English Nautical Glossary S


port master


TFD: A piece of fabric sewn together and fitted to the spars and rigging of a vessel so as to convert the force of the wind into forward motion of the vessel.

F: an assemblage of several breadths of canvas, or other texture, sewed together, and extended on, or between the masts, to receive the wind, and carry the vessel along the water. The edges of the cloths, 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 boltrope.

Although the form of sails is extremely different, they are all nevertheless triangular or quadrilateral figures; or, in other words, their surfaces are contained either between three or four sides. The former of these are sometimes spread by a yard, as lateen sails; and otherwise by a stay, as staysails; or by a mast, as shoulder-of-mutton sails; in all which cases the foremost leech or edge is attached to the said yard, mast, or stay, throughout its whole length. The latter, or those which are four-sided, are either extended by yards, as the principal sails of a ship; or by yards and booms, as the studding sails, drivers, ringtails, and all those sails which are set occasionally; or by gaffs and booms, as the mainsails of sloops and brigantines. The principal sails of a ship are the courses or lower sails, the topsails, which are next in order above the courses; and the topgallant sails, which are expanded above the topsails.

The courses are the mainsail, foresail, and mizen, main staysail, fore staysail and mizen staysail; but more particularly the three first.

N.B. The main staysail is rarely used except in small vessels.

In all quadrangular sails the upper edge is called the head; the sides or skirts are called leeches; and the bottom or lower edge is termed the foot. If the head is parallel to the foot, the two lower corners are denominated clues, and the upper corners earings. In all triangular sails, and in those four-sided sails wherein the head is not parallel to the foot, the foremost corner at the foot is called the tack; and the after lower corner the clue; the foremost perpendicular or sloping edge is called the fore leech, and the hindmost the after leech. The heads of all four-sided sails, and the fore-leeches of lateen sails, are attached to their respective yard or gaff by a number of small cords called robands; and the extremities are tied to the yardarms, or to the peek of the gaff, by earings. The staysails are extended upon stays between the masts, whereon they are drawn up or down occasionally, as a curtain slides upon its rod, and their lower parts are stretched out by a tack and sheet. The clues of a topsail are drawn out to the extremities of the lower yard, by two large ropes called the topsail sheets; and the clues of the topgallant sails are in like manner extended upon the topsail yardarms.

make sail

set sail

shorten sail

sail room

TS: Storage-room for spare sails, hammocks, and sailmaker's stores.


F: a testimony of deference or homage rendered by the ships of one nation to another; or by ships of the same nation to a superior or equal. This ceremony is variously performed, according to the circumstances, rank, or situation of the parties. It consists in firing a certain number of cannon, or vollies of small arms; in striking the colours or topsails; or in one or more general shouts of the whole ship's crew, mounted on the masts or rigging for that purpose.

The principal regulations with regard to salutes in the royal navy are as follow:

"When a flag officer salutes the admiral and commander in chief of the fleet, he is to give him fifteen guns; but when captains salute him, they are to give him, seventeen guns. The admiral or commander in chief of the fleet is to return two guns less to flag officers, and four less to captains. Flag officers saluting their superior or senior officer, are to give him thirteen guns. Flag officers are to return an equal number of guns to flag officers bearing their flags on the same mast, and two guns less to the rest, as also to captains.

"When a captain salutes an admiral of the white or blue, he is to give him fifteen guns; but to vice and rear admirals, thirteen guns. When a flag officer is saluted by two or more of his Majesty's ships, he is not to return the salute till all have finished, and then to do it with such a reasonable number of guns as he shall judge proper.

"In case of the meeting of two squadrons, the two chiefs only are to exchange salutes. And if single ships meet a squadron consisting of more than one flag, the principal flag only is to be saluted. No salutes shall be repeated by the same ships, unless there has been a separation of six months at least.

"None of his Majesty's ships of war, commanded only by captains, shall give or receive salutes from one another, in whatsoever part of the world they meet.

"A flag officer commanding in chief shall be saluted, upon his first hoisting his flag, by all the ships present, with such a number of guns as is allowed by the first, third, or fifth articles."




TFD: 1. A joint made by cutting or notching the ends of two pieces correspondingly and strapping or bolting them together. Also called scarf joint. 2. Either of the correspondingly cut or notched ends that fit together to form such a joint. 3. To join by means of a scarf. 4. To cut a scarf in.

F: a particular method of uniting two pieces of timber together by the extremities. When two pieces of timber are joined together, so that the end of one goes over the end of the other, being tapered so that the one may be set into the other, and become even, they are said to be scarfed; such are the keel pieces. But when the ends of the two pieces are cut square, and put together, they are laid to butt to one another; and when another piece is laid upon, and fastened to both, as is the case in all the frame timbers, this is called scarfing the timbers; and half the piece which fastens the two timbers together is reckoned the length of the scarf.



schoonerTFD: a sailing vessel with at least two masts, with all lower sails rigged fore-and-aft, and with the main mast stepped aft

F: a small vessel with two masts, whose mainsail and foresail are suspended from gaffs reaching from the mast towards the stern; and stretched out below by booms, whose foremost ends are hooked to an iron, which clasps the mast so as to turn therein as upon an axis, when the after ends are swung from one side of the vessel to the other.


of, relating to, having or resembling scurvy


TFD: To run before a gale with little or no sail set.

