saddle - A projection of a spar to support another spar, as a saddle on the mast for the jaws of the boom to rest upon in coasters.
safety harness - A harness with webbing and a safety line to keep people from falling overboard.
sail - The specifically designed cloth that catches or directs the wind and, in doing so, powers a vessel. Term also applied to a ship, or an assemblage of ships, as "We saw four sail off Bimini."
sail covers or coats - Protective covers for sails when furled.
"Sail Her Along" - In close-hauled sailing, an order given to the helmsman when he is keeping the vessel too close to wind, meaning that he is to keep her a little off ; sail her fuller or harder or "give her the whole weight of it," meaning the wind, and keep her passing through the water as fast as possible.
"Sail Her" - A general admonition to a helmsman to be very careful in his steering.
sailing directions - Books of pilotage which accompany charts.
sailing off the hook - Using the force of the sail to break loose the anchor. Sailing from a weighed anchor position without benefit of auxilary engine or tugs.
salt and fresh water - A cubic foot of salt water weighs 64lb.; a ton contains 34 cubic feet. A cubic foot of fresh water weighs 62.4lb.; a ton contains 36 cubic feet: hence salt water bulk for bulk will sustain a greater weight.
samson post - A single bitt forward used to fasten dock lines and the anchor (on a small vessel); a small forward derrick mast, used with a cargo boom (on larger vessels).
satellite navigation - SatNav is a computer-operated system of navigation that uses signals from orbiting satellites (GPS) and mapping data to pinpoint the user's position and plot a subsequent course.
scandalize - On a gaff rig the sail is made loose footed, the clew is brought forward along the boom and the sail cloth is drawn up in folds along the gaff and mast. From this position the sail is instantly available for use. To scandalize a Mainsail the peak is dropped downs between the topping lifts until square to the mast and the main tack triced up. Sometimes the throat is lowered also.
scant - When the wind is very bare; when the wind comes so that a vessel will barely lie her course.
scantlings - The dimensions of all kinds of timber used in the construction of a vessel.
scarf or scarph, or scarve - A method of joining pieces of wood by tapering their ends. A box scarph is when the ends are not tapered, but a half thickness cut out of each part so that when put together the parts form only one thickness.
schooner - A sailing ship having two or more masts; usually the foremast is the shortest vertical spar. Am 3-masted ship is called a "Tern."
scoops - See definition of "cowls."
scope - The amount of anchor cable to use; the ratio of anchor line in use to the vertical distance from the bow to the water's bottom. Usually six to seven to one for calm weather and more scope in storm conditions.
screw - The prop; the propeller.
score - A groove to receive a rope or strop,
scowing an anchor - When small boats have to anchor on ground known or suspected to befoul, it will always be prudent to scow the anchor. Unbend the cable from the ring, and make the end fast round the crown, shank, and flukes with a clove hitch, and bring the end a back and stop it round the cable with spun yarn or hitches; take the cable back to the shackle and stop it. When the cable is hauled upon by the fluke of the anchor can be readily lifted out of its bed. Sometimes, instead of scowing the anchor a trip line is bent to the crown and buoyed.
screens - The wood shelves and screens painted red for port side, and green for starboard, in which a vessel's side lights are carried.
scroll head - The outward curved part of the knee at the upper fore part of the stem, called volute.
scud - To run before a gale of wind with very little canvas set, or "under bare poles."
scull - An oar. To scull is to propel a boat by working an oar over the centre of the transom on the principle of the fish tail. In fresh water, it is to pull a pair of sculls.
scuppers - Drain holes and piping; may be located in the deck, toe rail or bulwarks.
scuttle - A round window in the side or deck of a boat that may be opened to admit light and air, and closed tightly when required.
scuttlebutt - Rumors; Gossip; precursor to the modern day water cooler, it was a cask containing drinking water.
sea, a - A wave. A heavy sea is when the waves are large and steep. When a quantity of water falls aboard a vessel it is said that "she shipped a sea."
sea anchor - Canvas, shaped in the form of a parachute, to keep the ship's bow or stern to the seas in open water to prevent broaching and reduce drift. A conical or parachute shaped open ended device attached to the ship by bridle and line.
sea cock - A through-hull fitting with valve that controls the flow of water between the vessel's exterior and interior.
seakindly - A vessel's ability to move comfortable (without undue strain) in rough seas.
Seam - The line formed by the meeting of two planks; overlapping parts of canvas in a sail.
Seaman - A sailor trained in the art of sailing, rigging, and general management of a ship.To make good, a seaman must have practised the multitudinous details of his art with great diligence, and is then described as an "able seaman" or A.B. Must be thoroughly conversant with every duty of a sailor's life, and can not only "hand, reef, and steer," but can do every kind of work upon rigging, and even use the needle and palm. See also "master."
seamanship - The arts and skills of handling a vessel, including: anchoring, docking, maintenance, marlinespike work, repairs, rigging, sail handling and steering.
Sea Mile (or Nautical Mile) - A measure of approximately 6076 feet. See also " knot" and "mile."
sea pie - A dish made up of all sorts in layers.
sea room - A safe distance from the shore or other hazards.
seat locker - A storage locker located under a cockpit seat.
seaworthy - A boat or a boat's gear able to meet the usual sea conditions. In every respect, fit to go to sea. In chartering a ship it is insisted that she must be "tight, staunch and strong, and well equipped, manned with an adequate crew, provisions," etc.
second topsail - A gaff topsail between the largest and the jib-headed topsail.
secure - To make fast.
seiche - An oscillation of the surface of a lake (or landlocked sea) that varies in period from minutes to several hours.
seizing - A way of securing a bight of a rope by a lashing so as to form an eye, or of securing any parts of ropes together.
self-bailing cockpit - A watertight cockpit with scuppers, drains, or bailers that remove water.
self-draining - Automatic draining, normally above water level.
self-tacking - Normally applied to a sail that requires no adjustment other than sheeting when a boat is tacked.
selvagee strap, or strop - A strop made of spun yarn laid up in coils and marled.
sentinel - A weight suspended from the anchor line (rode) to help stop the anchor from dragging in rough weather.
serving - Protecting or covering part of a line to stop wear.
serving mallet - The mallet which riggers use to wind service round ropes, stays and shrouds, and bind it up tightly together.
set, set out - To raise a sail; the direction of a current. This word is sometimes improperly confused with "sit" in reference to the way a sail stands.
set flying - Not set on a stay or bent by a lacing; a jib in a cutter is set flying. Secured by the corners only.
set of the tide - Direction of the current.
setting up - Purchasing up rigging taut.
sewed or sued - The condition of a vessel that grounds and on the return of the tide is not floated. If the tide does not lift her by 2ft. she is said to be "sewed" 2ft. If the tide on falling does not leave her quite dry, she is said to "sew" 1ft., 2ft., 3ft., or more, as the case may be.
