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A Dictionary of Sea-Terms

Darcy Lever's "the Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor; or a Key to the Leading of Rigging, and to Practical Seamanship" was first published in London, 1808. The definitions below contain additions by George W. Blunt, New-York, E & G.W. Blunt, 1863.

In the "Preface to the Revised American Edition" (New York, December 7, 1870, by Geo. W. Blunt), these 1863 revisions are described as having "been carefully revised and enlarged, sixteen additional pages of terms, with their explanations, having been inserted".

Some prepositions, articles, etc, have been moved from start to end of relevant entries to allow computerized alphanumeric sorting. e.g. "To belay" becomes "Belay, to"

a-backA sail is a-back when its forward surface is acted upon by the wind.
a-baftthe hinder part of a ship - behind - thus, abaft the fore-mast, means anything between the stern and the fore-mast
a-boardIn the ship: as, the cargo is a-board. A ship is said to fall aboard when she runs foul of another. To get aboard the main deck is to bring the clew of the main-sail down to the chess-tree.
AboutA ship is said to be going about when in the act of tacking, the order for which is, "Ready about there!"
AbreastOpposite to.
Accomodation LadderA temporary stairs at the sides of vessels, for the accomodation of officers and visitors.
AdriftBroken loose from the moorings.
AfloatSwimming; not touching the bottom.
AforeThat part of the ship nearest to the stem or head.
AftBehind - as, "Stand farther aft!" that is, stand nearer to the stern.
AfterHinder - as, the after ports, those ports nearest to the stern, - After-sails, after-hatchways, &c.
AgroundNot having water enough to float the ship, which rests on the ground.
AheadBefore the ship.
a-Hullthe situation of a ship when all her sails are furled, and her helm is lashed to the lee-side.
a-Leethe helm is a-lee when the tiller is put to the lee-side. Hard a-lee, when it is put as far as it will go in that direction.
All In the WindWhen the wind blows on the leaches or outward extremities of the sails, and causes them to shake.
All Hands, Hoy!the word given to assemble the ship's company.
a-loftUp above; in the rigging; on the yards; at the mast-head, etc.
AlongsideClose to the ship.
AloofAt a distance. Keep aloof; that is, keep at a distance.
Amainthe old term for yield; but it now signifies anything done suddenly, or at once, by a number of men.
AmidshipsIn the middle of the vessel. the helm is amidships when the tiller is not put over to either one side or the other.
AnchorageGround fit to Anchor in.
Anchor: To AnchorTo let the Anchor fall overboard, that it may hold the ship.
Foul the AnchorTo let the cable be twisted round the upper fluke, etc.
Drag the Anchor, Towhen the ship pulls it with her, from the violence of the wind.
a-Cockbill: the Anchor Is a-Cockbillwhen hanging by the ring or stopper at the cat-head.
a-Peak: the Anchor Is a-Peakwhen near to the ship. Thus, at different distances, it is called a long peak, a stay peak, a short stay peak.
Aweigh: the Anchor Is Aweigh Or Atripwhen loosened from the ground by heaving in the cable.
Atrip: the Anchor Is Aweigh Or Atripwhen loosened from the ground by heaving in the cable.
Catted: the Anchor Is Cattedwhen drawn up to the cathead.
Fished: the Anchor Is Fishedwhen its inner arm is drawn up by the fish pendent.
Back the Anchor, ToTo place another Anchor, or any heavy material, at a certain distance before it, and attached to it by the cable of the former being fastened to it, which fixes it firmly in the ground.
Weigh the Anchor, ToTo heave it up by the capstan or windlass.
Sheet Anchor: the Sheet Anchoris of the same size and weight as the two bower Anchors and the spare Anchor. It is a resource and dependence should either of the bowers part, for which purpose the cable or chain is always kept ready bend, with a long range, that it may be let go on an emergencey.
Best Bower [Anchor][one of] the two Anchors which are in use [the other being the small bower]
Small Bower [Anchor][one of] the two Anchors which are in use [the other being the best bower]
Stream Anchor: the Stream Anchoris used to bring the ship up with occasionally, or to steady her when she comes to a temporary mooring.
Kedge Anchor: the Kedge Anchorthe smallest of the Anchors, to which a hawser or cablet is generally bent.
An-EndAny spar or mast placed perpendicularly. the topmasts are an end; that is, they are swayed up and fidded above the lower-mast. All an end; that is, all the masts are up in their proper stations.
a-Peek (See Anchor.)
AshoreOn land; aground.
Asternbehind the ship.
Back Astern: To Back AsternWhen rowing, to impel the boat with her stern foremost, by means of the oars.
AthwartAcross. Athwart-hawse, across the stem. Athwart-ships, anything lying in a direction across the ship. Athwart the forefoot, a shot fired by another ship across the bows.
a-Tripthe top-sails are atrip; that is, hoisted up. (See Anchor.)
AvastTo cease hauling; to stop.
AwashEven with the surface of the water, and washed by it.
AwayTo keep away; to go before the wind.
a-Weigh(See Anchor.)
a-Weatherthe helm is said to be aweather when the tiller is put over to the windward side of the ship. Hard aweather, when it is put over as far as it will go in that direction.
AwningA canvas canopy placed over the deck when the sun is powerful.
Axis Of RotationAn imaginary line round which the ship turns in obedience to the action of either the helm or sails.
Back Astern: To Back AsternTo manage the oars in rowing in a direction contrary to the usual method.
Back And Fill: To Back And FillTo arrange the sails, when the ship is moving with the tide in a river, and against the wind, so as to keep her as near as possible in the middle of the stream, and to avoid obstacles by advancing or receding, as the case may be.
Back the Sails: To Back the SailsTo expose their forward surfaces to the wind by hauling in the weather braces.
Back StaysRopes fixed at the topmast and top-gallant-mast head, and extended to the chains on the ship's sides.
Bagpipe the Mizen, To To bring the sheet over to the weather mizen shrouds, in order to lay it aback.
Balance Reefthe upper reef of a fore-and-aft mainsail or spanker, crossing the sail diagonally from a point on the mast near the throat to the leach, a little above the third reef.
Balance the Mizen: To Balance...Rolling up a portion of it at the peak.
Bale, Bale the BoatThrow the water out of her.
BallastA quantity of iron, stone, gravel, etc., placed in the hold, to give a ship proper stability when she has no cargo, or but a small quantity of goods, etc.
BandsPieces of canvas sewed across the sail, called reef-bands; also, a piece stuck on the middle of a sail to strengthen it, when half worn.
BarA shoal running across the mouth of a harbor.
Bars: Capstan BarsPieces of timber put into the holes in the drum-head of the capstan (where they are secured with iron pins), to heave up the Anchor.
Bare PolesWhen a ship has no sail set, and in motion, she is under bare poles.
Bargethe second class boat of a ship-of-war.
BattensSlips of wood nailed on the slings of the yards, which are eight square; also, over the tarpaulings of a hatchway, to keep out the water in stormy weather.
BaysIn men-of-war, the starboard and port sides between decks, before the bitts.
Beacona post or stake erected over a shoal or sand-bank, as a warning to seamen to keep at a distance; also, a signal placed at the top of hills. etc.
BeamsStrong pieces of timber across the ship, under the decks, bound to the side by knees. they support and keep the ship together.
Beam Ends: On Her Beam EndsA ship is said to be on her beam ends when she inclines so much to one side as to lie, as it were, on the ends of her beams.
Beam: On the BeamWhen the wind blows at a right angle with the keel.
Beam: Before the BeamWhen the wind or object bears on some point less than a right angle or ninety degrees from the ship's head.
Beam: Abaft the BeamWhe the wind or object bears on a point which is more than a right angle, or ninety degrees from the ship's course.
Bear A Hand!Make haste, dispatch.
Bear Away: To...To change the destination of the vessel through some necessity.
Bear In With: To...To sail toward; as, quot;to bear in with the land.quot;
Bear Down Upon: To...To approach a vessel from the windward.
Bear Off: To...To thrust or keep off from the ship's side, etc., any weight, when hoisting. To steer from the land.
Bear Up: To...To change the course of a ship, so as to make her sail before the wind.
Bearingthe point of the compass on which any object appears. It is also applied to an object which lies opposite to any part of the ship; thus the buoy, etc, bears on the beam, the bow, the quarter, etc.
Beating To Windward,Tacking, and endeavoring to get to windward of some headland.
BecalmedHaving no wind to fill the sails. the ship being deprived of the power of the wind by the intervention of high land, a large ship, etc.
BecketsShort straps, having an eye in one end and a double walled-knot on the other, for suspending a yard, etc., till wanted; such are the beckets for the royal yards, for the bights of the sheets, etc.
Belay, To...To make fast.
BendA kind of knot, as a sheet-bend, etc.; or a seizing, such as the bends of the cable.
