Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and Architecture

(11th and final edition, 1913)

N. O.

Nail-sick Clench-built Boat.--
This is when the nail fastenings have become loose in a boat so that she leaks. Mr. J. C. Wilcocks recommends that the boat should have the whole of her ballast taken out; let her then be thoroughly cleaned out and laid on her sides, with sufficient weight to keep her so until the water begins to come over the gunwale. A man should be inside with some chalk or white paint, and mark every leak which becomes visible, first on one side, then on the other; or the boat can be hauled up and filled with water and marked outside. If the boat be decked, any recesses behind bulkheads or in the counter must be carefully examined, and marked in the same manner. After all the leaks have been discovered, let her be dried, and every nail examined; the lands or joinings of the planks should also be tried with the blade of a very thin knife. Any rivets which have worked very loose must be cut out, and replaced with nails and reeves of a larger size, and through the chief parts of the bottom it will probably be necessary to put an additional nail between every two originally driven. Many of the old nails which are only a little slack should again be hardened by a few taps on the inside, a boy holding on against the head of the nail on the outside. After this work has been thus gone through, melt a pound of pitch in a gallon of boiling Stockholm tar, and give her a good coat inside up to the level of the inside of the lockers that is to say, as high as it can be done not to interfere with the paint. The garboard strake fastenings, and also those of the hood ends, must also be examined, and will be certain to require careful caulking. In tarring the boat inside, the ledges or lands should be quite filled up with the boiling stuff.
The wind is said to "narrow" when it blows at a smaller angle from ahead, or 'shorten,' which term refer to.

Navigation.-- Text Books on this subject for yachtsmen :

(1.) Navigation for Yachtsmen. (In 1 vol. Horace Cox, Bream's-buildings, E.C. 15s.) By Lieut. Vincent J. English, R.N.

(2.) Self-Instruction in Navigation. (In 3 vols. Macmillan & Co., St. Martin's street, London.) By the Earl of Dunraven.


The situation of a vessel that gets ashore during high water at spring tides, and as the tides get shorter every day towards the neap tides she cannot be floated off till the next spring tides. Generally termed be-neaped.

Neap Tides.--

The tides which occur between new and full moon; spring tides being at or near the new and full moon.

Near.-- Very close to the wind, so that the sails shake or lift.


Near the Wind.--

Close to wind ; generally used in a sense to convey the meaning that the vessel is too near the wind, as "She's near forward," meaning that the head sails are shaking or lifting. (See "Nip.")



Small lines or ropes used to support hammocks when they are slung under the beams. Also reef points are sometimes termed nettles.



The intimation conveyed sternly to the watch below to turn up when they do not obey the first summons, as "Do you hear the news there, sleepers ?"


Niggling.-- Sailing close to the wind or too close.



A short bight in a rope, such as the part that goes round a sheave, &c. To nip a vessel is to sail her very close, or too close, to the wind.


Nippering.-- Joining a rope by cross turns.


Neck.-- The weather corner of a gaff sail. The throat.


No Nearer.--

An order given to a steersman not to luff any more, or not to bring the vessel any closer to wind. When sailing free a course is frequently given to the steersman thus, W.S.W. and no nearer; or S.E. and no nearer, which may be varied "Nothing to windward of W.S.W.," &c.


A name given to a jib, generally meaning a jib that is too big for the after sail; or a jib that bellies out into a bag.

Nor'-wester.-- A stiff glass of grog, usually rum.


Nose-ender.-- Dead on end. A wind which blows directly down a vessel's intended course, involving a dead beat. (See "Muzzler.")


Noose.-- A slip knot or running bight in a rope.



The number of a ship in the registry kept by the Registrar-General of Shipping; hence when a ship "makes her number" she hoists the signal flag denoting her number so that her name may be read. Also the number of a seaman on a ship's book. "To lose the number of the mess" is to fail to appear at mess through desertion, drowning, or sudden death.



