Robert Kipping: The Elements of Sailmaking, 1847.

A Dictionary of Technical Terms Relative to Sails.

Awning. -
A cover of canvass stretched flat over a ship above the deck, for protection from the rays of the sun in hot climates.
Balance Reef. -
A reef that crosses a sail diagonally - that is, from the nock to the upper reef-cringle on the after leech - and is used to contract it in case of a storm.
Bands. -
Pieces of canvass, from one-sixth to two-thirds of a breadth, strongly sewed or tabled across the sail to strengthen it.
Bark or Barque. -
A general name given to vessels with three masts, with the mizen-mast and a pole-mast above, instead of a regular top-mast and top-gallant-mast; and if with a square topsail it is commonly set flying; but instead of this sail, it is more general to have a gaff-topsail.
Barca-longa. -
A vessel common to the Mediterranean, as the large Spanish fishing-boat, carrying two or three masts with lug-sails.
Belly, or Bag Part. -
The part of a sail that swells out into a larger capacity, by the seams being made broader on the head and foot than the remaining part. This forms what is called the belly part of the sail, which is restrained by the slack after-leech. (See Slack.)
Becket for Bunt-Jigger. -
A strop spliced through two holes worked in the bunt of a sail, so that it may be furled with a peak. (See p. 81.)
Bolt-Rope. -
The rope sewed on the edges of sails, to prevent their rending.
Bonnet. -
The additional part of a sail, made to fasten with latchings to the foot of the sail it is intended for. It is exactly similar to the foot of the sail it is made for.
Boom. -
A long pole run out from different places in the ship to extend the bottoms of particular sails, as, jib-boom, flying-jib-boom, studdingsail-boom, driver or spanker-boom, ringtail-boom, main-boom, squaresail-boom, &c.
Booming. -
Amongst seamen, denotes the application of a boom to the sails. Booming of the sails is never used but in quarter winds, or before a wind. When a ship is said to come booming towards us, it signifies that she comes with all the sail she can make.
Bowline. -
A rope attached by the bridles to the bowline cringles, on the leeches of topsails, courses, &c., to keep tight the windward or weather leech of the sail, when on a wind.
Brails. -
Ropes to draw up the foot, leech, and other parts of fore and aft sails for furling, or when tacking.
Bridles of the Bowline. -
Short ropes, or legs, fastened to the bowline-cringles on the leeches of sails.
Brig. -
A vessel having two masts, rigged similarly to the fore and main masts of ships, and fore and aft main-sail.
Bumkin, or Boomkin. -
A short boom, or beam of timber, projecting from each side of the bow of a ship, to extend the clue or lower-corner of the foresail to windward; for which purpose there is a large block fixed on its outer end, through which the tack is passed, which being drawn tight down, the tack is said to be aboard.
Bunt. -
The middle part of a sail stowed, and the foremost leech of staysails cut with a nock.
Buntlines. -
The ropes fastened to the foot rope on the bottom of the square-sails, to draw them up to the yards: they are inserted through certain blocks under the top, or on the upper part of the yard, whence passing downwards on the fore part of the sail, they are fastened below to the lower edge through holes in the foot of the sails, of which there are either two or four, called buntline-holes.
Buntline-Cloth. -
The lining sewed up the sail, in the direction of the buntline, to prevent that rope from the chafing the sail.
Canvass. -
A strong kind of cloth of which the sails are made. (See p. 55.)
Cat-Harpins. -
The rigging which spreads underneath the top, down below the hounds of the lower masts, and as far as the centre of the yard, or heads of the courses. The cat-harpins are in general one-eight the hoist of the topsail.
Centre of Effort. -
When the ship is under sail, there are two forces acting on it; the one, the force of the wind on the sails, to propel the ship; and the other, the resistance the water opposes to her motion. These forces, immediately the ship has acquired the velocity due to the strength of the wind, as is the case with all forces, may each be reasoned on as if acting on only one point of the surface over which its effect is diffused. This point is that in which, if the whole force were to be concentrated, its effect would be the same as when dispersed over the whole area: it is usual to call these, "resultant of forces", and the points on which they are supposed to act, "centres of effort". (See p. 114.)