Bend, To...To make fast; as, to bend the sails, the cable, etc.
Bendsthe streaks of thick stuff, or strongest planks in the ship's sides, on the broadest part. these are also called wales.
Berth Or BirthA place of Anchorage; a cabin or apartment.
Berth-DeckDeck where the sailors' hammocks are slung.
Between DecksAny part of the ship below, between two decks.
BightAny part of a rope between the ends. Also, a collar or eye formed by a rope.
Bilgethe flat part of a ship's bottom. To bilge, to break: as, the ship is bilged; that is, her planks are broken in by violence. Bilge-water, that which rests in the bilge, either from rain, shipping water, etc.
Binnaclethe frame or box which contains the compass.
Bitterthe turn of the cable round the bitts. Bitter end, that part of the cable which stays within-board, round about the bitts, when the ship is at Anchor.
BittsLarge upright pieces of timber, with a cross-piece, over which the bight of the cable is put; also, smaller ones to belay ropes, such as top-sail sheets, etc.
Bitt, To...To place a bight of the cable over the bitts.
BlocksInstruments with sheaves or pulleys, used to increase the power of ropes.
Block-And-BlockWhen the two blocks of a tackle are drawn so close together that there is no more of the fall left to haul upon; also termed Chock-a-block.
BoardTo board a ship is to enter it in a hostile manner; to enter a ship.
Make A Board, ToTo tack.
Make A Stern-Board, ToTo drive a ship stern foremost by laying the sails aback.
BoardingEntering an enemy's ship by force. the men thus engaged are called Boarders.
Boarding NettingNetwork triced round the ship to prevent boarders from entering.
BoatsSmall vessels. Those belonging to ships are the Launch or Long-boat, the Barge, the Pinnace, the Cutter, the Gig, the Jolly-boat, and the Yawl.
Boatswainthe officer who has the charge of the cordage, boats, rigging, etc.
BobstaysRopes reeved through or chains fastened to the cutwater, and set up with dead-eyes under the bowsprit, to act against the power of the forestays.
Bold ShoreA steep coast permitting the close approach of shipping.
BolstersPieces of wood or canvas stuffed, placed on the lower trestle-trees, to keep the rigging from chafing.
BoltsIron or copper fastenings, by which the ship is secured in her hull.
Bolt-RopesRopes sewed round the edges of the sails.
Bonnet Of A SailAn additional piece of canvas put to the sail in moderate weather to hold more wind. Lace on the bonnet! that is, fasten it to the sail. Shake off the bonnet! take it off.
BoomsLarge poles used to extend the studding sails, spanker etc. Also, spare yards, masts, etc.
Boom-IronsIron caps fixed on the yard-arms, for the studding-sail booms to rest in.
Boomingthe application of a boom to the sails. When a ship is said to come booming toward us, it signifies that she comes with all the sail she can make.
Boot-ToppingCleaning the upper part of a ship's bottom, or that part which lies immediately under the surface of the water, and daubing it over with tallow, or with a mixture of tallow, sulphur, rosin, etc.
Both Sheets Aftthe situation of a ship sailing right before the wind.
Bow-GraceA frame of old rope or junk laid out at the bows, stems, and sides of ships, to prevent them from being injured by flakes of ice.
Bowsthe round part of the ship forward.
Bowse, ToTo haul upon.
Bowerthe largest sized Anchors.
BowlinesRopes made fast to the leeches or sides of the sails, to pull them forward. To run on a bow-line, is to run right before the wind. [sic; cf. LARGE, SAILING]
BowspritA mast projecting over the stem.
Bowsprit Shrouds(See SHROUDS.)
Box-Haulinga method of wearing or turning a ship from the wind.
Boxing OffTurning the ship's head from the wond by backing the head-sails.
BracesRopes fastened to the yard-arms to brace them about. Also a security to the rudder, fixed to the stern-post.
Brail Upthe order to haul up a spanker or spencer.
BrailsRopes applied to the after leach and foot of the mizen and some of the stay-sails to draw them up.
Break Bulk, ToTo begin to unload.
Break Sheer, ToTo swerve from the proper direction in which a ship should be when at Anchor.
BreamingBurning the stuff collected on the ship's bottom during a long voyage.
Breast-FastA rope employed to confine a ship sidewise to a wharf or other ship.
Breast-HooksPieces of timber placed across the bows of the ship to keep them together.
BreastworkRailing on the forepart of the quarter-deck where ropes are belayed.
BreechingA stout rope fixed to the cascabel of a gun, fastened to the ship's side, to prevent its running in.
Bridlesthe upper part of the moorings laid in harbors for men-or-war. Also ropes attached from the leaches of the square ssils to the bowlines.
Bring Up, ToTo come to an Anchor; to stop suddenly.
Bring To, ToTo heave to: to make a ship stationary, stopping her way by bracing some of the sails aback and keeping others full, so that they counterpoise each other; also, to compel another vessel to heave to.
Bring To the Wind, ToTo put the helm to leeward.
Bring By the Lee, ToWhen a ship is sailing with the wind very large, and flies off from it so as to bring it on the other side, the sails catching aback; she is then said to be brought by the lee; this is a dangerous position in a high sea.
Broach To, ToFlying up in the wind so as to bring it on the other side, when blowing fresh.
BroadsideA discharge of all the guns on one side of a ship, both above and below.
Broken-Backedthe state of a ship when so loosened in her frame as to drop in the middle.
Bulwarksthe boarding of a vessel's side, between the deck and main rail.
BulkheadsPartitions in the ship.
Bull's EyeA wooden thimble.
Bumkin or Boomkin; A short boom fitted to the bows of the ship for the purpose of hauling down the fore tack to. It is supported on each side by a shroud.
Buntthe middle part of a square sail. Also, the fore leach of a quadrangular stay-sail.
Buntline Cloththe lining sewed up the sail, to the direction of the buntline, to prevent that rope from chafing the sail.
BuntlinesRopes attached to the foot of a square sail to haul up the bunt.
BuoyA floating conical cask, moored upon shoals, to show where the danger is; it is also attached to Anchors, to show where they lie, in case the cable breaks.
Burton Pendantsthe first piece of rigging which goes over the topmast head, to which is hooked a tackle, to set up the topmast shrouds.
BuryThat part of a mast which is below the deck.
BushMetal let into the sheaves of blocks which have iron pins.
Butt Endthe end of a plank in the ship's side.
ButtockThat part of the ship's hull under the stern, between the water line and wing transom.
By the BoardOver the side. A mast is said to go by the board when it is carried or shot away just above the deck.
By the HeadWhen a ship is deeper in the water forward than aft.
By the Sternthe reverse of By the head.
By the WindWhen a ship is as near to the wind as her head can lie with the sails filled.
CabinA room or apartment; also a bed-place.
CableA large rope or chain by which the ship is secured to the Anchor. Cables take thir names from the Anchors to which they belong, as the sheet cable, the best bower cable, etc. they are generally 120 fathoms in length.
Bitt the Cable, To(See Bitts.)
Heave In the Cable, ToTo pull it into the ship by the capstan or windlass.
Pay Out the CableTo run it out of the hawse-hole.
Veer Away the CableTo slacken it so that it may run out, as in paying out.
Serve the Cable, ToTo wrap it round with rope, plat, or horse-hide, to keep it from chafing.
Slip the Cable, ToTo let run clear out.
Cable TierThat part of the orlop deck where the cables are coiled. the coils or rolls of a cable.
Caboosethe place where the victuals are dressed in merchantmen. Also, the iron cook-stove or range for vessels.
CallA silver pipe or whistle used by the boatswain and his mates, by the sounding of which they call up the hands, direct them to haul, to veer, to belay, etc.
CantedAnything turned from its square position.
CanvasStrong cloth, of which the sails are made.
CapA block of wood which secures the top-mast to the lower mast.
CapsizeTo turn over.
CapstanA machine for drawing up the Anchor by the messenger which is taken round it, and applied to the cable by the nippers.
CareeningHeaving a vessel down on one side, to clean or repair her bottom.
Carrick BendA kind of knot.
Carried AwayBroken off; as, A ship has carried away her bowsprit.
Cast, ToTo pay a ship's head off, by backing the head-sails when heaving up the Anchor so as to bring the wind on the side required.
Cat-BlockA large double or three-fold block, used for drawing the Anchor up to the cat-head.
Cat-HeadA large piece of timber or crane, projecting over the bow, for drawing up the Anchor clear from the ship's side.
Cat-HarpinsShort legs of rope seized to the upper part of the lower shrouds and futtock-staves, to keep them from bulging out by the strain of the futtock-shrouds, and to permit the bracing up of the lower yards.
Cat's-PawA light air, perceived by its effect on the water, but not durable. Also, a twist made on the bight of a rope.
Calk, ToTo drive oakum into the seams of the sides, decks, etc.
