Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and Architecture

(11th and final edition, 1913)


Inside a ship or on the deck of a ship. "Come aboard, sir," is a sailor's way of reporting himself on board after leave of absence. To run or fall aboard a vessel is for one vessel to come into collision with another. A sail is said to fall aboard when, from the lightness of the wind or other causes, it ceases to blow out. To haul the boom aboard is to haul the boom in by the mainsheet from off the lee quarter.
Having tacked. "She's about!" she is going to tack or has tacked. "Ready about" is the signal given for the men to prepare to tack the ship. "About ship!" or "'Bout ship !" is the order given to tack, that is to put the vessel on the opposite tack to the one she is on when the order is given to tack. To go about is to tack.
Synonymous with "Abeam." Side by side. To Breast.-- To come abreast.
Absence Flag.--
A rectangular blue flag hoisted below the starboard crosstree to denote that the owner is not on board the yacht. When the owner steps on board the flag is lowered. This is an American custom which is gradually being adopted in Europe. It is a most useful regulation.
Accommodation.-- The cabins of a vessel.
Accommodation Ladder.--
A side ladder, with platform, for boarding vessels. In the case of yachts, they are usually made to fold up on the bulwarks when the yacht is under way.
Acker.-- A tide coming on the top of another tide.
Ackers' Scale.--
A graduated time allowance on a tonnage incidence computed by the late Mr. G. Holland Ackers in 1850, long since superseded by other scales.
A-Cock Bill or Cock Bill.--
An anchor hanging from the cat head ready to let go. The situation of yards when one arm is topped up as a sign of mourning.
Across Tide.--
Crossing the stream of the tide so that it comes broadside on. If a vessel in beating to windward crosses a tide fairly at right angles on one tack, she will stem it on the next or have it stern on, according to whether the tide be lee-going or weathergoing. (See "Weather-tide.")
An old-fashioned expression for the builder's tonnage of a ship calculated by length and breadth, and abbreviated O.M. (old measurement) and B.M. (Builder's Measurement), which see.
The highest rank in the Navy. Formerly there were admirals of the red, white, and blue, with the intermediate ranks of vice and rear of the red, white, and blue. When the white ensign was taken exclusively for the Royal Navy in 1857, the red, white, and blue divisions were done away with. Admirals now fly a St. George's Jack, which is a white square flag with red St. George cross in it at the main, fore, or mizen, according to their rank. A vice-admiral has a red ball in the upper (hoist) canton of the flag; a rear-admiral two balls.
Admiral of the Fleet.--
An honorary distinction bestowed on admirals for long service, &c. If an admiral of the fleet has a command, he hoists the "union" at the main.
Admiral of the Royal Yacht Squadron.--
His Majesty the King is Admiral of the R.Y.S., and flies the St. George's Jack with the Imperial crown in the centre of the cross.
Admiralty Flag.--
A red flag with yellow fouled anchor (horizontal) in it, flown by the Sovereign and Lords of the Admiralty.
Admiralty Warrants.--
Warrants granted to clubs and the members thereof, granting permission to fly the white ensign, or the blue ensign, or the red ensign with device on it. The Admiralty warrants granted to yachts are of two kinds:
(1) The Warrant granted to the Club.

(2) The Warrant granted to the individual Yacht owner who is a member of the Club.