Centre of Gravity of the Sails. -
That point, about which, if supported, all parts of the sail (acted upon only by the force of gravity) would balance each other in any position.
Chess Tree. -
A 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.
Cleats. -
Pieces of wood nailed on the yard-arms, for preventing the earings sliding inwards; but it is now common, instead of having cleats, to have stops, formed out of the yards.
Cleat and Cleat. -
The distance between the cleats or stops on the yard arms.
Close-Reef. -
The fourth or lowest reef of a topsail, and uppermost reef of a fore-and-aft mainsail.
Close-Hauled. -
Is the arrangement or trim of a ship's sails when she endeavours to make a progress in the nearest direction possible towards that point of the compass from which the wind blows. In this manner of sailing, the keel of square rigged vessels commonly makes an angle of six points with the line of the wind, but cutters, luggers, and other fore-and-aft rigged vessels, will sail much nearer. All vessels, indeed, are supposed to make nearly a point of leeway, when close hauled, even when they have the advantage of a good breeze and smooth water. The angle of the lee-way, however, enlarges in proportion to the increase of the wind and the sea. In this disposition of the sails they are all extended sideways on the ship, so that the wind, as it crosses the ship obliquely towards the stern from forward, may fill their cavities. But as the current of wind also unites the cavities of the sails in an oblique direction, the effort of it to make the ship advance is considerably diminished: she will, therefore, make the least progress when sailing in this manner. The ship is said to be close-hauled, because at this time her tacks, or lower corners of the principal sails, are drawn close down to her side to windward; the sheets hauled close aft, and all the bowlines drawn to their greatest extension, in order to keep the sails steady.
Cloths. -
The breadths or pieces of which a sail is composed.
Clue. -
The lower corner of a sail, where a block is fixed in or shackled to, in courses, to receive a thick rope from aft, which is termed the sheet.
Clue Rope. -
A short rope, larger than the bolt-rope on the sail, into which it is spliced at the after corners of stay-sails, and boom-sails. In the corner is stuck a cringle through two holes, to which the sheets are fastened.
Clue-Garnets. -
A sort of tackle attached to the clues of square sails, to haul the clues up to the yards.
Concentrated or Convergent Sails. -
Sails in which all the cloths and seams tend to point, or to the clue. (See Plate 5)
Cot. -
A particular sort of bed-frame, suspended from the beams of a ship, for the officers to sleep in. It is made of canvass Nos. 3 or 5, sewed in the form of a "chest", about six feet long, one foot deep, and two or three feet wide, and is extended by a square wooden frame, with a canvass bottom, on which the bed or mattress is laid. It is reckoned much more convenient at sea than either hammocks or fixed cabins.
Courses. -
The mainsail and foresail, main-staysail, fore-staysail, and mizen-staysail.
Cringles. -
Small bows formed on the bolt-ropes, or through two holes made in the tabling of sails, by intertwisting the strand of a rope alternately round itself and through the hole, or through the strand of the bolt-rope, till it assume the shape of a ring, in which an iron thimble, having a groove formed in its outer circumference, is put. To the cringles the end of a rope is fastened, for different uses.
Cross-Gore. -
The length measured from the nock, or height of gaff on the mast, to the place of the clue. (See Plate I.)
Down-Haul. -
A rope passing up along a stay through the hanks of the staysails or jib, and made fast to the upper corner of the sail, to pull it down when shortening sail.
Drabbler. -
An additional part of a sail, sometimes laced to the bottom of a bonnet on a square sail, in sloops and schooners.
Driver. -
Another name for Spanker, which see.
Eating in Seaming. -
The length of the gore which overshoots the creasing of the seam.
Earings. -
The upper part of the leech-rope, worked into the shape of a cringle, and used to extend the upper corners of sails to their yards or gaffs, with small ropes also called earings.
in sails, are round holes made of rope yarns, worked in a sail, to admit a small rope through, chiefly the rope-yarns or lacing of the head of mizens, trysails, &c., and for seizings on sails that bend to hoops and hanks. Eyelet-Holes are likewise made across the sail in the reef-bands; at the clues. and in the leeches, for sticking cringles.
Fid. -
A round, tapering piece of hard wood, to thrust between the strands of a rope, and make a hole to admit the strand of another rope, in splicing.
