Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and Architecture

(11th and final edition, 1913)

Seaman - Slab.

A man trained in the art of sailing, rigging, and general management of a ship.To make a good seaman a man must have practised the multitudinous details of his art with great diligence, and is then described as an "able seaman" or A.B. To say a man is a "seaman" means that he is thoroughly conversant with every duty of a sailor's life, and can not only "hand, reef, and steer," but can do every kind of work upon rigging, and even use the needle and palm.
The statutes relating to seamen are very numerous, and many of them affect, or can be made to affect, yacht sailors; however, many of the provisions of the Merchant Ship.ping Acts are rendered inoperative so far as yacht sailors go, because the signing of articles is not imperative.


The master, mate, or engineer of a yacht need not possess a Board of Trade certificate, as sect.- 92 of the Act of 1894, which, in effect, provides that no home-trade passenger ship or foreign-going ship shall proceed to sea without having certificated master and mates, does not in any way apply to pleasure yachts.- The Board of Trade have, however, instituted voluntary examinations for persons who command their own pleasure yachts, not, be it observed, for those who are not yacht owners, but who may be desirous of taking charge of a yacht. A yacht owner, passing a satisfactory examination in navigation and seamanship, will be presented by the Board of Trade with a certificate entitling him to command his own yacht, which is a useless privilege, as he can take command of his yacht with or without the examination or certificate. The practical value set upon these very useless certificates by the Board of Trade may be gathered from one of the conditions: "The certificate will not entitle the holder to command any vessel except the pleasure yacht of which he may be, at the time, owner." (See "Master.")
All yacht servants, from the master to the boy, may be dismissed without wages for:
1. Wilful disobedience of any lawful command of the owner-" an offence," said Sir William Scott, "of the grossest kind: The Court would be particularly attentive to preserve that subordination and discipline on board of ship which is so indispensably necessary for the preservation of the whole service, and of every person in it. It would not, therefore, be a peremptory or harsh tone. . . that will ever be held by the Court to justify resistance." In "Spain V. Arnott" (2 Starkie, 256), a farm servant was dismissed because he refused to go to a place a mile off before dinner, dinner being then ready. Lord Ellenborough said: "If the servant persisted in refusing to obey his employer's orders, I think he was warranted in turning him away.
It would be exceedingly inconvenient if the servant were to be permitted to set himself up to control his employer in his domestic regulations. After a refusal on the part of the servant to perform his work, the employer is not bound to keep him on as a burdensome and useless servant." So, too, a regimental messman, having once refused to serve up dinner until threatened with arrest, was held to have been rightly dismissed, although he offered an apology next morning: ("Churchward V. Chambers," 2 F. & F. 229). Again, where a man agreed (under 5 & 6 Will.- 4, c. 19) to serve as carpenter's mate of a vessel during a South Sea voyage, but refused to work except to an English port, the Court held him to have been rightly discharged:
("Renno V. Bennett," 3 Q. B. 768). And, lastly, it has been decided that an employer was warranted in dismissing a servant who persisted, contrary to the employer's orders, in going to visit a relation believed by her to be in a dying state: ("Turner V.- Mason," 14 M. & W. 112). In the case of a master of a yacht, it may be doubted whether the refusal to obey an order involving unnecessary danger would be a good ground of discharge; nor, it is apprehended, would the failure to comply strictly with a command warrant a summary course of procedure ; as, for instance, if an owner ordered the master to make fast to one buoy, and he, perhaps for what he considered a good reason, made fast to another near at hand.
2. Gross moral misconduct, such as robbery, violence, continued insolence, or drunkenness:
("Cunningham V. Foublanque," 6 C.- & P. 49; "Speck V. Phillips," 5 M. & W. 279; "Wire V. Wilson," 1 C. & R. 662). On these matters Sir W. Scott said : "Drunkenness, neglect of duty, and disobedience are offences of a high nature, fully sufficient to justify discharge without notice..-- Drunkenness is an offence particularly obnoxious on board ship, where the sober, vigilant attention of every man is required. At the same time the Court cannot entirely forget that in a mode of life peculiarly exposed to severe peril and exertion, and therefore admitting in seasons of repose something of indulgence and refreshment, that indulgence and refreshment are naturally enough sought for by such persons in grosser pleasures of that kind; and therefore proof of a single act of intemperance, committed in port, is no conclusive proof of disability for general maritime employment :" ("The Exeter," 2 C. Robinson, 263).