F: the movement by which a ship is carried precipitately before a tempest. As a ship flies with amazing rapidity through the water, whenever this expedient is put in practice, it is never attempted in a contrary wind, unless when her condition renders her incapable of sustaining the mutual effort of the wind and waves any longer on her side, without being exposed to the most imminent danger. A ship either scuds with a sail extended on her foremast, or, if the storm is excessive, without any sail, which in the sea phrase is called scudding under bare poles. In sloops and schooners, and other small vessels, the sail employed for this purpose is called the square sail. In large ships, it is either the foresail, at large, reefed, or with its goosewings extended, according to the degree of the tempest; or it is the fore topsail close reefed, and lowered on the cap; which last is particularly used when the sea runs so high as to becalm the foresail occasionally; a circumstance which exposes the ship to the danger of broaching to. The principal hazards incident to scudding are generally, a pooping sea; the difficulty of steering, which exposes the vessel perpetually to the risk of broaching to; and the want of sufficient sea room. A sea striking the ship violently on the stern may dash it inwards, by which the must inevitably founder. In broaching to suddenly, she is threatened with being immediately overset; and, for want of sea room, she is endangered by shipwreck on a lee shore; a circumstance too dreadful to require explanation!


TFD: drain that allows water on the deck of a vessel to flow overboard

F: certain channels cut through the waterways and sides of a ship at proper distances, and lined with plated lead, in order to carry the water off from the deck into the sea. The scuppers of the lower deck of a ship of war are usually furnished with a leathern pipe, called the scupper hose, which hangs downward from the mouth or opening of the scupper. The intent of this is to prevent the water from entering when the ship inclines under a weight of sail.


TFD: 1. A small opening or hatch with a movable lid in the deck or hull of a ship 2. The lid or hatch of such an opening. 3. To cut or open a hole or holes in (a ship's hull). 4. To sink (a ship) by this means.

F: a small hatchway cut for some particular purpose through a ship's deck, or through the coverings of her hatchways, and furnished with a lid which firmly incloses it whenever necessary. (scuttling) the act of cutting large holes. through the bottom or sides of a ship, either when she is stranded or overset, and continues to float on the surface. The design of this expedient is usually to take out the whole or a part of the cargo, provisions, stores, &c. with all possible expedition.


B: A large wave is so called. Thus they say, a heavy sea. It implies likewise the agitation of the ocean, as, a great sea. It expresses the direction of the waves, as, a head sea. A long sea means a uniform and steady motion of long and extensive waves; a short sea, on the contrary, is when they run irregularly, broken, and interrupted.

F: is known to be a great congregation of waters, which is either universal or local; as surrounding the whole earth, or flowing on the coast of some particular country. This term, however, is variously applied by sailors, to a single wave; to the agitation produced by a multitude of waves in a tempest; or to their particular progress or direction. Thus they say, a heavy sea broke over our quarter, or we shipped a heavy sea; there is a great sea in the offing; the sea sets to the southward. Hence a ship is said to head the sea, when her course is opposed to the setting or direction of the surges. A long sea implies an uniform and steady motion of long and extensive waves; on the contrary, a short sea is when they run irregularly, broken, and interrupted; so as frequently to burst over a vessel's side or quarter.

sea anchor

TFD: A drag, usually a canvas-covered conical frame, floating behind a vessel to prevent drifting or to maintain a heading into the wind.

sea boat

F: a vessel that bears the sea firmly, without labouring heavily, or straining her masts and rigging.

sea egg

TFD: A sea urchin.

sea nettle

a stinging jellyfish

sea room

TFD: Unobstructed space at sea adequate for maneuvering a ship.

B: A sufficient distance from the coast or any dangerous rocks, &c. so that a ship may perform all nautical operations without danger of shipwreck.

F: implies a sufficient distance from the coast, as well as from any rocks or shallows, whereby a ship may drive or scud without danger of shipwreck.


W: to bind, lash or make fast, with several turns of small rope, cord, or small line

F: (seizing) the operation of fastening any two ropes, or different parts of one rope together, with a small line or cord; also the cord which fastens them.


TFD: Braided cordage formed by plaiting several strands of rope fiber or similar material.

F: a sort of flat braided cordage, formed by plaiting five or seven rope yarns together.