Oars !-An order given to cease rowing and toss up the oars. (See "Lay in Oars.")
The opposite to near (which see), as "Off the wind." "Nothing off" is an order given to a helmsman to steer nothing to leeward of a particular course, or to sail nothing off the wind, but to keep the vessel full and bye. (See "No Nearer.")
Off and On.-- Beating along a shore by a board off and then a board on.
Away from the land, seaward. To make an offing is to sail away clear of the land.
"Off She Goes !"--
The shout raised when a vessel begins to move down the ways at launching.
The waterproof clothing worn by sailors, &c. The following is said to be a good dressing for them: Dissolve in one and a quarter pint rain water 6oz. common yellow soap over a slow fire; when dissolved, boil and stir in five pints of boiled linseed oil, in which 8oz. of patent driers have previously been mixed. Let the mixture simmer for a quarter of an hour, and then apply it hot, rubbing well in with a hard brush. Two coats at first and one every season. If the oilskins become sticky the paint must be got off by a mixture of soap and soda and soaking and hard scrubbing. Liquid ammonia one part to twenty of water and soap, all applied hot, form, it is said, a good mixture for removing the dressing. The oilskins must be well dried before coating them again. Sticky oilskins may often be put right by rubbing powdered talc over them. (See also "Waterproofing.")
Oil on Troubled Waters.--
There is no doubt that the use of oil for smoothing down broken water or preventing wave crests breaking was known to the ancients. Aristotle supposed that the thin film of oil prevented wave formation, by reducing the friction of the wind on the water surface. There is no doubt that this friction is the primary cause of wave formation, and if the whole water surface were covered with oil, possibly the wave formation would be reduced ; but this in no way accounts for the fact that the spreading of oil on a small portion of a disturbed water surface will suddenly arrest the breaking of waves. (See the article "Waves.") Actually what the oil does is to prevent the waves rising into cusps and then falling to pieces. Also, when these cusps are formed, waves rise to great-or, as it may be termed, unnatural heights. If the height of the waves much exceeds a certain proportion to the length, the wave crest becomes deformed, and finally breaks. It is the broken water the broken water has actual motion-and not the undulations, which does the harm, and the oil, we suppose, owing to its greater viscousness, prevents waves rising into the deformed conditions which bring about their disruption. It should be clearly understood that broken water-whether it is a wave tumbling to pieces in mid-ocean or on the shore in the form of surf--has actual motion relative to the earth, and represents a great force. In the case of unbroken waves, the undulations only move; that is to say, the wave motion travels, but not the water. An unbroken wave will pass under a boat and leave her in exactly the same position relative to the earth; but if she be struck by a broken wave, she may be hurled a considerable distance, or, if she resists the force, she may be greatly damaged.
On account of the importance to navigators of a knowledge of the use of oil to prevent heavy seas from breaking on board, the Hamburg Nautical School offered a prize for the best essay on the subject, and it was won by Capt. R. Karlowa, of the Hamburg - American Steamship Company, whose paper is here condensed.
FIG 68
FIG 69
FIG 70


In the diagrams, the arrows denote the direction of the wind and sea; the flowing lines indicate the spreading oil.