Thus in order that a yacht may have the right to fly X the White Ensign, Y the Blue Ensign, or the Blue ensign with a device, or Z the Red Ensign with a device it is necessary that the club to which the owner belongs must hold Warrant No. 1 and that the owner must obtain through the secretary of the club and hold for his yacht Warrant No. 2. Warrants will only be granted to yachts which are registered according to the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act. [This entry shortened.]
Floating with the tide. Generally driving about without control. Also a vessel is said to be adrift when she breaks away from her moorings, warps, &c. The term is also applied to loose spars rolling about the deck ; sheets or ropes which are not belayed, &c.
The state of being waterborne after being aground. To be on board ship.
Afore.-- The contrary of abaft. Towards the forward end of anything.
An abbreviation of abaft, generally applied to the stern. To go aft is to walk towards the stern; to launch aft is to move a spar or anything else towards the stern. To haul aft the sheets is to bring the clew of the sail more aboard by hauling on the sheets.
After.-- The state of being aft, as after-sail, after-leech, after-side, &c.
After Body.-- The part of a vessel abaft her midship section.
After End.--
The stern end of a vessel or anything else, or the end of anything nearest the stern of a vessel.
Men stationed aft to work sheets, &c. In racing yachts, if there be any amateurs on board, they are generally made use of as an after-guard. In merchant ships the ordinary seamen or landsmen enjoy the distinction. (See "Waisters.'')
After-most. -- A thing or point situated the most aft of all.
Afternoon Watch.-- The watch between noon and four o'clock.
After Part.-- The stern extremities of a vessel or anything else.
After Peak.--
The hold of a vessel near the run. A small cuddy or locker made in the run of a boat aft.
After Rake.--
Contrary to fore rake. The rake or overhang the stern post has abaft the heel of the keel. To incline sternwards.
Aftward.-- Towards the stern ; contrary to forward.
Against the Sun.--
An expression used to show how a rope is coiled: from right to left is against the sun, from left to right is with the sun. The wind is said to blow against the sun when it comes from the westward, and to back when it changes from west to east by the south.
The document executed, when a vessel is built, by the builder and the person for whom the vessel is being built. The following is a form of agreement which has been used: [The specification relates to a wood yacht of about 22 tons; deleted, it's very long.]
Agreement with Crew.--
A form of agreement provided by the Board of Trade for yacht sailors to "sign articles" on. The agreement forms can be obtained of Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoods, King's Printers, London, E. C. (See "Seaman.")
A vessel is said to be aground when her keel or bottom rests on the ground.
Ahead.-- Forward; in advance of.
Ahoy .--
An interjection used to attract attention . In hailing a vessel, as "Cetonia Ahoy!"
A ship under bare poles, with her helm lashed a-lee. An abandoned ship.
Airtight Cases for Small Boats.--
By airtight cases are meant cases that will keep out water. The most general form of case is made of zinc, copper, or Muntz metal. Macintosh bags have been used; they are put inside wood lockers, and then inflated, the object of inflation being of course to fill the lockers, and thus practically making the lockers impervious to the influx of water. As any kind of bag is liable to be punctured or otherwise damaged, metal cases are to be preferred -- they should be fitted inside wood lockers. To render a boat unsubmergeable she must be provided with cases which will displace a quantity of water equal to the weight of the material used in the construction of the boat or which may be on board and will not float. Usually an ordinary fir planked boat will not sink if filled with water, the gunwale just showing above the surface ; if, however, she has ballast on board or other weight, she would sink. Also the spare buoyancy would not generally be sufficient to support her crew.
A ton of salt water is equal to 35 cubic feet of the same: now suppose a boat 16ft. long and 6ft. broad weighed 15cwt (3/4 ton) with all passengers, gear, airtight cases. &c., on board, then she would require airtight cases equal in bulk to 26-1/4 cubic feet, as there are 26-1/4 cubic feet of water to 3/4-ton weight. But it may be taken that the wood material used in the construction of the boat, the spars, and wood cases, would be self-supporting. Say that these weighed 5cwt, then 10cwt. (1/2-ton) would remain to be supported; 1/2 a ton is equal to 17-1/2 cubic feet. A locker 6ft. long, 2ft. broad, and 1ft. 6in. deep would contain 18 cubic feet, and so would support the boat with her passengers on board, or prevent her sinking if filled to the gunwale with water. Of course it would be rather awkward to have such a large locker as this in so small a boat, and the airtight spaces are usually contrived by having a number of lockers, some under the thwarts, in the bow end and stern end of the boat, and sometimes above the thwarts under the gunwales.