sextant - A navigational instrument, used for measuring angles, as in celestial navigation when the altitudes of heaven bodies are taken when the known heights of objects ashore can be used to determine distance.
shackle - A metal link fitting typically U-shaped, with a pin across the throat, used to connect lines to an anchor or sail.
shear pin - A safety device, used to fasten a propeller to its shaft. It is designed to break when the prop hits a solid object, thereby preventing additional damage.
shake out a reef - To untie the reef points and unroll a reef and hoist away.
shake, to - To sail a vessel so close to wind that the weather cloths of the sails shake; the bead sails generally are the first to shake, and if the helmsman does not notice it someone who does sings out, "All shaking forward"; or "Near forward."
shake up - "Give her a shake up." This is an order to put down the helm and cause the vessel to luff until her sails are "all shaking." The practice is to give a vessel a shake up and thus ease the weight on the sheets and enable the crew to get them in and belay before she again feels the weight.
shallow bodied - With a very limited depth of hold.
shape a course - To steer a particular course.
sharp bottomed or sharp floored - A vessel with V-shaped sections.
sharp bowed - With a very fine entrance or a bow whose two sides form a very acute angle.
sharp sterned - A stern shaped something like the fore end or bow, thus <.
sheave - A pulley wheel over which riggings wires or sheets are run, used to change the direction of force.
sheepshank - A plan of shortening a rope by taking up a part and folding it into two loops or bights, and then putting a half hitch of each standing part over a bight.
sheer - The curvature of a deck, as seen from the side. Normal sheer curves up towards the bow and stern. Reverse sheer curves down towards the bow and stern. Compound sheer, curving up at the front of the boat and down at the stern, and straight sheer are uncommon. To turn off course as a result of poor piloting.
sheer hulk - An old vessel fitted with sheers, whereby masts are lifted into other vessels. Sometimes used in the sense that nothing but the hulk remains.
sheer legs - Two spars fitted with guys for lifting masts or other things.
sheer plan or sheer draught - A drawing showing a longitudinal vertical section or profile of a vessel.
sheer strake - Topmost plank on the side of a wooden planked ship.
sheet - A line used to control the lateral movement of a sail.
sheet bend - A knot for bending a line to an eye; a knot for joining lines of differing widths.
sheet home - To strain or haul on a sheet until the foot of a sail is as straight or taut as it can be got. When the clew of a gaff topsail is hauled close out to the cheek block on the gaff. In practice, a gaff topsail sheet, however, is seldom sheeted home, as when once home no further strain could be brought on it; a few inches drift is therefore usually allowed.
shelf - A strong piece of timber running the whole length of the vessel inside the timber beads, binding the timbers together; the deck beams rest on and are fastened to the shelf.
shifting backstays - The topmast backstays which are only temporarily set up and shifted every time a vessel is put about or gybed.
shifting ballast - Ballast carried for shifting to windward to add to stiffness. A practice forbidden in yacht racing.
shifting her berth - When a vessel removes from an anchorage.
shift of plank - The fore and aft distance between the butts of one line of plank and that of the next below or above.
shift tacks, to - To go from one tack to the other.
shift the helm - To move the tiller from one side to the other; thus, if it is put to port, an order to shift the helm means put it to starboard.
shin up - To climb up the shrouds by the hands and shins, when they are not rattled down.
ship - A large, ocean-going vessel; to take something aboard.
shipshape, and Bristol Fashion - In good condition; in good shape and ready for use.
Ship's Papers - These include builders' certificate, register (in case of not being the original owner, bill of sale as well), bill of lading, bill of health, special licenses such as for the radios, documentation or registration with government, also insurance papers, crew list, de-rat certificate, entry and exit permits from various previous ports of call. Crew licenses, passports and Vaccination Records are not ship's papers but need to be gathered together when undergoing formal entry procedures.
shiver - To luff up and cause the sails to shiver or lift.
shoe or shod - Iron plates rivetted to the ends of wire rigging to receive shackle bolts.
shore - A beach. A support of wood or iron, a prop.
shock cord - An elastic line.
short splice - A quick splice, as the end of two lines, which is moderately strong. Refer to "long splice."
shorten - The wind is said to shorten when it comes more ahead. To shorten sail, to take in sail.
shrouds - Fixed lateral rigging of a mast. A line or wire running from the top of the mast to the spreaders, then attaching to the side of the vessel.
shy - The wind is said to shy when it comes from ahead or breaks a vessel off.
side kelsons - Stout pieces of timber fitted fore and aft on either side of the keel.
sidelights - The red (port) and green (starboard) navigational lights; running lights.
siding or sided - The size of a timber, between its two planes and parallel sides.
sight the anchor - To heave up the anchor.
signal halyard - The halyard used for hoisting the ship's signal flags.
Signal of Distress - An ensign hoisted upside down. Red pyrotechnic flares.
sister block - A double block with two sheaves of the same size one above the other, and seized to the topmast shrouds of square rigged ships to receive the lifts and reef tackle pendants.
sit - Sails are said to "sit" well when they do not girt, pucker, belly, or shake. This word is sometimes wrongly written "set."
skeg -For sailboats, usually refers to a structural support to which the rudder is fastened. Generally, it is a run of raised wood along the bottom of a boat.
skids - Pieces of timber put under a boat for resting her on deck, or when launching off.
skiff - A small boat used by coast watermen for the conveyance of passengers.
skin - The outside or inside planking of a vessel.
skinning - In stowing a mainsail lifting the outside part up time after time, the bunt forming a kind of bag. This should never be allowed, as it ruins the sail.
skin resistance - The resistance a vessel meets with owing to the friction of the water on her plank or sheathing.
Skipper - A slang term for the master of a yacht or other vessel.
skysail - A square sail set above the royals.
sky scraper - A triangular sail set above the skysail. Never used now.
Sky Pilot - A term applied by sailors to chaplains.
slab line - A rope used to brail up the foot of courses.
slab reefing - Also points reefing, and sometimes jiffy reefing. Reduces the area of the mainsail by partially lowering the sail and resecuring the new foot by tying with points, or light lines attached to the sail. The ties should be around just the bundled sail material except at the ends of the boom unless a bolt rope and groove system is used. In any case the intermediate ties should be loose enough to place a clenched fist between them and the sail material.
slack - The looseness of a line; loose; to ease; not moving.
slack helm - When a vessel carries very little, if any, weather helm.
slack in stays - Slow in coming head to wind, and still slower in paying off.
slack tide - The tide between the two streams when it runs neither one way nor the other. There are high-water slack and low-water slack.
slack water - The period of little water movement between flood and ebb tidal currents.
slant of wind - A favouring wind. A wind that frees a vessel when close-hauled.
slay, to - To tack.
sleep, or all asleep - When the sails are full and do not flap or shiver.
sliding keel - An old term for a keel which was lifted at the ends as compared to a pivoted board.
sliding hatch - Hatch mounted on slides.
slip - A boat berth, located between piers or floats; the percentage difference between the theoretical and the actual difference that a propeller advances when turning in water under load.