Scudding before a gale (Fig. 68), distribute oil from the bow by means of oil-bags or through waste-pipes ; it will thus spread aft and give protection both from quartering and following seas. If only distributed astern (Fig. 69) there will be no protection from the quartering sea.
Running before a gale, yawing badly and threatening to broach-to (Figs. 70 and 71), oil should be distributed from the bow and from both sides, abaft the beam. In Fig. 70, for instance, where it is only distributed at the how, the weather quarter is left unprotected when the ship yaws. In Fig. 71, however, with oil-bags abaft the beam as well as forward, the quarter is protected.
Lying-to (Fig. 72), a vessel can he brought closer to the wind by using one or two oil bags forward, to windward. With a high beam sea, use oil-bags along the weather side at intervals of 40 or 50 feet.
In a heavy cross-sea (Fig. 73) as in the centre of a hurricane, or after the centre has passed, oil-bags should be hung out at regular intervals along both sides.
FIG. 71
FIG. 72.
FIG. 73.
FIG. 74.
FIG. 75.
FIG. 76
Steaming into a heavy head-sea (Fig. 74), use oil through forward closet-pipes. Oil bags would be tossed back on deck.
Drifting in the trough of a heavy sea (Figs. 75 and 76), use oil from waste pipes forward and bags on weather side, as in Fig. 72. These answer the purpose very much better than one bag at weather bow and one at lee quarter, although this has been tried with some success (Fig. 76).
Lying-to, to tack or wear (Fig. 77), use oil from weather bow.
Cracking on, with high wind abeam and heavy sea (Fig. 78), use oil from waste-pipes, weather bow.
Towing another vessel in a heavy sea, oil is of the greatest service, and may prevent the hawser from breaking. Distribute oil from the towing vessel, forward and on both sides. If only used aft, the tow alone gets the benefit (Fig. 79.)
At anchor in an open roadstead, use cilia bags from jib-boom, or haul them out ahead of the vessel by means of an endless rope rove through a tail-block secured to the anchor chain (Fig. 80).
A vessel hove-to for a pilot (Fig. 81), should distribute oil from the weather side and lee quarter. The pilot-boat runs up to windward and lowers a boat, which pulls down to leeward and around the vessel's stern.
FIG. 77.
FIG. 78.
The pilot-boat runs down to leeward, gets out oil-bags to windward and on her lee quarter, and the boat pulls back around her stern, protected by the oil. The vessels drift to leeward and leave an oil-slick to windward, between the two.
There are many other cases where oil may be used to advantage -- such as lowering and hoisting boats, riding to a sea anchor, crossing rollers or surf on a bar, and from lifeboats and stranded vessels. Thick and heavy oils are the best. Mineral oils are not so effective as animal or vegetable oils. Raw petroleum has given favourable results, but not so good when it is refined. Certain oils, like cocoa-nut oil and some kinds of fish oil, congeal in cold weather, and are therefore useless, but may be mixed with mineral oils to advantage. The simplest and best method of distributing oil is by means of canvas bags about one foot. long, filled with oakum and oil, pierced with holes by means of a coarse sail-needle, and
held by a lanyard. The waste-pipes forward are also very useful for this purpose.
It should be noted that oil has little or no effect on the broken water due to surf breaking on a shore; and the experiments made on the broken water, on bars of harbour entrances, show that the condition of the water cannot be much modified by oil; the wave breaking is, in such cases, mostly governed by the depth of the water. The deeper the water, the greater the effect of the oil in modifying the wave breaking.
If a bar harbour has to be entered on a flood tide a boat could discharge oil so that it would run in ahead of her. On an ebb tide, the oil could be distributed by some apparatus in connection with the shore.
"A wave-smoother," made by The Storm Anchor Co., Campbell-road, Bow, is shown by Fig. 82 as intended for lifeboats. It is a sail made of stout canvas, with a buoyant wooden yard on top, and a tube made of strong galvanised steel at bottom, large enough to contain from one to two gallons of oil. This tube acts at once as a sinker and yard: it is a self-distributor when in the sea, and a safe and strong receptacle for oil. The central figure shows it hanging in beckets under the boat's thwart, whence it may be thrown overboard, and will then commence acting instantly, as storm anchor and wave-smoother. Its four guys should be made fast to about 60 feet of the boat's painter, and veered ahead. It will not fail to keep the boat's head to the sea; and the oil, rising to the surface, will most effectually calm down the breaking and high topping waves before they burst on the boat. By this system the boat will require little, if any, personal management, as the anchor and the oil acting together will render the terrible disaster of capsizing very remote.
FIG. 81.
If used for scudding, it should be tightly furled and towed astern by the four guys; but when the seas rise high, boats should be hove to.
If kept suspended under athwart it can never be trodden on and burst, as it would be in any other place by a body of people hurriedly springing into a boat. When overboard it will discharge oil at a uniform rate, and make one gallon go as far as five applied in any other way.
FIG. 79.
FIG. 80.
Vegetable oil mixed with one half fish oil and one-tenth weight of tow or oakum, is recommended.
Another wave-smoother is made by the "Mermaid" Wave Subduer Company, 19, Castle-street, Liverpool.
FIG. 82.
Attempts made to still the waves for ships to have a comparatively smooth passage with a bead sea have not been very successful. In 1888, trials were made on board the North German Lloyd liners with rockets containing oil fired ahead of the ships in the teeth of a gale. It was said that five rockets--we presume in instantaneous succession--were fired 900ft. ahead of the ship dead to windward in a gale, and that from 1500 sq. ft. to
Oil on Troubled Waters-continued.