Driving Fid
is much larger, being for rounding the cringles to admit thimbles which are fixed in the cringles of sails.
Fore. -
The distinguishing character of all those sails of a ship which are attached to the foremast.
Fore-and-Aft. -
Throughout the ship's whole length, or from end to end; it also implies in a line with the keel. Fore-and-Aft Sail, the sail in a line with the keel. Fore-Bowline, the bowline of the foresail. (See Bowline.)
Fore-Braces. -
Are ropes applied to the fore-yard-arms, to change the position of the foresail occasionally.
Foot of a Sail. -
The lower edge, or bottom. Foot rope, the rope to which the lower edge of a sail is sewed or fixed.
Fixed or Fixing. -
Another term for marling, which see.
Furling. -
The operation of wrapping or rolling a sail close up to the yard, stay, or mast, to which it belongs, and winding a cord or gasket sprially about it, to fasten it thereto. Furling in a body, is a particular method of rolling up a topsail, only practised in harbour, and is performed by gathering all the loose part of the sail into the top, about the heel of the topmast, whereby the yard having as little rolled on it as possible, appears much thinner and lighter than when the sail is furled in the usual manner, which is sometimes termed, for distinction sake, furling in the bunt. Furling line, denotes a cord employed in this operation. Furling lines are generally flat, and are known by the name of gaskets.
Gaff. -
A sort of boom, used to extend the upper edge of the mizen, and employed for the same purpose on those sails whose foremost leeches are joined to the masts by hoops or lacings, and which are usually extended by a boom below; such are the mainsails of sloops, brigs, schooners, &c.
Garnet. -
A sort of tackle fixed to the clues of sails, and used to haul the clue up to the yard.
Gasket. -
A sort of plaited cord fastened to the sail-yards of a ship, and used to furl or tie up the sail firmly to the yard by wrapping it round both, six or seven times, the turns being at a competent distance from each other.
Bunt Gasket. -
Is that which supports or ties up the bunt of the sail, and should consequently be the strongest, as having the greatest weight to support; it is sometimes made in a peculiar manner.
Quarter Gasket. -
Used only for large sails, and is fastened about half-way out upon the yard, which part is called the quarter.
The Yard-arm Gasket
is made fast to the yard-arm, and serves to bind the sail as far as the quarter-gasket on large yards, but extends quite into the bunt of small sails.
Goose-Neck. -
A sort of iron hook fitted on the inner end of a boom, and introduced into a clamp of iron or eye-bolt, which encircles the mast, or is fitted to some other place in the ship, so that it may be unhooked at pleasure.
Goose-wings of a Sail. -
The clues or lower corners of a ship's mainsail or foresail, when the middle part is furled or tied up to the yard. The goose-wings are only used in a storm, to scud before the wind, when the sail, even diminished by a reef, would be too great a press on the ship in that situation. Goose wings of a windsail, are two breadths of canvass, sewed to the opening at the top, which are braced to the wind so as to receive the full current of air, which fills the tube. (See page 70.)
Gores. -
Angles cut slopewise at one or both ends of such cloths as widen or increase the depth of a sail.
Goring, or Goring Cloth. -
That part of the skirts of a sail where it gradually widens from the upper part or head towards the bottom or foot. The goring-cloths are, therefore, those which are cut obliquely, and added to the breadth.
Grommet. -
A sort of ring or small wreath formed of a strand of rope laid in three times round, used to fasten the upper edge of a sail to its stay, in different places, by means of which the sail is accordingly hoisted or lowered. Instead of grommets, hanks have been lately introduced. (See Hanks.)
Halyards. -
The ropes or tackles usually employed to hoist or lower any sail upon its respective masts or stay, except the lower square sails.
Hanks. -
A sort of wooden rings, fixed upon the stays to confine the stay-sails thereto at different distances: they are used in lieu of grommets, being much more convenient and of a later invention. They are framed by the bending of a tough piece of wood into the form of a wreath, and fastening it at the two ends by means of notches, thereby retaining its circular figure and elasticity.
Head-Sail. -
All the sails belonging to the foremast and bowsprit: - it also applies to all the square-sails.