Sloop - A fore-and-aft rigged single masted vessel with one head sail set on a forestay. In a fractional-rigged sloop, the forestay and jib sheet are located a distance below the top of the mast.
slot - An aperture generally for a pin or bolt to travel in.
smack - A small trading vessel usually cutter rigged. A fishing cutter.
small helm - Said of a vessel when she carries weather helm.
small stuff - Cordage such as sail twine, spun yard and marline; line used for servings and whippings.
snatch block - A block with an opening in the shell so that a rope can be put over the sheave without reeving it.
sneak box - A shallow and beamy boat developed on Barnegat Bay in the US
snotter - A double-eyed strap used to support the heel of a sprit on the mast.
snow - A two-masted vessel with a stay, termed a horse, from the mainmast head to the deck on which a trysail was set. Frequently a spar was fitted instead of the stay.
snub a line - To quickly check a running rope, usually by tension around a bitt or cleat.
snug - Comfortably canvassed to suit the weather. Anything made neat, or stowed compactly.
Soldiers' Wind - A wind so that a vessel can lie her course all through to her destination without tacking or any display of seamanship.
sole - The cabin floor; the cockpit floor.
sooji - A composition of caustic soda and quicklime for cleaning off old paint, varnish, oil, grease and a good deal of skin.
Sound - Not decayed or rotten; free of shakes, splits, crushings
soundings - Measurements of water depths shown on a chart.
spales or spauls - Cross shores used to keep the frame of a vessel in position whilst building.
span - A rope made fast by both ends to a spar or stay, usually for the purpose of hooking a tackle. Very long spans are now commonly fitted to gaffs for hooking the peak halyards.
Spanish Burton - A purchase composed of three single blocks. A double Spanish Burton consists of one double and two single blocks.
Spanish Reef - A knot tied in the head of a jib or other head sail to shorten the hoist or reduce the area of the sail.
spanker - The fore-and-aft sail set with boom and gaff on the mizen of a square-rigged ship; termed also the driver.
span shackle - A bolt with a triangular shackle. The gammon iron that encircles the bowsprit at the stem. When it is directly over the stem the forestay is shackled to it.
spars - Poles used in sailboat riggings; booms, gaffs and masts.
spectacle strap, or strop - A short strop with an eye at each end.
spell - The term of work allotted to any of the men in a watch. Thus there is the spell at the helm termed "trick"; spell at the masthead to look out, spell at the pomp, etc.
spencer - A fore-and-aft sail set with gaffs in square-rigged ships, as trysails on the fore and main mast.
spider-hoop or spider band - An iron band round the mast with iron belaying pins in it.
spiling - Marking on a bar of wood the distances that a curved line, say that of a frame, is from a straight line.
spilling lines - Ropes attached to sails for spilling them of wind in reefing or furling.
spindle jib - A jib topsail.
spindrif, spoon drift - Spray blown from the crests of waves.
spinnaker - A three-cornered sail, used in downwind sailing. The asymmetrical spinnaker does not require the use of a pole.
spirit - The spar that supports the peak of a spritsail. Splashboard A raised portion of the hull forward of the cockpit intended to prevent water entering.
spirketting - Timber worked inside a vessel under the shelf in a fore-and-aft direction.
spitfire - The smallest storm jib.
splashboard - A raised portion of the hull forward of the cockpit intended to prevent water entering.
splice - To join to lines; to make an eye of two lines; joining two lines by tucking strands or interweaving parts of a rope.
split lug - A lugsail in two parts; the fore part is sheeted like a foresail, and in going about the tack is never cast off, nor is the tack of the after part of the sail. The up and down lines on the sail show where it is divided and where the mast comes. To heave to, the slew (after cringle) of the fore part of the log would be hauled up to the mat or to windward of it, easing the mainsheet as required. The split lug is not in much favour. The standing lug (or even balance lug) and foresail rig has all the advantages of the split lug without so much yard forward of the mast and without the disadvantage of not being able to lower the fore part or foresail. The most that can be said in favour of the split lug is that it points out the advantages of a main and foresail in preference to one sail.
spokes - The bars of the steering wheel of a ship radiating from the boss. "To give her a spoke" is to move the wheel to the extent of the distance between spoke and spoke. The longest spoke is termed the King Spoke and when directly upright with an equal number of turns available port or starboard denotes when the rudder is amidships.
sponson - The platform ahead and abaft paddle wheels, usually outside the bulwarks, but sometimes enclosed.
spoon bow - A bow that is shaped like the bowl of a spoon.
spring - A warp or hawser or rope.
spring a mast - To crack or splinter a mast.
spring her luff - To ease the weather tiller lines so that a vessel will luff to a free puff.
spring line - A standard dock line; a line used to control the fore/aft motion of a boat tied up.
spring tide - Opposite of neap tide; tides that are higher than normal, as a result of gravitational forces from the sun and moon being in conjunction.
spritsail - A four-sided fore and aft sail set on the mast, and supported by a spar from the mast diagonally to the peak of the sail.This is a time-honoured contrivance for setting a sail that has no boom, but a gaff is preferred if the sail has a boom.
sprung - Damaged by by cracking or splintering.
spun yarn - Small rope or cord used for serving.
squall - A sudden, violent windstorm.
square knot - Reef knot; a knot useful for tying two ends of a line together.
square rigged - Ships rigged with square sails that are hung laterally.
square topsail schooner - a combination of fore and aft sails and small square sails. They were popular for coastal trading in the early 1800s. Prince Edward Island built a number of topsail schooners and many were sold in Great Britian. A version with raked masts, called the Baltimore Clipper, was much favoured by privateersmen in the War of 1812.
squeeze - A vessel is said to be squeezed when she is sailed very close to the wind in order that she may weather some point or object.
stains on deck - Iron moulds, can be removed from a deck by a solution of one part muriatic acid, three parts water.
stanchion - A metal post used to hold a deck's lifelines.
stand - The period of time when the vertical rise/fall of the tide has ceased. A sail is said to stand when it does not lift or shake.
standing part - The portion of a line not used in making a knot. The part permanently made fast to something, and not hauled upon.
standing rigging - The permanent shrouds and stays; rigging used mainly to hold up the mast and take the strain of the sails.
stand-on vessel - The privileged vessel; the vessel having the right of way.
starboard - The right side of the ship; opposite of port.
starboard tack - A ship sailing with the wind coming over the right side is known to be on the starboard tack.