Some boats are made unsubmergeable by a cork belting fixed outside below the gunwale. One ton of cork is equal to 150 cubic feet of the same, and will support 3-1/4 tons in water. Thus, roughly, cork will support three times its own weight in water. Supposing it is sought to support a boat equal to 10cwt., as stated above; then a belting of cork will have to be used equal to 17-1/2 cubic feet, plus a quantity equal to the weight of the bulk of the cork. Say the boat is 16ft. long, and the measurement round the gunwales will be 32ft. A tube 32ft. long to contain 17-1/2 cubic feet would require to be 10-1/4 inches in diameter. [The contents of a tube are found by multiplying its length by the area of one end. This area is found by taking the square of the diameter and multiplying it by 0.78 (See "Areas of Circles''). ]
The 17-1/2 cubic feet of cork would weigh (17.5 x 15) 262-1/2lb. equal to 4 cubic feet of salt water, and so an addition would have to be made to the tubing to that extent. Thus, in round numbers, 22 cubic feet of cork would be required to support 10cwt. net. A tube 32ft. long and 11in. in diameter would contain 22.0 cubic feet. The tubes that contain the cork are usually made of canvas and painted. The weight of the canvas tube would have to be added to the general weight to be supported. Solid cork should be used, and not cork shavings, for filling the tubes ; cork shavings get more or less saturated, and lose their buoyancy, and generally have less buoyancy than solid cork, in consequence of the multitude of spaces between the shavings which would admit water. (See "Cork Concrete. ")
To leeward. The helm is a-lee when it is put down to leeward. Hard a-lee means that the helm must be put as far to leeward as it can be got. (See "Helm's a-lee.")
A prefix put to many words to show that the whole is included, as "all aback," meaning all the sails are aback; "all-ataunto," meaning that the ship is fully rigged and fitted out, with everything in its place; "all hands," the whole ship's company; "all standing," with everything in its place, nothing being shifted, &c.
All Aback For'ard.--
A cry raised when a vessel is sailed so near to wind that the head sails lift or shake.
The channel made in the after part of a steamship for the propeller shaft is termed the shaft alley. The passage under the bridge deck of a steamer is an alley, or alleyway. (See "Lane.")
Up the mast ; overhead. "Aloft there !" is a manner of hailing seamen who may be aloft on the mast, tops, yards, &c.
Along shore.-- Close to the shore, by the shore, or on the shore.
Along the land.--
To lay along the land is when a vessel can hug or keep close to the land without tacking.
Along the wind.--
Sailing along the wind means to sail with the wind from a point to four points free, or with the wind abeam.
By the side of the ship. "The gig is alongside, sir," is a common way of informing the owner, master, or other officers that the boat is manned and by the gangway, in readiness to take people off; also said when a boat is brought to the gangway so that passengers can embark.
The Y.R.A. has always refused to adopt any definition of an amateur, on the ground that in British yacht racing no such definition is required. The only official declaration by the Y.R.A. on the subject is as following :
"The recognition of a Yacht Club does not necessarily, nor of itself, qualify a member of that club as an Amateur." This declaration by the Council of the Y.R.A. means that if a yacht's skipper were to be elected a member of a recognised yacht or sailing club he would not be thereby qualified to steer a yacht in a race in which the conditions said "Amateur Helmsmen. "
In 1908 the British Olympic Council defined an amateur for the Olympic Yacht races at Ryde and on the Clyde as follows. "No person can be considered an Amateur who has ever been employed for wages in the handling of a sailing yacht (whether racing or otherwise) or of any fore-and-aft rigged vessel."
In 1912 the Swedish Olympic Council employed the following definition in their games at Stockholm "Every member of a recognised sailing club, who never has carried on yacht sailing as a profession, nor during the last five years followed other sailing as a trade, is an Amateur. "
Officers in the Navy, gentlemen who are engaged in business as yacht designers and builders or in making sails are always regarded as "Amateurs" in this country and rightly so. (See "Corinthian.")
America's Cup.--
A much discussed trophy in the possession of the New York Yacht Club. The Cup was originally offered by the R.Y.S. for a race at Cowes on August 22, 1851, the course sailed was round the Isle of Wight ; 15 yachts started. The schooner America, built in New York by George Steers and owned by Commodore Stevens, won the Cup, beating the second vessel, the Aurora, by 18 minutes. The America was 170 tons and the Aurora 47 tons; there was no time allowance.
The Cup was not originally a challenge trophy but it has since become such, and has been named the America's cup after the schooner which won it. The following are the conditions of the America's Cup known as the Deed of Gift:
This Deed of Gift, made the twenty-fourth day of October, 1887, between GEORGE L. SCHUYLER as sole surviving owner of the Cup won by the yacht America at Cowes, England, on the twenty-second day of August, 1851, of the first part, and THE NEW YORK YACHT Club, of the second part, [much deleted, very long.]
By Eldridge T. Gerry, Commodore,
John H. Bird, Secretary.

