< Steel: "Explanation of the Terms Used in Seamanship", 1794.


ABACK. The situation of the sails, when their surfaces are pressed aft against the mast by the force of the wind.

ABAFT. The hinder part of a ship, or towards the stern. It also signifies further aft or nearer to the stern; as, the barricade stands ABAFT the main mast; that is, nearer to the stern.

ABAFT THE BEAM denotes the relative situation of any object with the ship, when the object is placed in any part of that arch of the horizon which is contained between a line at right angles with the keel and that point of the compass which is directly opposite to the ship's course.

ABOARD. The inside of a ship.

ABOARD MAIN TACK! The order to draw the lower corner of the mainsail down to the chess-tree.

ABOUT. Te situation of a ship as soon as she has tacked or changed her course.

ABOUT SHIP! The order to the ship's crew to prepare for tacking.

ABREAST. The situation of two or more ships lying with their sides parallel, and their heads equally advanced; in which case, they are abreast of each other. But, is their sides be not parallel, then that ship, which is in a line with the beam of the other, is said to be abreast of her. With regard to objects within the ship, it implies on a line parallel with the beam, or at right angles with the ships length. ABREAST OF ANY PLACE, means off or directly opposite to it.

ADRIFT. The state of a ship broken from her moorings, and driving about without controul [sic].

AFLOAT. Buoyed up by the water from the ground.

AFORE. ALl that part of a ship which lies forward, or near the stem. It also signifies further forwards; as, the manger stands AFORE the fore mast; that is, nearer to the stem.

AFT. Behind, or near the stern of the ship.

AFTER. A phrase applied to any object in the hinder part of the ship, as the after-hatchway, the after-sails, &c.

A-ROUND. The situation of a ship when her bottom or any part of it rests on the ground.

A-HEAD. Any thing which is situated on that point of the compass to which a ship's stern is directed, is said to be a-head of her.

A-HULL. The situation of a ship, when all her sails are furled and her helm is lashed to the lee side; by which she lies nearly with her side to the wind and sea, her head being somewhat inclined to the direction of the wind.

A-LEE. The position of the helm when it is pushed down to the lee side.

ALL IN THE WIND. The state of a ship's sails, when they are parallel to the direction of the wind, so as to shake or shiver.

ALL HANDS HOAY! The call by which all the ship's company are summoned upon deck.

ALOFT. Up in the tops, at the mast-heads, or any where about the higher rigging.

ALONG-SIDE. Side-by-side, or joined to a ship, wharf, &c.

ALONG-SHORE. Along the coast; a course which is in sight of the shore, and nearly parallel to it.

AMAIN. At once, suddenly: as LET GO AMAIN!

AMIDSHIPS. The middle of a ship, either with regard to her length or breadth.

To ANCHOR. To let the anchor fall into the ground, for the ship to ride thereby.

ANCHORAGE. Ground, fit to hold a ship by her anchor.

THE ANCHOR IS A COCK-BILL. The situation of the anchor, when it drops down perpendicularly from the cat-head, ready to be sunk at a moment's warning.

AN-END. The position of any mast, &c. when erected perpendicularly on the dec. The topmasts are said to be AN-END, when they are hoisted up to their usual stations.

APEEK. Perpendicular to the anchor; the cable having been drawn so tight as to bring the ship directly over it. The anchor is then said to be APEEK.

ASHORE. On the shoer, as opposed to ABOARD. It also means AGROUND.

ASTERN. Any distance behind a ship, as opposed to A-HEAD.

AT ANCHOR. The situation of a ship riding by her anchor.

ATHWAR. Across the line of a ship's course.

ATHWART-HAWSE. The situation of a ship when driven by accident across the fore-part of another, whether they touch or are at a small distance from each other, the transverse position of the former being principally understood.

ATHWART THE FORE FOOT denotes the flight of a cannon-ball fired from one ship across the line of another's course, but a-head of her.

ATHWART-SHIPS. Reaching, or in a direction, across the ship from one side to the other.