starbolins - The men and "watches" who compose the starboard watch.
start, to - To move, as to slacken a sheet or tack. To start a butt is to cause a plank to start from its fastenings at its butt or end.
started neither tack nor sheet - Said when a vessel sails a long course without a shift of wind, so that there is no occasion for her to alter the trim of her sails.
starved of wind - When a vessel is sailed so near the wind that she does not have enough of it, or feel the weight of it.
stateroom - The sleeping quarters of the captain and guests.
statute mile - A unit of land measurement; a distance of 5280 feet.
stays - Rigging; generally the rods and wires used to support the masts. A vessel is said to be in stays when she is going through the operation of tacking. To stay is to tack. Strictly, when a ship is head to wind.
stay rope - The luff or weather bolt rope of a jib or other sail.
staysail - An additional foresail set between the jib and the mast.
steadying sail - A hoisted sail for the steadying effect of the wind, not for propulsion.
steerage - In a yacht, the space between the after athwartship bulkhead of the main cabin and the athwartship bulkhead of the after cabin (the latter is generally known as the ladies' cabin). Usually the term steerage is limited to the fore and aft passage and berths therein.
steerage way - The minimum forward motion of a vessel that enables it to respond to rudder movement.
Steersman - A helmsman.
steeve - The upward inclination or rake which a bowsprit has, or which the plank sheer has forward. The running bowsprit has usually a steeve corresponding with the sheer forward; a standing bowsprit has generally considerably more on square rigged vessels.
stem - The forward member of the hull; the corresponding portion of the hull in composite construction.
step - To raise the mast and set it in place; at the base of the mast, the part of the boat in which the heel of the mast is placed.
stepped - Referring to the mast, deck stepped or keel stepped.
stern - The aft part of the vessel.
stern drive - An I/O (inboard-outboard) engine system, with the motor inside the hull.
stern line - Mooring line from the stern to the pier.
stern post - The strong timber to which the rudder is hung.
stern sheets - The seat in the aft end of a boat. Sometimes the three-cornered bottom board aft in a boat is termed the stern sheet. This board in' a yachts gig, in the bow or aft, is usually a wood grating. In small fishing boats the stern sheet is the platform on which the fisherman coils away his nets, lines
sternway - Opposite of headway; moving in reverse.
stiff - Not easily healed; having great stability.
stock (of an anchor) - The crossbar near the shackle.
stocks - The framework upon which a vessel rests while she is being built.
stooping - To dive into a wave hollow. Generally an easy sort of pitching, caused by the undulation of waves or "swell."
stopper - A rope or lashing used to prevent a rope or chain surging or slipping, as cable stopper, rigging stoppers. The latter is usually a short piece of rope put on as a kind of racking to prevent the rigging or its tackles rendering.
stops - Yarns or short pieces of rope by which sails are secured when rolled up or stowed. Also the short lines by which sails are tied to yards when they are not laced.
stores - Generic term for supplies; can be food or non-food items.
storm anchor - An anchor of exceptionally heavy weight used to hold a boat or ship during heavy weather. A Sea or Floating Anchor when in deep water.
storm sails - The storm trysail and storm jib set in bad weather.
storm jib - A strong, small triangular headsail, typically used in heavy winds.
stove in - Broken in.
stow - To put items in their proper place.
straight of sreadth - The distance where the breadth of a ship is equal or nearly equal amidships; now generally termed parallel length of middle body, because the two sides of a ship may be for some distance parallel to each other. A straight of breadth is seldom found in a yacht excepting in some long steam yachts ; these frequently are of the same breadth for some distance amid. ships.
strain, to take a, or to take an even - Laying hold of the line and applying enough pressure to remove all slack prepratory to hauling. "Take An Even Strain" is an admonish to calm down.
strakes - Lines of planking.
strand - Yarns twisted together and they then make the parts or strands of a rope.
stranded - Said of a rope when one or more of its strands have burst. Cast ashore normally by accident or mishap as opposed to maroon which is to beset ashore on purpose.
strap - See "Strop."
stream - The direction of the flood tide and ebb tide.
stretch - A course sailed. Also the elasticity of canvas or line.
strike - To lower, as to strike the topmast. Also to strike the ground when sailing.
striking topsails - First step in reducing sail. Also a form of saluting.
stringers - Strengthening strakes of plank, steel, or iron inside or outside a vessel's frame.
strop or strap - A sort of hoop made of rope yarn, wire, or metal, used to put round spars, blocks
Stroke or Streak - A length of plank of any breadth. The lead rower in a ship's boat that sets the pace for the others. Is seated on the aft thwart so the movements can be followed by the other crew who are facing the stern.
strut - A single spreader. A piece of wood or steel fitted on the foreside of the mast opposite the gaff jaws for the purpose of giving spread to a steel wire stay which supports the masthead, the "strut-stay" being the wire that goes from the masthead through or over the "strut" opposite the gaff jaws and down to the deck at the base of the mast to take the backward strain of the masthead and counteract the forward thrust of the gaff.
studding sails - Sails set outside the courses and topsails in square rigged ships; called by sailors "stu'n's'ls."
stuff - Small rope, and picked hemp or cotton waste, and timber. Also old slang for sails as, "Give her the stuff," meaning more sail.
stuffing box - A (through-hull) fitting for the rudder post or drive shaft; also called a gland.
suit of sails - A ship's full complement of sails.
superstructure - Any above deck structure.
surf - Breaking waves; waves breaking a bar, reef or shore.
surge - When a rope renders round a belaying pin.
survey - A vessel inspection for the purposes of insurance or purchase; the inspection is usually conducted by a marine surveyor.
surveyor - A professional who examines vessels for purposes of insurance or purchase.
swamp - To fill a boat with water coming over the gunwale.
sweat and tail - Sweat is the act of hauling a halyard to raise a sail or spar done by pulling all slack outward and then downward. Tail is controlling the runnning end of the halyard by coiling.
sweep - A long bend. To sweep is to impel by sweeps or large oars; formerly, vessels as large as 300 tons used sweeps, and by hard work could make three knots an hour. Sweeps are not permitted in yacht racing.
sweeps - Large oars.
swell - A large, long, non-cresting wave, usually met with after heavy winds have subsided.
swig, to - The fall of a tackle is put under a cleat or pin, and is held firmly by one or more of the crew; another man (or man) then takes hold of the part of the fall between the cleat and the block and throws his whole weight on it; as he comes up the other hand takes in the slack. By swigging on a tackle a couple of hands can often get in all that is required, where by steady hauling they might not have moved the blocks an inch. To drink.
swim platform - A transom platform used for boarding the boat from the water.
swivel hook - A hook that revolves by a pivot inserted in a socket and clinched.