Centre Of EffortTwo forces act upon a ship under sail, the propelling force of the wind upon the sails and the resisting force of the water upon the hull. the centre of effort is that point of each at which, if the whole force were concentrated instead of being diffused over the entire surface, the effect upon th ship would be the same.
Chains or Channels; Broad planks on the sides of a ship, projecting out, and at which the shrouds are fastened, for the purpose of giving them a greater angle than they could have if fastened to the ship's side, and of course giving them a greater power to secure the mast.
Chain-PlatesLinks of iron bolted to the ship's side, having dead-eyes in the upper ends, to which the shrouds are connected by the laniards.
ChannelsStrong broad planks bolted to the sides, to keep the dead-eyes in the chains from the side, to spread the rigging farther out.
ChapelingA ship is said to build a chapel when, by neglect in light winds, she turns round so as to bring the wind on the same part which it was before she moved.
ChaseA ship pursued by another. Bow-chaser, a gun in the forepart of the ship. Stern-chaser, a gun pointing astern in the after part of the ship.
Chase, ToTo pursue; to follow.
Cheer, ToTo huzza. What cheer ho!; a salutation.
CheerlyA term implying heartily, quickly, cheerfully.
Chess-TreeA piece of timber with a sheave in, secured to the sides of a ship, to extend the tack of the main course to windward; the sheet is then hauled aft to leeward.
Chock-a-Block(See Block-and-block.)
Clap On, ToTo make fast; as, quot;Clap on the stoppers, [quot;] etc.
Claw Off, ToTo beat to windward from a lee shore.
ClearThis word is variously applied. the weather is said to be clear when it is fair and open; the sea-coast is clear when the navigation is not interrupted by rocks, etc. It is applied to cordage, cables, etc., when they are disentangled, so as to be ready for immediate service. In all these senses it is opposed to foul. To clear the Anchor, is to get the cable off the flukes, and to disencumber it of ropes, ready for dropping. Clear hawse, when the cables are directed to their Anchors without lying athwart the stem. To clear the hawse, is to untwist the cables when entangled by either a cross, an elbow, or a round turn.
CleatsPieces of wood to fasten ropes to.
Clewthe main or principal corner of a sail at which the sheet is fixed. It comprehends the two lower corners of all square sails; also, the lower and after corner of all fore-and-aft sails, and the lower and inner corner of all studding-sails.
Clew-RopeA short rope, larger than the bolt-rope on the sail, into which it is spliced at the after-corners of stay-sails, jibs, and boom-sails. In the corner is put a cringle, through two holes, to which the sheets are fastened.
Clew-LinesRopes which come down from the yards to the lower corners of the sails, and by which the corners or clews of the sails are hauled up.
Clew Down the Topsails, Top-Gallant Sails, etc.the order to haul the yards down upon the cap, by manning the clew-lines, etc.
Clew Up the Topsails, Top-Gallant Sails, etc.the order to haul these sails up for furling.
ClinchedMade fast, as the cable is to the ring of the Anchor.
Close-HauledAs near the wind as the ship can lie.
Close-Reefthe fourth or lowest reef of a topsail, and uppermost reef of a fore-and-aft main-sail.
Club-HaulingTacking by means of an Anchor.
Coamingsthe borders of the hatchways which are raised above the deck.
Cock-BillTo place the yards at an angle with the deck. To suspend an Anchor to the cat-head by the ring only.
CoilingLaying a rope down in a circular form. To coil a rope, a cable, etc., to lay it round in a ring, one turn or fake over another.
Coming Tothe act of Anchoring.
Coming UpLuffing to the wind.
Come Home, Tothe Anchor is said to come home when it loosens from the ground by the effort of the cable, and drags.
Come To the Wind, ToTo broach to (which see).
CompanionA wooden covering over the cabin hatchway.
Coursethe point of the compass on which the ship sails. the main-sail, fore-sail, and mizen, are also called courses.
Coxwainthe person who steers the boat.
CrabA portable or movable capstan.
CranesSwinging iron davits at a vessel's side, to hoist or suspend boats or spars.
Crankthe ship is crank; that is, she has not a sufficient cargo or ballast to render her capable of bearing the sail without danger of oversetting.
CringleA short piece of rope, having each end spliced into the bolt-rope of a sail, and confining an iron ring or thimble.
Cross-TreesPieces of oak at the mast-head, to sustain the tops on the lower masts, and to spread the top-gallant shrouds at the top-mast head.
Crow-FootA number of small lines spread from the fore part of the tops by means of a piece of wood, through which they pass, and, being hauled taught upon the stays, they prevent the foot of the top-sails catching under the top rim; they are also used to suspend the awnings.
Cun the Ship, ToTo direct the helmsman how to steer.
Cut-Waterthe fore part of a ship's prow, that cuts the water.
Cutterthe fourth class boat of a ship-of-war.
DavitsProjecting beams for hoisting or supporting. Fish-davits, for hoisting the lower end of the Anchor. Boat-davits, for hoisting or suspending a boat. Quarter-davits are boat-davits on the quarter; and stern-davits, boat-davits on the stern.
Deaden A Ship's Way, ToTo impede her progress through the water.
Dead-EyeA block with three holes in it, to receive the laniard of a shroud or stay.
Dead Waterthe eddy of water which appears like whirlpools closing in with the ship's stern as she sails on.
Deck-HooksPieces across the stern and stem posts to support the ends of the decks.
Dingythe smallest boat of a ship-of-war.
Dog-VaneA vane, placed on the weather-side of the quarter-deck.
Dog-Watchthe watches from four to six and from six to eight in the evening.
DolphinA wreath of rope placed round a mast to support the pudding. A spar or buoy made fast to an Anchor, supplied with a ring, to which a cable may be bent. A mooring-post, placed at the entrance of a dock, or on a quay or wharf.
Dolphin-StrikerA short, perpendicular spar, under the bowsprit end, used for guying down the head-stays. By some called martingal. [sic]
Douse, ToTo let fly by the halliards of a top-sail; to lower away briskly.
Down-HaulerA rope to pull down the stay-sails, top-mast studding-sails, etc.
DriftDriving to leeward; driving with the tide. Drifts are, also, those parts where the rails are cut off and end with scrolls.
DriverA large sail suspended to the mizen gaff.
DunnageWood, etc., laid at the bottom of a ship, to keep the cargo dry.
EaringsSmall ropes to make fast the upper corners of square sails, etc.
Ease OffTo slacken.
Ease the Ship!the command given by the pilot to the steersman, to put the helm hard a lee when the ship is expected to plunge her forepart deep in the water when close hauled.
Edge Away, ToTo decline gradually from the shore, or from the line of the course which the ship formerly held, in order to go more large.
Edge In With, ToTo advance gradually toward the shore, or any other object.
End For EndTo let a rope or cable run quite out.
End OnWhen a ship's bows and head-sails are only seen.
Entering-RopesRopes at the sides of the entering-ladder.
Even KeelWhen the keel is parallel with the horizon, a ship is said to be upon an even keel.
Fag Endthe end of a rope which is untwisted.
Fair-LeadersHoles for keeping a running rope in its place.
Fair Waythe channel of a narrow bay, river, or haven, in which ships usually advance in their passage up and down.
FakeOne circle of a coil of rope.
Falling OffWhen a ship moves from the wind farther than she ought.
Fashion-Timbersthe aftermost timbers, terminating the breadth, and forming the shape of the stern.
FidA tapered piece of wood or iron to splice ropes with. Also, a piece of wood which supports one mast upon the trestle-trees of another.
Fill, ToTo brace the yards so that the wind may strike the sails on their after surfaces.
FishA piece of wood fastened lengthwise on another to strengthen it; as, To fish the mast.
Fixingthe act of sticking or forming the cringles in sails.
Flatting-InBringing the clew of the sail toward the middle of the vessel, to get more effect from the wind.
FlawA sudden breeze or gust of wind.
Flemish DownTo coil closely and carefully
Flukesthe broad parts or palms of the Anchor.
Foot Of A Sailthe lower edge or bottom.
Foot-Ropethe rope to which the lower edge of a sail is sewed or fixed.
ForeThat part of the ship nearest to the head.
Fore-And-Aftthe lengthway of the ship, or in the direction of the keel.
ForecastleA short deck in the forepart of the ship. In merchantmen, the forepart of the vessel, under the deck, where the sailors sleep.
Fore BracesRopes applied to the fore-yard arms, to change the position of the fore-sail occasionally.
Fore-ReachingSailing better than another ship; passing ahead.
Forging A HeadForced ahead by the wind.
Fothered SailA sail swung under the vessel, to cover a leak.
Foul HawseWhen the cables are twisted at Anchor.
Founder, ToTo sink.
Freshen, ToWhen a gale increases, it is said to freshen. To freshen the hawse, to veer out or heave in a little cable, to let another part of it endure the stress of the hawse-hole. It is also applied to the act of renewing the service round the cable at the hawse-hole.