ATRIP. When applied to the anchor, it means that the achor is drawn out of the ground, and hangs in a perpendicular direction, by the cable or buoy-rope. The topsails are said to be ATRIP, when they are hoisted up to the mast-head, or to their utmost extent.

AVAST! The command to stop, or cease, in any operation.

AWEIGH. The same as ATRIP, when applied to the anchor.

To BACK THE ANCHOR. To carry out a small anchor a-head of the large one, in order to support it in a bad ground, and to prevent it from loosening or coming home.

To BACK ASTERN, in rowing, is to impel the boat with her stern foremost, by means of the oars.

To BACK THE SAIL. To arrange them in a situation that will occasion the ship to move a-stern.

To BAGPIPE THE MIZEN. To lay it aback, by bringing the sheet to the mizen shrouds.

To BALANCE. To contract a sail into a narrower compass, by folding up a part of it at one corner. BALANCING is peculiar only to the mizen of a ship, and the mainsail of those vessels wherein it is extended by a boom.

BARE POLES. When a ship has no sail set, she is UNDER BARE POLES.

BEARING. The situation of one place from another, with regard to the points of the compass. The situation also of any distant object, estimated from some part of the ship, according to her situation: these latter bearings are either ON THE BEAM; BEFORE THE BEAM; ABAFT THE BEAM; ON THE LEE OR WEATHER BOW; ON THE LEE OR WEATHER QUARTER; A-HEAD; OR A-STERN.

BEAR A-HAND. Make haste, dispatch.

To BEAR IN WITH THE LAND is when a ship sails towards the shore.

To BEAR OFF. To thrust or keep off from the ship's side, &c. any weight, when hoisting.

To BEAR UP, OR AWAY. The act of changing a ships course, to make her sail more before the wind.

BEATING TO WINDWARD. The making a pregress at sea against the directions of the wind, by steering alternately close-hauled on the starboard and larboard tacks.

To BECALM. To intercept the current of the wind, in its passage to a ship, by any contiguous object, as a shore above her sails, a high sea behind, &c. and thus one sail is said to be becalm another.

BEFORE THE BEAM denotes an arch of the horizon comprehended between the line of the beam and that point of the compass on which the ship stems.

To BELAY. To fasten a rope, by winding it several times round a cleat or pin.

To BEND A SAIL is to affix it to its proper yard or stay.


BETWEEN-DECKS. The space contained between any two decks of a ship.

BILGE-WATER is that which, by reason of the flatness of a ship's bottom, lies on her floor, and cannot go to the well of the pump.

BIRTH. The station in which a ship rides at anchor, either alone or in a fleet; the due distance between two ships; and also a room or apartment on board for the officers of a mess.

To BITT THE CABLE is to confine the cable to the bitts, by one turn under the cross-piece and another turn round the bitt-head. In this position it may be either kept fixed, or it may be veered away.

BITTER. The turn of the cable round the bitts.

BITTER-END. That part of the cable which stays within-board round the about the bitts when the ship is at anchor.

A BOARD is the distance run by a ship on one tack; thus they say, a good board, when a ship does not go to leeward of her course; a short board and a long board, according to the distance run.

BOARD-AND-BOARD. When two ships come so near as to touch each other, or when they lie side-by-side.

To BOARD A SHIP. To enter an enemy's ship in an engagement.

BOLD SHORE. A steep coast, permitting the close approach of shipping.

BOOT-TOPPING. Clearing the upper part of a ship's bottom, or that part which lies immediately under the surface of the water; and daubing ot over with tallow, or with a mixture of tallow, sulphur, rosin, &c.

BOTH SHEETS AFT. The situation of a ship sailing right before the wind.

BOW GRACE. A frame of old ropes or junk, laid out at the bows, stems, and sides, of ships, to prevent them from being injured by flakes of ice.

To BOWSE. To pull upon any body with a tackle, in order to remove it.