TFD: a length of tarred marline or small stuff used in serving

serve the cable

F: is to bind it round with ropes, leather, or other materials, to prevent it from being galled, or fretted in the hawse by friction.

serve, service

F: winding any thing round a rope, to prevent it from being rubbed. The materials used for this purpose, and which are accordingly called service, are generally small lines, leather, plat canvas, &c.

set sail

B: To unfurl and expand the sails to the wind, in order to give motion to the ship.


pomelo (Citrus maxima) citrus fruit, larger than a grapefruit, with sweet flesh and thick spongy rind. The grapefruit is a hybrid between the pomelo and the orange

TFD: A tropical southeast Asian tree (Citrus maxima) closely related to the grapefruit and having very large round fruit with thick rinds and coarse-grained pulp.


W13: (a cask) to knock a cask to pieces and pack the staves.

shake off the bonnet

B: take the bonnet off the sail


TFD: 1. A large heavy boat, usually having two masts and carrying fore-and-aft or lugsails. 2. A small open boat fitted with oars or sails, or both, and used primarily in shallow waters.

F: a sort of large boat with two masts, and usually rigged like a schooner.


TFD: The stem of an anchor.

B: The beam or shaft of an anchor.

shank painter

TFD: a short rope or chain which holds the shank of an anchor against the side of a vessel when it is secured for a voyage.

B: The rope by which the shank of the anchor is held up to the ship's side; is also made fast to a piece of iron chain, in which the shank of the anchor lodges.

F: a short rope and chain which hangs the shank and flukes of the anchor up to the ship's side, as the stopper fastens the ring and stock to the cathead.

shape a course

B: To direct or appoint the track of a ship, in order to prosecute a voyage.

sheave, shieve

TFD: A wheel or disk with a grooved rim, especially one used as a pulley.

F: a solid cylindrical wheel, fixed in a channel, and moveable about an axis, as being used to raise or increase the mechanical powers applied to remove any body. The sheaves are either fixed in blocks, or in channels cut through the masts, caps, catheads, or sides of a ship.


W: 1. The curve of the main deck or gunwale from bow to stern. 2. An abrupt swerve from the course of a ship.

F: 1. the longitudinal curve of a ship's deck or sides. 2. in navigation, the act of deviating or straying from the line of the course, either to the right or left, so as to form a crooked and irregular path through the water. It is commonly occasioned by the ship's being difficult to steer, but very often from the negligence or incapacity of the helmsman.

sheer hulk

TFD: an old ship fitted with an apparatus to fix or take out the masts of a ship.

[The apparatus was the masts of the old ship which were specially rigged for the purpose and were called sheers or shears.)

sheer off

B: To remove to a greater distance.


B: are spars lashed together and raised up for the purpose of getting out or in a mast.


sp. shearwater

WP: Shearwaters are medium-sized long-winged seabirds. There are more than 30 species of shearwaters, a few larger ones in the genus Calonectris and many smaller species in the genus Puffinus.


TFD: A rope or chain attached to one or both of the lower corners of a sail, serving to move or extend it.

B: A rope fastened to one or both of the lower corners of a sail, in order to extend and retain it in a particular situation. When a ship sails with a side wind, the lower corner of the main and foresails are fastened by a tack and a sheet, the former being to windward, and the latter to leeward; the tack is, however, only disused with a stern wind, whereas the sail is never spread without the assistance of one or both of the sheets; the staysails and studding sails have only one tack and one sheet each; the staysail tacks are fastened forward, and the sheets drawn aft, but the studding sail tacks draw the outer corner of the sail to the extremity of the boom, while the sheet is employed to extend the inner corner.


TFD: The spaces at either end of an open boat in front of and behind the seats.


W: A reef, shoal or sandbar.

F: a general name given to any dangerous shallows, sand banks, or rocks lying immediately under the surface of the water, so as to intercept any ship in her passage, and expose her to destruction.


an archaic spelling of show


TFD: coarse gravel, esp. the pebbles found on beaches


F: the state of a sail when it shakes or flutters in the wind, as being neither full nor aback, but in a middle degree between both, as well with regard to its absolute position, as to its relative effect on the vessel.

shorten sail

TFD: To take in (a sail) so that less canvas is exposed to the wind, thereby reducing speed.

B: Used in opposition to make sail.

F: is to reduce or take in part of the sails, with an intention to diminish the ship's velocity.


TFD: One of a set of ropes or wire cables stretched from the masthead to the sides of a vessel to support the mast.