Hoist. -
The foremost leeches of stay sails, mast leech of boom sails, and drop of topsails to the lower yards, when their own yard is hoisted to the hounds.
Home. -
To haul home the topsail sheets, is to extend the bottom of the topsail to the lower yard arms by means of the sheets.
Sheet-Home. -
The top gallant sails, in order to extend the clues of those sails to the topsail yard arms.
Hounds. -
The parts of a mast-head which gradually project on the right and left side beyond the cylindrical or conical surface. These hounds support the frame of the top, together with the topmast, and the rigging on the masts.
Hounded the Topsail Yard. -
Signifies the length of the two yard arms deducted from the whole length.
House-Line. -
Small lines of three strands, used to marl the clues and foot of the sail to the bolt rope, and to seize the corners of sails.
Housing. -
The height from the step of the mast to the uppermost deck.
Jib. -
The foremost sail of a ship, being a large staysail extended from the outer end of the bowsprit, prolonged by the jib-boom towards the fore-top-mast-head. In cutters and sloops the jib is on the bowsprit, and extends towards the lower mast head.
Jigger-Tackle. -
A light small tackle consisting of double and a single block, and used by seamen for hauling up the bunt of the topsail, &c.
Lacing. -
The rope or line used to confine the heads of sails to their yards or gaffs.
Large. -
A phrase applied to the wind when it crosses the line of the ship's course in a favourable direction, particularly on the beam or quarter; for instance, if a ship is steering west, the wind in any point of the compass to the eastward of the south or north, may be called large, unless it is directly east, and then it is said to be right aft.
Sailing Large. -
Is therefore the act of advancing with a large wind, so that the sheets are slackened and flowing, and the bowlines entirely disused. This phrase is generally opposed to sailing close-hauled, or with a scant wind, in which situation the sheets and bowlines are extended as much as possible.
Latchings. -
Loops formed on the line that is sewed to the head of a bonnet, to connect it with the foot of a sail.
Lateen Sail. -
A triangular sail, frequently used by xebecs, poleacres, settees, and other vessel navigated in the Mediterranean sea.
Leeches. -
The borders or edges of a sail, which are either sloping or perpendicular; those of the square sails, i.e. the sails whose tops and bottoms are parallel to the deck, or at right angles with the mast, are denominated from the ship's side, as the starboard leech of the mainsail, the lee-leech of the fore-topsail; but the sails which are fixed obliquely on the masts have their leeches named from their situation with regard to the ship's length, as the fore leech of the mizen, the after leech of the jib, &c.
Leech Lines. -
Ropes fastened to the middle of the leeches of the mainsail and foresail, and communicating with blocks under the opposite sides of the top, whence they pass downwards to the deck, serving to truss sails up to the yard. Harbour Leech Lines, ropes made fast at the middle of the topsail yards, then passing round the leeches of the topsails, and through blocks upon the top sail-tye, serving to truss the sails very close up to the yard, previous to there being furled in a bunt.
Leech Rope. -
A name given to that part of the bolt-rope to which the border or edge of a sail is sewed. In all sails whose opposite leeches are of the same length, it is terminated above by the earing, and below by the clue.
Linings. -
The canvass sewed on the leeches and other parts of a sail to strengthen and preserve it.
Lugger. -
A vessel carrying three masts, with a running bowsprit, upon which she sets lug-sails, and sometimes has topsails adapted to them.
Lug Sail. -
A quadrilateral or four sided sail bent upon a yard which hangs obliquely to the mast at one-third of its length. These are more particularly used in the barca-longas, navigated by the Spaniards in the Mediterranean.
Lug Sail Boat. -
A boat carrying sails of the preceding description.
Marline Spike. -
An iron tool, either with or without a short wooden handle, used to separate the strands of a rope in order to introduce those of another, when they are to be spliced or joined evenly without knotting.
Marling. -
The act of winding any small line, as house-line, marline, twine, &c., about a rope, and through holes made in the canvass, so that every turn is secured by a kind of knot or hitch, and remains fixed in case the rest should be cut through by friction. It is commonly used to fix the foot of a sail to its bolt rope.
Mast Cloth. -
The lining in the middle on the aft side of topsails and topgallantsails, to prevent the sails being chafed by the mast.