Freshen the BallastDivide or separate it.
Full And By(See Close-hauled.)
FurlingMaking fast the sails to the yards by the gaskets.
Furling In A BodyA particular method of rolling up a topsail, only practised in harbor. [vs furling in the bunt.]
Furling-LinesCords employed in furling. they are generally flat, and are also known by the name of gaskets.
GaffA spar or yard, to which the mizen of a ship or the main-sail of a brig or cutter is bent.
Gage or Guage; the depth of water of a ship, or what water she draws. the order of a line of battle, as Weather-gaga or Lee-gage.
GalleyPlace where the caboose is. the kitchen of a ship-of-war.
Gammon the BowspritSecure it by turns of a strong rope passed around it and into the cutwater, to prevent it from having too much motion.
Gang-PlankA plank laid from the shore to the gangway, on which to walk aboard.
GangwayA platform, reaching from the quarter-deck to the forecastle on each side. Also, the place where persons enter the ship. Openings in the bulwarks, for admission of passengers and cargo.
Garboard Streakthe first range or streak of planks laid in a ship's bottom, next the keel.
GarnetA purchase on the main-stay, for hoisting cargo.
GasketA piece of plat to fasten the sails to the yard.
Gigthe fifth class boat of a ship-of-war.
Gimletingthe action of turning the Anchor round by the stock, so that the motion of the stock appears similar to that of the handle of a gimlet when employed to turn the wire.
GirtA ship is girted when her cables are too tight, which prevents her swinging.
Going LargeWind from one point forward the beam to three points abaft the beam.
Goose-NeckAn iron hook fitted to the inner end of a boom.
Goose-Wingsthe outer extremities of a main or fore sail when loose, the rest of it being furled.
GoringCutting a sail obliquely.
GraveTo burn off the filth from a ship's bottom.
GripeA piece of timber which joins the keel and the cutwater.
GripingWhen a ship carries her helm much to windward.
GrommetsRope-rings worked in the sails to form eyelet-holes; pieces of rope laid into a circular form, and used for large boats' oars instead of rowlocks, and also for many other purposes.
Ground TackleEverything belonging to a ship's Anchors, and which are necessary for Anchoring or mooring, such as cables, hawsers, tow-lines, warps, buoy-ropes, etc.
Ground Tierthe tier of water-casks which is lowest in the hold, and is among the shingle-ballast.
Gunwale or Gunnel; Fore-and-aft piece covering the top of the timbers, just above the level of the deck. the lower part of any port where any ordnance is.
GuyA rope to steady a boom, etc.
GybingWhen (by the wind being large) it is necessary to shift the boom of a fore-and-aft sail.
Hail, ToTo call out to another ship.
HalliardsTackles or ropes to hoist up the sails.
HanksRings fixed upon the stays, upon which the stay-sails traverse when hoisted or lowered.
Hand, Tothe same as to furl.
HatchwayA square hole in the deck, which communicates with the hold or another deck.
Haul, ToTo direct the course of a ship. To pull.
Haul Her Wind, ToTo change her course.
Haul Home, ToTo pull the clew of a sail, etc., as far as it will go.
Haul Up the Coursesthe order for clewing up the fore-sail, main-sail, and mizen (if a square-sail).
Hawse-Holesthe holes through which the cables pass.
HawserA small cable.
Hawser-Laid Ropethe same as cable-laid rope.
Head-FastA rope at the head of the ship, to fasten it to a wharf or other fixed object.
HeadlandA term nearly synonymous with cape, mull, or promontory.
Head Ledgesthe thwartship pieces which frame the hatchways or ladder-ways of ships.
Head Railsthe elliptic rails at the head of a ship.
Head-RopeThat part of a bolt-rope which terminates any sail on the upper edge to which it is fastened.
Head SailA sail that is set forward of the fore-mast.
Head Seathe waves that meet the head of a vessel, or roll against her course.
Headwaythe motion of advancing.
Head WindA wind blowing in an opposite direction to the ship's course
Heave, ToTo turn about a capstan; or other machine of the like kind, by means of bars, handspikes, etc.
Heave Ahead, ToTo advance the ship by heaving in the cable or other rope fastened to an Anchor at some distance before her.
Heave a-Peak, ToTo heave in the cable till the Anchor is a-peak.
Heave AsternTo heave a ship backward by an operation similar to heaving ahead.
Heave Down, ToTo careen.
Heave In the Cable, ToTo draw the cable into the ship by turning the capstan.
Heave In Stays, ToTo bring a ship's head to the wind by a management of the sails and rudder, in order to get on the other tack.
Heave Out, ToTo unfurl or loose a sail; more particularly applied to the stay-sails: thus, we say, quot;loose the top-sails, and heave out the stay-sail.quot;
Heave Short, ToTo draw so much of the cable into the ship as that she will be almost perpendicularly over her Anchor.
Heave Tight or Taught; To turn the capstan round till the rope or cable becomes straightened.
Heave the Lead, ToTo throw the lead overboard in order to find the depth of water.
Heave the Log, ToTo throw the log overboard in order to find the velocity of the ship.
Heave the CapstanTurn it round with the bars.
Heave To, ToTo stop the vessel by bringing some of the sails aback. (See To bring to.)
Heave HandsomelyHeave gently or leisurely.
Heave HeartyHeave strong and quick.
Heelthe after part of a ship's keel; the lower end of a mast or boom; the lower end of the stern-post.
Heel, ToTo incline to one side.
HelmA wooden bar put through the head of a rudder; also called the tiller.
Helm DownTiller put to leeward.
Helm UpTiller put to windward.
Helm AmidshipsTo keep the helm even with the middle of the ship.
Hitch, ToTo make fast.
HoggedState of a vessel when, bent by a strain, she droops at both ends, bring her centre up.
HoistThat part of a fore-and-aft sail which is extended by hoisting, either on a mast or stay
Holdthe lower apartment of a ship, where the provisions and goods are stowed.
Stow the Hold, ToTo place the things in it.
HooksCurved timbers or knees, to bind the sides of the vessel together at the stem and stern posts outside. Those forward are breast-hooks; those aft, crutches; and those under the ends of the decks, deck-hooks.
HoundsProjections at the mast head for the trestle-trees to rest upon.
HousingHeight from the step of the mast to the uppermost deck.
HorseA rope made fast to the yard on which the men stand.
Hove Tothe vessel's way stopped by placing the sail or sails aback.
HulkA ship without masts or rigging; also, a vessel employed in the removal of masts into or out of ships by means of sheers, when it is called a sheer hulk.
Hullthe body of a ship. Hull down is when a ship is so far off that you can only see her masts. To hull a ship, to fire cannon-balls into her hull within point-blank range. Hull to, the situation of a ship when she lies with all her sails furled, as in trying.
Jack-BlockBlock used in sending top-gallant masts up and down.
Jack-StaffStaff on the bowsprit cap, on which the union jack is hoisted.
Jack-StaysRopes or strips of wood or iron stretched along the yard of a ship, to which the sails are bound.
Jacob's LadderRope ladder from the deck to the shrouds above the bulwarks.
JammingEnclosing any object between two bodies, so as to render it immovable.
Jeer-Blocksthe blocks through which jeers are reeved.
Jeersthe ropes by which the lower yards are suspended.
Jewel-BlocksBlocks at the top-sail and top-gallant yard arms for the studding-sail halliards.
Jibthe triangular sail of a ship set on a stay leading from the end of the jib-boom to the foremost top head. In cutters and sloops the jib is on the bowsprit, and extends toward the lower mast-head.
Jib Top-SailA jib high up on the stay.
Jibber-Jibthe jib forward of the flying jib.
Jib-BoomA spar that runs out upon the bowsprit.
JiggerA purchase used in merchant-ships to hold on the cable.
Jigger TackleA small light tackle for hauling up the bunt of the topsail.
Jolly-BoatA small boat used for going on shore, etc.
JunkPieces of old cable, out of which mats, gaskets, etc., are made.
Jury-MastsTemporary masts, stepped when the others are carried or shot away.
KecklingOld rope passed round the cable at short distances.
KedgeA small Anchor with an iron stock.
Kedge, ToTo bring or drive down or up a river with the tide, and set the sails so as merely to avoid the shore when the wind is contrary.
Keelthe principal piece of timber in a ship, which is usually first laid on the blocks in building.
Keel-Haul, ToTo drag a person backward and forward under a ship's keel for certain offences. (Now abolished.)
KeelageDuty paid by a ship.
KeelerA small tub for holding stuff used in calking vessels.
Keep AwayTo go from the wind.
KelsonA piece of timber forming the interior or the keel, being laid on the middle of the floor timbers immediately over the keel, and serving to unite the former to the latter.
KentledgePigs of iron for ballast, laid upon the floor near the kelson fore and aft.