F: a range of large ropes extended from the mastheads to the right and left side of the ship, to support the masts, and enable them to carry sail, &c. The shrouds are always divided into pairs or couples; that is to say, one piece of rope is doubled and the two parts fastened together at a small distance from the middle, so as to leave a sort of noose or collar to fix upon the masthead. This collar being fixed in its place, viz. close down upon the trestle trees a pair of shrouds depend from it, whose lower ends ought to reach down to the deck. The lower ends of these shrouds are set up or extended to the channel on the outside of the ship, by the application of mechanical powers. The shrouds as well as the sails are denominated from the masts to which they belong. Thus they are the main, fore, and mizen shrouds, the main topmast, fore topmast, or mizen topmast shrouds, and the main topgallant, fore topgallant, or mizen topgallant shrouds. The number of shrouds by which a mast is sustained, as well as the size of rope of which they are formed, is always in proportion to the size of the mast, and the weight of sail it is intended to carry. The two foremost shrouds on the starboard and larboard side of the ship are always fitted first upon the masthead and then the second on the starboard and the second on the larboard, and so on till the whole number is fixed. The intention of this arrangement is to brace the yards with greater facility when the sails are close-hauled, which could not be performed without great difficulty if the foremost shrouds were last fitted on the masthead, because the angle which they would make with the mast would then be greatly increased. The topmast shrouds are extended from the topmast heads to the edges of the tops. The lower dead-eye, employed for this purpose, is fitted with an iron band, called the foot hook plate, which passes thro' a hole in the edge of the top, and communicates with a rope called the foot hook shroud, whose lower end is attached to the shrouds of the lower mast. The upper ends of the foot hook shrouds are furnished with an iron hook, which enters a hole in the lower end of the foot hook plate, so that when the topmast shrouds are extended to secure the mast, the foot hook shrouds necessarily acquire an equal tension by means of the foot hook plate, which, passing through the top, transmits the effort of the mechanical powers to the foot hook shrouds below. The shrouds of the topgallant masts are extended to the crosstrees.


W: A horizontal member bearing the upright portion of a frame.


WN: any herbaceous plant having medicinal properties


See sennit


TFD: A flatbottom open boat of shallow draft, having a pointed bow and a square stern and propelled by oars, sail, or motor.

F: a small boat resembling a yawl, also a wherry without masts or sails, usually employed to pass a river.

slack water

TFD: A period of cessation in the strong flow of a current of water, especially at high or low tide.

F: the interval between the flux and reflux of the tide; or between the last of the ebb and the first of the flood, during which the current is interrupted; and the water apparently remains in a state of rest.


a small tart plum



sloopTFD: A single-masted, fore-and-aft-rigged sailing boat with a short standing bowsprit or none at all and a single headsail set from the forestay.

F: 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 long boom below; by which it is occasionally shifted to either quarter.

sloop of war

TFD: a small fast sailing warship mounting some 10 to 30 small calibre guns on one deck

F: a name given to the smallest vessels of war, except cutters. They are either rigged as ships or as snows.


TFD: Articles of clothing and bedding issued or sold to sailors.

small bower

The smaller of two anchors carried in the bow, the other being the best bower.

snatch block

TFD: A block that can be opened on one side to receive the looped part of a rope.

F: a block having an opening in one of its sides, wherein to fix the bight of rope occasionally.


BQ: A square-rigged vessel, differing from a brig only in that she has a trysail mast close abaft the mainmast, on which a large trysail is hoisted.

F: is generally the largest of all two-masted vessels employed by Europeans, and the most convenient for navigation. The sails and rigging on the mainmast and foremast of a snow, are exactly similar to those on the same masts in a ship only that there is a final mast behind the mainmast, of the former, which carries a sail nearly resembling the mizen of a ship. The foot of this mast is fixed in a block of wood on the quarterdeck abaft the mainmast; and the head of it is attached to the after part of the maintop. The sail, which is called the trysail, is extended from its mast towards the stern of the vessel. When the sloops of war are rigged as snows, they are furnished with a horse, which answers the purpose of the trysail mast, the fore part of the sail being attached by rings to the said horse, in different parts of its height.


TFD: 1. To check the movement of (a rope or cable running out) by turning it quickly about a post or cleat. 2. To secure (a vessel, for example) in this manner.


TFD: To measure the depth of (water), especially by means of a weighted line; fathom.

F: (sounding) the operation of trying the depth of the water, and the quality of the ground, by means of a plummet sunk from a ship to the bottom. There are two plummets used for this purpose in navigation; one of which is called the hand lead, weighing about 8 or 9 pounds; and the other the deep sea lead, which weighs from 25 to 30 pounds, and both are shaped like the frustum of a cone, or pyramid. The former is used in shallow waters, and the latter at a great distance from the shore; particularly on approaching the land, after a sea voyage. Accordingly the lines employed for this purpose are called the deep sea lead line, and the hand lead line. The hand lead line, which is usually 20 fathoms in length, is marked at every 2 or 3 fathoms; so that the depth of the water may be ascertained either in the day or night. At the depth of 2 and 3 fathoms, there are marks of black leather; at 5 fathom, there is a white rag; at 7, a red rag; at 10, black leather; at 13, black leather; at 15, a white rag; and at 1, a red ditto. Sounding with the hand lead, which is called heaving the lead by seamen, is. generally performed by a man who stands in the main chains to windward. Having the line all ready to run out, without interruption, he holds it nearly at the distance of a fathom from the plummet, and having swung the latter backwards and forwards three or four times, in order to acquire the greater velocity, he swings it round his head,, and thence, as far forward as is necessary; so that, by the lead's sinking whilst the ship advances, the line may be almost perpendicular when it reaches the bottom. The person sounding then proclaims the depth of the water in a kind of song resembling the cries of hawkers in a city. Thus, if the mark of fathoms is close to the surface of the water, he calls 'By the mark five!' and as there is no mark, at 4, 6, 8, &c. he estimates those numbers, and calls, 'By the dip four,' &c. If he judges it to be a quarter, or an half more than any particular number, he calls, 'And a quarter five! and a half four,' &c. If he conceives the depth to be quarters more than a particular number, he calls it a quarter less than the next; thus, at four fathom and ¾, he calls 'A quarter less five!' and so on.