BOXHAULING. A particular method of veering a ship, when the swell of the sea renders tacking impracticable.

BOXING. An operation somewhat similar to BOXHAULING. It is performed by laying the headsails aback, to receive the greatest force of the wind in a line perpendicular to their surfaces, in order to return the ship's head into the line of her course, after she had inclined to windward of it.

To BRACE THE YARDS. To move the yards. by means of the braces, to any direction required.

To BRACE ABOUT. To brace the yards round for the contrary tack.

To BRACE SHARP. To brace the yards, to a position, in which they will make the smallest possible angle with the keel, for the ship to have head-way.

To BRACE-TO. To ease off the lee-braces, and round-in the weather braces, to assist the motion of the ship's head in tacking.

To BRAIL UP. To haul up a sail by means of the brails, for the more readily furling it when necessary.

BRAILS. A name peculiar to certain ropes belonging to the mizen, used to truss it up to the mast. But it is likewise applied to all the ropes, which are employed in hauling up the bottoms, lower corners, and skirts, of the other great sails.

To BREAK BULK. The act of beginning to unload a ship.

To BREAK SHEER. Whena ship at anchor is forced, by the wind or current, from that position in which she keeps her anchor most free of herself and most firm ion the ground, so as to endanger the tripping of her anchor, she is said to break her sheer.

BREAMING. Burning off the filth from a ship's bottom.

BREAST-FAST. A rope employed to confine a ship sideways to a warf, or to some other ship.


To BRING-TO. To check the course of a ship when she is advancing, by arranging the sails in such a manner as that they shall counteract each other, and prevent her from either retreating or advancing.

To BROACH-TO. To incline suddenly to windward of the ship's course, so as to present her side to the wind, and endanger her oversetting. The difference between BROACHING-TO and BRINGING BY THE LEE may be thus defined. Suppose a ship under great sail is steering South, having the wind at NNW; then West is the weather-side, and East the lee side. If, by any accident, her head truns round to the westward, so as that her sails are all taken a-back on the weather-sidem she is said to BROACH-TO. If, on the contrary, her head declines so far eastward as to lay her sails a-back on that side which was the lee-side, it is called BRINGING BY THE LEE.

BROADSIDE. A discharge of all the guns on one side of a ship, both above and below.

BROKEN-BACKED. The state of a ship which is so loosened in her frame, as to drop at each end.

BY THE BOARD. Over the ship's side.

BY THE HEAD. The state of a ship when drawing more water forward than a-stern.

BY THE WIND. The course of a ship as near as possible to the direction of the wind, which is generally within six points of it.

To CAREEN. To incline a ship on one side so low down, by the application of a strong purchase to her masts, as that her bottom on the other side, may be cleansed by breaming.

CASTING. The motion of falling-off, so as to bring the direction of the wind on either side of the ship, after it had blown some time right a-head. It is particularly applied to a ship about to weigh anchor.

To CAT THE ANCHOR is to hook the cat-block to the ring of the anchor, and haul it up close to the cat-head.

CAT's-PAW. A light air of wind perceived at a distance in a calm, sweeping the surface of the sea very lightly, and dying away before it reaches the ship.

CENTER. This word is applied to that squadron of a fleet, in line of battle, which occupies the middle of the line; and to that column (in the order of sailing) which is between the weather and lee columns.

CHANGE THE MIZEN. Bring the mizen yard over to the other side of the mast.

CHAPPELLING. The act of turning a ship round in a light breeze of wind when she is close-hauled, so as that she will lie the sme way she did before. This is usually occasioned by negligence in steering, or by a sudden change of wind,

CHASE. A vessel pursued by some other.

CHASER. The vessel pursuing.

CHEERLY. A phrase implying heartily, quickly, cheerfully.

To CLAW OFF. The act of truning to windward from a lee-shore, to escape shipwreck, &c.