Middle Band. -
A lining of one-half to a whole breadth across the sail, at half-way between the lowest reef and foot of courses and topsails, to strengthen them.
Mizen. -
The aftermost or hindermost of the fixed sails of a ship, extended by a gaff, and the foot by a boom.
Moment of the Sails. -
(See Note, p. 115.)
Nock or Neck. -
The upper and fore-corner, and the after and upper corner of the sail is called the peak, (which see).
Parcelling. -
Long narrow slips of canvass, frequently bound about a foot rope in the manner of bandages, previous to its being served. They are laid in spiral twines, as smoothly upon the surface as possible, that the rope may not become uneven and full of ridges.
Peak. -
A name given to the upper corner of those sails which are extended by a gaff, and the upper corners of the triangular sails.
Points. -
Pieces of white cordage of 5 to 8 thread of hook, whose lengths are nearly double the circumference of the yard, and used to reef the course and topsails of a square-rigged vessel. They are fixed to the sails by passing one through every eyelet-hole in the reef-bands, and securely sewed to it on the aft side of the sail, by opening the strands with a pricker.
Poleacre. -
A ship with three masts, usually navigated in the Mediterranean: each of the masts are commonly formed of one piece, so that they have neither tops or cross-trees, neither have they any horses to their upper yards, because the men stand upon the topsail yards to loose or furl the top-gallantsails, and upon the lower yards to loose, reef, or furl the topsails, the yards being lowered sufficiently down for that purpose.
Rake of the Masts. -
A term applied to the masts when they are out of a perpendicular situation, as " that ship's mainmast rakes aft".
Reef. -
A certain portion of a sail comprehended between the top or bottom and a row of eyelet-holes generally parallel thereto. The intention of the reef is to reduce the surface of the sail in the proportion to the increase of the wind, for which reason there are several reefs parallel to each other in the superior sails; thus the topsails of ships are generally furnished with three reefs, and large topsails with four, and there are always three or four reefs parallel to the foot or bottom of those mainsails and foresails which are extended upon booms.
Reef Bands. -
The pieces of canvass sewed across the sail to strengthen it in the place where the eyelet-holes of the reefs are formed.
Reef Lines. -
Small ropes, stretched across the reefs, and spliced into the cringles, for the men to catch hold off.
Reef Tackle. -
A tackle upon deck, communicating with its pendant, which, passing through a block at the topmast-head, and through a hole in the topsail yard-arm, is attached to a cringle a little below the lowest reef, generally about 3 feet. Its use is to pull the skirts of the topsails close up to the extremities of the topsail-yards, in order to lighten the labour of reefing.
is when all the reefs of the topsails are taken. in.
Roach-Leech. -
A term signifying the curve on the mast, and after-leeches of mizens, and fore and aft mainsails.
Royals. -
Sails spread immediately above the top-gallantsails, to whose yardarms the lower corners of them are attached; they are sometimes termed topgallant-royals, and are never used but in fine weather.
Saic. -
A sort of Grecian ketch, which has no top-gallantsail nor mizensail.
Sail. -
An assemblage of several breadths of canvass, or other texture, sewed together, and extended on or between the masts, to receive the wind, and impel the vessel through the water. the edges of the clothes, or pieces, of which a sail is composed, are generally sewed together, with a double seam, and the whole is skirted round at the edges with a cord called the bolt-rope.
Seams. -
The two edges of canvass where laid over each other and sewed down.
Seizing. -
The operation of fastening any two ropes, or different parts of one rope, together, with several round and cross turns of small cord or spunyarn. Seizing implies also the cord which fastens them.
Selvage. -
The edges of cloths as finished in weaving.
Serving. -
The winding anything round a rope to prevent it from being rubbed: the materials used for this purpose, which are called service, are generally spunyarn and old canvass.
Settee. -
A vessel of two masts, equipped with triangular sails, commonly called lateen sails. These vessels are peculiar to the Mediterranean sea, and are generally navigated by Italians, Greeks, or Mahometans.
Sheet. -
A rope fastened to one or both the lower corners of a sail, to extend and retain it in a particular situation, and the after-clue or other sails, except studdingsails. The tacks draw the outer corner of the sail to the extremity of the boom, while the sheet is employed to extend the inner corner.