KinkA twist or turn in a rope.
KnotA division of the logline, answering, in the calculation of the ship's velocity, to one mile.
KumatageA bright appearance in th horizon under the sun or moon, arising from the reflected light of those bodies from the small rippling waves on the surface of the water.
Labor, ToTo pitch and roll heavily.
Lacingthe rope or line used to confine the heads of sails to their yards or gaffs.
Laden In BulkFreighted with a cargo not packed, but lying loose, as corn, salt, etc.
Land-FallDiscovering the land.
Land-Lockedthe situation of a ship surrounded with land, so as to exclude the prospect of the sea, unless over some intervening land.
LaniardsOf the shrouds are the small ropes at the ends of them, by which they are hove taught or tight.
Larboardthe left side of the ship looking forward. Obsolete: now called Port, which see.
Large(See Wind.)
LayTo come or go, as quot;lay aloft,quot; quot;lay forward,quot; quot;lay aft,quot;, etc.
Large, SailingAdvancing with a large wind, with the sheets slackened and flowing, and the bowlines entirely disused.
LashTo bind.
LatchingsLoops on the head of a bonnet by which it is laced to the foot of a sail.
Lateen SailA triangular sail frequently used by xebees [sic], poleacres, settees, and other vessels navigated in the Mediterranean.
Launchthe first class boat of a ship-of-war; a long-boat.
Launch Ho!To let go the top-rope when the topmast is fidded.
Lay Ahold, ToTo bring as near the wind as possible.
Lay Along, ToTo heel over on the side.
Lay the Land, ToTo sail from it so that it sinks or disappears.
Leachthe border or edge of a sail at the side. Written also leech.
Leach-LineA rope for hauling up the leach of a sail.
Leach RopeThat part of the bolt rope to which the border or edge of a sail is sewed.
LeadA plummet or piece of lead used in sounding.
Leading WindA fair wind for a ship's course.
LeeThat part of the hemisphere to which the wind is directed.
Lee-BoardA board let down into the water on the lee-side of flat-bottome[d] vessels, to oppose the action of the wind to drive them to leeward.
Lee-GageA ship or fleet to leeward of another is said to have the lee gage.
Lee Lurchesthe sudden and violent rolls which a ship often takes to leeward in a high sea, particularly when a large wave strikes her on the weather-side.
Lee QuarterThat quarter of a ship which is on the lee side.
Lee ShoreShore upon which the wind blows.
Lee SideThat half of a ship, lengthwise, which lies between a line drawn through the middle of her length and the side which is farthest from the point of wind.
Leeward, ToToward that part of the horizon to which the wind blows.
Leeward ShipA ship that falls much to leeward of her course when sailing close-hauled.
Leeward TideA tide that sets to leeward.
Leewaythe lateral movement of a ship to leeward.
Lee Beam, On theIn a direction to leeward, at right angles to the keel.
Lee, By theNoting the situation of a vessel, going free when she has fallen off so much as to bring the wind round the stem [sic], so as to take the sails aback on the other side.
Lee: Under the Lee OfOn the lee side of; under the shelter of, as quot;under the lee of the land.quot;
Lie To, ToIn a storm, to keep the vessel with her head to wind, with as little sail as possible.
Liftsthe ropes which come to the ends of the yards from the mast-heads, and by which they are suspended when lowered down.
Limbers or Limber-holes; Square holes cut through the lower part of a ship's floor-timbers, very near the keel, forming a channel for water, and communicating with the pump-well throughout the whole length of the floor.
LizardA small piece of rope with a thimble spliced into a larger one.
LogApparatus for measuring the rate of a vessel's velocity. the log-book
Log-BoardA board or tablet on which are marked the ship's velocity, as ascertained by the log, the course at the moment, direction of the wind, etc., which thence are copied into the log-book every twenty-four hours.
Log-B0OkA journal in which are recorded the contents of the log-board, with such other observations relating to navigation as may be made during the day; - called also the log.
Loomingthe appearance of a distant object, such as a ship, the land, etc.
Loose, ToTo unfurl or cast loose any sail.
LubberA sailor who does not know his duty.
Luff.A direction to the steersman to put the helm to leeward; to make the ship sail nearer the wind; luff round or luff-a-lee, is the extreme of this movement, intended to throw the ship's head into the wind. A ship springs her luff when whe yields to the helm in sailing near the wind.
Luff TackleA large tackle consisting of a double and a single block.
LuggerA small vessel, commonly with three masts, carrying lug sails.
Lug-SailA small square sail bent upon a yard which lays obliquely to the mast; used in boats and small vessels.
Lying To(See To bring to.)
Main Deckthe principal deck, or deck below the spar deck.
Main Mastthe middle mast of a ship; the after-mast of a brig or schooner.
Main Sailthe principal sail of a ship; the sail of the main-mast.
Make A Port, ToTo come in sight of it.
Make For A Place, ToTo sail for it.
Make A Board, ToTo run a certain distance upon one tack in beating to windward.
Make Foul Water, ToTo muddy the water by running in shallow places, so that the ship's keel disturbs the mud at the bottom.
Make Sail, ToTo increase the quantity of sail set, by unreefing or by setting others.
Make Stern-Way, ToTo retreat or move with the stern foremost.
Make the Land, ToTo discover it from afar.
Make Water, ToTo leak.
Man the Yards, ToTo send men upon them.
Man RopesEntering ropes.
MarlineA small line of two strands, but little twisted, used for winding round ropes or cables to prevent their being fretted.
Marling HitchHammock hitch; a hitch made with a half-knot.
Marline-SpikeAn iron pin, sharpened at one end, with or without a short wooden handle, used in splicing ropes.
Martinet or Martinet; A small rope fastened to the leach of a sail.
MartingalA short perpendicular spar, under the bowsprit end, used for guying down the head stays.
Mastthe upright timber on which the yards and sails are set.
Mast Cloththe lining in the middle on the aft side of top-sails and top-gallant-sails, to prevent them being chafed by the masts.
MessengerA rope attached to the cable to heave up the Anchor by.
MirageAn optical phenomenon arising from an irregular refraction or reflection of the light near the horizon.
Miss Stays, ToA ship is said to miss stays when her head will not fly up into the direction of the wind, in order to get her on the other tack.
Mizen or Mizen mast; the mast which stands abaft, and from which its rigging and sails are named; as of the sails, mizen, mizen top-sail, etc., And so, also, are the other sails, etc., named from the other masts.
Monkey SailA small sail above the main sail.
Moor, ToTo secure a ship by more than one cable.
Mooringsthe place where a vessel is moored. Also, Anchors with chains and bridles laid in rivers for men-of-war to ride by.
MouseA kind of ball or knob wrought upon the collar of the stay.
MusterTo assemble.
Neap-Tidesthe tides when the moon is in the quarter, and which are the lowest tides.
NeapedA ship is said to be neaped when she is left on shore by these [neap] tides, and must wait for the next spring tides.
Near! or No Near! A direction to the helmsman to put the helm a little aweather, to keep the sails full; to let her come no nearer the wind.
Near the Land, ToTo approach the shore.
NippersA large kind of platted rope, which, being twisted round the messenger and cable in weighing, binds them together.
Nothing Off!A direction to the steersman not to go from the wind.
Nun Buoythe kind of buoys used by ships-of-war.
OakumOld rope untwisted and pulled open.
Off And OnComing near the land on one tack, and leaving it on the other.
OffingOut to sea; from the land.
On BoardWithin the ship; as, He is come on board.
On the BeamAny distance from the ship on a line with the beams, or at right angles with the keel. (See Bearing.)
On the BowAn arc of the horizon comprehending about four points of the compass on each side of that point to which the ship's head is directed. Thus, they say, the ship in sight bears three points on the starboard bow, i.e., three points toward the right hand, from that part of the horizon which is right ahead. (See Bearing.)
On the QuarterAn arc of the horizon comprehending about four points of the compass on each side of that point to which the ship's stern is directed.
Open HawseWhen the cables of a ship, at her moorings, lead straight to their respective Anchors without crossing, she is said to ride with an open hawse.
Orlop Deckthe lowest deck in the ship, lying on the beams of the hold; the place where the cables are coiled, and where other stores are kept.
OverboardOut of the ship.
OverhaulingTo haul a fall of rope through a block till it is slack. Examining a ship, etc.
Over-RakeWhen a ship at Anchor is exposed to a head sea, the waves of which break in upon her, the waves are said to over-rake her.
Out Of Trimthe state of the ship when she is not properly balanced for the purposes of navigation.
PainterA rope by which a boat is made fast.
Palm(See Fluke.)
Parcel A RopeTo put a quantity of old canvas upon it before the service is put on. parcel a seam, to lay a narrow piece of canvas over it after it is calked, before it is payed.
