks. Pieces of timber fayed across the dead-wood amidships, to make good the deficiency of the heels of the lower futtocks.

Cross-jack. (Pronounced croj-jack.) The cross-jack yard is the lower yard on the mizzen mast. (See Plate 1.)

Cross-pawls. Pieces of timber that keep a vessel together while in her frames.

Cross-piece. A piece of timber connecting two bitts.

Cross-spales. Pieces of timber placed across a vessel, and nailed to the frames, to keep the sides together until the knees are bolted.

Cross-trees. (See Plate 1.) Pieces of oak supported by the cheeks and trestle-trees, at the mast-heads, to sustain the tops on the lower mast, and to spread the topgallant rigging at the topmast-head.

Crow-foot. A number of small lines rove through the uvrou to suspend an awning by.

Crown of an anchor, is the place where the arms are joined to the shank.

To crown a knot, is to pass the strands over and under each other above the knot. (See Plate 5, page 46.)

Crutch. A knee or piece of knee-timber, placed inside of a vessel, to secure the heels of the cant-timbers abaft. Also, the chock upon which the spanker-boom rests when the sail is not set.

Cuckold's Neck. A knot by which a rope is secured to a spar, the two parts of the rope crossing each other, and seized together.

Cuddy. A cabin in the fore part of a boat.

Cuntline. The space between the bilges of two casks, stowed side by side. Where one cask is set upon the cuntline between two others, they are stowed bilge and cuntline.

Cut-water. The foremost part of a vessel's prow, which projects forward of the bows.

Cutter. A small boat. Also, a kind of sloop.


Dagger. A piece of timber crossing all the puppets of the bilge-ways to keep them together.

Dagger-knees. Knees placed obliquely, to avoid a port.

Davits. Pieces of timber or iron, with sheaves or blocks at their ends, projecting over a vessel's sides or stern, to hoist boats up to. Also, a spar with a roller or sheave at its end, used for fishing the anchor, called a fish-davit.

Dead-eye. A circular block of wood, with three holes through it, for the lanyards of rigging to reeve through, without sheaves, and with a groove round it for an iron strap. (See page 59.)

Dead-flat. One of the bends, amidships.

Dead-lights. Ports placed in the cabin windows in bad weather.

Dead Reckoning. A reckoning kept by observing a vessel's courses and distances by the log, to ascertain her position.

Dead-rising, or Rising-line. Those parts of a vessel's floor, throughout her whole length, where the floor-timber is terminated upon the lower futtock.

Dead-water. The eddy under a vessel's counter.

Dead-wood. Blocks of timber, laid upon each end of the keel, where the vessel narrows.

Deck. The planked floor of a vessel, resting upon her beams.

Deck-stopper. A stopper used for securing the cable forward of the windlass or capstan, while it is overhauled. (See Stopper.)

Deep-sea-lead. (Pronounced dipsey.) (See page 17.) The lead used in sounding at great depths.

Departure. The easting or westing made by a vessel. The bearing of an object on the coast from which a vessel commences her dead reckoning.

Derrick. A single spar, supported by stays and guys, to which a purchase is attached, used to unload vessels, and for hoisting.

Dog. A short iron bar, with a fang or teeth at one end, and a ring at the other. Used for a purchase, the fang being placed against a beam or knee, and the block of a tackle hooked to the ring.

Dog-vane. A small vane, made of feathers or buntin, to show the direction of the wind.

Dog-watches. Half watches of two hours each, from 4 to 6, and from 6 to 8, P.M. (See Watch.)

Dolphin. A rope or strap round a mast to support the puddening, where the lower yards rest in the slings. Also, a spar or buoy with a large ring in it, secured to an anchor, to which vessels may bend their cables.

Dolphin-striker. The martingale. (See Plate I.)

Douse. To lower suddenly.

Dowelling. A method of coaking, by letting pieces into the solid, or uniting two pieces together by tenons.

Downhaul. A rope used to haul down jibs, staysails, and studdingsails.

Drabler. A piece of canvass laced to the bonnet of a sail, to give it more drop.

Drag. A machine with a bag net, used for dragging on the bottom for anything lost.

Draught. The depth of water which a vessel requires to float her.

Draw. A sail draws when it is filled by the wind.

To draw a jib, is to shift it over the stay to leeward, when it is aback.

Drifts. Those pieces in the sheer-draught where the rails are cut off.

Drive. To scud before a gale, or to drift in a current.

Driver. A spanker.

Drop. The depth of a sail, from head to foot, amidships.

Drum-head. The top of the capstan.

Dub. To reduce the end of a timber.

Duck. A kind of cloth, lighter and finer than canvass; used for small sails.

Dunnage. Loose wood or other matters, placed on the bottom of the hold, above the ballast, to stow cargo upon.


Earing. A rope attached to the cringle of a sail, by which it is bent or reefed.

Eiking. A piece of wood fitted to make good a deficiency in length.

Elbow. Two crosses in a hawse. (See page 89.)

Escutcheon. The part of a vessel's stern where her name is written.

Even-keel. The situation of a vessel when she is so trimmed that she sits evenly upon the water, neither end being down more than the other.

Euvrou. A piece of wood, by which the legs of the crow-foot to an awning are extended. (See Uvrou.)

Eye. The circular part of a shroud or stay, where it goes over a mast.

Eye-bolt. A long iron bar, having an eye at one end, driven through a vessel's deck or side into a timber or beam, with the eye remaining out, to hook a tackle to. If there is a ring through this eye, it is called a ring-bolt.

An Eye-splice is a certain kind of splice made with the end of a rope. (See Plate 5 and page 45.)

Eyelet-hole. A hole made in a sail for a cringle or roband to go through.

The Eyes of a vessel. A familiar phrase for the forward part.


Face-pieces. Pieces of wood wrought on the fore part of the knee of the head.

Facing. Letting one piece of timber into another with a rabbet.

Fag. A rope is fagged when the end is untwisted.

Fair-leader. A strip of board or plank, with holes in it, for running rigging to lead through. Also, a block or thimble used for the same purpose.

Fake. One of the circles or rings made in coiling a rope.

Fall. That part of a tackle to which the power is applied in hoisting.

False Keel. Pieces of timber secured under the main keel of vessels.

Fancy-line. A line rove through a block at the jaws of a gaff, used as a downhaul. Also, a line used for cross-hauling the lee topping-lift.

Fashion-pieces. The aftermost timbers, terminating the breadth and forming the shape of the stern.

Fast. A rope by which a vessel is secured to a wharf. There are bow or head, breast, quarter, and stern fasts.

Fathom. Six feet.

Feather. To feather an oar in rowing, is to turn the blade horizontally with the top aft as it comes out of the water.

Feather-edged. Planks which have one side thicker than another.

Fenders. Pieces of rope or wood hung over the side of a vessel or boat, to protect it from chafing. The fenders of a neat boat are usually made of canvass and stuffed.

Fid. A block of wood or iron, placed through the hole in the heel of a mast, and resting on the trestle-trees of the mast below. This supports the mast. Also, a wooden pin, tapered, used in splicing large ropes, in opening eyes, &c.

Fiddle-block. A long shell, having one sheave over the other, and the lower smaller than the upper.

Fiddle-head. (See Head.)

Fife-rail. The rail going round a mast.

Figure-head. A carved head or full-length figure, over the cut-water.

Fillings. Pieces of timber used to make the curve fair for the mouldings, between the edges of the fish-front and the sides of the mast.

Filler. (See Made Mast.)

Finishing. Carved ornaments of the quarter-galley, below the second counter, and above the upper lights.

Fish. To raise the flukes of an anchor upon the gunwale. Also, to strengthen a spar when sprung or weakened, by putting in or fastening on another piece.

Fish-front, Fishes-sides. (See Made Mast.)

Fish-davit. The davit used for fishing an anchor.

Fish-hook. A hook with a pennant, to the end of which the fish-tackle is hooked.

Fish-tackle. The tackle used for fishing an anchor.

Flare. When the vessel's sides go out from the perpendicular. In opposition to falling-home or tumbling-in.

Flat. A sheet is said to be hauled flat, when it is hauled down close.

Flat-aback, when a sail is blown with its after surface against the mast.

Fleet. To come up a tackle and draw the blocks apart, for another pull, after they have been hauled two-blocks.

Fleet ho! The order given at such times. Also, to shift the position of a block or fall, so as to haul to more advantage.

Flemish Coil. (See French-fake.)

Flemish-eye. A kind of eye-splice. (See Plate 5 and page 45.)

Flemish-horse. An additional foot-rope at the ends of topsail yards.

Floor. The bottom of a vessel, on each side of the keelson.

Floor Timbers. Those timbers of a vessel which are placed across the keel. (See Plate 3.)

Flowing Sheet. When a vessel has the wind free, and the lee clews eased off.

Flukes. The broad triangular plates at the extremity of the arms of an anchor, terminating in a point called the bill.

Fly. That part of a flag which extends from the Union to the extreme end. (See Union.)

Foot. The lower end of a mast or sail. (See Fore-foot.)