Shoulder-of-Mutton Sail. -
Is triangular, similar to the lateen sail, but is attached to a mast instead of a yard.
Slab Lines. -
Small ropes passing up behind a ship's mainsail or foresail, and reeved through blocks attached to the lower part of the yard, and thence transmitted each in two branches to the foot of the sail, where they are fastened. They are used to truss up the sail, but more particularly for the convenience of the steersman, that he may look forward beneath it.
Slack-Cloth. -
A certain quantity of cloth gathered up in sewing on the boltrope to the sail, so that the cloth measures more than the length of bolt-rope, which, stretching in the wearing, might otherwise occasion the sail to split. Slack-Seams imply a certain quantity of canvass allowed for gathering in the seaming-up of the after-leech of fore and aft-mainsails, or puckering the seams in a gradual manner. The seams thus sewed, by the slack being allowed in the cutting out, forms the curve on the after-leech.
Slings of a Yard. -
Iron chains fixed to a hoop in the middle of a yard, and serving to suspend it for the greater ease of working.
Sloop. -
A small vessel furnished with one mast, the mainsail of which is attached to a gaff above, to the mast on its foremost edge, and to a boom below: it differs from a cutter by having a fixed steering bowsprit, and a jib-stay; the sails also are less in proportion to the size of the vessel.
Smack. -
A small vessel commonly rigged as a cutter, and used in the coasting and fishing trade.
Smoke-Sail. -
A small sail hoisted against the foremast when the ship rides head to wind, to give the smoke of the galley an opportunity of rising, and to prevent its being blown aft on to the quarter deck.
Snow. -
A vessel equipped with two masts, resembling the main and foremasts of a ship, and a third small mast just abaft the mainmast, carrying a sail nearly similar to a ship's mizen. The foot of this mast is fixed in a block of wood, or kind of step, upon the deck, and the head is attached to the after-part of the main-top. The sail is called a trysail, and hence the mast is termed a trysail-mast.
Spanker. -
A sail similar to a ship's driver; it differs in name from a mizen by having a short boom rigged outside of the taffrail.
Splice. -
Two ends of a rope united, by interweaving the strands in a regular manner. There are several methods of splicing, according to the purpose for which they are intended, all of which are distinguished by particular epithets. The short-splice is used upon the foot of sails, under the service, or where the splice is not required to be made very long. The long-splice occupies a greater extent of rope, but by the three joinings being fixed at a distance from each other, the increase of the bulk is divided; hence it is much neater and smoother than the short-splice, and better adapted to ropes which are of the same size, for which it is generally used. The eye splice, or earing splice, forms a sort of eye or circle at the end of a rope, and is used for splicing-in thimbles. The strands are, therefore, untwisted, and their extremities thrust through the three strands in that part of the rope whereon the splice is to be formed, and thence passing over the surface of the second strand, they are again thrust through the third, which completes the operation. There are other names for splices, such as the left-handed splice, one-stranded splice, &c.
Sprit. -
A small boom, or pole, which crosses the sail of a boat diagonally from the mast to the upper aftmost corner, which it is used to extend and elevate; the lower end of the sprit rests in a sort of wreath called the snotter, which encircles the mast at that place. These kinds of sails are accordingly called spritsails.
Spunyarn. -
Two, three, or more ropeyarns twisted together by a winch. Spunyarn is used for serving the foot of sails, seizing clues, and serving cringles.
Square. -
A term peculiarly appropriated to the yards and their sails, either implying that they are at right-angles with the mast or keel, or that they are at greater extent than usual.
Square Cloths. -
The cloths cut square to the depth, or cut by a thread of the weft of the canvass.
Square-rigged. -
A vessel used in contradistinction to all vessels whose sails are extended by stays, lateen or lugsail-yards, or by gaffs and booms, the usual situation of which is nearly in a plane with the keel.
Square-Sail. -
Any sail extended to a yard suspended by the middle, and hanging parallel to the horizon, as distinguished from other sails, which are extended obliquely. Square Sail, is also the name of a sloop's or cutter's sail, which hauls out to the lower yard, called the square-sail-yard. This sail is only used in fair winds, or to scud in a tempest. In the former case it is furnished with a large additional part called the bonnet, which is then attached to its bottom, and removed when it is necessary to scud.