Parliament Heelthe situation of a ship when she is made to stoop a little to one side, so as to clean the upper part of her bottom on the other side. (See Boot-topping.)
Parralthe collar by which the yard is confined to the mast.
PartingBeing driven from the Anchors by the breaking of the cable.
Pass, ToTo hand anything from one to another, or to place a rope or lashing round a yard, etc.
Pawl [see also Paul (Steel)]; A short bar of wood or iron, fixed close to the capstan or windlass of a ship, to prevent those engines from rolling back or giving way when they are charged with any great effort
Pay, ToTo rub tar, pitch, etc., on anything with a brush.
Pay Off, ToTo make a ship's head recede from the wind by backing the head-sails, etc.
Peakthe angle formed by the gaff and mast of a fore-and-aft sail [sic]. To peak up, to raise the after end of a gaff. To ride a stay-peak is when the cable and the fore-stay form a line. To ride a short peak, is when the cable is so much in as to destroy the line formed by the stay-peak. To ride with the yards a-peak, is to have them topped up by contrary lifts, so as to represent St. Andrew's cross.
Peaks Of the HoldFore-peak, narrow part of the lower hold forward. After-peak, the run or narrow part aft.
Pendantthe long, narrow flag, worn at the mast-head by all ships of the navy. Brace pendants are those ropes which secure the brace-blocks to the yard-arms. Broad pendant, a broad flag, terminating in a point, used to distinguish the chief of a squadron. [also PENNANT]
Pinnacethe third class boat of a ship-of-war.
Pitchingthe movement of a ship, by which she plunges her head and after part alternately into the hollow of the sea.
Plank-Sheerthe gunwale.
PlyingTurning to windward.
Pointersthe lowest of the breast-hooks.
PointsPlatted ropes made fast to the sails for the purpose of reefing.
PoleacreA ship with three masts, each formed of one piece, with neither tops nor cross-trees, usually navigated in the Mediterranean.
Poopthe highest and aftermost deck of a ship.
Poopingthe shock of a high and heavy sea upon the stern or quarter of a ship, when she scuds before the wind in a tempest.
Portthe left side, looking forward. thes term is now used instead of the word larboard, to make a distinction from the affinity of sound in the word starboard.
Portsthe holes in the ship's sides from which the guns are fired.
Press Of SailAll the sail that a ship can set or carry.
PreventerAnything for temporary security, as a preventer brace, etc.
Pudding And DolphinPads made of ropes, and put round the mast under the lower yards.
PurchaseAny sort of mechanical power employed in raising or moving heavy bodies.
QuarterThat part of a ship's side between the main chains and the stern.
Quarter-TimbersFashion-timbers; bullock-timbers.
Quick-SaverA spar sometimes used in veering under courses.
Racking A FallSeizing the parts of a tackle-fall together by cross turns.
Rail(See Main-rail and Monkey-rail.)
Rakethe projection of a ship at the stem and stern beyond the extent of the keel. Also, the inclination of a ship's masts, either forward or aft, from a perpendicular line.
Range Of CableA sufficient length hauled up to permit the Anchor to drop to the bottom.
Ratlinesthe small ropes fastened to the shrouds, by which the men go aloft.
Rattle Down the Shrouds, ToTo fix the ratlines on them.
Reachthe distance between any two points on the banks of a river wherein the current flows in an uninterrupted course.
Ready About!A command of the boatswain to the crew, and implies that all the hands are to be attentive and at their stations, for tacking.
ReefPortion of a sail that is tied up to make it smaller.
Reef-BandsPieces of canvas sewed across the sail to strengthen it where the eyelet-holes of the reefs are formed.
Reef-Eyeletsthe rows of eyelets in the sails in which the reef-points are fastened.
Reef-LinesSmall ropes stretched across the reefs, and spliced into the cringles, for the men to catch hold of.
Reef-Pointsthe rows of plaits used to take in (tie up) the reefs.
Reef-TackleA tackle upon deck, used to lighten the labor of reefing.
Reefed, Close [orig: close-reefed] When all the reefs of the top-sail are taken in.
Reef, ToTo reduce a sail by tying it round the yard with points.
Reeve, ToTo put a rope through a block, etc.
Renderingthe giving way or yielding to the efforts of some mechanical power. It is used in opposition to jamming or sticking.
Ribs Of A ShipA figurative expression for the timbers.
Ride, ToTo be held by the cable. To quot;ride easyquot; is when a ship does not labor much. To quot;ride hardquot; is when the ship pitches with violence.
Rig, ToTo fit the rigging to the masts.
Right, ToA ship is said to right when she rises to her upright position, after being laid down by a violent squall. To right the helm, to put it amidships, or in its fore-and-aft position, parallel to the keel.
RoachA curve in the foot of a square-sail, by which the clews are brought below the middle of the foot; the forward leach of a fore-and-aft sail.
Robands or Rope-bands; Short, flat pieces of platted rope, having an eye worked at one end. they are used in pairs, to tie the upper edges of the square sails to their respective yards.
Rollingthe motion by which a ship rocks from side to side, like a cradle.
Rough-TreeA name applied to any mast, yard, or boom, placed, in merchant-ships, as a rail or fence above the vessel's side, from the quarter-deck to the forecastle.
Round In, ToTo brace in a yard. Rounding in, the pulling upon any rope which passes through one or more blocks in a direction nearly horizontal; as, round in the weather-braces! Round to, is to stop.
Round-TopSame as top.
Rouse In, ToTo haul in the slack part of the cable.
Row-Lockthe niche in a boat's side in which the oars are used.
RoyalsSails spread immediately above the top-gallant-sails, to whose yard-arms the lower corners of them are attached. they are sometimes termed top-gallant royals, and are never used but in fine weather.
Rudderthe machine by which the ship is steered.
Rudder PendantsStrong ropes spliced in the rings of the rudder-chain, to prevent the loss of the rudder.
Runthe aftermost part of a ship's bottom, where it grows extremely narrow as the stern approaches the stern-post. Run is also the distance sailed by a ship, and is likewise used by sailors to imply the agreement to work a single passage from one place to another. To run down, when one ship sinks another by running over her. Running on a bow-line sailing with the wind right aft [sic; cf. LARGE, SAILING]. To let run, to make loose, as a rope; to slacken; to let go.
Run Out A Warp, ToTo carry the end of a rope out from a ship in a boat, and fasten it to some distant object, so that by it the ship may be removed by pulling on it.
Run-Timbersthe timbers or ribs on each side of the run.
SaggedDepressed in the middle; the reverse of hogged.
Sag To Leeward, ToTo make a considerable leeway.
SaicA sort of Grecian ketch, with neither top-gallant-sail nor mizen-sail.
Scantingthe variation of the wind, by which it becomes unfavorable to a ship's making great progress, as it deviates from being large, and obliges the vessel to steer close-hauled, or nearly so.
Scud, ToTo run before the wind, in a storm, so as to keep ahead of the waves.
Scuttle A Ship, ToTo make holes in her bottom to sink her.
Sea-RoomA sufficient distance from the coast or any dangerous rocks, etc., so that a ship may perform all nautical operations without danger of shipwreck.
Seizingthe operation of fastening any two ropes or different parts of one rope together, with several round and cross turns of small cord or spun-yarn. Seizing also implies the cord which fastens them.
Serve, ToTo wind anything round a cable or rope, to prevent its being chafed.
Servicethe materials, generally spun-yarn and old canvas, used for the above purpose.
SetteeA vessel (peculiar to the Mediterranean sea) of two masts, equipped with triangular or lateen sail.
Set Sail, ToTo unfurl and expand the sails to the wind, in order to give motion to the ship.
Set Up, ToTo increase the tension of the shrouds, backstays, etc., by tackles, laniards, etc.
Shankthe beam or shaft of an Anchor. Shank-painter, the rope by which the shank of the Anchor is held up to the ship's side. It is also made fast to a piece of iron chain, in which the shank of the Anchor lodges.
Sheerthe sheer of a ship is the curve that is between the head and the stern upon her side. the ship sheers about; that is, she goes in and out
SheersAre spars lsahed together and raised up for the purpose of getting out or in a mast.
SheetA rope fastened to one or both of the lower corners of a sail, in order to extend and retain it in a particular situation. When a ship sails with a side wind, the lower corners of the main and fore sails are fastened by a tack and a sheet, the former being to windward and the latter to leeward. the tack is never used with a stern wind, whereas the sail is never spread without the assistance of one or both of the sheets. the stay-sails and studding-sails have only one tack and one sheet each. the stay-sail-tacks are fastened forward and the sheets drawn aft, but the studding-sail-tacks draw the outer corner of the sail to the extremity of the boom, while the sheet is employed to extend the inner corner.
Sheet Home, ToTo haul the sheets of a sail home to the block on the yard-arm.
Shift the Helm, ToTo alter its position from right to left or from left to right.