Foot-rope. The rope stretching along a yard, upon which men stand when reefing or furling, formerly called horses.

Foot-waling. The inside planks or lining of a vessel, over the floor-timbers.

Fore. Used to distinguish the forward part of a vessel, or things in that direction; as, fore mast, fore hatch, in opposition to aft or after.

Fore-and-aft. Lengthwise with the vessel. In opposition to athwart-ships. (See Sails.)

Forecastle. That part of the upper deck forward of the fore mast; or, as some say, forward of the after part of the fore channels. (See Plate 1.) Also, the forward part of the vessel, under the deck, where the sailors live, in merchant vessels.

Fore-foot. A piece of timber at the forward extremity of the keel, upon which the lower end of the stem rests. (See Plate 3.)

Fore-ganger. A short piece of rope grafted on a harpoon, to which the line is bent.

Fore-lock. A flat piece of iron, driven through the end of a bolt, to prevent its drawing.

Fore Mast. The forward mast of all vessels. (See Plate 1.)

Forereach. To shoot ahead, especially when going in stays.

Fore-runner. A piece of rag, terminating the stray-line of the log-line.

Forge. To forge ahead, to shoot ahead; as, in coming to anchor, after the sails are furled. (See Forereach.)

Formers. Pieces of wood used for shaping cartridges or wads.

Fother, or Fodder. To draw a sail, filled with oakum, under a vessel's bottom, in order to stop a leak.

Foul. The term for the opposite of clear.

Foul Anchor. When the cable has a turn round the anchor.

Foul Hawse. When the two cables are crossed or twisted, outside the stem.

Founder. A vessel founders, when she fills with water and sinks.

Fox. (See page 52.) Made by twisting together two or more rope-yarns.

A Spanish fox is made by untwisting a single yarn and laying it up the contrary way.

Frap. To pass ropes round a sail to keep it from blowing loose. Also, to draw ropes round a vessel which is weakened, to keep her together.

Free. A vessel is going free, when she has a fair wind and her yards braced in. A vessel is said to be free, when the water has been pumped out of her.

Freshen. To relieve a rope, by moving its place; as, to freshen the nip of a stay, is to shift it, so as to prevent its chafing through.

To freshen ballast, is to alter its position.

French-fake. To coil a rope with each fake outside of the other, beginning in the middle. If there are to be riding fakes, they begin outside and go in; and so on. This is called a Flemish coil.

Full-and-by. Sailing close-hauled on a wind.

Full-and-by! The order given to the man at the helm to keep the sails full and at the same time close to the wind.

Furl. To roll a sail up snugly on a yard or boom, and secure it.

Futtock-plates. Iron plates crossing the sides of the top-rim perpendicularly. The dead-eyes of the topmast rigging are fitted to their upper ends, and the futtock-shrouds to their lower ends.

Futtock-shrouds. Short shrouds, leading from the lower ends of the futtock-plates to a bend round the lower mast, just below the top.

Futtock-staff. A short piece of wood or iron, seized across the upper part of the rigging, to which the catharpin legs are secured.

Futtock-timbers. (See Plate 3.) Those timbers between the floor and naval timbers, and the top-timbers. There are two—the lower, which is over the floor, and the middle, which is over the naval timber. The naval timber is sometimes called the ground futtock.


Gaff. A spar, to which the head of a fore-and-aft sail is bent. (See Plate 1.)

Gaff-topsail. A light sail set over a gaff, the foot being spread by it.

Gage. The depth of water of a vessel. Also, her position as to another vessel, as having the weather or lee gage.

Galley. The place where the cooking is done.

Gallows-bitts. A strong frame raised amidships, to support spare spars, &c., in port.

Gammoning. (See Plate 1.) The lashing by which the bowsprit is secured to the cut-water.

Gang-casks. Small casks, used for bringing water on board in boats.

Gangway. (See Plate 1.) That part of a vessel's side, amidships, where people pass in and out of the vessel.

Gantline. (See Girtline.)

Garboard-streak. (See Plate 3.) The range of planks next to the keel, on each side.

Garland. A large rope, strap or grommet, lashed to a spar when hoisting it inboard.

Garnet. A purchase on the main stay, for hoisting cargo.

Gaskets. Ropes or pieces of plated stuff, used to secure a sail to the yard or boom when it is furled. They are called a bunt, quarter, or yard-arm gasket, according to their position on the yard.

Gimblet. To turn an anchor round by its stock. To turn anything round on its end.

Girt. The situation of a vessel when her cables are too taut.

Girtline. A rope rove through a single block aloft, making a whip purchase. Commonly used to hoist rigging by, in fitting it.

Give way! An order to men in a boat to pull with more force, or to begin pulling. The same as, Lay out on your oars! or, Lay out!

Glut. A piece of canvass sewed into the centre of a sail near the head. It has an eyelet-hole in the middle for the bunt-jigger or becket to go through.

Gob-line, or Gaub-line. A rope leading from the martingale inboard. The same as back-rope.

Goodgeon. (See Gudgeon.)

Goose-neck. An iron ring fitted to the end of a yard or boom, for various purposes.

Goose-winged. The situation of a course when the buntlines and lee clew are hauled up, and the weather clew down.

Gores. The angles at one or both ends of such cloths as increase the breadth or depth of a sail.

Goring-cloths. Pieces cut obliquely and put in to add to the breadth of a sail.

Grafting. (See page 52.) A manner of covering a rope by weaving together yarns.

Grains. An iron with four or more barbed points to it, used for striking small fish.

Grapnel. A small anchor with several claws, used to secure boats.

Grappling Irons. Crooked irons, used to seize and hold fast another vessel.

Grating. Open lattice work of wood. Used principally to cover hatches in good weather.

Greave. To clean a ship's bottom by burning.

Gripe. The outside timber of the fore-foot, under water, fastened to the lower stem-piece. (See Plate 3.) A vessel gripes when she tends to come up into the wind.

Gripes. Bars of iron, with lanyards, rings and clews, by which a large boat is lashed to the ring-bolts of the deck. Those for a quarter-boat are made of long strips of matting, going round her and set taut by a lanyard.

Grommet. (See Plate 5 and page 46.) A ring formed of rope, by laying round a single strand.

Ground Tackle. General term for anchors, cables, warps, springs, &c.; everything used in securing a vessel at anchor.

Ground-tier. The lowest tier of casks in a vessel's hold.

Guess-warp, or Guess-rope. A rope fastened to a vessel or wharf, and used to tow a boat by; or to haul it out to the swinging-boom-end, when in port.

Gun-tackle Purchase. A purchase made by two single blocks. (See page 54.)

Gunwale. (Pronounced gun-nel.) The upper rail of a boat or vessel.

Guy. A rope attaching to anything to steady it, and bear it one way and another in hoisting.

Gybe. (Pronounced jibe.) To shift over the boom of a fore-and-aft sail.


Hail. To speak or call to another vessel, or to men in a different part of a ship.

Halyards. Ropes or tackles used for hoisting and lowering yards, gaffs, and sails.

Half-hitch. (See Plate 5 and page 48.)

Hammock. A piece of canvass, hung at each end, in which seamen sleep.

Hand. To hand a sail is to furl it.

Bear-a-hand; make haste.

Lend-a-hand; assist.

Hand-over-hand; hauling rapidly on a rope, by putting one hand before the other alternately.

Hand-lead. (See page 17.) A small lead, used for sounding in rivers and harbors.

Handsomely. Slowly, carefully. Used for an order, as, "Lower handsomely!"

Handspike. A long wooden bar, used for heaving at the windlass.

Handy Billy. A watch-tackle.

Hanks. Rings or hoops of wood, rope, or iron, round a stay, and seized to the luff of a fore-and-aft sail.

Harpings. The fore part of the wales, which encompass the bows of a vessel, and are fastened to the stem. (See Plate 3.)

Harpoon. A spear used for striking whales and other fish.

Hatch, or Hatchway. An opening in the deck to afford a passage up and down. The coverings over these openings are also called hatches.

Hatch-bar is an iron bar going across the hatches to keep them down.

Haul. Haul her wind, said of a vessel when she comes up close upon the wind.

Hawse. The situation of the cables before a vessel's stem, when moored. Also, the distance upon the water a little in advance of the stem; as, a vessel sails athwart the hawse, or anchors in the hawse of another.

Open hawse. When a vessel rides by two anchors, without any cross in her cables.

Hawse-hole. The hole in the bows through which the cable runs.

Hawse-pieces. Timbers through which the hawse-holes are cut.

Hawse-block. A block of wood fitted into a hawse-hole at sea.

Hawser. A large rope used for various purposes, as warping, for a spring, &c.

Hawser-laid, or Cable-laid rope, is rope laid with nine strands against the sun. (See Plate 5 and page 43.)

Haze. A term for punishing a man by keeping him unnecessarily at work upon disagreeable or difficult duty.

Head. The work at the prow of a vessel. If it is a carved figure, it is called a figure-head; if simple carved work, bending over and out, a billet-head; and if bending in, like the head of a violin, a fiddle-head. Also, the upper end of a mast, called a mast-head. (See By-the-head. See Fast.)