3. Incompetence.-- When a man ships on board a yacht there is on his part an implied warranty that he possesses sufficient skill for the work he undertakes. No express promise that he has the requisite skill is necessary, and should he be found incompetent he may be discharged without notice : (Harmer v. Cornelius 28 L. J., C. P. 85). But the incompetence must be closely connected with the work he undertakes for example, a master employed to take char e of a sailing yacht could not be summarily discharged because he happened to be unacquainted with the management of a steam yacht or vice versa or because he did not know how to manage a trawl &c
4 Permanent illness a according to the best authority a ground or dismissal "for there is no difference between a servant who will not and a servant who cannot perform the duty for which he was hired (Harmer v. Cornelius ante Cuckion v. Stones 28 L J Q B 03.) hut mere temporary indisposition walk not justify discharge. If a master receives injury in the performance of his duties he, like the e , under the provisions of the Insurance Act.
Should the master be rightfully discharged for misconduct while the yacht is away cruising the owner is under no liability to pay his passage either to his home or to the place at which he was engaged ; for the dismissal was brought about by the man's own misconduct which is not to be a tax on the employer. ("Turner v. Robinson," 5 B. & Adolphius, 789). Should the offender refuse to leave the vessel, he may be removed by force, but the services of a policeman should be sought for, as, if unnecessary violence be employed, it will amount to an assault on the man.
On the subject of clothes the law is that the property in them is in the yacht owner; when, therefore, the servant is dismissed for misconduct, he cannot claim to take his clothes. If, however, he be hired expressly for the season, or for a year, at stated wages and his clothes, he then becomes entitled to them at the expiration of the season, or of the year, as the case may be: ("Crocker v. Molyneux," 3 C. & P. 470). Should a servant be guilty of returning the clothes supplied to him to the tailor or draper in exchange for money or private clothes, a yacht owner is only liable to pay for the garments actually supplied, and not for those given in exchange, and is entitled to set off against a subsequent account for clothes, the price of those supplied and paid for, but subsequently taken back by the tradesman: ("Hunter v. Berkeley," 7 C. & P.413). See eases tried in County Courts-Dublin, August, 1874; Torquay, Nov.17, 1877; Newport, Isle of Wight, Aug. 6, 1878; Southampton, Dec.10, 1878.
The strictly legal side of the question only has been dealt with; the questions of expediency and bounty are left to individual taste.
A form of agreement suitable for. an owner and master to enter into is herewith appended.
Memorandum of Agreement entered into this day of , one thousand hundred , between , of , and hereinafter termed the owner, on the one part, and mariner of , and hereinafter termed the master, on the other part. The owner agrees to engage the master to serve in that capacity on board the yacht , and to pay him as wages the sum of per , the said wages to be paid [here insert "weekly," "monthly," "quarterly," as the case may be] ; and the owner agrees to supply the master each year the yacht is in commission during this agreement with suits of clothes complete, as usually found for the master of a yacht; and the owner agrees that the said clothes shall be the property of the master, unless the master is discharged for misconduct, or discharges himself during any period that the owners yacht is in commission ; and the owner agrees to find the sailing master in food and a reasonable quantity of beer or other drink, or the equivalent in money of such food and drink, for the period the owner's yacht is in commission during this agreement;] and the said sailing master, on his part, agrees to enter and abide in the service of the owner for the wages and other considerations aforesaid, and to the best of his ability to maintain discipline, strict sobriety, cleanliness, and general good conduct in the crew on board the owner's yacht, and to keep the owner's yacht in a smart, tidy, clean, and yacht-like condition, and to incur no expense for the maintenance of the hull or equipment of the owner's yacht further than lawfully authorised by the owner, and to willingly, carefully, and skilfully take the owner's yacht to such places as the owner may desire her to be taken, either on the coasts of the British Isles or the coasts of , between and ; and when the yacht is put out of commission during this agreement the master, assisted by the crew, agrees to dismantle her and carefully store all her equipment as directed and to frequently visit the owner's yacht for the purpose of ventilating, pumping, and generally preserving and taking care of her and her equipment in the period she is out of commission during this agreement ; and it is further jointly agreed between the owner and master that the wages shall commence to be earned and continue to be paid as aforesaid, on and after the day of , one thousand hundred and ; and it is further jointly agreed between the owner and master that this agreement shall terminate upon either the owner or master giving notice thereof, but the owner may summarily cancel the agreement and dismiss the master should the master wilfully disregard any of the owner's reasonable commands, or be guilty of any misconduct, such as drunkenness, quarrelsomeness, violence of conduct, smuggling, continued absence, or neglect of duty, breaches of this agreement, gross carelessness, extravagance, or incompetence.