In the presence of H. D. HAMILTON.
[Seal of the New York Yacht Club. ]


The following are the results of the America's cup races :-

[Long table in very small type omitted.]


The middle part of a ship. The middle part of anything. To put the helm amidships is to bring it in a line with the keel. Generally the word has reference to the middle fore-and-aft line of the ship, and to a middle athwartship part of a ship.
For small open boats the anchor should weigh 1lb. for every foot of length up to 20ft. For other boats anchors would be chosen according to the total weight of the boat, including her ballast and equipment, &c. thus:

1/2 ton


1 ton


1-1/2 tons


2 tons


2-1/2 tons


3 tons


The size of link of chain would be about 1/4 in. Anchors for small boats, and indeed for all sailing yachts, should be long in the shank, and of the old-fashioned fisherman's pattern.

Fig. 1

A sort of grapnel has been in use many years by fishermen for small boats (Fig. 1). E is the shank, D the usual ring, working in an eye (not shown in the engraving), B the bottom pair of claws, A the top pair of claws. The bottom pair of claws are welded on to the shank, but the top pair slide up and down, and it is usual to make the part under the ring D square so that the grapnel can be converted into an anchor by fixing the part A under the ring D by aid of a small key. A small portion of the bottom of the shank, shown by the shaded hues, is wrought square, and through the centre of the top pair of claws is a square hole, as at F. The sketch represents the grapnel lying flat, and in its present position it is, of course, useless as a holdfast ; it lies snug.

Before heaving it overboard, take hold of the top pair of claws and slide them up the shank, till you get to the round part when turn them round, and drop them down upon the lower pair of claws on another square. You have now a most effective four-clawed gripper, which will hold like a bulldog. About 1lb. per foot of length would be the weight for an ordinary boat. They are made by Messrs. Blake and Sons, Gosport, or obtainable from most of the ship chandlers or yacht fitters.


Thomas and Nicholson's Patent
(Camper and Nicholson, Gosport).
The patentees claim it to be by far the strongest disconnecting anchor ever yet introduced, and this opinion has been endorsed by many owners of sailing yachts; and with the long but proportionate shank and the convex and elongated palms to have the very maximum of holding power, and may consequently be used considerably lighter than any other anchors.

The two taper bolts at the crown enables any person to disconnect or connect the anchor with the greatest despatch and certainty, as a taper bolt never requires any driving or drifting, inevitable at times with parallel bolts. The anchors are made in all sizes from 6lb. to 27lb. (See Fig. 2.)

For all sailing yachts Thomas and Nicholson's anchors are the best examples of a good holder on the old-fashioned stock principle, and a hundredweight anchor of their pattern is, we believe, only 4ft. 6in. in length of shank, with 3ft. spread of arms. The length of shank must exist to get the holding power, and the arms ought not to be shorter than .4 of the shank, nor make a less angle than 50° with the shank.

Camper and Nicholson's, Gosport, make anchors of this pattern to order, up to weights of 1cwt, which will hold a yacht of 20 or 25 tons, and can be stowed in quite a small bundle.

Fig. 2 represents a 40lb. anchor, suitable for an 8 or a 10-tonner.