Ship, ToTo put anything on board. To set a thing, a mast, for instance, up in its place. Ship a sea, when the sea breaks into the ship.
ShipshapeIn a seamanlike manner; as, That mast is not rigged shipshape, Put her about shipshape, etc.
Shiver, ToTo make the sails shake.
Shoe Of the AnchorA small block of wood, convex on the back, and having a hole sufficiently large to contain the point of the Anchor-fluke on the fore side. It is used to prevent the Anchor from tearing the planks on the ship's bow when ascending or descending.
Shoot Ahead, ToTo advance forward.
Shorten Sail, ToUsed in opposition to make sail.
Shoulder-Of-Mutton-Sail,A triangular sail similar to the lateen, but attached to a mast instead of a yard.
ShroudsA range of large ropes, extending from the mastheads to the right and left sides of a ship, to support the masts, and enable them to carry sail.
SinnettA small platted rope, made from rope-yarns.
Slab-LinesSmall ropes, by which seamen truss up the main-sail or fore-sail.
SlackThat part of a rope which hangs loose. Slack in stays, slow in going about. Slack water, the interval between the flux and reflux of the tide, when no motion is perceptible in the water.
Slatchthe period of a transitory breeze.
Slings Of A YardIron chains fixed to a hoop in the middle of a yard, and serving to suspend it for the greater ease of working.
Slip the Cable, ToTo let it run quite out when there is not time to weigh the Anchor.
Slue, ToTo turn any cylindrical piece of timber about its axis without removing it; thus, to slue a mast or boom is to turn it in its cap or boom-iron. Also, to turn any package or cask round.
SmackA small vessel commonly rigged as a cutter, and used in the coasting and fishing trade.
Smoke SailA small sail hurled against the foremast, when the ship rides head to wind, to protect the quarter-deck from the smoke of the galley.
SnowA vessel equipped with two masts, resembling the fore and main masts of a ship, and a third small mast just abaft the main-mast, carrying a try-sail.
Sound, ToTo find the bottom by a leaden plummet.
Sounding-LineA line to sound with, which is marked in the following manner: Black leather at 2 and 3 fathoms, white at 5, red at 7, black at 10, white at 13 (some seamen use black at 10 and 13), white at 15 as at 5, red at 17 as at 7, two knots at 10 fathoms, and an additional knot at every 10 fathoms, with a single knot midway between each 10 fathoms, to mark the line at every five fathoms.
Sounding-RodA rod or piece of iron used to ascertain the dapth of water in a ship's hold. It is let down in a groove by a pump.
SouthingCourse or distance south. Southing of the moon, the time at which the moon passes the meridian.
SpanA small line or cord, the middle of which is attached to a stay.
SpankerA ship's driver. A large sail occasionally set upon the mizen yard or gaff, the foot being extended by a boom
Spar-Deckthe upper deck.
Spell, To Take ATo be in turn on duty at the lead, the pump, etc.
SpencerA fore-and-aft sail, set with a gaff and no boom, and hoisting from a spencer-mast.
Spencer-MastA small mast just abaft the fore and main masts.
Spill, ToTo take the wind out of the sails by the braces, etc., in order to reef or hand them.
Spilling-LinesRopes contrived to keep the sails from being blown away when they are clewed up in blowing weather.
Splice, ToTo join two ropes together by uniting the strands.
SpoondriftA continued flying of the spray and waves over the surface of the sea
Spraythe sprinkling of a sea driven occasionally from the top of a wave and not continual as a spoondrift.
Spring, AA rope made fast to the cable at the bow and taken in abaft, in order to expose the ship's side to any direction.
Spring A Mast, ToTo crack or split it.
Spring Tidesthe tides near the full and new moon, which are the highest tides.
SpritA small boom or spar, which crosses the sail of a boat diagonally from the mast to the upper aft-most corner, which is used to extend and elevate.
SpunyarnA line or cord formed of two or more ropeyarns twisted together by a wrench.
Spurling YarnA line that goes round a small barrel abaft the barrel of the wheel, and, coming to the front beam of the poop-deck, moves the tell-tale with the turning of the wheel, and keeps it always in such position as to show the position of the tiller.
Spur-ShoesLarge pieces of timber which come abaft the pump-well.
SquallA sudden violent blast of wind.
Square-RiggedA vessel is square-rigged when her principal sails are extended by yards, suspended by the middle, and not by stays, gaffs, boom, and lateen yards.
Square-SailA sail extended to a yard suspended by the middle.
Standing Riggingthe cordage or ropes which sustain the masts and remain fixed in their position. Such are the shrouds and stays.
Stand By, ToTo be ready. To stand on, to keep in the course. To stand off, to sail from the land.
Starboardthe right side, looking forward.
Stay A Ship, To [see Tack] To arrange the sails and move the rudder so as to bring the ship's head to the direction of the wind, in order to get her on the other tack.
StaysLarge ropes coming from the mast-heads down before the masts, to prevent them from springing when the ship is sending deep.
Stay-SailAny sail extended upon a stay.
Stay-HolesHoles made at certain distances along the hoist, through which the seizings of the hanks on the stay are passed.
Stays: To Heave In StaysTo get the head to the wind.
Stays: To Be In StaysTo lie with the head to the wind, and the sails so arranged as to check the vessel's progress.
Stays: To Miss StaysTo fail in the attempt to go about.
Steady!the order to the helmsman to keep the ship in the direction she is going at that instant.
Steer, ToTo manage a ship by the movement of the helm.
Steerage-WaySuch degree of progressive motion of a ship as will give effect to the motion of the helm.
Steevingthe angle of elevation which a ship's bowsprit makes with the horizon. the bowsprit steeves too much, that is, it is too upright.
StemA circular piece of timber into which the two sides of a ship are united at the fore-end; the lower end is scarfed to the keel, and the bowsprit rests on the upper end.
Stem the Tide, ToWhen a ship is sailing against the tide at such a rate as enables her to overcome its power, she is said to stem the tide.
SternfastA rope confining a ship by her stern to any other ship or to a wharf.
SternmostFarthest astern, as a ship or ships.
SternportA porthole in the stern.
Sternpostthe aftermost timber in a ship, reaching from the after end of the keel to the deck.
Sternsonthe continuation of the keelson to which the sternpost is secured by bolts.
Stern-SheetsThat part of a boat included between the stern and the aftermost seat of the rowers, generally furnished with seats for passengers.
Sternwaythe motion by which a ship falls back with her stern foremost.
Stiffthe condition of a ship when she will carry a great quantity of sail without hazard of oversetting. It is used in opposition to crank.
Stopper the Cable, ToTo keep it from running out by fastening short ropes to it, called Stoppers.
Stow, ToTo arrange and dispose a ship's cargo.
StrandOne of the divisions of a rope. Stranded, when one of the divisions is broken. Also, when a ship is run on shore so that she cannot be got off, she is said to be stranded.
Stream the Buoy, ToTo let it fall from the ship's side into the water previously to casting Anchor.
Stretch, ToTo stand on different tacks under a press of sail.
Stretch Out!A term used to men in a boat when they should pull strong.
Strike, ToTo beat against the bottom. Also to lower the flag in token of submission. Lowering the topmasts is commonly termed striking them.
Studding SailsSails extended in moderate and steady breezes beyond the skirts of the principal sails, where they appear like wings upon the yard arms.
Sued or Sewed; when a ship is on shore and the water leaves her, she is said to be sued; if the water leaves her two feet, she sues or is sued two feet.
Surfthe swell of the sea that breaks upon shore or on any rock.
Surge the Capstan, ToTo slacken the rope heaved round upon it.
Surge the Messenger, ToTo slacken it suddenly.
Sway, ToTo hoist up the yards and topmasts. Sway away! Hoist
SwampedOverwhelmed and filled by the waves or the surf.
Sweepingthe act of dragging the bight or loose part of a rope along the surface of the ground in a harbor or road, in order to drag up something lost.
Sweep Of A Sailthe circular edge on a sail.
Swing, ToTo turn a ship from one side of her Anchor to the other at the change of the tide.
TablingA broad hem formed on the skirts of sails to strengthen them in that part which is attached to the bolt rope.
Tack, ToTo turn a ship by the sails and rudder against the wind.
TackA rope to confine the foremost lower corners of the courses and staysails, when the wind crosses the ship's course obliquely. the part of a sail to which the tack is usually fastened. the reach to the starboard or port of the wind in beating.
Tack Of A FlagA line spliced into the eye at the bottom of the tabling, for securing the flag to the halliards.
Tacklethe rigging and apparatus of a ship. Ground-tackle, Anchors, cables, etc.
Tack-TackleA small tackle to pull down the tacks of the principal sails.
Tafferel [taffarel, taffrail] the uppermost part of a ship's stern.
Taken Abackthe sails carried back suddenly by the wind. Laid aback, the sails purposely placed in that situation to give the ship sternway.