(Signed) Owner.
Sailing Master.
Witness, .
A curious point might arise with regard to cooks and stewards. On shore, both these functionaries would most certainly fall within the category of domestic servants, and would, therefore, be entitled to a month's warning, or payment of a month's wages; hut where the duration of the contract can only be inferred from the fact that the wages are paid weekly, it would be taken to be a weekly hiring, in which case a week's notice would suffice; or, again, owing to the fact that they cannot obtain situations as readily as shore servants, it is just possible that they might be held entitled to the same notice as the master, if they were hired on the same terms by the year and paid at the same intervals..
What has been said only applies when there has been no special stipulation at the commencement of the service, or no proof of custom. If an agreement has been made, the parties are bound by it; as there are no reported cases deciding what the custom is, the question is still in abeyance. Every yacht owner knows what he believes to be the custom, hut until his idea has been supported in a court of law it is only a surmise.
It is desirable for the master and crew to sign an agreement drawn up in a form sanctioned by the Board of Trade. If a Board of Trade agreement is agreed to and adopted without alteration, it must contain the following particulars as to terms :
1. The nature, and as far as practicable, the duration of the intended voyage; or the maximum period of the voyage or engagement and the places (if any) to which the voyage or engagement is not to extend. The statement under this head must be sufficiently plain to enable a man to understand the nature of the work for which he contemplates an engagement.
2. The number and description of the crew, specifying how many are engaged as sailors.
3. The time at which each seaman is to be on board or to begin work.
4. The capacity in which each seaman is to serve.
5. The amount of wages which each seaman is to receive.
6. A scale of the provisions which are to be furnished to each seaman.
7. Any regulations as to conduct on board, and as to fines, short allowance of provisions, or other lawful punishments for misconduct, which have been sanctioned by the Board of Trade as regulations proper to be adopted, and which the parties agree to adopt; and the agreement shall be so framed as to admit of stipulations on the part of the employer and the employed which are not contrary to law.
These agreement forms can be obtained at the Mercantile Marine offices, and from the Board of Trade; they are printed, and spaces are left for filling in the signatures of the different stipulations.
Of course yacht owners may make any special written agreements which their crews will sign; but the Board of Trade form, having official sanction given to it, should be adhered to as much as possible. In the interpretation clause of the Merchant Ship. ping Act, the word "seaman," is to include "every person (except masters, pilots, and apprentices duly indentured and registered) employed or engaged in any capacity on board any ship." In steam yachts, therefore, the engineers and firemen would be seamen; as also would be on every yacht the cook and steward. It may be observed that a yacht owner, though he should adopt the forms of agreement signed by the Board of Trade, or a modification of them, is not compelled to require that all the persons engaged on board his yacht should sign them. He may, for instance, engage his cook and steward on the same terms as would be the case if their service would be performed onshore. Still, it will be found advisable that the authority of the master should be secured over all on board alike, by the medium of a written agreement
The agreement is to be signed by all parties to it, the master signing first; and the document dates from the time of his signature.