Fig. 2

Gales' Improved Trotman.
This anchor was shown at the Inventions Exhibition, 1890, and the following is the inventor's description of it : "This invention (see Fig. 3) is an improvement upon the class of anchors known as Porter's, Trotman's, and others. In common with those referred to, the shank is so formed and proportioned as to receive at its crown the arms and flukes. Either arm or fluke is so arranged to work from a central point or pivot at the extremity of the shank, that upon its being canted,' instead of taking the pressure or bearing from the pivot, the entire bearing is given as parallel with and on to the shank, thereby giving additional holding power and strength, and materially helping to relieve the ordinary undue strain upon the fluke and bolt connection. The improved anchor will be found very compact and snug, when berthed, and for yachts, torpedo, and other craft of that class would be found very efficient in shallow water, and specially adapted for vessels of a larger class."


Fig. 3

Mr. Sinnette's anchors are of excellent proportions, and the arms are of the length and angle most suitable for holding. The spread of the arms is much the same as Thomas and Nicholson's; but being hinged, the spread, when the bills touch the shank for stowing, is only 1ft. in a hundredweight anchor. The usual objection to hinged anchors is that the crowns are weakened but the long record of service of Trotman's and Porter's has shown that the objection is not a serious one. With regard to Sinnette's, the crown joint is so exceptionally strong that the objection may be said not to exist at all.


Fig. 4

(Fig. 4) A shows the anchor as prepared for use by removing a contra tapered bolt the arms can be closed, as shown in B ; the bolt is then replaced to lock the arms in the position shown, so there is no chance of fingers being injured through the arms opening and shutting. Thomas and Nicholson's anchor has also a tapered pin and tapered hole to receive it ; this plan is found to answer much better than the parallel pin, which will always jam more or less, and require something to hammer it out with. The stock is also unpinned, and stows alongside the shank as shown.

In another form of this anchor the arms are not locked when in use, but only for stowing. The arms have back flukes, and the upper arm falls on to the shank when the lower one is in the ground. It thus becomes a non-fouling anchor with all the advantages of a Trotman in that respect, but with more compactness for stowing.


Fig. 5


(Fig. 5) C shows yet another form of the anchor, the shank being jointed as well as the arms, the whole being made immensely strong.

D shows this anchor stowed. For facility in shifting about through hatchways or doors, nothing could beat this anchor in compactness, and it ought to be a great favourite among owners of small yachts.

Wasteneys Smith's Stockless.
This anchor is recommended by the patentees for the following reasons : It takes immediate hold; cannot foul; requires no stock ; can be 20 percent lighter than other anchors ; always cants properly; great strength; easily worked; lies flat on deck; stows in small space ; easily tripped. The anchor is shown in the cut, Fig. 6.

Fig. 6

The sizes recommended for yachts are, for

The anchors are made by Mr. Wasteneys Smith, 58, Sandhill, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Anchor, Mushroom.--
This is a kind of moorings or anchor shaped like a mushroom, which holds well for moorings in mud or sand.
Anchor Shackle.-- A shackle which connects the chain with the anchor.
Anchor, Tripping an.--
If an anchor is let go on very firm holding-ground, or on ground where the anchor is likely to get foul, a tripping line is made fast to the crown of the anchor; to the other end of the line a buoy is made fast, and when the anchor is "wanted" it can be broken out of the ground by hauling on the tripping line if it cannot be got by hauling on the cable.

Another plan is to "scow" the anchor by bending the end of the cable to the crown instead of to the ring or shackle. The cable is then "stopped" to the ring by a yarn. When the cable is hauled upon the stop breaks, and, of course, the cable being fast to the crown, the anchor is readily broken out of the ground. A boat should not be left moored with her anchor "scowed," as, if any unusual strain came upon the cable, the stop would break, and the boat would probably go adrift. The trip line should be used in such cases. (See "Scowing.")