Taking Inthe act of furling the sails. Used in opposition to setting.
Tally To pull aft the sheets or lower corners of the main and fore sails.
Tamkin or Tomkin, Tampion or Tompion; the bung or piece of wood by which the mouth of a cannon is filled to keep out wet.
TarpaulingA cloth of canvas covered with tar or some other composition, so as to make it water proof.
TaughtA corruption of tight
TauntLong, lofty, particularly expressed of the masts.
TelltaleAn instrument which traverses upon an index in front of the poop-deck to show the position of the tiller.
TenderA small vessel employed to attend a larger one, for supplying her with provisions and other stores, or to carry intelligence, and the like.
Tendingthe movement of a vessel in swinging at Anchor.
ThimbleAn iron ring, with a hollow or groove around its whole circumference, to receive the rope which is spliced about it.
TholeA pin inserted into the gunwale of a boat, to keep the oar in the row-lock, when used in rowing.
Throatthe upper corner next the mast of any fore-and-aft sail which is set with a gaff.
Throat-BrailsBrails attached to the gaff close to the mast.
Throat HalliardsRopes or tackles applied to hoist the inner part of the gaff and its appendant portion of the sail.
ThrumTo insert short pieces of rope-yarn or spun-yarn in a sail or mast.
Thus! [see Dyce]
An Order To the Helmsman To Keep the Ship In Her Present Situation When Sailing With A Scant Wind.
Tidethe flow of the water in the ocean and seas, twice in a little more than twenty-four hours. the flow or rising of the water is distinguished by the name of flood-tide, and the reflux or falling by that of ebb-tide.
TidegateA place where the tide runs with great velocity.
Tidewaythe channel in which the tide sets.
Tide, ToTo work in or out of a river, harbor, or channel by favor of the tide, Anchoring whenever it becomes adverse. Tide it up, to go with the tide against the wind.
Tierthe place where the cables are coiled.
TillerA large piece of wood or a beam put into the head of the rudder, and by means of which the rudder is moved.
Tiller-Ropethe rope which connects the tiller and the wheel.
Timber-Headthe top end of a timber, rising above the gunwale, and serving for belaying-ropes, etc.; otherwise called kevel-head.
TimoneerA helmsman.
ToggleA small wooden pin, tapering toward both ends.
Tonnagethe cubical content or burden of a ship, in tons, or the amount of weight which she may carry. A duty or impost on ships.
TopA platform surrounding the head of the lower mast, and projecting on all sides, serving to extend the shrouds.
Top-BlockA block hung to an eye-bolt in the cap, used in swaying and lowering the top-mast.
Top Liningthe lining sewed on the aft side of topsails to prevent chafing.
Top-Mastthe second mast, or that which is next above the lower mast. Above that is the top-gallant-mast.
Top-SailA sail extended across the top-mast, above which is the top-gallant-sail.
Top-TackleA large tockle hooked to the lower end of the top-mast top-rope and to the deck.
ToppingPulling one of the ends of a yard higher than the other.
Topping LiftA large tackle used in suspending or topping the outer end of a gaff, or of the boom of a mainsail in a brig or schooner.
Tow, ToTo draw a ship in the water by a rope fixed to a boat or other ship which is rowing or sailing on.
Trade-WindA wind that blows constantly in the same direction, or a wind that blows for a number of months in one direction, and then, changing, blows as long in an opposite direction; so called because it favors trade.
TranshipTo convey from one ship to another.
TransomsCertain beams or timbers extended across the sternpost of a ship to strengthen her after part, and to give it the figure most suitable to the service for which she is calculated.
TransportA vessel employed for carrying soldiers, warlike stores, or provisions, from one place to another.
TravellerAn iron thimble or thimbles, with a rope spliced around them, forming a kind of tail or species of grommet.
TraverseTo sail on different courses. When a rope runs freely through a thimble, etc., it is said to traverse. To traverse a yard is to brace it aft.
Traverse-BoardA small board, full of holes upon lines, showing the points of the compass upon it. By moving a peg upon this, the steersman keeps an account of the number of glasses a ship is steered on any point.
Traverse-TableA table of difference of latitude and departure.
Treenails or Trunnels; long wooden pins employed to connect the planks of the ship's side and bottom to the corresponding timbers.
Trestle-TreesTwo strong bars of timber, fixed horizontally on the opposite sides of the lower mast-head, to support the frame of the top and the top-mast.
Trice, Trice UpTo haul up and fasten.
Trimthe state or condition by which a ship is best calculated for the purposes of navigation. To trim the hold, to arrange the cargo regularly. To trim the sails, to dispose the sails in the best arrangement for the course which a ship is steering.
Trip the Anchor, ToTo loosen the Anchor from the ground, either by design or accident.
Trough Of the Seathe hollow between waves.
TruckA round piece of wood put upon the top of flag-staves, with sheaves on each side for the halliards of the flags to reeve in.
TrussA machine to pull a lower yard close to the mast, and retain it firmly in that position.
TryingLaying to in a gale of wind under a small sail.
TrysailA small sail used by cutters and brigs in blowing weather.
TugA tow-boat.
Turning To WindwardTacking.
Turn OffSame as Pay off.
Twice-Laid StuffRope made from the yarns of a cable, etc., which has been half-worn.
UnballastTo discharge the ballast from.
Unbend, ToTo cast loose.
Unbitt, ToTo remove the turns of a cable from off the bitts.
Under Footis expressed of an Anchor that is directly under the ship.
Under Sail or Under Way; when a ship is sailing, she is said to be under way.
UnfurlCast loose the gasket of the sail.
Unmoor, ToTo reduce a ship to a single Anchor after riding by two.
Unreeve, ToTo pull a rope out of a block.
Unrig, ToTo deprive a ship of her rigging.
Unship, ToTo take anything from the place in which it was fixed.
Unsling, ToTo take off the slings of a yard, a cask, etc.
Uvrouthe piece of wood by which the legs of the crow-foot are extended.
Vanthe foremost division of a fleet in one line. It is likewise applied to the foremost ship of a division.
VaneA small kind of flag worn at each mast-head.
VangsA sort of braces to steady the mizen-gaff.
Veer [see Wear] To cause a ship to change her course from one board to the other, by turning her stern to the wind. Opposed to tacking, in which her head is turned to the wind.
Veer Out, ToTo suffer to run out; to let out to a greater length, as to veer out a rope.
Veer Away, ToTo slacken and let run; as, to veer away the cable. This is also called paying out the cable.
Veer And Haul, ToTo pull tight and slacken alternately.
Violor Voyal; A block through which the messenger passes in weighing the Anchor. A large messenger is called a viol.
Waist Of A ShipThat part between the quarter-deck and forecastle. Also, a term sometimes used for the spare or waist Anchor, from its being stowed near the fore-drift or forepart of the waist.
Waist-ClothsCoverings of canvas or tarpauling for the hammocks, which are stowed in the gangways, between the quarter-deck and forecastle.
Wakethe path or track impressed on the water by the ship's passing through it, leaving a smoothness in the sea behind it. To be in the wake of a ship, is to be in her track, or in a line with her keel.
Wales(See Bends)
Ward-RoomIn a ship-or-war, a room over the gun-room, where the principal officers sleep and mess.
Ware or Wear: Same as Veer.
Warp, ToTo move a ship by hawsers, etc.
Wash-BoardA piece of plank on the sill of a lower-deck port, to prevent the sea from breaking over.
WatchA division of the ship's company who keep the deck for a certain time. One is called the starboard, and the other the port watch.
Water-LineA horizontal line, supposed to be drawn about a ship's bottom, at the surface of the water. This is higher or lower, according to the depth of water necessary to float her.
Water-Loggedthe state of a leaky ship when she is so full of water as to be heavy and unmanageable.
Water-SailA small sail used under a studding-sail or driver-boom.
Water-SpoutA vertical column of water, raised from the surface of the sea, and driven furiously by the wind.
Water-Tightthe state of a ship when not leaky.
Water-WayIn a ship's deck, a piece of timber forming a channel for conducting water to the scuppers.
WaysSame as stocks.
Way Of A ShipHer progress through the water.
Way: To Get Under WayTo get in motion, as when a ship begins to move. So, a ship is said to have headway when she moves forward in her course, and sternway, when she is driven astern. She is said, also, to gather way, or to lose way. Leeway is a movement of a ship aside of her course, or to the leeward.
Weather-BeatenAnything worn or damaged by bad weather.
Weather-BoardThat side of the ship which is toward the wind. So, in other words, weather signifies toward the wind or windward, as in weather-bow, weather-braces, etc.
Weather-BoardsPieces of plank placed in the ports of a ship, when laid up in ordinary.
Weather-BitA turn of the cable about the end of the windlass, without the knight-heads.


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Revised: 16 May 2015