In order to avoid any technical difficulties that may arise, the yacht owner should sign as master, and the regular sailing master as mate. The master to whom the men sign has sole control of everybody on board, and even in the movements of the vessel, and there is a story that a master of a yacht up the Mediterranean once threatened to put an owner in irons. Such gross misbehaviour, however, could not go long unrewarded.
In order to enable the crew to refer to the agreement, the master should at the commencement of the voyage have a legible copy (omitting the signatures) placed in some part of the vessel to which the men have access.
The following are the terms of the Official Agreement of the Board of Trade:
The several persons whose names are subscribed, and whose descriptions are contained herein, and of whom [all] arc engaged as sailors, hereby agree to serve on board the said yacht in the several capacities expressed against their respective names, until the said yacht shall be paid off [on a cruise of pleasure to any British or foreign port or ports to which the Owner or Master may think fit to go. Voyage not to exceed months].
And the crew agree to conduct themselves in an orderly, faithful, honest, and sober manner, and to be at all times diligent in their respective duties, and to be obedient to the lawful commands of the said Master, or of any Person who shall lawfully succeed him, and of their Superior Officers, in everything relating to the said yacht and the stores thereof, whether on board, in boats, or on shore; in consideration of which services to be duly performed, the said Master hereby agrees to pay to the said crew as wages the sums against their names respectively expressed, and to supply them with provisions according to the scale one the other side hereof.
And it is hereby agreed that any embezzlement or wilful or negligent destruction of any part of the yacht's stores shall be made good to the Owner out of the wages of the person guilty of the same.
And if any person enters himself as qualified for a duty which he proves incompetent to perform, his wages shall be reduced in proportion to his incompetency, but no such reduction shall be made unless and until notice in writing of intention to make such reduction shall be given by the Master to the person who will be affected thereby; and it is also agreed that the Regulations authorised by the Board of Trade which are printed herein and numbered [1 to 5]# are adopted by the parties hereto, and shall be considered as embodied in this Agreement.
And it is also agreed that, if any member of the crew considers himself to be aggrieved by any breach of the Agreement or otherwise, be shall represent the same to the Master or Officer in charge of the ship in a quiet and orderly manner, who shall thereupon take such steps as the case may require; and it is also stipulated that advances an account and allotments of part of usages shell be made as specified against the names of the respective seamen in the columns provided for that purpose.
And it is also agreed that any man guilty of misconduct shall be liable to be discharged by the Master at any port in Great Britain or Ireland; and that the voyage shall be considered as terminated when the yacht is paid off.
And it is also agreed that [the clothes provided by the Owner shall remain his property until the final discharge of the crew, and should any member of the crew leave or be discharged previously the yacht's clothes are to be left on board. The yacht's boats are not to be used by the crew without permission from the Master or Officer in charge of the yacht. The anchor watch to be relieved on deck]. [If a steam yacht the following should be added: The seamen and fireman are mutually to assist each other in the duties of the yacht when required by order of the Master].
In witness whereof the said parties have subscribed their names herein, on the days mentioned against their respective signatures.
Signed by Master, _ on the _ day of 19xx.
A seaman's right to wages and provisions begins either at the time at which he commences work, or at the time specified in the agreement for his arrival on board, whichever first happens, so that if a seaman goes on board and works sooner than be need have done, his right to wages does not necessarily date from the time he went on board.
* In the case of foreign going yachts it is usual to insert particulars of the following nature: [On a cruise of pleasure to any British or foreign ports, or ports between the latitudes of 75 degrees north latitude arid 75 degrees south latitude].
#Instructions to Masters with regard to the crew, and regulations for maintaining discipline (1 to 5), &c. are given on the official forms. The words in brackets are suggested as an example of the additions usually made. The words in italics are usually deleted, as the crew, with the exception of the Master, Mate, Steward, &c. generally provide their own provisions, money being advanced to them for that purpose.
Sea Mile.-- 6,080ft. (See "Knot.")
Sea Pie.-- A dish made up of all sorts in layers.
Sea Way.--
Generally used in the sense of waves in an open sea, meaning a disturbed sea.