CLEAR is variously applied. The weather is said to be CLEAR, when it is fair and open; the sea-coast is CLEAR, when the navigation is not interrupted by rocks, &c. it is applied to cordage, cables, &c. when they are disentangled, so as to be ready for immediate service. In all these senses it is opposed to FOUL.

To CLEAR THE ANCHOR is to het the cable off the flukes, and to disencumber it of ropes ready for dropping.

CLEAR HAWSE. When the cables are directed to their anchors without lying athwart the stem.

To CLEAR THE HAWSE is to untwist the cables when they are entangled by having either a cross, an elbow, or a round turn.

CLENCHED. Made fast, as the cable is to the ring of the anchor.

CLOSE-HAULED. That trim of the ship's sails, when the endeavours to make a progress in the nearest direction possible twoards that point of the compass from which the wind blows.

To CLUB-HAUL. A method of tacking a ship when it is expected she will miss stays on a lee-shore.

To CLUE-UP. To haul up the clues of a sail to its yard, by means of the clue-lines.

COASTING. The act of making a progress along the sea-coast of any country.

To COIL THE CABLE. To lay it round in a ring, one turn over another.

To COME HOME. The anchor is said to come home, when it loosens from the ground by the effort of the cable, and approaches the place where the ship floated, at the length of her moorings.

COMING-TO denotes the approach of a ship's head to the direction of the wind.

COURSE. The point of the compass on which a ship steers.

CRANK. The quality of a ship, which for want of sufficient ballast, is rendered incapable of carrying sail without being exposed to the danger of oversetting.

To CROWD SAIL. To carry more sail than ordinary.

CUNNING. The art of directing the steersman to guide the ship in her proper course.

To CUT AND RUN. To cut the cable and make sail instantly, without waiting to weigh anchor.

To DEADEN A SHIP'S WAY. To impede her progress through the water.

DEAD-WATER. The eddy of water, which appears like whirl-pools, closing in with the ship's stern as she sails on.

DISMASTED. The state of a ship that has lost her masts.

DOUBLING. The act of sailing round, or passing beyond a cape or point of land.

DOUBLING-UPON The act of inclosing any part of a hostile fleet between two fires, or of cannonading it on both sides.

To DOWSE. To lower suddenly, or slacken.

To DRAG THE ANCHOR. To trail it along the bottom, after it is loosened from the ground.

To DRAW. When a sail is inflated by the wind, so as to advance the vessel in her course, the sail is said to draw; and so, TO KEEP ALL DRAWING is to inflate all the sails.

DRIFT. The angle which the line of a ship's motion makes with the nearest meridian, when she drives with her side to the wind and waves, and not governed by the power of the helm. It also implies the distance which the ship drives on that line.

DRIVING. The state of being carried at random, as impelled by a storm or current. It is generally expressed of a ship, when accidentally broke loose from her anchors or moorings.

DROP. Used sometimes to denote the depth of a sail; as, the fore topsail DROPS twelve yards.

To DROP ANCHOR. Used synonimously with TO ANCHOR.

To DROP A-STERN. The retrograde motion of a ship.

To EASE, TO EASE AWAY, OR TO EASE OFF. To slacken gradually, thus they say, EASE the bowline, EASE the sheet.

EASE THE SHIP! The command given by the pilot to the steersman, to put the helm hard a-lee, when the ship is expected to plunge her fore part deep in the water, when close-hauled.

To EDGE AWAY. To decline gradually from the shore, or from the line of the course which the ship formerly held, in order to go more large.

To EDGE IN WITH. To advance gradually towards the shore or any other object.

ELBOW IN THE HAWSE. A particular twist in the cables by which a ship is moored; explained at length hereafter in the PRACTICE OF WORKING SHIPS.

END-FOR-END. A reversal of the position of any thing is turning it END-FOR-END. It is applied also to a rope that has run quite out of the block in which it was reeved; or to a cable which has all run our of the ship.

END-ON. When a ship advances to a shore, rock, &c. without an apparent possibility of preventing her, she is said to go END-ON for the shore, &c.

