Seafaring Glossary A-L
AFT - At, in, toward, or near the back end of a ship.
AFTER - Nearer the rear of a ship.
BAGGYWRINKLE A means of chafe protection made by tying many short, manila rope-yarns around two strands of twine. The resulting long, bushy product is closely wound around a stay or other piece of standing rigging, to prevent wearing of the sail
at the point where it contacts the rigging.
BALLAST Weight put in a ships hold or seawater pumped into her tanks in order to increase stability.
BARKENTINE A sailing vessel with three or more masts, square-rigged only on the foremast.
BARQUE A sailing vessel with three or more masts, which is square-rigged on all but the aftermost mast.
BELAYING PINS Large wooden or metal pins used on ships to secure running rigging.
BILLET A bar of metal in the rough.
BINNACLE The stand on which the compass is supported. The body of the binnacle is usually built of hard, well-seasoned wood. The upper part consists of a protective brass cover or hood.
BOW Forward end of a vessel.
BOWSPRIT A spar projecting forward and slanting upward from a sailing vessel's stem. On larger vessels, it serves as a stiffening support for the jibboom.
BRACE noun: One of the lines attached to each yardarm which are used to trim the yard horizontally [swing the yard from side to side]. verb: to move the yards from side to side, so that the sails can be adjusted to their proper angle to the wind.
BRIGANTINE A two-masted, square-rigged sailing ship, having a fore-and-aft mainsail.
BRIGHTWORK Scraped and cleaned woodwork on a vessel, which may or may not be varnished, but never painted. Also, those metal fittings which are kept bright by polishing.
BULKHEAD An upright partition that divides the inside of a ship into compartments.
BULWARK Strake of plating or planking forming an extension of a vessel's side above her weather deck. It serves as a protection against rough seas.
CAPSTAN A vertical drum revolving on a spindle [a slender revolving mechanical part], used for exerting power required in heaving on a rope.
CLIPPER A vessel characterized by fine lines and an unusually large sail area, built and rigged for fast sailing rather than cargo capacity. Usually, this term refers to vessels built between 1840 and 1870, during which time the wooden full-rigged ship attained her highest development in construction and sailing qualities.
COURSE The sail bent to the lowest yard on each mast of a square-rigged vessel.
DISEMBARKATION To put, go, or cause to go ashore from a ship.
DRAFT The depth of a vessel's keel below the waterline.
FIGUREHEAD The ornamental figure or other carving, usually in the likeness of a mythical being or of a highly regarded person, which adorns the bow of a ship.
FLAGSHIP In a fleet or squadron of naval vessels, the ship bearing the flag officer or commanding officer of such a group. Also, a vessel bearing the commodore of a group of yachts or merchant ships.
FORE-AND-AFT-SAILS Sails which are set generally parallel to the length of the ship.
FOREMAST The mast located first, or nearest the bow, or front of the ship.
FUTTOCK A distortion of foot 'hook'. On ELISSA the futtock shrouds are extensions of the topmast shrouds which pass through the tops [platform] and down to an iron band attached to the lowermost mast just below the tops.
FUTTOCK BAND The band or hoop around a lower mast, having a number of eyebolts to which the lower extremity of the topmast futtock shrouds fasten.
FUTTOCK SHROUDS Short iron or steel rods which are downward extensions of topmast shrouds, leading from the rim of the top to the futtock band. The stiffen the top in addition to taking the stress of the topmast rigging.
GAFF KETCH A two-masted, fore-and-aft, gaff-rigged sailing vessel, with a smaller mast aft the mainmast and forward of the rudder post.
HOLD The interior of a ship in which cargo is stored.
HULL The body of a vessel exclusive of masts, yards, sails, rigging, machinery, and equipment.
JIBS Triangular sails set forward of the foreward-most mast.
JIBBOOM The spar extending forward from, and secured on top of, the bowsprit. The jibs are attached here.
KEEL The principal structure of a ship, running lengthwise along the centerline from bow to stern, to which the frames are attached.
KETCH A two-masted, fore-and-aft-rigged sailing vessel, with a smaller mast aft of the mainmast and forward of the rudder post.
LINE General term for ropes, cords, or wire ropes used for various purposes on board ship.