Head-ledges. Thwartship pieces that frame the hatchways.

Head-sails. A general name given to all sails that set forward of the fore-mast.

Heart. A block of wood in the shape of a heart, for stays to reeve through.

Heart-yarns. The centre yarns of a strand.

Heave short. To heave in on the cable until the vessel is nearly over her anchor.

Heave-to. To put a vessel in the position of lying-to. (See Lie-to.)

Heave in Stays. To go about in tacking.

Heaver. A short wooden bar, tapering at each end. Used as a purchase.

Heel. The after part of the keel. Also, the lower end of a mast or boom. Also, the lower end of the stern-post.

To heel, is to lie over on one side.

Heeling. The square part of the lower end of a mast, through which the fid-hole is made.

Helm. The machinery by which a vessel is steered, including the rudder, tiller, wheel, &c. Applied more particularly, perhaps, to the tiller.

Helm-port. The hole in the counter through which the rudder-head passes.

Helm-port-transom. A piece of timber placed across the lower counter, inside, at the height of the helm-port, and bolted through every timber, for the security of that port. (See Plate 3.)

High and Dry. The situation of a vessel when she is aground, above water mark.

Hitch. A peculiar manner of fastening ropes. (See Plate 5 and page 48.)

Hog. A flat, rough broom, used for scrubbing the bottom of a vessel.

Hogged. The state of a vessel when, by any strain, she is made to droop at each end, bringing her centre up.

Hold. The interior of a vessel, where the cargo is stowed.

Hold water. To stop the progress of a boat by keeping the oar-blades in the water.

Holy-stone. A large stone, used for cleaning a ship's decks.

Home. The sheets of a sail are said to be home, when the clews are hauled chock out to the sheave-holes. An anchor comes home when it is loosened from the ground and is hove in toward the vessel.

Hood. A covering for a companion hatch, skylight, &c.

Hood-ends, or Hooding-ends, or Whooden-ends. Those ends of the planks which fit into the rabbets of the stem or stern-post.

Hook-and-Butt. The scarfing, or laying the ends of timbers over each other.

Horns. The jaws of booms. Also, the ends of cross-trees.

Horse. (See Foot-rope.)

Hounds. Those projections at the mast-head serving as shoulders for the top or trestle-trees to rest upon.

House. To house a mast, is to lower it about half its length, and secure it by lashing its heel to the mast below. (See page 37.)

To house a gun, is to run it in clear of the port and secure it.

Housing, or House-line. (Pronounced houze-lin.) A small cord made of three small yarns, and used for seizings.

Hull. The body of a vessel. (See A-hull.)


In-and-out. A term sometimes used for the scantline of the timbers, the moulding way, and particularly for those bolts that are driven into the hanging and lodging knees, through the sides, which are called in-and-out bolts.

Inner-post. A piece brought on at the fore side of the main-post, and generally continued as high as the wing-transom, to seat the other transoms upon.

Irons. A ship is said to be in irons, when, in working, she will not cast one way or the other.


Jack. A common term for the jack-cross-trees. (See Union.)

Jack-block. A block used in sending topgallant masts up and down.

Jack-cross-trees. (See Plate 1.) Iron cross-trees at the head of long topgallant masts.

Jack-staff. A short staff, raised at the bowsprit cap, upon which the Union Jack is hoisted.

Jack-stays. Ropes stretched taut along a yard to bend the head of the sail to. Also, long strips of wood or iron, used now for the same purpose.

Jack-screw. A purchase, used for stowing cotton.

Jacob's Ladder. A ladder made of rope, with wooden steps.

Jaws. The inner ends of booms or gaffs, hollowed in.

Jeers. Tackles for hoisting the lower yards.

Jewel-blocks. Single blocks at the yard-arms, through which the studdingsail halyards lead.

Jib. (See Plate 2.) A triangular sail set on a stay, forward.

Flying-jib sets outside of the jib; and the jib-o'-jib outside of that.

Jib-boom. (See Plate 1.) The boom, rigged out beyond the bowsprit, to which the tack of the jib is lashed.

Jigger. A small tackle, used about decks or aloft.

Jolly-boat. A small boat, usually hoisted at the stern.

Junk. Condemned rope, cut up and used for making mats, swabs, oakum, &c.

Jury-mast. A temporary mast, rigged at sea, in place of one lost.


Keckling. Old rope wound round cables, to keep them from chafing. (See Rounding.)

Kedge. A small anchor, with an iron stock, used for warping.

To kedge, is to warp a vessel ahead by a kedge and hawser.

Keel. (See Plate 3.) The lowest and principal timber of a vessel, running fore-and-aft its whole length, and supporting the whole frame. It is composed of several pieces, placed lengthwise, and scarfed and bolted together. (See False Keel.)

Keel-haul. To haul a man under a vessel's bottom, by ropes at the yard-arms on each side. Formerly practised as a punishment in ships of war.

Keelson. (See Plate 3.) A timber placed over the keel on the floor-timbers, and running parallel with it.

Kentledge. Pig-iron ballast, laid each side of the keelson.

Kevel, or Cavil. A strong piece of wood, bolted to some timber or stanchion, used for belaying large ropes to.

Kevel-heads. Timber-heads, used as kevels.

Kink. A twist in a rope.

Knees. (See Plate 3.) Crooked pieces of timber, having two arms, used to connect the beams of a vessel with her timbers. (See Dagger.)

Lodging-knees, are placed horizontally, having one arm bolted to a beam, and the other across two of the timbers.

Knee of the head, is placed forward of the stem, and supports the figure-head.

Knight-heads, or Bollard-timbers. The timbers next the stem on each side, and continued high enough to form a support for the bowsprit. (See Plate 3.)

Knittles, or Nettles. (See page 51.) The halves of two adjoining yarns in a rope, twisted up together, for pointing or grafting. Also, small line used for seizings and for hammock-clews.

Knock-off! An order to leave off work.

Knot. A division on the log-line, answering to a mile of distance. (See page 17.)


Labor. A vessel is said to labor when she rolls or pitches heavily.

Lacing. Rope used to lash a sail to a gaff, or a bonnet to a sail. Also, a piece of compass or knee timber, fayed to the back of the figure-head and the knee of the head, and bolted to each.

Land-fall. The making land after being at sea.

A good land-fall, is when a vessel makes the land as intended.

Land ho! The cry used when land is first seen.

Lanyards. Ropes rove through dead-eyes for setting up rigging. Also, a rope made fast to anything to secure it, or as a handle, is called a lanyard.

Larboard. The left side of a vessel, looking forward.

Larbowlines. The familiar term for the men in the larboard watch.

Large. A vessel is said to be going large, when she has the wind free.

Latchings. Loops on the head rope of a bonnet, by which it is laced to the foot of the sail.

Launch. A large boat. The Long-boat.

Launch ho! High enough!

Lay. To come or to go; as, Lay aloft! Lay forward! Lay aft! Also, the direction in which the strands of a rope are twisted; as, from left to right, or from right to left.

Leach. (See Leech.)

Leachline. A rope used for hauling up the leach of a sail.

Lead. A piece of lead, in the shape of a cone or pyramid, with a small hole at the base, and a line attached to the upper end, used for sounding. (See Hand-lead, Deep-sea-lead.)

Leading-wind. A fair wind. More particularly applied to a wind abeam or quartering.

Leak. A hole or breach in a vessel, at which the water comes in.

Ledges. Small pieces of timber placed athwart-ships under the decks of a vessel, between the beams.

Lee. The side opposite to that from which the wind blows; as, if a vessel has the wind on her starboard side, that will be the weather, and the larboard will be the lee side.

A lee shore is the shore upon which the wind is blowing.

Under the lee of anything, is when you have that between you and the wind.

By the lee. The situation of a vessel, going free, when she has fallen off so much as to bring the wind round her stern, and to take her sails aback on the other side.

Lee-board. A board fitted to the lee side of flat-bottomed boats, to prevent their drifting to leeward.

Lee-gage. (See Gage.)

Leeway. What a vessel loses by drifting to leeward. When sailing close-hauled with all sail set, a vessel should make no leeway. If the topgallant sails are furled, it is customary to allow one point; under close-reefed topsails, two points; when under one close-reefed sail, four or five points.

Leech, or Leach. The border or edge of a sail, at the sides.

Leefange. An iron bar, upon which the sheets of fore-and-aft sails traverse. Also, a rope rove through the cringle of a sail which has a bonnet to it, for hauling in, so as to lace on the bonnet. Not much used.

Leeward. (Pronounced lu-ard.) The lee side. In a direction opposite to that from which the wind blows, which is called windward. The opposite of lee is weather, and of leeward is windward; the two first being adjectives.

Lie-to, is to stop the progress of a vessel at sea, either by counter-bracing the yards, or by reducing sail so that she will make little or no headway, but will merely come to and fall off by the counteraction of the sails and helm.

Life-lines. Ropes carried along yards, booms, &c., or at any part of the vessel, for men to hold on by.