Back to the index.
tabernacle - A hinged mast step located on deck. Since it is hinged, the mast may be lowered easily.
tabling - The strengthening pieces of canvas sewn to the edges of sails where the roping goes on.
tachometer - A device that indicates a motor's revolutions per minute.
tack - The forward, bottom corner of a sail; each leg of a zigzag course, sailed windward. The side on which the wind blows on the sail, as starboard tack or port tack.
tacking - A sailing maneuver in which the direction of the boat is changed, so that the wind is coming from the opposite side of the vessel.
tackle - A combination rig consisting of multiple blocks and lines.
tackle-fall - The hauling part of the rope of a tackle.
tack rag - A (slightly) sticky cleaning cloth to pick up dust and dirt from the brightwork.
taffrail - The rail at the stern of the boat.
tail block - A block with a tail or piece of rope stropped to it for making fast the block instead of a hook.
tail on - An order to take hold of a rope and help haul.
tail tackle - A watch tackle; that is, a double and single block. The single block has a hook; the double block a rope tail, which can be hitched to ropes or parts of rigging.
take in or take off - To hand or furl a sail.
take, to - A jib is said to take when a vessel has been head to wind and the jib fills on one side or the other.
take up - To shrink; to tighten up.
tang - A fitting, often of sheet metal, used to attach standing rigging to a spar, or to the hull.
taunt - tall, high, towering. See also "A-taunto."
taut - Tight: stretched as tightly as possible.
taut bowline - A ship is said to be on a taut bowline when the bowlines on the leeches of the sail are hauled as taut as possible for sailing near the wind. With everything stretched as flat as possible for close-hauled sailing.
telltale - A wind-direction indicator; a windsock; it may be mounted on the mast, rigging or sail.
tend - To attend to a sheet and watch it to see if it requires hauling in or slacking out ; generally to attend to any work on board ship.
tender - A dinghy; a small boat to transport people and supplies to a larger vessel.
tenon - A sort of tongue cut at the end of a piece of timber to fit into a mortise.
tensile strength - The load at which a line (rope or chain) would break; it is measured in pounds "of pull."
thick stuff - Timber or plank over 4 inches thick.
thimble - A ring, pear-shaped or circular, with a groove outside for ropes to fit in. When the thimble is pear-shaped it is usually termed a "heart thimble or thimble heart." These thimbles are used for the eye splices in ropes, whilst circular thimbles are mostly used for the cringles of sails. For steel wire shrouds the thimble is usually solid.
thimble eyes - Eyes spliced in rigging round a thimble. A thimble seized in a strop.
tholes - Pins fitted into the holes in rowlocks for oars to work in. Now replaced by a pintled horn.
thread - A vessel is said to thread her way when she weaves in and out among other vessels, or through a narrow channel. Thread of oakum or cotton for caulking small boats.
"Three sheets in the wind" - Half drunk. "Three cloths shaking," said sometimes of -a mainsail when a vessel is sailed too near the wind.
throat - The deepest part of the hollow of the jaws of a gaff, or the hollow of a V shaped knee, or the hollow of a floor. The throat halyards are those which are attached to the throat of a gaff. The upper weather corner of a gaff-sail is often called the throat, or nook, because it is attached to the throat of the gaff.
through bolt, or through fastening - A bolt that passes through timber and plank, and clinched.
thumb cleat - Pieces of wood put on spars. to prevent ropes or straps from slipping.
thwart - A transverse structural member in the cockpit. In small boats, often used as a seat.
thwartships - At right angles to the centerline of the boat.
tidal harbor - A harbor that can only be entered on certain stages of the tide.
tidal current - The normal current caused by the rise and fall of the tides.
tide - The vertical rise and fall of the earth's waters, caused by the gravitational forces of the sun and the moon. The highest tides occur at the new moon and full moon. Tides in estuaries, harbours, and bays vary a great deal.
tide table - A set of data listing the timetable of low/high tides.
tie - A runner to which a tackle is hooked, used for hoisting lug-sails and squaresails.
tiers - Ropes or gaskets used to secure the mainsail of a fore-and-aft vessel when furled or stowed to the boom. The tier that takes up the middle of the sail is termed the bunt tier. See also "Gasket" and "Buntline."
tight - Impervious to water; well caulked; not leaky. Never applied to the tension of ropes, which are always "taut."
tiller - A lever, attached to the rudder post, used for controlling the rudder when steering.
tiller lines - The lines attached to the tiller to move it by. (See also "Tiller Ropes," which are a different thing.) Generally in yachts of 40 tons and over, a tackle is used. In large yachts a second tackle is sometimes used, it the yacht carries much weather helm or is hard to steer: these second tackles are usually termed relieving tackles.
tiller ropes - The ropes attached to the short tiller when a wheel is used for steering. The ropes pass round the drum on the same axis as the wheel. In large vessels the tiller ropes were frequently made of rawhide.
timber-heads - The heads or upper ends of the frames.
timber hitch - A quick way of bending a rope to a spar.
timbers - The frames or ribs of a vessel.
toe rail - Low bulwark on a small decked boat.
toggle - A short rope with an eye at one end and a small piece of wood at the other, to insert in the eye and form a kind of strap or becket.
toe-rail - A low rail, often slotted, along the upper edge of the side of the boat. Slots allow drainage and the attachment of blocks.
ton- A weight of 2240lb. avoirdupois or in the US 2000 lbs. There are also metric tons, long tons, short tons, and various others such as Panama Canal and Suez Canal tons.In hydraulics 35 cubic feet of sea water represent an avoirdupois ton, or 36 cubic feet of fresh water.
tonnage - The measure of a vessel's capacity or displacement, variously estimated.
top - In square-rigged ships, the platform at the lower mast heads to give additional spread to the topmast rigging, and to form a kind of gallery for riflemen in war ships. There are fore top, main top, and mizzen top. To top is to raise one end of a boom or yard by the topping lifts.
topgallant bulwarks - Bulwarks fitted above the rail to afford additional shelter on deck.
topgallant mast - The mast next above the top mast in square-rigged ships.
top hamper - Any real or supposed unnecessary weight carried on deck or mast
topmast - A second spar carried at the top of the fore or main mast, used to fly more sail.
topmast hoops - Hoops were formerly used for jib-headed topsails, the same as they used to be for the original "gaff topsails." The hoops when not in use rest on the masthead. In hoisting the topsail the lacing is passed through an eyelet hole in the luff of the sail and through a hoop, and so on. When the sail is hoisted chock-a-block the lacing is hauled taut; in lowering the lacing is slackened. Hoops facilitate the hoisting and lowering of the sail, and permit its being lowered and hoisted without a man going aloft
topping lift - A running, rigging line to control a spar. A line or wire rope used to support the yards or booms when a boat is anchored or moored.
top rail - The rail fitted on the stanchions as a finish to the bulwarks.
topsails - There are various topsails; e.g., large and small jackyard topsails, jib-headed topsail, and jib topsail. In the early days of yachting a square topsail was carried as well, but spinnakers have superseded squaresails. Schooners carry as well main topmast staysails in various sizes.
topsail schooner - See "Square Topsail Schooner."
topsides - To be on/above deck, rather than below; the sides of a ship above the waterline.
top timbers - The upper parts of the framing of a vessel.