EVEN-KEEL. WHen the keel is parallel with the horizon, a ship is said to be upon an EVEN-KEEL.

FAIR. A general term for the disposition of the wind when favourable to a ship's course.

FAIR-WAY. The channel of a narrow bay, river, or haven, in which ships usually advance in their passage up and down.

TO FALL A-BOARD OF. To strike or encounter another ship, when one or both are in motion.

TO FALL A-STERN. The motion of a ship with her stern foremost.

TO FALL CALM. To become in a state of rest by a total cessation of the wind.

TO FALL DOWN. To sail or be towed down a river nearer towards its mouth.

FALLING-OFF denotes the motion of the ship's head from the direction of the wind.

FALL NOT OFF! The command to the steersman to keep the ship near the wind.

TO FETCH WAY. To be shaken or agitated from one side to another so as to loosen any thing which was before fixed.

TO FILL. To brace the sails so as to receive the wind in them, and advance the ship in her course, after theu had been either shivering or braced a-back.

TO FISH THE ANCHOR. To draw up the flukes of the anchor towards the top of the bow, in order to stow it, after having been catted.

FLAT-AFT. The situation of the sails when their surfaces are pressed aft against the mast by the force of the wind.

To FLAT-IN. To draw in the aftermost lower corner or clue of a sail towards the middle of the ship, to give the sail a greater power to turn the vessel.

To FLAT-IN FORWARD. To draw in the fore sheet, jib sheet, and fore staysail-sheet towards the middle of the ship.

FLAW. A sudden breeze or gust of wind.

FLOATING. The state of being buoyed up by the water from the ground.

FLOOD-TIDE. The state of a tide when it flows or rises.

FLOWING SHEETS, The position of the sheets of the principal sails when they are loosened to the wind, so as to receive it into their cavities more nearly perpendicular than when close-hauled, but more obliquely than when the ship sails before the wind. A ship going two or three points large has FLOWING SHEETS.

FORE. That part of a ship's frame and machinery that lies near the stem.

FORE-AND-AFT. Throughout the whole ship's length. Lengthways of the ship.

To FORE-REACH UPON. To gain ground of some other ship.

To FORGE OVER. To force a ship violently over a shoal, by a great quanity of sail.

FORWARD. Towards the fore part of a ship.

FOUL. I used in opposition both to CLEAR and FAIR. As opposed to clear, we sayl FOUL WEATHER; FOUL BOTTOM; FOUL GROUND; FOULD ANCHOR; FOUL HAWSE. As opposed to fair, we say FOUL WIND.

To FOUNDER. To sink at sea, by filling with water.

To FREE. Pumping is said to FREE the ship when it discharges more water than leaks into her.

To FRESHEN. When a gale increases it is said TO FRESHEN.

To FRESHEN THE HAWSE. Veering out or heaving in a little cable, to let another part of it endure the stress at the hawse-holes. It also applied to the act of renewing the service round the cable at the hawse-holes.

FRESH WAY. When a ship increases her velocity she is said to get FRESH WAY.

FULL. The situation of the sails, when they are kept distended by the wind.

FULL-AND-BY. The situation of a ship, with regard to the wind, when close-hauled; and sailing, so as to steer neither too nigh the direction nor to deviate to leeward.

To FURL. To wrap or roll a sail close up to the yard or stay to which it belongs, and winding a cord round it, to keep it fast.

To GAIN THE WIND. To arrive on the weather-side, or to windward of, some ship or fleet in sight, when both are sailing as near the wind as possible.

To GATHER. A ship is said to GATHER on another, as she comes nearer to her.

GIMBLETING. The action of turning the anchor round by the stock, so that the motion of stock appears similar to that of the handle of a gimblet, when employed to turn the wire.

To GIVE CHASE TO. To pursue a ship or fleet.

GOOSE-WINGS OF A SAIL. The clues or lower corners of a ship's mainsail or foresail, when the middle part os furled or tied up to the yard.

GRIPING. The inclination of a ship to run to windward of her proper course.