The deep sea lead is marked with two knots at 20 fathom, 3 at 30, 4 at 40, and so on to the end. It is also marked with a single knot in the middle of each interval, as at 25, 35, 45 fathoms, &c. To use this lead more effectually at sea, or in deep water on the sea coast, it is usual previously to bring to the ship, in order to retard her course; the lead is then thrown as far as possible from the ship on the line of her drift, so that, as it sinks, the ship drives more perpendicularly over it. The pilot, feeling the lead strike the bottom, readily discovers the depth of the water by the mark on the line nearest its surface. The bottom of the lead being also well rubbed over with tallow, retains the distinguishing marks of the bottom, as shells, ooze, gravel, &c. which naturally adhere to it. The depth of the water, and the nature of the ground, which is called the soundings, are carefully marked in the logbook, as well to determine the distance of the place from the shore, as to correct the observations of former pilots.


W: A distance traveled southward.


TFD: The distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger when the hand is fully extended, formerly used as a unit of measure equal to about nine inches


TFD: a fore-and-aft sail or a mast that is aftermost in a sailing vessel


W: A general term denoting any linear object used as a mast, sprit, yard, boom, pole or gaff.


TFD: 1. One's turn at work. 2. A period of work; a shift.

F: the period wherein a sailor, or gang of sailors, is employed in a particular exercise, from which they are relieved as soon as the limited time expires. Such are the spells, to the hand lead in sounding; to the pump; to look out on the masthead, &c. and to steer the ship; which last, however, is generally called the trick. Spell also implies the relief, or the return of duty to those services: Thus we lay, spell the pump, spell the lead, &c.


TFD: 1. To relieve the pressure of wind on (a sail). 2. To cause or allow (wind) to be lost from a sail.

F: to discharge the wind out of the cavity or belly of a sail when it is drawn up in the brails in order to furl or reef it. This is either performed by collecting the sail together, or by bracing its edge to the wind, so as to shiver or be laid aback.


F: a sort of iron pin tapering at the upper end to the point. It is used to stick into the upper end of the topgallant mast, so as to carry a vane, which, turning thereon horizontally, will show the direction of the wind. It is usually crowned with a globular or conical piece of wood called the acorn, which prevents the vane from being blown off.

Spindle is also the lower end or foot of the capstan, which is shod with iron, and becomes the pivot or axis upon which it turns in the saucer.

spirit room

TS: A name formerly given to the paymaster's storeroom in the after part of the after hold, reserved for stowage of spirits. The name applies at present to the paymaster's storeroom for dry provisions.


TFD: 1. deck planking near the bulwarks 2. the interior lining between ports and the overhead interior surface of the cabin

F: that range of planks which lies between the waterways and the lower edge of the gun ports within the side of a ship of war.

splice the mainbrace

WP: an order given aboard naval vessels to issue the crew with a drink. Originally an order for one of the most difficult emergency repair jobs aboard a sailing ship, it became a euphemism for authorized celebratory drinking afterward, and then the name of an order to grant the crew an extra ration of rum or grog.


F: the state of a sail which is rent asunder by the violence of a tempest, or by sustaining a greater effort on one part of its surface than the rest. Split, when applied to a ship, is also the state of being stranded and bilge on a rock or shore.


B: To crack a mast, yard, &c. by means of straining in blowing weather, so that it is rendered unsafe for use.

F: a crack or breach running transversely or obliquely through any part of a mast or yard, so as to render it unsafe to carry the usual quantity of sail thereon.

spring stay

TFD: a preventer stay, to assist the regular one.

B: (pl.) are rather smaller than the stays, and placed above them, and intended to answer the purpose of the stay, if it should be shot away, &c.

spring tide

TFD: The exceptionally high and low tides that occur at the time of the new moon or the full moon when the sun, moon, and earth are approximately aligned.

B: (pl.) are the tides at new and full moon, which flow highest and ebb lowest.


TFD: A pole that extends diagonally across a fore-and-aft sail from the lower part of the mast to the peak of the sail.


d: A sail formerly hung under the bowsprit, from the spritsail yard.