Lift. A rope or tackle, going from the yard-arms to the mast-head, to support and move the yard. Also, a term applied to the sails when the wind strikes them on the leeches and raises them slightly.

Light. To move or lift anything along; as, to "Light out to windward!" that is, haul the sail over to windward. The light sails are all above the topsails, also the studdingsails and flying jib.

Lighter. A large boat, used in loading and unloading vessels.

Limbers, or Limber-holes. Holes cut in the lower part of the floor-timbers, next the keelson, forming a passage for the water fore-and-aft.

Limber-boards are placed over the limbers, and are movable.

Limber-rope. A rope rove fore-and-aft through the limbers, to clear them if necessary.

Limber-streak. The streak of foot-waling nearest the keelson.

List. The inclination of a vessel to one side; as, a list to port, or a list to starboard.

Lizard. A piece of rope, sometimes with two legs, and one or more iron thimbles spliced into it. It is used for various purposes. One with two legs, and a thimble to each, is often made fast to the topsail tye, for the buntlines to reeve through. A single one is sometimes used on the swinging-boom topping-lift.

Locker. A chest or box, to stow anything away in.

Chain-locker. Where the chain cables are kept.

Boatswain's locker. Where tools and small stuff for working upon rigging are kept.

Log, or Log-book. A journal kept by the chief officer, in which the situation of the vessel, winds, weather, courses, distances, and everything of importance that occurs, is noted down.

Log. A line with a piece of board, called the log-chip, attached to it, wound upon a reel, and used for ascertaining the ship's rate of sailing. (See page 17.)

Long-boat. The largest boat in a merchant vessel. When at sea, it is carried between the fore and main masts.

Longers. The longest casks, stowed next the keelson.

Long-timbers. Timbers in the cant-bodies, reaching from the dead-wood to the head of the second futtock.

Loof. That part of a vessel where the planks begin to bend as they approach the stern.

Loom. That part of an oar which is within the row-lock. Also, to appear above the surface of the water; to appear larger than nature, as in a fog.

Lubber's Hole. A hole in the top, next the mast.

Luff. To put the helm so as to bring the ship up nearer to the wind. Spring-a-luff! Keep your luff! &c. Orders to luff. Also, the roundest part of a vessel's bow. Also, the forward leech of fore-and-aft sails.

Luff-tackle. A purchase composed of a double and single block. (See page 54.)

Luff-upon-luff. A luff tackle applied to the fall of another.

Lugger. A small vessel carrying lug-sails.

Lug-sail. A sail used in boats and small vessels, bent to a yard which hangs obliquely to the mast.

Lurch. The sudden rolling of a vessel to one side.

Lying-to. (See Lie-to.)


Made. A made mast or block is one composed of different pieces. A ship's lower mast is a made spar, her topmast is a whole spar.

Mall, or Maul. (Pronounced mawl.) A heavy iron hammer used in driving bolts. (See Top-maul.)

Mallet. A small maul, made of wood; as, caulking-mallet; also, serving-mallet, used in putting service on a rope.

Manger. A coaming just within the hawse hole. Not much in use.

Man-ropes. Ropes used in going up and down a vessel's side.

Marl. To wind or twist a small line or rope round another.

Marline. (Pronounced mar-lin.) Small two-stranded stuff, used for marling. A finer kind of spunyarn.

Marling-hitch. A kind of hitch used in marling.

Marlingspike. An iron pin, sharpened at one end, and having a hole in the other for a lanyard. Used both as a fid and a heaver.

Marry. To join ropes together by a worming over both.

Martingale. A short, perpendicular spar, under the bowsprit-end, used for guying down the head-stays. (See Dolphin-striker.)

Mast. A spar set upright from the deck, to support rigging, yards and sails. Masts are whole or made.

Mat. Made of strands of old rope, and used to prevent chafing.

Mate. An officer under the master.

Maul. (See Mall.)

Mend. To mend service, is to add more to it.

Meshes. The places between the lines of a netting.

Mess. Any number of men who eat or lodge together.

Messenger. A rope used for heaving in a cable by the capstan.

Midships. The timbers at the broadest part of the vessel. (See Amidships.)

Miss-stays. To fail of going about from one tack to another. (See page 74.)

Mizzen-mast. The aftermost mast of a ship. (See Plate 1.) The spanker is sometimes called the mizzen.

Monkey Block. A small single block strapped with a swivel.

Moon-sail. A small sail sometimes carried in light winds, above a sky sail.

Moor. To secure by two anchors. (See page 88.)

Mortice. A morticed block is one made out of a whole block of wood with a hole cut in it for the sheave; in distinction from a made block. (See page 53.)

Moulds. The patterns by which the frames of a vessel are worked out.

Mouse. To put turns of rope yarn or spunyarn round the end of a hook and its standing part, when it is hooked to anything, so as to prevent its slipping out.

Mousing. A knot or puddening, made of yarns, and placed on the outside of a rope.

Muffle. Oars are muffled by putting mats or canvass round their looms in the row-locks.

Munions. The pieces that separate the lights in the galleries.


Naval Hoods, or Hawse Bolsters. Plank above and below the hawse-holes.

Neap Tides. Low tides, coming at the middle of the moon's second and fourth quarters. (See Spring Tides.)

Neaped, or Beneaped. The situation of a vessel when she is aground at the height of the spring tides.

Near. Close to wind. "Near!" the order to the helmsman when he is too near the wind.

Netting. Network of rope or small lines. Used for stowing away sails or hammocks.

Nettles. (See Knittles.)

Ninepin Block. A block in the form of a ninepin, used for a fair-leader in the rail.

Nip. A short turn in a rope.

Nippers. A number of yarns marled together, used to secure a cable to the messenger.

Nock. The forward upper end of a sail that sets with a boom.

Nun-buoy. A buoy tapering at each end.

Nut. Projections on each side of the shank of an anchor, to secure the stock to its place.


Oakum. Stuff made by picking rope-yarns to pieces. Used for caulking, and other purposes.

Oar. A long wooden instrument with a flat blade at one end, used for propelling boats.

Off-and-on. To stand on different tacks towards and from the land.

Offing. Distance from the shore.

Orlop. The lower deck of a ship of the line; or that on which the cables are stowed.

Out-haul. A rope used for hauling out the clew of a boom sail.

Out-rigger. A spar rigged out to windward from the tops or cross-trees, to spread the breast-backstays. (See page 25.)

Overhaul. To overhaul a tackle, is to let go the fall and pull on the leading parts so as to separate the blocks.

To overhaul a rope, is generally to pull a part through a block so as to make slack.

To overhaul rigging, is to examine it.

Over-rake. Said of heavy seas which come over a vessel's head when she is at anchor, head to the sea.


Painter. A rope attached to the bows of a boat, used for making her fast.

Palm. A piece of leather fitted over the hand, with an iron for the head of a needle to press against in sewing upon canvass. Also, the fluke of an anchor.

Panch. (See Paunch.)

Parbuckle. To hoist or lower a spar or cask by single ropes passed round it.

Parcel. (See page 44.) To wind tarred canvass, (called parcelling,) round a rope.

Parcelling. (See Parcel.)

Parliament-heel. The situation of a vessel when she is careened.

Parral. The rope by which a yard is confined to a mast at its centre.

Part. To break a rope.

Partners. A frame-work of short timber fitted to the hole in a deck, to receive the heel of a mast or pump, &c.

Pazaree. A rope attached to the clew of the foresail and rove through a block on the swinging boom. Used for guying the clews out when before the wind.

Paunch Mat. A thick mat, placed at the slings of a yard or elsewhere.

Pawl. A short bar of iron, which prevents the capstan or windlass from turning back.

To pawl, is to drop a pawl and secure the windlass or capstan.

Pay-off. When a vessel's head falls off from the wind.

To pay. To cover over with tar or pitch.

To pay out. To slack up on a cable and let it run out.

Peak. The upper outer corner of a gaff-sail.

Peak. (See A-peak.)

A stay-peak is when the cable and fore stay form a line.

A short stay-peak is when the cable is too much in to form this line.

Pendant, or Pennant. A long narrow piece of bunting, carried at the mast-head.

Broad pennant, is a square piece, carried in the same way, in a commodore's vessel.

Pennant. A rope to which a purchase is hooked. A long strap fitted at one end to a yard or mast-head, with a hook or block at the other end, for a brace to reeve through, or to hook a tackle to.

Pillow. A block which supports the inner end of the bowsprit.

Pin. The axis on which a sheave turns. Also, a short piece of wood or iron to belay ropes to.

Pink-stern. A high, narrow stern.

Pinnace. A boat, in size between the launch and a cutter.

Pintle. A metal bolt, used for hanging a rudder.

Pitch. A resin taken from pine, and used for filling up the seams of a vessel.

Planks. Thick, strong boards, used for covering the sides and decks of vessels.

Plat. A braid of foxes. (See Fox.)

Plate. (See Chain-plate.)

Plug. A piece of wood, fitted into a hole in a vessel or boat, so as to let in or keep out water.

Point. To take the end of a rope and work it over with knittles. (See page 51. See Reef-points.)