"Top your boom and sail large" - To leave in a hurry and sail off the wind.
"Toss the oars" - To throw them out of the rowlocks and rest them perpendicularly, blades uppermost, on reaching a destination. May be given as a command to each bank of rowers independently or given to both banks at once.
toss up the boom - To raise the boom by the lifts.
touching the wind - Luffing into the wind till the sails shake. See also "Luff and Touch Her."
towing - An assistance or rescue maneuver of another vessel; pulling another boat through the water.
track - Rigging fitting, composed of metal or plastic, used to control blocks, spars and other rigging; the vessel's path charted on a map.
Trade Wind - Winds that blow in one direction a considerable time
traffic separation scheme - A generally agreed upon plan by which vessels in high-traffic areas have one-way routes to prevent possible collisions.
trail boards - Carved boards fitted on the bow and stem of schooners.
transom - The flat, or sometimes curved terminating structure of the hull at the stern of a vessel. The frame at the sternpost of a vessel. In boats the transverse board at the stern, which gives shape to the quarters and forms the stern end of the boat.
trapeze - Wire gear enabling a crewmember to place all of his weight outboard of the hull, thus helping to keep the boat level.
trapezium - A four-sided figure with two sides or foot and head parallel, as a ship's square sail.
trapezoid - A four-sided figure whose sides do not form parallel lines, such as a cutter's mainsail.
Traveler - A fitting across the boat to which sheets are led, which looks like a fitting, to anchor a sheet, traveling on a rail. In many boats the traveler may be adjusted from side to side so that the angle of the sheets can be changed to suit conditions. Also, an iron ring, thimble, or strap which travels on a spar, bar, or rope
traveller, jointed - The iron hoop is in two half moons, each end has an eye turned in; the two halves are connected by these eyes. The object in having a jointed traveller is to facilitate lowering.
treenails - Bolts or plugs of wood used to fasten plank to the timbers of vessels. Pronounced "trennel. "
trestle trees - In ships long pieces of timber fitted at the masthead in a fore-and-aft direction to support the cross trees.
triatic stay - A stay from foremast head to mainmast head in a schooner, and termed sciatic stay in old works.
trick - The time a man is stationed at the helm. See also "Spell."
trim, trimmed - Fore and aft balance of a boat. The position of a ship in the water in a fore-and-aft direction. To trim a vessel is to set her in a particular position, by the head or stern. The term is sometimes erroneously used to represent the shifting of ballast transversely. To trim the sails is to sheet and tack them so that they are disposed in the best manner possible, in relation to the force and direction of the wind.
trimaran - A vessel with three hulls.
trip - A passage. Sometimes used in Scotland to denote a board made in beating to windward. To trip a spar is to cant it. To trip an anchor is to break it out of the ground; an anchor is a-trip when one of its flukes is on, but not in, the ground.
trip line - rope used to cant a spar, as trip halyards for a topsail, or the line bent to the crown of an anchor to trip it or break it out of the ground.
trough - Rope used to cant a spar, as trip halyards for a topsail, or the line bent to the crown of an anchor to trip it or break it out of the ground.
true course - A course that is referenced to geographic north; a course that is corrected for deviation and variation.
true north - Geographic north, opposed to magnetic north.
trysail - A small sort of gaff sail or sharp headed sail set in heavy weather. The sail set on the fore and main mast of square rigged ships and brigs similar to the spanker on the mizen. The origin of the term trysail was probably that in heavy weather it was the sail set to enable a vessel to "try," or to make some headway.
tuck - The form of the hollow in the quarter near the transom or stern-post.
tug - A towing boat. To tug is to tow.
true wind - The actual wind direction and force, different than the apparent wind.
tumblehome - The inward curving of the topsides (above the waterline).
tumbler - A piece of wood pivoted in the jaw of a gaff which is always in the plane of the mast.
tumbler-fid - A self-acting fid for a topmast.
tune - To make an adjustment for maximum efficiency.
tunnel hull - A hull design to reduce propeller draft.
turnbuckle - An adjustable, threaded rigging fitting, used for lifelines and stays.
Turk's-head - A knot made of small line round a rope as a stopper or for ornament.
turning circle - The course of a vessel when turning; the smallest possible circular path when the rudder is hard over.
turn - A circle made by a rope round a pin. "Turn O" is an order to belay - To catch a turn is to put the fall of a tackle or part of any rope round a belaying pin, stanchion.
turn in - To secure the end of a rope by seizing. To go to one's berth to sleep.
turn of the tide - When the tide changes from flood to ebb, or the contrary.
twice laid rope - Rope remade from old rope. A term of reproach for articles of inferior quality.
twiddler - Small broom used in scrubbing the decks of yachts, to clean out corners.
twiddling stick - The tiller, hence "twiddling lines" are the tiller lines.
twine - Light line; line used for servings and whippings.
two-blocked - Fully closed up; when both blocks in a purchase are drawn completely together.
two half-hitches - A knot; a knot in which two hitches are made upon the standing portion of the line and tightened.Back to the index.
unbend - To cast loose a sail from its gaff, yard. The opposite of bend.
under-run - To follow up a rope, chain hawser, or cable, by hauling it in from a boat which moves in the direction that the cable is laid out.
under bowing the sea - When a vessel is close hauled sailing in a cross sea, and gets the worst of it on the lee bow.
under bare poles - When a ship is under way and making steerageway with no sails set (downwind) she is under bare poles or scudding.
under deck - Below.
under hatches - Below deck.
under sail, under canvas - Using sails for propulsion
under the lee - Sheltered from the wind by the sails of another vessel. Under the lee of the land, sheltered from the full force of the wind by the land.
underway - A vessel in motion, not aground, not at anchor. Moving through the water under the influence of the wind, steam, or oars. Sometimes wrongly written under-weigh. It is said a vessel may be under-weigh when she is getting her anchor; but even then it would be the anchor, and not the vessel, that would be under-weigh. A ship beginning to move under canvas after her anchor is started.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) - An organization that tests the safety levels of equipment.
unmoored - A vessel is also said to be "unmoored" when she is riding to a single anchor, as to be moored two anchors must be down, or she must be fast to a permanent mooring. See also "unweigh."
unreeve - To haul out a rope from a hole.
unrig - To dismantle a ship or any part of her, as to unrig a topmast or bowsprit.
unship - To remove a thing from its lodgment, normally when striking a mast or other spar.
unweigh - Raise the anchor. When the anchor is 'a-weigh' it is hanging straight below the vessel and the ship or boat is free to move according to wind and currents or the use of sail or engine.
up and down - Vertically. The wind is sometimes said to be up and down the mast, when there is none at all, like Paddy's Hurricane.
upper mast, upper stick - A topmast, a topgallant mast.
upper strake - The top strake running round a vessel at the deck edge under the covering board, usually stouter than the general planking, and almost always of hard wood to better hold fastenings. Also called a Rub Rail.
upwind - To the windward of.
usages of the sea - Customs of the sea in relation to commercial pursuits, which are held in law to be binding.