F: a sail attached to a yard which hangs under the bowsprit. It is furnished with a large hole in each of its lower corners, to evacuate the water with which the cavity or belly of it is frequently filled, by the surge of the sea, when the ship pitches.

spun yarn

TFD: A lightweight line made of several rope yarns loosely wound together, used for seizings onboard ship.

F: a small line or cord formed of two or three rope yarns twisted together by a winch. The yarns, of which it is usually made at sea, are drawn out of the strands of old cables or other ropes, and are knotted together and tarred. It is employed for several purposes particularly to fasten one rope to another, to seize block strops to the shrouds, and to serve ropes which are liable to be chafed by rubbing one against another, &c.


TFD: A brief sudden violent windstorm, often accompanied by rain or snow.


TFD: characterized by brief periods of violent wind or rain or both


W: Having square sails rigged onto spars perpendicular to the keel.

square sail

square sail

square sailTFD: a four-sided sail set beneath a horizontal yard suspended at the middle from a mast

F: is a sail extended to a yard, which hangs parallel to the horizon, as distinguished from the other sails which are extended by booms and stays placed obliquely. This sail is only used in fair winds, or to scud under 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.



F: a light pole erected in different parts of a ship, whereon to hoist and display the colours. The principal of these is reared immediately over the stern, to display the ensign; another is fixed on the bowsprit, to extend the jack; three more are erected at the three mastheads, or formed by their upper ends, to show the flag or pendent of the respective squadron or division to which the ship is appropriated.


d: an upright bar, beam, post, or support, as in a window, stall, ship, etc.

F: a sort of small pillar of wood or iron used for various purposes in a ship; as to support the decks, the quarter rails, the nettings, the awnings, &c. The first of these are two ranges of small columns, fixed under the beams, throughout the ship's length between decks; one range being on the starboard, and the other on the larboard side of the hatchways. They are chiefly intended to support the weight of the artillery.

stand off and on

to remain near a coast by alternately sailing toward land and away from it


TFD: taking or holding a particular course or direction

F: the movement by which a ship advances towards a certain object, or departs from it; as the enemy stands in-shore; the English fleet are standing off; at daybreak we discovered three sail standing to the northward, &c.

standing rigging

TFD: On a sailing boat, standing rigging generally refers to lines, wires, or rods which are more or less fixed in position while the boat is under sail. This term is used in contrast to running rigging, which represents elements of rigging which move and change fairly often while under sail. Standing rigging is placed under tension to keep the various spars ( mast, bowsprit) securely in position and adequately braced to handle loads induced by sails.


M: the right hand side of the ship, facing forward


WN: brace consisting of a heavy rope or wire cable used as a support for a mast or spar

F: a large strong rope employed to support the mast on the fore part, by extending from its upper end towards the fore part of the ship, as the shrouds are extended to the right and left, and backstays behind it. The stay of the foremast, which is called the forestay, reaches from the masthead towards the bowsprit end; the mainstay, extends over the forecastle to the ship's stem; and the mizen stay is stretched down to that part of the mainmast which lies immediately above the quarterdeck; the fore topmast stay, comes also to the end of the bowsprit, a little beyond, the forestay; the main topmast stay, is attached to the head or hounds of the foremast; and the mizen topmast stay comes also to the hounds of the mainmast; the fore topgallant stay comes to the outer end of the jib boom; and the main topgallant stay is extended to the head of the fore topmast.


D: any sail set on a stay, as a triangular sail between two masts.


W: The vertical or nearly vertical forward extension of the keel, to which the forward ends of the planks or strakes are attached.

TFD: The curved upright beam at the fore of a vessel into which the hull timbers are scarfed to form the prow.

F: a circular piece of timber, into which the two sides of a ship are united at the fore end; the lower end of it is scarfed to the keel and the bowsprit rests upon its upper end. The stem is formed of one or two pieces, according to the size of the vessel; and as it terminates the ship forward, the ends of the wales and planks of the sides and bottom are let into a groove or channel, in the middle of its surface, from the top to the bottom; which operation is called rabbeting. The out side of the stem is usually marked with a scale, or division of feet, according to its perpendicular height from the keel. The intention of this, is to ascertain the draught of water at the fore part, when the ship is in preparation for a sea voyage, &c. The item at its lower end is of equal breadth and thickness with the keel, but it grows proportionally broader and thicker towards its upper extremity.


GB: The top of the stem.


F: an apartment without the great cabin of a ship, from which it is separated by a thin partition. In large ships of war it is used as a hall through which it is necessary to pass, to arrive at, or depart from the great cabin. Steerage is also used to express the effort of the helm


TFD: The minimum rate of motion required for a ship or boat to be maneuvered by the helm.

F: is that degree of progressive motion communicated to a ship, by which the becomes susceptible of the effects of the helm to govern her course.