GROUNDING. The laying a ship a-shore, in order to repair her. It is also applied to running a-ground accidentally.

GROUND-TACKLE. Every thing belonging to a ship's anchors, and which are necessary for anchoring or mooring; such as cables, hawsers, tow-lines, warps, buoy-ropes, &c.

GROWING. Stretching out; applied to the direction of the cable from the ship towards the anchors; as, the cable CROWS on the starboard bow.

GYBING. The act of shifting any boom-sail from one side of the mast to the other.

To HAIL. To salute or speak to a ship at a distance.

To HAND THE SAILS. The same as to FURL them.

HAND-OVER-HAND. The pulling of any rope, by the men's passing their hands alternately one before the other or one above another. A sailor is said to go aloft HAND-OVER-HAND when he clims into the tops by a single rope, dexterously throwing one hand over the other.


HANK-FOR-HANK. When two ships tack and make a progress to windward together.

HARD A-LEE. The situation of the helm, when pushed close to the lee side of the ship.

HARD A-WEATHER. The situation of the helm, when pushed close to the weather side of the ship.

To HAUL. To pull a single rope without the assistance of blocks.

To HAUL THE WIND. To direct the ship's course nearer to the point from which the wind blows.

HAWSE. The situation of the cables before the ship's stem, when she is moored with two anchors out from forward. It also denotes any small distance a-head of a ship, or the space between her head and the anchors employed to ride her.

HEAD-FAST. A rope employed to confine the head of a ship to a wharf or to some other ship.

HEADMOST. The situation of any ship or ships which are the most advanced in a fleet.

HEAD-SAILS. All the sails which belong to the fore-mast and bowsprit.

HEAD-SEA. When the waves meet the head of a ship in her course, they are called a HEAD-SEA. It is likewise applied to a large single wave coming in that direction.

HEAD-TO-WIND. The situation of a ship when her head is turned to the point from which the wind blows.

HEAD-WAY. The motion of advancing at sea.

To HEAVE. To turn about a capstern, or other machine of the like kind, by means of bars, handspecs, &c.

To HEAVE A-HEAD. To advance the ship by heaving-in the cable or other rope fastened to an anchor at some distance before her.

To HEAVE A-PEEK. To heave-in the cable, till the anchor is a-peek.

To HEAVE A-STERN. To move a ship backwards by an operation similar to that of HEAVING A-HEAD.


To HEAVE-IN THE CABLE. To draw the cable into the ship, by turning the capstern.

To HEAVE IN STAYS. To bring a ship's head to the wind, by a management of the sails and rudder, in order to get on the other tack.

To HEAVE OUT. To unfurl or loose a sail; more particularly applied to the staysails: thus we say, loose the topsails and HEAVE OUT the staysails.

To HEAVE SHORT. To draw so much of the cable into the ship, as that she will be almost perpendicularly over her anchor.

To HEAVE TIGHT or TAUGHT, To turn the capstern round, till the rope or cable becomes straitened.

To HEAVE THE CAPSTERN. To turn it round.

To HEAVE THE LEAD. To throw the lead overboard, in odrer to find the depth of water.

To HEAVE THE LOG. To throw the log overboard, i order to calculate the volocity of the ship's way.

To HEEL. To stoop or incline to one side; thus they say TO HEEL TO PORT, that is, to heel to the larboard side.

HELM A-LEE! A direction to put the helm over to the lee side.

HELM A-WEATHER! An order to put the helm over to the windward side.

HIGH-AND-DRY. The situation of a ship when so far run aground as to be seen dry upon the strand.

To HOIST. To draw up any body by the assistance of one or more tackles. Pulling by means of a single block is never termed HOISTING, except only the drawing of the sails upwards along the masts or stays.

To HOLD ITS OWN is applied to the relative situation of two ships when neither advances upon the other; each is then said to HOLD ITS OWN. It is likewise said of a ship which, by means of contrary winds, cannot make a progress towards her destined port, but which however keeps nearly the distance she had already run.