USCG - United States Coast Guard; The federal marine law enforcement and rescue agency (of the USA).
USPS - United States Power Squadrons; A private organization that specializes in good boating practices and boating safety.Back to the index.
V-drive - Mechanism used with an engine installation that has the normally aft-facing end of the motor facing forward.
V-hull - Hull that is "V" shaped, opposed to "U", rounded, or flat shaped.
van - The advanced part of a fleet.
vang, boom - A device, usually with mechanical advantage, used to pull the boom down, flattening the sail. A rope used to keep a gaff from sagging to leeward. On a schooner's foresail a block is lashed to the mainmast head, through which the vang is rove and made fast to the fore gaff end; the fall of the rope leads to the deck. In square-rigged ships vangs are generally used on the spanker gaff. Sprit sail barges also use vangs.
variation - A compass "error" that occurs due to the fluid motion of the Earth's molten iron core. True north and magnet north are not always aligned.
vector - A line that represents both direction and magnitude (of force).
veer - To pay out chain. Veer is also used in the sense of wearing or gybing. The wind is said to veer when it changes in direction with the sun; to back when it changes against the sun, the wind is said to veer when it draws more aft. To haul when it comes more ahead.
veer and haul - To slacken up a rope, and then haul on it suddenly, in order that those who are hauling on it may acquire a momentum. Pulling by jerks.
"veer out the cable" - The order to pay out or slack away cable.
veering a buoy in a vessel's wake - Throwing overboard a buoy in the wake of a ship when a man has fallen overboard, in the hope that he may get to it, and pick it up.
ventilator - Construction designed to lead air below decks. May have a cowl, which can be angled into or away from the wind; and may be constructed with baffles, so that water is not allowed below, as in Dorade ventilator.
vessel - Any boat, ship, watercraft, or moving and floating craft.
VHF radio - Very High Frequency electronic communications system normally operating above 50 Mhz. Communications is normally limited to line-of-sight distances.
victual - To supply with provisions for a voyage
VMG (Velocity Made Good) - The speed you are travelling towards the destination. Cross winds, currents, and direction are all accounted for.
voyage - A complete trip; A round trip, as distinguished from a "passage."Back to the index.
waist - The middle fore and aft part of a vessel's decks.
waisters - Green hands, or old decrepit seamen, who are stationed about in the waist of a vessel to haul upon rope
wake - The trailing disturbance of water behind a moving vessel; the water track resulting from the vessel's passage. Vessels are said to leave a clean wake that do not cause waves to form astern.
wales - Thick strakes of plank.
wall knot - A knot formed at the end of a rope by unlaying and interweaving the strands.
wall sided - Up and down sides of a vessel that neither tumble home nor flare out.
wallow - To lie in the trough of a sea and roll heavily; to roll under the sea.
warp - Heavier lines (rope or wire) used for mooring, anchoring andtowing. May also be used to indicate moving (warping) a boat into position by pulling on a warp.
wash - Surging wave action.
wash strake - A strake, fixed or movable, of plank fitted to the gunwale of an open boat to increase her height out of water.
watch - An anchor buoy or mooring buoy is said to watch when it keeps above water. The duty where a sailor is on duty to "watch" for hazards or dangers.
watch and watch - The arrangement whereby one half of the crew is on deck for four hours, then the other half for four hours.
watches - The divisions of time for work on board a vessel. The crew of a ship is divided for this work into two watches, port and starboard, each watch being alternately on deck, excepting in emergencies, when both watches may be called on deck. Watches are thus divided: From 8 p.m. to midnight is the "First Watch." From midnight to 4 a.m. is the "Middle Watch." From 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. is the "Morning Watch." From 8 a.m. to noon is the "Forenoon Watch." From noon to 4 p.m. the "Afternoon Watch." From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. the two "Dog Watches."
watching for a smooth - In a sea way looking out for a time when the waves are smaller to tack in.
watch tackle - A tackle consisting of single and double block; the single block has a hook, the double a tail.
water - One cubic foot fresh water weighs 62.39lb. One cubic foot salt water weighs 64.05lb. One gallon fresh water weighs 10.01lb.
water ballast - Ballast, composed of water, in tanks. The tanks should be either full or empty to avoid creating a dangerous "load shift" situation.
water borne - Not resting on the ground, but being in the condition of floating.
watering - Taking water into the tanks by the hose or by means of breakers.
waterline - A line painted on a hull which shows the point to which a boat sinks when it is properly trimmed, also called "boot top". A horizontal plane passing through a vessel longitudinally.
water logged - The condition of a vessel, that although her hold is full of water, she does not sink, owing to the buoyant nature of her cargo, or from other causes.
way - Movement of a vessel through the water such as headway, sternway or leeway. ship makes in the water under sail. Thus, when she begins her motion she is said to be underway or making way.
"way enough!" - In rowing, an order given by the person steering a boat when being rowed alongside a vessel or causeway to direct the oarsmen to cease rowing with the stroke about to be completed, and lay in their oars.
waypoint - A datum point, used as a position reference for navigating with a GPS unit. The position is reported as degrees, minutes, and seconds of latitude and longitude.
ways - Balks of timber arranged in a kind of chute to haul vessels upon or to launch them off.
waves - Undulations of the water; may be caused by wind or gravitational forces affecting the earth.
wear - To bring the wind on the other side of a vessel by putting the helm up so that the vessel's head goes round away from the wind instead of towards the wind as in tacking. Used on square rigged vessels instead of gybe.
weather - The windward or "breezy" side of an object. The side on which the "weather" is felt; not to leeward. To weather is to pass on the windward side of an object. In cross tacking the vessel "weathers" another that crosses ahead of her. To weather on another vessel is to gain on her in a windward direction by holding a better wind than she does -- to eat her out of the wind.
weather board - On the weather side of a vessel. Sometimes in working to windward by a long board and a short one the short one is called "weather board."
weather boards - Pieces of boards fitted over open ports to direct water or rain off.
weather cloth - The cloth in a sail next the luff. The "weather" leach of a sail is the luff.