TFD: The block in which the heel of a mast is fixed.

F: a block of wood fixed on the decks or bottom of a ship, and having a hole in its upper side fitted to receive the heel of a mast or capstan. The steps of the main and foremasts of every ship rest upon the kelson, to which they are firmly secured by knees, bolts, or spike-nails. The step of the mizen mast usually rests upon the lower deck.


W: The rear part or after end of a ship or vessel.

F: the posterior face of ship; or that part which is presented to the view of a spectator, placed on the continuation of the keel behind

stern fast

TFD: a rope used to confine the stern of a ship or other vessel, as to a wharf or buoy.

F: a rope used to confine the stern of a ship or boat to any wharf or jetty head, &c.

stern sheets

MW: the space in the stern of an open boat not occupied by the thwarts

D: the after part of an open boat, occupied by the person in command or by passengers.

F: that part of a boat which is contained between the stern and the aftmost, or hindmost, seat of the rowers. It is generally furnished with benches to accommodate the passengers.


TFD: The principal upright post at the stern of a vessel, usually serving to support the rudder.

F: a long straight piece of timber erected on the extremity of the keel, to sustain the rudder, and terminate the ship behind.


W: a backwards motion of a vessel

B: The motion by which a ship falls back with her stern foremost.


F: an officer in a ship of war, appointed by the purser, to distribute the different species of provisions to the officers and crew; for which purpose he is furnished with a mate and proper assistants.


D: (of a vessel) having a high resistance to rolling; stable (opposed to crank).

B: The condition of a ship when she will casrry a great quantity of sail without hazard of oversetting. It is used in opposition to crank.


TFD: a former Dutch coin worth one twentieth of a guilder


W: 1. A bar going through an anchor, perpendicular to the flukes. 2. The axle attached to the rudder, which transfers the movement of the helm to the rudder.

TFD: A crosspiece at the end of the shank of an anchor.


TFD: The timber frame that supports a ship during construction.

F: a frame erected on the shore of a river, or harbour, whereon to build shipping. It generally consists of a number of wooden blocks, ranged parallel to each other, at convenient distances, and with a gradual declivity towards the water.


WP: In nautical settings a stopper may refer to a length of rope that is belayed at one end with the other end attached to a tensioned line using a friction hitch in order to slacken a portion of the tensioned line. For example if a sheet becomes jammed on a winch while under sail, a "stopper" can be used to temporarily take the strain off the winch while the riding turn is cleared.

F: certain short pieces of rope, which are usually knotted at one, or both ends, according to the purpose for which they are calculated. They are either used to suspend any weighty body, or to retain a cable, shroud, &c. in a fixed position. Thus, the anchors, when first hoisted up from the ground, are hung to the cathead, by a stopper attached to the latter, which, passing through the anchor ring, is afterwards fastened to the timber head, and the same rope serves to fasten it on the bow at sea; or to suspend it by the ring, when it is to be sunk from the ship to the bottom. The stoppers of the cables have a large knot, and a lanyard at one end, and are fastened to a ring bolt in the deck, by the other. They are attached to the cable, by the lanyard, which is fastened securely round both by several turns passed behind the knot, or about the neck of the stopper; by which means the cable is restrained from running out of the ship, when the rides at anchor. The stoppers of the shrouds have a knot and a lanyard at each end. They are used only when the shrouds are cut asunder in battle, or disabled by tempestuous weather; at which time they are lashed, in the same manner as those of the cables, to the separated parts of the shroud, which are thereby reunited, so as to be fit for immediate service. This, however, is only a temporary expedient, applied when there is not time or opportunity to refit them, by a more complete operation.


F: an officer in the royal dockyards, invested with the charge of the principal naval stores; as the sails, anchors, cordage, &c.


F: an apartment, or place of reserve, of which there are several in a ship, to contain the provisions, or stores of a ship, together with those of her officers, during a sea voyage.


TFD: the victuals and provisions collected together for the subsistence of a ship's company, of a camp, and the like.


WN: stalwart, dependable


TFD: to pack or put away (cargo, sails and other gear, etc.)

B: To arrange and dispose a ship's cargo.


F: the general disposition of the several materials contained in a ship's hold, with regard to their figure, magnitude, or solidity. In the stowage of different articles, as ballast, casks, cases, bales, and boxes, there are several general rules to be observed, according to the circumstances or qualities of those materials. The casks, which contain any liquid, are,according to the sea phrase, to be bung up and bilge free, i.e. closely wedged up, in an horizontal position, and resting on their quarters; so that the bilges, where they are thickest, being entirely free all round, cannot rub against each other, by the motion of the vessel. Dry goods, or such as may be damaged by the water, are to be carefully inclosed in casks, bales, cases, or wrappers; and wedged off from the bottom and sides of the ship, as well as from the bows, masts, and pump well. Due attention must likewise be had to their disposition, with regard to each other, and to the trim and center of gravity of the ship; so that the heaviest may always be nearest the keel, and the lightest gradually above them.