To HOLD ON. To pull back or retain any quantity of rope acquired by the effort of a capstern, windlass, tackle, block, &c.

HOME implies the proper situation of any object; as, to haul HOME the topsail sheets is to extend the bottom of the topsail to the lower yard, by means of the sheet. In showing a hold, a cask, &c. is said to be HOME, when it lies close to some other object.

To HULL A SHIP. To fire cannot [sic] balls into her hull within the point-blank range.

HULL-TO. The situation of a ship when she lies with all her sails furled; as in TRYING.

IN STAYS. See To HEAVE in stays.

KECKLED. Any part of a cable, covered over with old ropes, to preserve its surface from rubbing against the ship's bow or fore foot.

To KEEP AWAY. To alter the ship's course to one rather more large, for a little time, to avoid some ship, danger, &c. KEEP AWAY is likewise said to the steersman, who is apt to go to windward of the ship's course.

To KEEP FULL. To keep the sails distended by the wind.

To KEEP HOLD OF THE LAND. To steer near to or in sight of the land.

To KEEP OFF. To sail off or keep at a distance from the shore.


To KEEP THE LUFF. To continue close to the wind.


KNOT. A division of the log-line, answering, in the calculation of the ship's velocity, to one mile.

To LABOUR. To roll or pitch heavily in a turbulent sea,

LADEN IN BULK. Freight with a cargo not packed, but lying loose, as corn, salt, &c.

LAID-UP. The situation of a ship when moored in a harbour, for want of employ.

LAND-FALL. The first land discovered after a sea-voyage. Thus a GOOD LAND FALL implies the land expected or desired; a BAD LAND-FALL the reverse.

LAND-LOCKED. The situation of a ship surrounded with land, so as to exclude the prospect of the sea, unless over some intervening land.

LARBOARD. The left side of a ship, looking towards the head.

LARBOARD-TACK. The situation of a ship when sailing with the wind blowing upon her larboard side.

LAYING THE LAND. The motion of a ship which increases her distance from the coast, so as to make it appear lower and smaller.

LEADING-WIND. A fair wind for a ship's course.

LEAK. A chink or breach in the sides or bottom of a ship, through which the water enters into the hull.

To LEAK. To admit water into the hull through chinks or breaches in the sides or bottom.

LEE. That part of the hemisphere to which the wind is directed, to distinguish it from the other part which is called to windward.

LEE-GAGE. A ship or feet to leeward of another is said to have the lee-gage.

LEE-LURCHES. The sudden and violent rolls which a ship often takes to leeward, in a high sea; particularly when a large wave strikes her on the weather side.


LEE-QUARTER. That quarter of a ship which is on the lee side.

LEE-SHORE. That shore upon which the wind blows.

LEE SIDE. That half of a ship lengthwise, which lies between a line drawn through the middle of her length and the side which is furthest from the point of the wind.

To LEEWARD. Towards that part of the horizon to which the wind blows.

LEEWARD SHIP. A ship that falls much to leeward of her course, when sailing close-hauled.

LEEWARD TIDE. A tide that sets to leeward.

LEE WAY. The lateral movement of a ship to leeward of her course; or the angle which the line of her way makes with a line in the direction of her keel.

To LIE ALONG. To be pressed down sideways by a weight of sail, in a fresh wind.

To LIE-TO. To retard a ship in her course, by arranging the sails in such a manner as to counter-act each other with nearly an equal effort, and render the ship almost immoveable, with respect to her progressive mottion or headway.

A LONG SEA. An uniform motion of long waves.

LOOK-OUT. A wtachful attention to some important object or event that is expected to arise.

To LOOSE. To unfurl or cast loose any sail.

To LOWER. To ease down gradually.

LUFF! The order to the steersman to put the helm towards the lee side of the ship, in order to sail nearer to the wind.

To MAKE A BOARD. To run a certain distance upon one tack, in beating to windward.