Pole. Applied to the highest mast of a ship, usually painted; as, skysail pole.

Poop. A deck raised over the after part of the spar deck. A vessel is pooped when the sea breaks over her stern.

Poppets. Perpendicular pieces of timber fixed to the fore-and-aft part of the bilge-ways in launching.

Port. Used instead of larboard.

To port the helm, is to put it to the larboard.

Port, or Port-hole. Holes in the side of a vessel, to point cannon out of. (See Bridle.)

Portoise. The gunwale. The yards are a-portoise when they rest on the gunwale.

Port-sills. (See Sills.)

Preventer. An additional rope or spar, used as a support.

Prick. A quantity of spunyarn or rope laid close up together.

Pricker. A small marlinspike, used in sail-making. It generally has a wooden handle.

Puddening. A quantity of yarns, matting or oakum, used to prevent chafing.

Pump-brake. The handle to the pump.

Purchase. A mechanical power which increases the force applied.

To purchase, is to raise by a purchase.


Quarter. The part of a vessel's side between the after part of the main chains and the stern. The quarter of a yard is between the slings and the yard-arm.

The wind is said to be quartering, when it blows in a line between that of the keel and the beam and abaft the latter.

Quarter-block. A block fitted under the quarters of a yard on each side the slings, for the clewlines and sheets to reeve through.

Quarter-deck. That part of the upper deck abaft the main-mast.

Quarter-master. A petty officer in a man-of-war, who attends the helm and binnacle at sea, and watches for signals, &c., when in port.

Quick-work. That part of a vessel's side which is above the chain-wales and decks. So called in ship-building.

Quilting. A coating about a vessel, outside, formed of ropes woven together.

Quoin. A wooden wedge for the breech of a gun to rest upon.


Race. A strong, rippling tide.

Rack. To seize two ropes together, with cross-turns. Also, a fair-leader for running rigging.

Rack-block. A course of blocks made from one piece of wood, for fair-leaders.

Rake. The inclination of a mast from the perpendicular.

Ramline. A line used in mast-making to get a straight middle line on a spar.

Range of Cable. A quantity of cable, more or less, placed in order for letting go the anchor or paying out.

Ratlines. (Pronounced rat-lins.) Lines running across the shrouds, horizontally, like the rounds of a ladder, and used to step upon in going aloft.

Rattle down Rigging. To put ratlines upon rigging. It is still called rattling down, though they are now rattled up; beginning at the lowest. (See page 23.)

Razee. A vessel of war which has had one deck cut down.

Reef. To reduce a sail by taking in upon its head, if a square sail, and its foot, if a fore-and-aft sail.

Reef-band. A band of stout canvass sewed on the sail across, with points in it, and earings at each end for reefing.

A reef is all of the sail that is comprehended between the head of the sail and the first reef-band, or between two reef-bands.

Reef-tackle. A tackle used to haul the middle of each leech up toward the yard, so that the sail may be easily reefed.

Reeve. To pass the end of a rope through a block, or any aperture.

Relieving Tackle. A tackle hooked to the tiller in a gale of wind, to steer by in case anything should happen to the wheel or tiller-ropes.

Render. To pass a rope through a place. A rope is said to render or not, according as it goes freely through any place.

Rib-bands. Long, narrow, flexible pieces of timber nailed to the outside of the ribs, so as to encompass the vessel lengthwise.

Ribs. A figurative term for a vessel's timbers.

Ride at anchor. To lie at anchor. Also, to bend or bear down by main strength and weight; as, to ride down the main tack.

Riders. Interior timbers placed occasionally opposite the principal ones, to which they are bolted, reaching from the keelson to the beams of the lower deck. Also, casks forming the second tier in a vessel's hold.

Rigging. The general term for all the ropes of a vessel. (See Running, Standing.) Also, the common term for the shrouds with their ratlines; as, the main rigging, mizzen rigging, &c.

Right. To right the helm, is to put it amidships.

Rim. The edge of a top.

Ring. The iron ring at the upper end of an anchor, to which the cable is bent.

Ring-bolt. An eye-bolt with a ring through the eye. (See Eye-bolt.)

Ring-tail. A small sail, shaped like a jib, set abaft the spanker in light winds.

Roach. A curve in the foot of a square sail, by which the clews are brought below the middle of the foot. The roach of a fore-and-aft sail is in its forward leech.

Road, or Roadstead. An anchorage at some distance from the shore.

Robands. (See Rope-bands.)

Rolling Tackle. Tackles used to steady the yards in a heavy sea.

Rombowline. Condemned canvass, rope, &c.

Rope-bands, or Robands. Small pieces of two or three yarn spunyarn or marline, used to confine the head of the sail to the yard or gaff.

Rope-yarn. A thread of hemp, or other stuff, of which a rope is made. (See page 43.)

Rough-tree. An unfinished spar.

Round in. To haul in on a rope, especially a weather-brace.

Round up. To haul up on a tackle.

Rounding. A service of rope, hove round a spar or larger rope.

Rowlocks, or Rollocks. Places cut in the gunwale of a boat for the oar to rest in while pulling.

Royal. A light sail next above a topgallant sail. (See Plate 2.)

Royal Yard. The yard from which the royal is set. The fourth from the deck. (See Plate 1.)

Rubber. A small instrument used to rub or flatten down the seams of a sail in sail-making.

Rudder. The machine by which a vessel or boat is steered.

Run. The after part of a vessel's bottom, which rises and narrows in approaching the stern-post.

By the run. To let go by the run, is to let go altogether, instead of slacking off.

Rung-heads. The upper ends of the floor-timbers.

Runner. A rope used to increase the power of a tackle. It is rove through a single block which you wish to bring down, and a tackle is hooked to each end, or to one end, the other being made fast.

Running Rigging. The ropes that reeve through blocks, and are pulled and hauled, such as braces, halyards, &c.; in opposition to the standing rigging, the ends of which are securely seized, such as stays, shrouds, &c. (See page 43.)


Saddles. Pieces of wood hollowed out to fit on the yards to which they are nailed, having a hollow in the upper part for the boom to rest in.

Sag. To sag to leeward, is to drift off bodily to leeward.

Sails are of two kinds: square sails, which hang from yards, their foot lying across the line of the keel, as the courses, topsails, &c.; and fore-and-aft sails, which set upon gaffs, or on stays, their foot running with the line of the keel, as jib, spanker, &c.

Sail ho! The cry used when a sail is first discovered at sea.

Save-all. A small sail sometimes set under the foot of a lower studdingsail. (See Water Sail.)

Scantling. A term applied to any piece of timber, with regard to its breadth and thickness, when reduced to the standard size.

Scarf. To join two pieces of timber at their ends by shaving them down and placing them over-lapping.

Schooner. (See Plate 4.) A small vessel with two masts and no tops.

A fore-and-aft schooner has only fore-and-aft sails.

A topsail schooner carries a square fore topsail, and frequently, also, topgallant sail and royal. There are some schooners with three masts. They also have no tops.

A main-topsail schooner is one that carries square topsails, fore and aft.

Score. A groove in a block or dead-eye.

Scotchman. A large batten placed over the turnings-in of rigging. (See Batten.)

Scraper. A small, triangular iron instrument, with a handle fitted to its centre, and used for scraping decks and masts.

Scrowl. A piece of timber bolted to the knees of the head, in place of a figure-head.

Scud. To drive before a gale, with no sail, or only enough to keep the vessel ahead of the sea. Also, low, thin clouds that fly swiftly before the wind.

Scull. A short oar.

To scull, is to impel a boat by one oar at the stern.

Scuppers. Holes cut in the water-ways for the water to run from the decks.

Scuttle. A hole cut in a vessel's deck, as, a hatchway. Also, a hole cut in any part of a vessel.

To scuttle, is to cut or bore holes in a vessel to make her sink.

Scuttle-butt. (See Butt.)

Seams. The intervals between planks in a vessel's deck or side.

Seize. To fasten ropes together by turns of small stuff.

Seizings. (See page 51.) The fastenings of ropes that are seized together.

Selvagee. A skein of rope-yarns or spunyarn, marled together. Used as a neat strap. (See page 50.)

Send. When a ship's head or stern pitches suddenly and violently into the trough of the sea.

Sennit, or Sinnit. (See page 52.) A braid, formed by plaiting rope-yarns or spunyarn together. Straw, plaited in the same way for hats, is called sennit.

Serve. (See page 44.) To wind small stuff, as rope-yarns, spunyarn, &c., round a rope, to keep it from chafing. It is wound and hove round taut by a serving-board or mallet.

Service, is the stuff so wound round.

Set. To set up rigging, is to tauten it by tackles. The seizings are then put on afresh.

Shackles. Links in a chain cable which are fitted with a movable bolt so that the chain can be separated.

Shakes. The staves of hogsheads taken apart.

Shank. The main piece in an anchor, at one end of which the stock is made fast, and at the other the arms.

Shank-painter. A strong rope by which the lower part of the shank of an anchor is secured to the ship's side.