TFD: A narrow channel joining two larger bodies of water. Often used in the plural with a singular verb.

F: a narrow channel, or arm of the sea, contained between two opposite shores; as the straits of Gibraltar; the straits of Sunda; the straits of Dover, &c.


W: A continuous line of plates or planks running from bow to stern that contributes to a vessel's skin.

F: (pl.) the uniform ranges of planks on the bottom and sides of a ship; or the continuation of planks joined to the end of each other, and reaching from the stem, which limits the vessel forward, to the stern post, and fashion pieces, which terminate her length abaft. The lowest of these, which is called the garboard streak, is let into the keel below, and into the stern and sternpost.


TFD: 1. A complex of fibers or filaments that have been twisted together to form a cable, rope, thread, or yarn. 2. The land bordering a body of water; a beach.

F: 1. one of the twists, or divisions, of which a rope is composed. 2. the sea beach; hence a ship is said to be stranded when the has run aground on the seashore.

stream anchor

A: An anchor used in narrow channels to prevent the stern of the vessel moving with the tide.

stream cable

TFD: a hawser or rope, smaller than the bower cables, to moor a ship in a place sheltered from wind and heavy seas.

F: a Hawser, or rope, something smaller than the bowers, and used to moor the ship in a river or haven, sheltered from the wind and sea, &c.


F: in navigation, is generally understood to imply the progression of a ship under a great surface of sail, when close-hauled. The difference between this phrase and standing, is apparently in the quantity of sail, which, in the latter, may be very moderate, but in stretching, generally signifies excess as, we saw the enemy at daybreak stretching to the southward, under a crowd of sail, &c.


W: To haul down, or lower a mast, a flag or cargo, etc.

F: implies to lower or let down any thing; as an ensign, or topsail, in saluting; or, as the yards and topmasts in tempestuous weather.


D: 1. a rope or a band of metal surrounding and supporting a block, deadeye, etc. 2. a metal band surrounding the pulley of a block to transmit the load on the pulley to its hook or shackle. 3. a rope sling, as for handling cargo. 4. a ring or grommet of rope.

F: a piece of rope spliced into a circular wreath, and used to surround the body of a block so that the latter may be hung to any particular station about the mast, yards, or rigging. Strops are also used occasionally to fasten upon any large rope, for the purpose of hooking a tackle to the eye, or double part of the strop; in order to extend, or pull with redoubled effort, upon the same rope; as in setting up the rigging, where one hook of the tackle is fixed in a strop applied to the particular shroud, and the other to its lanyard.

studding sails

W: Sails attached to the side of another in a square-rigged ship to increase the speed of the vessel

F: certain light sails extended, in moderate and steady breezes, beyond the skirts of the principal sails, where they appear as wings upon the yardarms.


F: any composition, or melted mass, used to smear or daub the masts, sides, or bottom of a ship. That which is chiefly used for the lower masts is simply turpentine, resin, or varnish of pine; for the topmasts, tallow or butter; for the sides, turpentine, varnish of pine, tar and oil, or tar mixed with oil and red oker; and for the bottom, a mixture of tallow, sulphur, and resin, or tar; whale oil and broken glass; or any part of these ingredients: and this application is called giving a new coat of stuff to the masts, sides, &c.


TFD: An officer on a merchant ship who has charge of the cargo and its sale and purchase.

F: an officer charged with the accounts of the cargo, and all other commercial affairs in a merchant ship.


to dispose of after determining that something is no longer useful for its intended purpose


F: a sort of mop formed of a large bunch of old rope yarns, and used to clean the decks and cabins of a ship hence the person who uses it is called the swabber.


W: To hoist (a mast or yard) into position.


TFD: A long oar used to propel a boat.

sweet wort

WP: "Wort is the liquid extracted from the mashing process during the brewing of beer or whisky. Wort contains the sugars that will be fermented by the brewing yeast to produce alcohol.

"The first step in wort production is to make malt from dried, sprouted barley. Grain adjuncts are then added and the malt is ground into grist. The grist is mashed, that is, mixed with hot water and steeped, a complex and slow heating process that enables enzymes to convert the starch in the malt into sugars."

As best I understand it, at this point drain the liquid off and you have sweet wort.


F: generally denotes an heavy and continued agitation of the waves, according to a particular direction; as there is a great swell setting into the bay. It is, however, more particularly applied to the fluctuating motion of the sea, which remains after the expiration of a storm; as also, to that which breaks on the sea shore; or upon rocks, or shallows.


F: to turn round the anchors, or moorings, at the change of the wind, or tide; it is usually expressed of a ship, either when she is moored by the head, or riding at a single anchor.

swivel gun

TFD: A gun mounted on a pedestal so that it can be turned from side to side or up and down.