In every respect fit to go to sea. In chartering a ship it is insisted that she must be "tight, staunch and strong, and well equipped, manned with an adequate crew, provisions," &c.
Second Topsail.-- A gaff topsail between the largest and the jib-headed topsail.
A way of securing a bight of a rope by a lashing so as to form an eye, or of securing any parts of ropes together.
Selvagee Strop.-- A strop made of spun yarn laid up in coils and marled. (See "Strop.")
Serve.-- To cover a rope with marline called "service."
Serving Mallet.-- The mallet which riggers use to wind service round ropes and bind it up tightly together.
Set.-- To hoist or make sail. This word is sometimes improperly confused with "sit" in reference to the way a sail stands.
Set Flying.-- Not set on a stay or bent by a lacing; a jib in a cutter is set flying.
Set of the Tide.-- Direction of the current. Setting Up.-- Purchasing up rigging taut.
Sewed or Sued.--
The condition of a vessel that grounds and on the return of the tide is not floated. If the tide does not lift her by 2ft. she is said to be "sewed" 2ft. If the tide on falling does not leave her quite dry, she is said to "sew" 1ft., 2ft., 3ft., or more, as the case may be.
A U-shaped crook with an eye in each end, through which a screw bolt is passed. Variously used, and are often preferred to hooks. (Fig. 93.) There is a shackle at every fifteen fathoms of cable, so that by unshackling it the cable can be divided into many parts. Useful if the cable has to be slipped.
FIG 93
Shake Out a Reef.-- To untie the reef points and unroll a reef and hoist away.
Shake, To.-- To sail a vessel so close to wind that the weather cloths of the sails shake; the bead sails generally are the first to shake, and if the helmsman does not notice it someone who does sings out, "All shaking forward"; or "Near forward."
Shake Up.-- "Give her a shake up." This is an order to put down the helm and cause the vessel to luff until her sails are "all shaking." The practice is to give a vessel a shake up and thus ease the weight on the sheets and enable the crew to get them in and belay before she again feels the weight.
Shallow Bodied. -With a very limited depth of hold.
Shape a Course.-- To steer a particular course.
Sharp Bottomed or Sharp Floored.-- A vessel with V-shaped sections.
Sharp Bowed.--
With a very fine entrance or a bow whose two sides form a very acute angle.
Sharp Sterned.--
A stern shaped something like the fore end or bow, thus <.
The copper sheets put on the bottom of a vessel. 16oz. and 20oz. copper is generally used for yachts. Sometimes 20oz. copper at the load line, and 16oz. below. The sizes and weight of sheathing are usually as follows :-
48in. by 20in., and more commonly for yachts 48in. by 14in.
The weight per sheet of the 48in. by 20in. is 7.5lb., there being 18oz. to the square foot. The weight per sheet of the 48in. by 14in. is as under :
16oz. 4.67lb.
20 ,, 5.83
28oz. 11.67lb. ,,
32 ,, 12.33 ,,
160 nails to a sheet, or 1cwt. nails to every 100 sheets.
The allowance made for old copper is generally one-eighth less the price paid for new. That is, if the price of new copper be 80£ per ton, the price of old will be 70£ per ton. This price is subject to another deduction of 5lb. per cwt. for dross, &c. Copper is usually put on so that the edges overlap, but in the case of a few yachts the edges of the copper have been butted: that is, the edges were laid edge to edge and the nails were counter sunk and scoured down. Of course this plan entails enormous trouble, but the superior surface it presents can be considered as a compensation. Many yacht builders obtain the copper sheathing of Messrs. Neville, Druce, and Co., 13, Sherborne-lane, E.C., and Messrs. Vivian and Son, Bond-court House, Walbrook.
The wheel within a block or in the sheave hole of a spar over which ropes pass.
A plan of shortening a rope by taking up a part and folding it into two loops or bights, and then putting a half hitch of each standing part over a bight (Fig. 94).
FIG 94.
The fore-and-aft vertical curve of a vessel's deck or rail of bulwarks. To sheer is to put the rudder over when a vessel is at anchor, so as to cause her to move laterally and ride clear of her anchor. A vessel is said to break her sheer when she departs from the sheer that has been given her.