Anchor Watch.--

A watch kept constantly on deck when a ship is at anchor, to be ready to veer out or take in chain, or to slip, make sail, give warning to the hands below, &c., if the vessel be in danger of collision or other mishaps. One hand may keep an anchor watch, and call up the officers and crew if necessary.
To repeat an order after an officer; thus, if the order be to the helmsman "No more away," he will repeat, "No more away, sir" ; or to the jib-sheetman, "Check the jibsheet," he will answer, "Check the jib-sheet, sir." Thus the crew should always "answer every order to show that they comprehend".
Answer Her Helm.--
A vessel is said to answer her helm when she moves quickly in obedience to a movement of the rudder. Long, deep vessels, and full quartered vessels which have not a long clean run to the rudder, are slow to answer their helm. A vessel cannot "answer her helm" it she has not way on through the water, hence "steerage way."
A-Peek or Peak.--
An anchor is said to be a-peak when the cable has been so much hove in as to form a line with the forestay; "hove short" so that the vessel is over her anchor. Yards are a-peak when topped by opposite lifts. (See "A Cock Bill.")
Seaman's slang for knightheads, bollards, &c., for belaying warps to. They formerly had carved heads to represent the upper part of the human body.
A piece of timber fitted at the fore end of the keel at its intersection with the stem and up the stem.
Arch Board.--
The formation of the counter across its extreme aft end, being a continuation of the covering board, and covers the heads of the counter frames.
A vessel is said to be ardent when she gripes or shows a tendency to come to against a weather helm.
Areas of Circles.--
The area of a circle is found by multiplying the square of the diameter by the fraction 0.7854. The areas of small circles in decimals of a foot are given in the following table :
Arms.-- The extremities of anything, as yard arms.
A vessel is said to be ashore when she is aground. To go ashore is to leave the ship for the land.
A-stay.-- Synonymous with a-peak.
Towards the stern. To move astern ; to launch astern ; to drop astern. An object or vessel which is abaft another vessel or object. Sailors never use the word "behind" to represent the position of being astern.
An ancient instrument for measuring the altitude of the sun, superseded by the quadrant and sextant.
With all the masts on end, and rigging completely fitted. (See "All a-taunto.")
Transversely, at right angles to fore and aft ; across the keel. Athwartship is thus across the ship from one side to the other. Athwart hawse is when one vessel gets across the stem of another.
When the anchor is broken out of the ground or is a-weigh. A topmast is said to be a-trip when it has been launched and unfidded.
Stop, cease, hold, discontinue. As avast heaving (stop heaving), avast hauling (stop hauling), &c.
Awash.-- Level with the surface of the water.
A general order to go, as "away aloft" for men to go into the rigging; "away aft," for the men to move aft, &c. "Gigs away there," or "cutters away there," or "dinghys away there," is the common way of giving the order to get the boats ready and manned. "Away with it," to run away with the fall of a tackle when hauling upon it. "Away she goes," said of a vessel when first she moves in launching. "Away to leeward," "away to windward," "away on the port how," &c.
The situation of the helm when it is hauled to windward. To haul a sail a-weather is to haul the sheet in to windward instead of to leeward, to form a back sail, to box a vessel's head off the wind or put stern way on her. Generally to windward.
Said of the anchor when it is a-trip or broken out of the ground. The anchor is weighed when hove up to the hawse pipe.
Axioms for Yachtsmen (from an American).--
Don't: stand up in a boat; don't sit on the rail of a boat; don't let your garments trail overboard; don't step into a boat except in her middle ; don't stand up in a boat before you are alongside ; don't pull under the bows of a ship--it looks green, and the consequences might be fatal; don't forget to "in fenders'' every time you shove off; don't forget that a loaded boat keeps headway longer than a light one; don't make fast with a hitch that will jam; don't lower away with the plug out; keep the plug on hand by a small lanyard to it, so that it cannot be "led astray" and have to be hunted up when needed.
Do: hoist your flags chock up -- nothing betokens the landsman more than slovenly colours ; do haul taut all your gear ; do see that no "Irish pennants" are flying adrift aloft; do have a long scope out in a gale; do see that your crew keeps in its place and does not boss the quarter deck ; do keep your men tidy and looking sailor-like; do keep to leeward of competing yachts when you are not in the match yourself.
Aye Aye, Sir.--
The response made by seamen when an order or direction is given them, to show that they understand and will obey.

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© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
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