2000 sq. ft. were covered with the oil liberated from the rockets. If the oil from these five rockets covered an area of, say 2000 sq. ft., the area would he more or less circular in form, with a diameter, say, of 50ft. Thus we assume that the oil spread out 25ft. in all directions whilst the ship was travelling 900ft. ; we further assume that the speed of the ship would he, in a gale about 15 knots, equal to 1516ft. per minute; thus the oil, whilst the ship traversed 900ft., would only have thirty-six seconds to spread in; or, in other words, a rocket would have to he fired every seven seconds to make an oily path for a ship travelling at the rate of 15 knots, It should he noted that the oily path would be no broader than the ship, and that keeping in it would be like walking a chalk line under the influence of very exuberant spirits. We do not think such a streak as this would he of much value to a ship, even if she could keep actually in it, or just to leeward of it.
To make a continuous oily path for a ship travelling at the rate of 15 knots, five rockets would have to he fired every seven seconds. Thus, forty-three rockets would have to be fired per minute, 2580 per hour, and 61,920 per twenty-four hours. If the ship travelled at the rate given, she would he about eight days on a voyage; and if rockets were required the whole time, 495,360, or practically half a million, would have to he fired. These could not possibly he manufactured and fired a distance of 900ft. under a cost of 6d. each, or a total cost of 12,384£, a sum probably more than double the average amount of passage money per voyage. We do not, therefore, think that the luxury of having an oily track across the Atlantic is yet within range of things practicable.
O.M.-- See "B.M."
In the direction of, as "on the bow," "on the beam," "on the quarter," "on for that buoy," &c.
On a Bowline.--
Close-hauled. Generally applied to the square rig when a ship has her bowlines hauled taut to keep the leeches of the sails from shaking when she is close-hauled.
On on Easy Bowline.-- Not quite close-hauled; a good full.
On a Wind.-- Close-hauled; not off the wind.
One-Design Class.--
A number of boats built precisely alike; the design, construction, and sails being exactly similar. Boats are built in this manner, by mutual arrangement, for racing purposes, and afford excellent sport because, all things being equal, the steersman and crew showing most knowledge of seamanship are likely to secure the prize. The drawback to a one-design class is that when once the form of boat is stereotyped it cannot be improved, and thus were all competitive sailing conducted on the one-design class principle the science of yacht architecture would remain at a standstill.
On End.--
A mast is said to be on end when in its place; literally, standing on its end. Generally applied to topmasts.
One, Two, Three, Haul !--
A cry raised by the foremost hand in hauling on a tackle. All hands throw their whole weight and strength on the rope or fall at the word "Haul!"
Open.-- Upon sailing round a point or headland when an object comes into view.
Opposite Tacks.--
When of two vessels one is on the port tack and the other on starboard tack. Cross tacks.
Ordinary Seaman.--
On board a man-of-war a young sailor not yet efficient in his duties so as to entitle him to the rank of A.B.
Outer and Inner Turns.--
In bending a sail to a yard, the outer turns haul the sail out taut along the yard, the inner turns secure the sail.
A rope or tackle by which a sail is hauled out on a spar, as distinct from an inhaul by which it is hauled inboard.
A contrivance of some sort for extending a sail or stay outboard. A name for a kind of rowboat which has the rowlocks extended beyond the boat's side by iron rod brackets.
Over-canvassed.-- Too much canvas.
The rough water caused by the tide pouring over a rough or precipitous bottom.
The portions of the hull which project beyond the waterline fore and aft.
To overtake another vessel; to loosen the parts of a tackle; to ease up, to slacken, or free the fall of a tackle ; to slacken or "lighten up" a rope.
When any part, spars and sails included, of one vessel covers or overlaps any pert of another vessel. Technically in a yacht race yachts are not considered overlapping within the meaning of the rules (1) unless they are sailing approximately the same course or nearly in the same direction (2) unless they are close enough together for risk of collision to be involved.
For instance, if A were found to be covering B by a line drawn at right angles across a chart, and A and B were a quarter of a mile apart, this would not be an overlap. Moreover, if A and B were sailing different ways on opposite tacks the question of an overlap would never be involved. Questions about "Overlaps" are often discussed by yachtsmen when speaking of racing, because under the rules an overlap often governs the right of way, but it should always be remembered the term "overlap" only begins to apply when A and B come within range of risk of collision and when they are sailing in the same direction. When the risk of collision ceases, or before it begins, the overlap obviously ceases to have any importance, because when no such risk exists, the sea being free property, A and B may sail anywhere they please.


Over-masted.-- Masts that are too large or long for a vessel.
Generally more rigging, spars, and canvas than a vessel will properly bear.
Over-set.-- To cause a capsize.
Overshoot a Mark.--
To go up to a mark with too much way on so that the vessel shoots past it.
Over-reach or Overstand.--
To stand so long on a reach that upon tacking the vessel can fetch much farther to windward of a mark than was necessary or desirable.
To approach a vessel that is sailing ahead. The "rule of the road" is that an overtaking vessel must keep clear of the vessel she overtakes; the vessel so overtaken must, however, keep her course steadily. In competitive yacht sailing this rule is somewhat different, as it allows the vessel that is overtaken to alter her course to windward to prevent the other passing her to windward; she must not, however, alter her course to leeward to prevent the overtaking vessel passing on her lee side.


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