To MAKE FOUL WATER. To muddy the water, by running in shallow places, so that the ship's keel disturbs the mud at bottom.

To MAKE SAIL. To increase the quantity of sail already set, either by unreefing or by setting others.

To MAKE STERNWAY. To retreat or move with the stern foremost.

To MAKE THE LAND. To discover it from afar.

To MAKE WATER. To leak.

To MAN THE YARD, &c. To place men on the yard, in the tops, down the ladder, &c. to execute any necessary duties.

MASTED. Having all her masts complete.

To MIDDLE A ROPE. To double it into two equal parts.


To MISS STAYS. A ship is said to MISS STAYS, when her head will not fly up into the direction of the wing, in order to get her on the other tack.

MOORING. Securing a ship in a particular station by chains or cables, which are either fastened to an adjacent shore or to anchors at the bottom.

MOORING SERVICE. When a ship is moored, and rides at one cable's length, the mooring service is that which is at the first splice.

NEAPED. The situation of a ship left aground on the height of a spring tide, so that she cannot be floated till the return of the next spring tide.

NEAR or NO NEAR. An order to the steersman not to keep the ship to close to the wind.

OFF-AND-ON. When a ship is beating to windward, so that by one board she approaches towards the shore, and by the other stands out to sea, she is said to stand OFF-AND-ON shore.

OFFING. Out at sea, or at a competent distance from the shore, and generally out of an anchor ground.

OFFWARD. From the shore; as when a ship lies aground and leans towards the sea, she is said to heel OFFWARD.

ON THE BEAM. Any distance from the ship on a line with the beams, or at right angles with the keel.

ON THE BOW. An arch of the horizon, comprehending about four points of the compass on each side of that point to which the ship's head is directed. Thus, they say, the ship in sight bears three points ON THE STARBOARD-BOW; that is, three points, towards the right-hand, from that part of the horizon which is right a-head.

ON THE QUARTER. An arch of the horizon, comprehending about four points of the compass on each side of that point to which the ship's stern is directed. See ON THE BOW.

OPEN. The situation of a place exposed to the wind and sea. It is also expressed of any distant object to which the sight or passage is not intercepted.

OPEN HAWSE. When a ship at her morrings has her cables lead strait to her anchor, without crossing, she is said to ride with an OPEN HAWSE.

OVER-BOARD. Out of the ship.

OVER-GROWN SEA is expressed of the ocean when the surges and billows rise extremely high.

To OVER-HAUL. To open and extend the several parts of a tackle, or other assemblage of ropes, thereby fitting them the better for running easily.

OVER-RAKE. When a ship at anchor is exposed to a head-sea, the waves of which break in upon her, the waves are said to OVER-RAKE her.

OVER-SET. A ship is OVER-SET, when her keel turns upwards.

OUT-OF-TRIM. The state of a ship, when she is not properly balanced for the purposes of navigation.

PARLIAMENT-HEEL. The situation of a ship when she is made to stoop a little to one side, so as to clean the upper part of her bottom on the other side. See BOOT-TOPPING.

PARTING. Being driven from the achors, by the breaking of the cable.

To PAWL THE CAPSTERN. To fix the pawls, so as to prevent the capstern from recoiling, during any pause of heaving.

To PAY. To daub or cover the surface of any body, in order to preserve it from the injuries of the weather, &c.

To PAY AWAY or PAY OUT. To slacken a cable or other ropem so as to let it run out for some particular purpose.

To PAY OFF. To mode a ship's head to leeward.

To PEEK THE MIZEN. To put the mizen-yard perpendicular by the mast.

PITCHING. The movements of a ship, by which she plunges her head and after-part alternately into the hollow of the sea.

TO PLY TO WINDWARD. To endeavour to make a progress against the direction of the wind. See BEATING TO WINDWARD.

David Steel: The Elements and Practice of Rigging and Seamanship.
David Steel, London, 1794. pp 244*-260*.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives.

Copyright © 1999 Lars Bruzelius.