Sharp up. Said of yards when braced as near fore-and-aft as possible.

Sheathing. A casing or covering on a vessel's bottom.

Shears. Two or more spars, raised at angles and lashed together near their upper ends, used for taking in masts. (See page 52.)

Shear Hulk. An old vessel fitted with shears, &c., and used for taking out and putting in the masts of other vessels.

Sheave. The wheel in a block upon which the rope works.

Sheave-hole, the place cut in a block for the ropes to reeve through.

Sheep-shank. A kind of hitch or bend, used to shorten a rope temporarily. (See Plate 5 and page 50.)

Sheer, or Sheer-strake. The line of plank on a vessel's side, running fore-and-aft under the gunwale. Also, a vessel's position when riding by a single anchor.

Sheet. A rope used in setting a sail, to keep the clew down to its place. With square sails, the sheets run through each yard-arm. With boom sails, they haul the boom over one way and another. They keep down the inner clew of a studdingsail and the after clew of a jib. (See Home.)

Sheet Anchor. A vessel's largest anchor: not carried at the bow.

Shell. The case of a block.

Shingle. (See Ballast.)

Ship. A vessel with three masts, with tops and yards to each. (See Plate 4.) To enter on board a vessel. To fix anything in its place.

Shiver. To shake the wind out of a sail by bracing it so that the wind strikes upon the leech.

Shoe. A piece of wood used for the bill of an anchor to rest upon, to save the vessel's side. Also, for the heels of shears, &c.

Shoe-block. A block with two sheaves, one above the other, the one horizontal and the other perpendicular.

Shore. A prop or stanchion, placed under a beam. To shore, to prop up.

Shrouds. A set of ropes reaching from the mast-heads to the vessel's sides, to support the masts.

Sills. Pieces of timber put in horizontally between the frames to form and secure any opening; as, for ports.

Sister Block. A long piece of wood with two sheaves in it, one above the other, with a score between them for a seizing, and a groove around the block, lengthwise.

Skids. Pieces of timber placed up and down a vessel's side, to bear any articles off clear that are hoisted in.

Skin. The part of a sail which is outside and covers the rest when it is furled. Also, familiarly, the sides of the hold; as, an article is said to be stowed next the skin.

Skysail. A light sail next above the royal. (See Plate 2.)

Sky-scraper. A name given to a skysail when it is triangular.

Slabline. A small line used to haul up the foot of a course.

Slack. The part of a rope or sail that hangs down loose.

Slack in stays, said of a vessel when she works slowly in tacking.

Sleepers. The knees that connect the transoms to the after timbers on the ship's quarter.

Sling. To set a cask, spar, gun, or other article, in ropes, so as to put on a tackle and hoist or lower it.

Slings. The ropes used for securing the centre of a yard to the mast.

Yard-slings are now made of iron. Also, a large rope fitted so as to go round any article which is to be hoisted or lowered.

Slip. To let a cable go and stand out to sea. (See page 90.)

Slip-rope. A rope bent to the cable just outside the hawse-hole, and brought in on the weather quarter, for slipping. (See page 90.)

Sloop. A small vessel with one mast. (See Plate 4.)

Sloop of War. A vessel of any rig, mounting between 18 and 32 guns.

Slue. To turn anything round or over.

Small Stuff. The term for spunyarn, marline, and the smallest kinds of rope, such as ratline-stuff, &c.

Snake. To pass small stuff across a seizing, with marling hitches at the outer turns.

Snatch-block. A single block, with an opening in its side below the sheave, or at the bottom, to receive the bight of a rope.

Snotter. A rope going over a yard-arm, with an eye, used to bend a tripping-line to in sending down topgallant and royal yards in vessels of war.

Snow. A kind of brig, formerly used.

Snub. To check a rope suddenly.

Snying. A term for a circular plank edgewise, to work in the bows of a vessel.

So! An order to 'vast hauling upon anything when it has come to its right position.

Sole. A piece of timber fastened to the foot of the rudder, to make it level with the false keel.

Sound. To get the depth of water by a lead and line. (See page 85.) The pumps are sounded by an iron sounding rod, marked with a scale of feet and inches.

Span. A rope with both ends made fast, for a purchase to be hooked to its bight.

Spanker. The after sail of a ship or bark. It is a fore-and-aft sail, setting with a boom and gaff. (See Plate 2.)

Spar. The general term for all masts, yards, booms, gaffs, &c.

Spell. The common term for a portion of time given to any work.

To spell, is to relieve another at his work.

Spell ho! An exclamation used as an order or request to be relieved at work by another.

Spencer. A fore-and-aft sail, set with a gaff and no boom, and hoisting from a small mast called a spencer-mast, just abaft the fore and main masts. (See Plates 2 and 4.)

Spill. To shake the wind out of a sail by bracing it so that the wind may strike its leech and shiver it.

Spilling Line. A rope used for spilling a sail. Rove in bad weather.

Spindle. An iron pin upon which the capstan moves. Also, a piece of timber forming the diameter of a made mast. Also, any long pin or bar upon which anything revolves.

Spirketing. The planks from the water-ways to the port-sills.

Splice. (See Plate 5 and page 44.) To join two ropes together by interweaving their strands.

Spoon-drift. Water swept from the tops of the waves by the violence of the wind in a tempest, and driven along before it, covering the surface of the sea.

Spray. An occasional sprinkling dashed from the top of a wave by the wind, or by its striking an object.

Spring. To crack or split a mast.

To spring a leak, is to begin to leak.

To spring a luff, is to force a vessel close to the wind, in sailing.

Spring-stay. A preventer-stay, to assist the regular one. (See Stay.)

Spring Tides. The highest and lowest course of tides, occurring every new and full moon.

Sprit. A small boom or gaff, used with some sails in small boats. The lower end rests in a becket or snotter by the foot of the mast, and the other end spreads and raises the outer upper corner of the sail, crossing it diagonally. A sail so rigged in a boat is called a sprit-sail.

Sprit-sail-yard. (See Plate 1.) A yard lashed across the bowsprit or knight-heads, and used to spread the guys of the jib and flying jib-boom. There was formerly a sail bent to it called a sprit-sail.

Spunyarn. (See page 44.) A cord formed by twisting together two or three rope-yarns.

Spurling Line. A line communicating between the tiller and tell-tale.

Spurs. Pieces of timber fixed on the bilge-ways, their upper ends being bolted to the vessel's sides above the water. Also, curved pieces of timber, serving as half beams, to support the decks where whole beams cannot be placed.

Spur-shoes. Large pieces of timber that come abaft the pump-well.

Square. Yards are squared when they are horizontal and at right angles with the keel. Squaring by the lifts makes them horizontal; and by the braces, makes them at right angles with the vessel's line. Also, the proper term for the length of yards. A vessel has square yards when her yards are unusually long. A sail is said to be very square on the head when it is long on the head.

To square a yard, in working ship, means to bring it in square by the braces.

Square-sail. A temporary sail, set at the fore-mast of a schooner or sloop when going before the wind. (See Sail.)

Stabber. A Pricker.

Staff. A pole or mast, used to hoist flags upon.

Stanchions. (See Plate 3.) Upright posts of wood or iron, placed so as to support the beams of a vessel. Also, upright pieces of timber, placed at intervals along the sides of a vessel, to support the bulwarks and rail, and reaching down to the bends, by the side of the timbers, to which they are bolted. Also, any fixed, upright support; as to an awning, or for the man-ropes.

Stand by! An order to be prepared.

Standard. An inverted knee, placed above the deck instead of beneath it; as, bitt-standard, &c.

Standing. The standing part of a rope is that part which is fast, in opposition to the part that is hauled upon; or the main part, in opposition to the end.

The standing part of a tackle is that part which is made fast to the blocks and between that and the next sheave, in opposition to the hauling and leading parts.

Standing Rigging. (See page 43.) That part of a vessel's rigging which is made fast and not hauled upon. (See Running.)

Starboard. The right side of a vessel, looking forward.

Starbowlines. The familiar term for the men in the starboard watch.

Start. To start a cask, is to open it.

Stay. To tack a vessel, or put her about, so that the wind, from being on one side, is brought upon the other, round the vessel's head. (See Tack, Wear.)

To stay a mast, is to incline it forward or aft, or to one side or the other, by the stays and backstays. Thus, a mast is said to be stayed too much forward or aft, or too much to port, &c.

Stays. Large ropes, used to support masts, and leading from the head of some mast down to some other mast, or to some part of the vessel. Those which lead forward are called fore-and-aft stays; and those which lead down to the vessel's sides, backstays. (See Backstays.)

In stays, or hove in stays, the situation of a vessel when she is staying, or going about from one tack to the other.

Staysail. A sail which hoists upon a stay.

Steady! An order to keep the helm as it is.

Steerage. That part of the between-decks which is just forward of the cabin.

Steeve. A bowsprit steeves more or less, according as it is raised more or less from the horizontal.

The steeve is the angle it makes with the horizon. Also, a long, heavy spar, with a place to fit a block at one end, and used in stowing certain kinds of cargo, which need be driven in close.