Standing. -
As the standing-jib. (See Jib).
Stay. -
A large, strong rope, employed to sustain the mast on the fore part, by extending from its upper end towards the stem or the bowsprit of the ship, and on which the upper edges of the several staysails are attached, and derive their names from them.
Staysail. -
Any sail extended upon a stay.
Stay-holes. -
Holes made at certain distances along the hoist, through which the seizings of the hanks on the stay are passed.
Steeving. -
The angle of elevation which a ship's bowsprit makes with the horizon.
Stiff. -
The quality by which a ship is enabled to carry a sufficient quantity of sail without over-setting.
Strand. -
One of the twists or divisions of which a rope is composed.
Studding Sails. -
Certain sails extended in moderate and steady breezes beyond the skirts of the principal sails, where they appear as wings to the yard-arms.
Sweep of the Sail. -
The circular edge on a sail.
Tabling. -
A sort of broad hem, formed on the heads, skirts, and bottoms of the sails, to strengthen them in that part which is attached to the bolt-rope.
Tack. -
A rope used to confine the foremost lower corners of the courses and staysails, in a fixed position, and also to confine the foremost lower corners of boomsails, and the outer lower corners of studdingsails.
Tack of a Sail is also applied, by analogy, to that part of any sail to which the tack is usually fastened.
Tarpauling. -
A broad piece of canvass, well daubed with tar, and used to cover the hatchways of a ship at sea, to prevent the penetration of the rain or sea water, which may at times rush over the decks.
Taunt. -
An epithet, at sea, signifying high or tall. It is particularly expressed of the masts, when they are of an extraordinary length, as square is applied to the yards on the occasion.
Thimble. -
An iron ring, whose outer surface is hollowed throughout its whole circumference, in order to contain in the channel or cavity a rope which is spliced about it, and by which it may be hung in any particular situation. Its use is to defend the eye of the rope which surrounds it from being injured by another rope which passes through it, or by the hook of a tackle or a chain which is hung upon it.
Throat. -
A name given to that end of the gaff which is next the mast, and is opposed to peak, which implies the outer end: hence, Throat Brails are those which are attached to the gaff close to the mast. Throat Halliards, ropes or tackles applied to hoist the inner part of the gaff, and its appendant portion of the sail.
The lining sewed on the aft side of topsails and topgallantsails, to preserve the sail from chafing.
Trysail. -
A sail used by cutters, luggers, sloops, &c., in lieu of their mainsail, during a storm. Trysail is also the name of a sail on board of a snow, (which see).
Twine. -
Strong thread used in sailmaking, and is of two kinds: extra for sewing the seams, and ordinary for the bolt-ropes. These two sorts are generally called seaming and roping twine.
Vangs. -
A sort of traces to steady the mizen peak, extending from the peak downwards to the aftermost part of the ship's quarters, where they are hooked and drawn tight, so as to be slackened when the wind is fair, and drawn in to windward when it becomes unfavourable to the ship's course.
Wait Cloths. -
Coverings of canvass or tarpauling for the hammocks, which are stowed on the gangways, between the quarter deck and forecastle.
Weather Helm. -
A ship is said to carry a weather helm when she is inclined to come too near the wind, and therefore requires the helm to be kept constantly a little to windward.
Weft or Woof. -
The threads drawn across by means of the weaver's shuttle, and others extended in length, and called the warp.
Working to Windward. -
The operation by which it is endeavoured to make a ship progress against the wind.
Xebec. -
(See page 131).

Robert Kipping: The Elements of Sailmaking, being a complete complete treatise on cutting-out sails, according to the most approved methods of the Merchant Service, with draughting, and the centre of effort of the sails. Illustrated by engravings, with full and accurate dimensions for jibs, mainsails, etc., etc.
C. Wilson (late J.W. Norie & Wilson), London, 1847 (1st). 8vo, 17,5x10 cm, (2), fp, xiv, 3-163 pp, (1) page opinions of the press, 1-7, 9-17 plates. Plate 8 = frontispiece.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives | Etymology | Search.

Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.