weather cloths - Pieces of canvas fitted on ridge ropes and stanchions of yachts above the bulwarks; also the tarpaulins used to cover the hammocks when stowed in the nettings.
weather gauge - The condition of a vessel that is to windward of another one. In slang, to possess an advantage.
weather helm - The helm or tiller hauled to windward when a vessel owing to too much after sail has an inclination to fly up in the wind. If the centre of effort of the sails is much abaft the centre of lateral resistance, a vessel will require weather helm to keep her out of the wind. The tendency to fly up in the wind can he remedied by reducing the after sail, or setting more head sail, or by easing the main sheet. However, it is suggested that all vessels should carry a little weather helm.
weathering - A relative term used in sailing to define the action of one vessel which is eating to windward of another, thus, if a vessel is said to he weathering on another she is eating her out of the wind, or closing up to her from the leeward, or departing from her in a windward direction. Weathering an object is passing on its windward side.
weatherly, weatherliness - The quality of hanging to windward well or holding a good wind. This term is often improperly used to denote good behaviour in a sea way or in bad weather.
weather lurch - A weather roll or a roll to windward. In running with the main boom well off, the boom should be always secured with a guy, or it may fall to the opposite side during a weather roll, and cause some damage.
weather shore - The opposite of "lee shore"; the coast lying in the direction from where the wind is blowing.
weather side - The vessel's side upon which the wind is blowing.
weather tide, or weather-going tide - The tide which makes to windward or against the wind.
Wedges of Immersion and Emersion - See "Immersed."
wedging up - Lifting a vessel by driving wedges under her keel to take her weight off the building blocks before launching.
weepings - The exudations of damp or water through the seams or cracks of planks.
weigh - Raising of the anchor; to leave; to depart.
well - A sunken part of the deck aft, termed cockpit sometimes. In small vessels there is usually a well aft in which the steersman sits; the cabin of a small boat is usually entered from the well. The cabin of most American yachts, large or small, is usually entered from the cockpit aft. In larger sailing ships a well leading all the way to the keel was used to sound the depths of water in the holds preparatory to pumping.
well found - Well supplied; to be properly fitted out with adequate supplies and equipment.
"Well that! Well there!" - An order to cease hauling and belay.
wetted surface - The hull's area (including rudder) in the water, affecting speed.
wharf - A structure for docking vessels, which is parallel to the shore.
wheel - The steering wheel; the helm; the propeller.
whip - A purchase consisting of one single block. A pennant vane.
whipping - Twine wrapped (wound) around another line to prevent wear and to add strength. It often refers to binding the ends of rope with twine, to prevent their fraying.
whiskers - Used to spread bowsprit shrouds.
whisker pole - A short spar, normally kept stowed, which may be used to push the clew of a jib away from the boat when the boat is running downwind.
whistle signal - A standard communication between vessels to indicate dangerous situations; some communications may require a course change.
whistling for wind - In calms or light winds sailors sometimes amuse themselves by whistling in the hope that it will bring a breeze. They also scratch the boom for a breeze, or to make the vessel go faster. During heavy weather the superstition is all the other way, and no whistling or boom scratching is permitted.
whole sail strength - A wind of such strength that a yacht can just carry all her sails, including her "best" gaff topsail, to windward.
wicked looking - Said of a craft which has a smart, raking appearance.
Widow-maker - A term for the bowsprit. Many sailors lost their lives falling off the bowsprit while tending sails.
winch - A drum with crank handles and pawls, fitted to the mast or desk to get in the halyards and sheets. The drum is usually designed to rotate only one way so that tension on the line will hold the line from slipping back
windage - Any form of wind resistance.
windfall - An unexpected advantage or acquisition of treasure.
wind jamming - A old-fashioned slang term for sailing by the wind. Wind jammers, sailing ships.
windlass - A horizontal barrel, revolved by cranks or handspikes, for getting in the anchor. In yachts a small neat capstan is used.
wind marks - The marks or assumed marks on sheets to which they are hauled in for sailing by the wind.
window - A transparent portion of a jib or mainsail.
windsail - A canvas shaft or tube for conveying air to or from below deck.
windward - The direction from where the wind is blowing.
wing and wing - A schooner before the wind with the main sail off the lee quarter, and the foresail boomed out to windward. On a singlle-masted sloop, the jib or genoa would be rigged to windward.
wings of a ship - That part of a ship at the sides near the load line.
wishbone - A boom composed of two separate curved pieces, one on either side of the sail. With this rig, sails are usually self tending and loose-footed.
woof - The threads or texture of any kind of cloth or canvas.
work - A vessel is said to work when the different parts of her frame, planking, are not securely bound together so that the various parts relative to each other alter their positions.
workboat - A small vessel used for boating chores, such as putting down moorings and transporting supplies
working sails - Sails normally used, apart from storm/light weather sails.
working to windward - Proceeding by short tacks. Beating to windward. To work up to a vessel is to get nearer to her or catch her whilst beating to windward.
worm - To fill in the spaces, or voids, in laid rope.
wrinkle - Something worth knowing; a piece of valuable experience. Wrinkles in copper are generally a sign of severe strains in vessels, or that the vessel "works," or that her frame and plank shifts when she is under way in a sea. Sometimes wrinkles will show when a vessel is hauled up to dry and disappear when she is put in the water as the plank swells.Back to the index.
XTK (Crosstrack Error) - The distance you are off the desired course in either direction.Back to the index.
yacht - A pleasure boat; A pleasure vessel; A watercraft where luxury is conveyed; Vessel may be power or sail propelled.
yankee - a fore-sail flying above and forward of the jib, usually seen on bowsprit vessels.
yard - A location where boats are constructed, repaired or stored; A spar, crossing the mast, on which square sails are fitted. A spar used to extend a sail.
yard arm - The extremities of yards.
yarn - A yarn is generally understood to mean one of the parts of a strand of a rope. The strands of old rope are separated and used as stops for temporarily securing sails when rolled up, etc. A narrative, a tale, a long story, or discourse. See also "strands."
yaw - To steer or swing off course, as when running with a quartering sea. Generally when a vessel does not steer a straight or steady course.
yawl - A rig for two-masted sailboats, in which there is a mainmast and a (smaller) mizzen mast, stepped aft of the rudder post.
Yellow Flag or Yellow Jack - The quarantine or fever flag. Also designated by a letter "Q" pennant.
yoke - The lower cap on the masthead. It is cut out of solid wood, and either strengthened by an iron plate over the whole of its top, or an iron band round its entire edge. The crosstrees are fitted on the yoke. A yoke is also the crossbar put on the rudderhead of small boats, to which lines, termed yoke lines, are attached for steering.Back to the index.
zebec - a lateen rig normally associated with the Mediterranean.
zig-zag work, or short tacking - Working to windward by short boards
Back to the index.