Stem. (See Plate 3.) A piece of timber reaching from the forward end of the keel, to which it is scarfed, up to the bowsprit, and to which the two sides of the vessel are united.

Stemson. A piece of compass-timber, fixed on the after part of the apron inside. The lower end is scarfed into the keelson, and receives the scarf of the stem, through which it is bolted.

Step. A block of wood secured to the keel, into which the heel of the mast is placed.

To step a mast, is to put it in its step.

Stern. (See Plate 3.) The after end of a vessel. (See By the stern.)

Stern-board. The motion of a vessel when going stern foremost.

Stern-frame. The frame composed of the stern-post transom and the fashion-pieces.

Stern-post. (See Plate 3.) The aftermost timber in a ship, reaching from the after end of the keel to the deck. The stem and stern-post are the two extremes of a vessel's frame.

Inner stern-post. A post on the inside, corresponding to the stern-post.

Stern-sheets. The after part of a boat, abaft the rowers, where the passengers sit.

Stiff. The quality of a vessel which enables it to carry a great deal of sail without lying over much on her side. The opposite to crank.

Stirrups. Ropes with thimbles at their ends, through which the foot-ropes are rove, and by which they are kept up toward the yards.

Stock. A beam of wood, or a bar of iron, secured to the upper end of the shank of an anchor, at right angles with the arms. An iron stock usually goes with a key, and unships.

Stocks. The frame upon which a vessel is built.

Stools. Small channels for the dead-eyes of the backstays.

Stopper. A stout rope with a knot at one end, and sometimes a hook at the other, used for various purposes about decks; as, making fast a cable, so as to overhaul. (See Cat Stopper, Deck Stopper.)

Stopper Bolts. Ring-bolts to which the deck stoppers are secured.

Stop. A fastening of small stuff. Also, small projections on the outside of the cheeks of a lower mast, at the upper parts of the hounds.

Strand. (See page 43.) A number of rope-yarns twisted together. Three, four or nine strands twisted together form a rope.

A rope is stranded when one of its strands is parted or broken by chafing or by a strain.

A vessel is stranded when she is driven on shore.

Strap. A piece of rope spliced round a block to keep its parts well together. Some blocks have iron straps, in which case they are called iron bound.

Streak, or Strake. A range of planks running fore and aft on a vessel's side.

Stream. The stream anchor is one used for warping, &c., and sometimes as a lighter anchor to moor by, with a hawser. It is smaller than the bowers, and larger than the kedges.

To stream a buoy, is to drop it into the water.

Stretchers. Pieces of wood placed across a boat's bottom, inside, for the oarsmen to press their feet against, in rowing. Also, cross pieces placed between a boat's sides to keep them apart when hoisted up and griped.

Strike. To lower a sail or colors.

Studdingsails. (See Plate 2.) Light sails set outside the square sails, on booms rigged out for that purpose. They are only carried with a fair wind and in moderate weather.

Sued, or Sewed. The condition of a ship when she is high and dry on shore. If the water leaves her two feet, she sues, or is sued, two feet.

Supporters. The knee-timbers under the cat-heads.

Surf. The breaking of the sea upon the shore.

Surge. A large, swelling wave.

To surge a rope or cable, is to slack it up suddenly where it renders round a pin, or round the windlass or capstan.

Surge ho! The notice given when a cable is to be surged.

Swab. A mop, formed of old rope, used for cleaning and drying decks.

Sweep. To drag the bottom for an anchor. Also, large oars, used in small vessels to force them ahead.

Swift. To bring two shrouds or stays close together by ropes.

Swifter. The forward shroud to a lower-mast. Also, ropes used to confine the capstan bars to their places when shipped.

Swig. A term used by sailors for the mode of hauling off upon the bight of a rope when its lower end is fast.

Swivel. A long link of iron, used in chain cables, made so as to turn upon an axis and keep the turns out of a chain.

Syphering. Lapping the edges of planks over each other for a bulkhead.


Tabling. Letting one beam-piece into another. (See Scarfing.) Also, the broad hem on the borders of sails, to which the bolt-rope is sewed.

Tack. To put a ship about, so that from having the wind on one side, you bring it round on the other by the way of her head. The opposite of wearing.

A vessel is on the starboard tack, or has her starboard tacks on board, when she has the wind on her starboard side.

The rope or tackle by which the weather clew of a course is hauled forward and down to the deck.

The tack of a fore-and-aft sail is the rope that keeps down the lower forward clew; and of a studdingsail, the lower outer clew. The tack of the lower studdingsail is called the outhaul. Also, that part of a sail to which the tack is attached.

Tackle. (Pronounced tay-cle.) A purchase, formed by a rope rove through one or more blocks.

Taffrail, or Tafferel. The rail round a ship's stern.

Tail. A rope spliced into the end of a block and used for making it fast to rigging or spars. Such a block is called a tail-block.

A ship is said to tail up or down stream, when at anchor, according as her stern swings up or down with the tide; in opposition to heading one way or another, which is said of a vessel when under way.

Tail-tackle. A watch-tackle. (See page 54.)

Tail on! or Tally on! An order given to take hold of a rope and pull.

Tank. An iron vessel placed in the hold to contain the vessel's water.

Tar. A liquid gum, taken from pine and fir trees, and used for caulking, and to put upon yarns in rope-making, and upon standing rigging, to protect it from the weather.

Tarpaulin. A piece of canvass, covered with tar, used for covering hatches, boats, &c. Also, the name commonly given to a sailor's hat when made of tarred or painted cloth.

Taut. Tight.

Taunt. High or tall. Commonly applied to a vessel's masts.

All-a-taunt-o. Said of a vessel when she has all her light and tall masts and spars aloft.

Tell-tale. A compass hanging from the beams of the cabin, by which the heading of a vessel may be known at any time. Also, an instrument connected with the barrel of the wheel, and traversing so that the officer may see the position of the tiller.

Tend. To watch a vessel at anchor at the turn of tides, and cast her by the helm, and some sail if necessary, so as to keep turns out of her cables.

Tenon. The heel of a mast, made to fit into the step.

Thick-and-thin Block. A block having one sheave larger than the other. Sometimes used for quarter-blocks.

Thimble. An iron ring, having its rim concave on the outside for a rope or strap to fit snugly round.

Thole-pins. Pins in the gunwale of a boat, between which an oar rests when pulling, instead of a rowlock.

Throat. The inner end of a gaff, where it widens and hollows in to fit the mast. (See Jaws.) Also, the hollow part of a knee.

The throat brails, halyards, &c., are those that hoist or haul up the gaff or sail near the throat. Also, the angle where the arm of an anchor is joined to the shank.

Thrum. To stick short strands of yarn through a mat or piece of canvass, to make a rough surface.

Thwarts. The seats going across a boat, upon which the oarsmen sit.

Thwartships. (See Athwartships.)

Tide. To tide up or down a river or harbor, is to work up or down with a fair tide and head wind or calm, coming to anchor when the tide turns.

Tide-rode. The situation of a vessel, at anchor, when she swings by the force of the tide. In opposition to wind-rode.

Tier. A range of casks. Also, the range of the fakes of a cable or hawser.

The cable tier is the place in a hold or between decks where the cables are stowed.

Tiller. A bar of wood or iron, put into the head of the rudder, by which the rudder is moved.

Tiller-ropes. Ropes leading from the tiller-head round the barrel of the wheel, by which a vessel is steered.

Timber. A general term for all large pieces of wood used in ship-building. Also, more particularly, long pieces of wood in a curved form, bending outward, and running from the keel up, on each side, forming the ribs of a vessel. The keel, stem, stern-posts and timbers form a vessel's outer frame. (See Plate 3.)

Timber-heads. (See Plate 3.) The ends of the timbers that come above the decks. Used for belaying hawsers and large ropes.

Timenoguy. A rope carried taut between different parts of the vessel, to prevent the sheet or tack of a course from getting foul, in working ship.

Toggle. A pin placed through the bight or eye of a rope, block-strap, or bolt, to keep it in its place, or to put the bight or eye of another rope upon, and thus to secure them both together.

Tompion. A bung or plug placed in the mouth of a cannon.

Top. A platform, placed over the head of a lower mast, resting on the trestle-trees, to spread the rigging, and for the convenience of men aloft. (See Plate 1.)

To top up a yard or boom, is to raise up one end of it by hoisting on the lift.

Top-block. A large iron-bound block, hooked into a bolt under the lower cap, and used for the top-rope to reeve through in sending up and down topmasts.

Top-light. A signal lantern carried in the top.

Top-lining. A lining on the after part of sails, to prevent them from chafing against the top-rim.

Topmast. (See Plate 1.) The second mast above the deck. Next above the lower mast.

Topgallant Mast. (See Plate 1.) The third mast above the deck.

Top-rope. The rope used for sending topmasts up and down.

Topsail. (See Plate 2.) The second sail above the deck.

Topgallant Sail. (See Plate 2.) The third sail above the deck.

Topping-lift. (See Plate 1.) A lift used for topping up the end of a boom.

Top Timbers. The highest timbers on a vessel's side, being above the futtocks. (See Plate 3.)

Toss. To throw an oar out of the rowlock, and raise it perpendicularly on its end, and lay it down in the boat, with its blade forward.

Touch. A sail is said to touch, when the wind strikes the leech so as to shake it a little.

Luff and touch her! The order to bring the vessel up and see how near she will go to the wind.

Tow. To draw a vessel along by means of a rope.

Train-tackle. The tackle used for running guns in and out.

Transoms. (See Plate 3.) Pieces of timber going across the stern-post, to which they are bolted.

Transom-knees. Knees bolted to the transoms and after timbers.

Traveller. An iron ring, fitted so as to slip up and down a rope.

Treenails, or Trunnels. Long wooden pins, used for nailing a plank to a timber.

Trend. The lower end of the shank of an anchor, being the same distance on the shank from the throat that the arm measures from the throat to the bill.

Trestle-trees. Two strong pieces of timber, placed horizontally and fore-and-aft on opposite sides of a mast-head, to support the cross-trees and top, and for the fid of the mast above to rest upon.

Triatic Stay. A rope secured at each end to the heads of the fore and main masts, with thimbles spliced into its bight, to hook the stay tackles to.

Trice. To haul up by means of a rope.

Trick. The time allotted to a man to stand at the helm.

Trim. The condition of a vessel, with reference to her cargo and ballast. A vessel is trimmed by the head or by the stern.

In ballast trim, is when she has only ballast on board.

Also, to arrange the sails by the braces with reference to the wind.

Trip. To raise an anchor clear of the bottom.

Tripping Line. A line used for tripping a topgallant or royal yard in sending it down.

Truck. A circular piece of wood, placed at the head of the highest mast on a ship. It has small holes or sheaves in it for signal halyards to be rove through. Also, the wheel of a gun-carriage.

Trunnions. The arms on each side of a cannon by which it rests upon the carriage, and on which, as an axis, it is elevated or depressed.

Truss. The rope by which the centre of a lower yard is kept in toward the mast.

Trysail. A fore-and-aft sail, set with a boom and gaff, and hoisting on a small mast abaft the lower mast, called a trysail-mast. This name is generally confined to the sail so carried at the mainmast of a full-rigged brig; those carried at the foremast and at the mainmast of a ship or bark being called spencers, and those that are at the mizzenmast of a ship or bark, spankers.

Tumbling home. Said of a ship's sides when they fall in above the bends. The opposite of wall-sided.

Turn. Passing a rope once or twice round a pin or kevel, to keep it fast. Also, two crosses in a cable.

To turn in or turn out, nautical terms for going to rest in a berth or hammock, and getting up from them.

Turn up! The order given to send the men up from between decks.

Tye. A rope connected with a yard, to the other end of which a tackle is attached for hoisting.


Unbend. To cast off or untie. (See Bend.)

Union. The upper inner corner of an ensign. The rest of the flag is called the fly. The union of the U.S. ensign is a blue field with white stars, and the fly is composed of alternate white and red stripes.

Union-down. The situation of a flag when it is hoisted upside down, bringing the union down instead of up. Used as a signal of distress.

Union-jack. A small flag, containing only the union, without the fly, usually hoisted at the bowsprit-cap.

Unmoor. To heave up one anchor so that the vessel may ride at a single anchor. (See Moor.)

Unship. (See Ship.)

Uvrou. (See Euvrou.)


Vane. A fly worn at the mast-head, made of feathers or buntine, traversing on a spindle, to show the direction of the wind. (See Dog Vane.)

Vang. (See Plate 1.) A rope leading from the peak of the gaff of a fore-and-aft sail to the rail on each side, and used for steadying the gaff.

'Vast. (See Avast.)

Veer. Said of the wind when it changes. Also, to slack a cable and let it run out. (See Pay.)

To veer and haul, is to haul and slack alternately on a rope, as in warping, until the vessel or boat gets headway.

Viol, or Voyal. A larger messenger sometimes used in weighing an anchor by a capstan. Also, the block through which the messenger passes.


Waist. That part of the upper deck between the quarter-deck and forecastle.

Waisters. Green hands, or broken-down seamen, placed in the waist of a man-of-war.

Wake. The track or path a ship leaves behind her in the water.

Wales. Strong planks in a vessel's sides, running her whole length fore and aft.

Wall. A knot put on the end of a rope. (See Plate 5 and page 46.)

Wall-sided. A vessel is wall-sided when her sides run up perpendicularly from the bends. In opposition to tumbling-home or flaring out.

Ward-room. The room in a vessel of war in which the commissioned officers live.

Ware, or Wear. To turn a vessel round, so that, from having the wind on one side, you bring it upon the other, carrying her stern round by the wind. In tacking, the same result is produced by carrying a vessel's head round by the wind.

Warp. To move a vessel from one place to another by means of a rope made fast to some fixed object, or to a kedge.

A warp is a rope used for warping. If the warp is bent to a kedge which is let go, and the vessel is hove ahead by the capstan or windlass, it would be called kedging.

Wash-boards. Light pieces of board placed above the gunwale of a boat.

Watch. (See page 167.) A division of time on board ship. There are seven watches in a day, reckoning from 12 M. round through the 24 hours, five of them being of four hours each, and the two others, called dog watches, of two hours each, viz., from 4 to 6, and from 6 to 8, P.M. (See Dog Watch.) Also, a certain portion of a ship's company, appointed to stand a given length of time. In the merchant service all hands are divided into two watches, larboard and starboard, with a mate to command each.

A buoy is said to watch when it floats on the surface.

Watch-and-watch. The arrangement by which the watches are alternated every other four hours. In distinction from keeping all hands during one or more watches. (See page 167.)

Anchor watch, a small watch of one or two men, kept while in port.

Watch ho! Watch! The cry of the man that heaves the deep-sea-lead.

Watch-tackle. (See page 54.) A small luff purchase with a short fall, the double block having a tail to it, and the single one a hook. Used for various purposes about decks.

Water Sail. A save-all, set under the swinging-boom.

Water-ways. Long pieces of timber, running fore and aft on both sides, connecting the deck with the vessel's sides. The scuppers are made through them to let the water off. (See Plate 3.)

Wear. (See Ware.)

Weather. In the direction from which the wind blows. (See Windward, Lee.)

A ship carries a weather helm when she tends to come up into the wind, requiring you to put the helm up.

Weather gage. A vessel has the weather gage of another when she is to windward of her.

A weatherly ship, is one that works well to windward, making but little leeway.

Weather-bitt. To take an additional turn with a cable round the windlass-end.

Weather Roll. The roll which a ship makes to windward.

Weigh. To lift up; as, to weigh an anchor or a mast.

Wheel. The instrument by which a ship is steered; being a barrel, (round which the tiller-ropes go,) and a wheel with spokes.

Whip. (See page 54.) A purchase formed by a rope rove through a single block.

To whip, is to hoist by a whip. Also, to secure the end of a rope from fagging by a seizing of twine.

Whip-upon-whip. One whip applied to the fall of another.

Winch. A purchase formed by a horizontal spindle or shaft with a wheel or crank at the end. A small one with a wheel is used for making ropes or spunyarn.

Windlass. The machine used in merchant vessels to weigh the anchor by.

Wind-rode. The situation of a vessel at anchor when she swings and rides by the force of the wind, instead of the tide or current. (See Tide-rode.)

Wing. That part of the hold or between-decks which is next the side.

Wingers. Casks stowed in the wings of a vessel.

Wing-and-wing. The situation of a fore-and-aft vessel when she is going dead before the wind, with her foresail hauled over on one side and her mainsail on the other.

Withe, or Wythe. An iron instrument fitted on the end of a boom or mast, with a ring to it, through which another boom or mast is rigged out and secured.

Woold. To wind a piece of rope round a spar, or other thing.

Work up. To draw the yarns from old rigging and make them into spunyarn, foxes, sennit, &c. Also, a phrase for keeping a crew constantly at work upon needless matters, and in all weathers, and beyond their usual hours, for punishment.

Worm. (See page 44.) To fill up between the lays of a rope with small stuff wound round spirally. Stuff so wound round is called worming.

Wring. To bend or strain a mast by setting the rigging up too taut.

Wring-bolts. Bolts that secure the planks to the timbers.

Wring-staves. Strong pieces of plank used with the wring-bolts.


Yacht. (Pronounced yot.) A vessel of pleasure or state.

Yard. (See Plate 1.) A long piece of timber, tapering slightly toward the ends, and hung by the centre to a mast, to spread the square sails upon.

Yard-arm. The extremities of a yard.

Yard-arm and yard-arm. The situation of two vessels, lying alongside one another, so near that their yard-arms cross or touch.

Yarn. (See Rope-yarn.)

Yaw. The motion of a vessel when she goes off from her course.

Yeoman. A man employed in a vessel of war to take charge of a storeroom; _, boatswain's yeoman, the man that has charge of the stores, of rigging, &c.

Yoke. A piece of wood placed across the head of a boat's rudder, with a rope attached to each end, by which the boat is steered.

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