Sheer Hulk.-- An old vessel fitted with sheers, whereby masts are lifted into other vessels. Sometimes used in the sense that nothing but the hulk remains.
Sheer Legs. - Two spars fitted with guys for lifting masts or other things.
Sheer Plan or Sheer Draught.-- A drawing showing a longitudinal vertical section or profile of a vessel.
Sheet.-- A rope or chain by which the lower after corners of sails are secured.
Sheet Bends.-- Fig. 95 is a single sheet bend, and Fig. 96 a double sheet bend.
FIG 95 FIG 96
Sheet Home.--
To strain or haul on a sheet until the foot of a sail is as straight or taut as it can be got. When the clew of a gaff topsail is hauled close out to the cheek block on the gaff. In practice, a gaff topsail sheet, however, is seldom sheeted home, as when once home no further strain could be brought on it; a few inches drift is therefore usually allowed. In square-rigged vessels a sail is said to be sheeted home when the after clews are hauled close out to the sheet blocks or sheave holes in the yard. This no doubt is the origin of the term.
A strong piece of timber running the whole length of the vessel inside the timber beads, binding the timbers together; the deck beams rest on and are fastened to the shelf.
Shifting Backstays.--
The topmast backstays which are only temporarily set up and shifted every time a vessel is put about or gybed. (See "Preventer.")
Shifting Ballast.--
Ballast carried for shifting to windward to add to stiffness. A practice forbidden in yacht racing.
Shifting her Berth.-- When a vessel removes from an anchorage, &c.
Shift of Plank.-- The fore and aft distance between the butts of one line of plank and that of the next below or above.
Shift Tacks, To.-- To go from one tack to the other.
Shift the Helm.-- To move the tiller from one side to the other ; thus, if it is put to port, an order to shift the helm means put it to starboard.
Shin Up.--
To climb up the shrouds by the hands and shins, when they are not rattled down.
Ship, To.--
To put anything in position. To engage as one of the crew of a vessel. To ship a sea, to ship a crutch, to ship a seaman, &c.
Ship Shape.-- Done in a proper and unimpeachable manner.
Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion. -An expression probably originating in days gone by when Bristol shipbuilders and seamen were in great repute.
Ship's Papers.-- These include builders' certificate, register (in case of not being nun original owner, bill of sale as well), hill of lading, bill of health, &c. Also, in the case of a yacht, her Admiralty warrant, if she has one.
Shiver.-- To luff up and cause the sails to shiver or lift.
Shiver flee Mizen.-- To luff up until the mizen lifts or shivers.
Shoe or Shod.-- Iron plates rivetted to the ends of wire rigging to receive shackle bolts.
Sheer.-- To move through the water after the means of propulsion is withdrawn.
Shore.-- A beach. A support of wood or iron, a prop.
Short Tacks or Short Beards.-- Beating or working to windward by frequent tacking.
Shorten.-- The wind is said to shorten when it comes more ahead. To shorten sail, to take in sail.
Shy.-- The wind is said to shy when it comes from ahead or breaks a vessel off.
Side Kelsons.-- Stout pieces of timber fitted fore and aft on either side of the keel.
Side Lights.--
The red (port) and green (starboard) lights carried by vessels when under way. Small yachts during bad weather are not required to have their side lights fixed, but must always have them ready on deck on their proper sides ready to show. Open boats must carry lights, and if the usual side lights are not used they must have lanterns fitted with green and red slides, to show- when required. Steam yachts and steam launches, in addition to the usual side lights, must carry a white light at the masthead. (See "Rule of the Road" under "Rules Concerning Lights.") A single lamp with tricoloured lenses is not permitted on the Thames.
Siding or Sided.-- The size of a timber, &c. between its two planes and parallel sides. (See "Moulding.")
Sight the Anchor.-- To heave up the anchor.
Signals.-- Yachtsmen will find the following signals is useful and every yacht should leave on board at least one man in the crew who can make and read the following common signals :
(Morse Code.)
Warning Signals for Vessels in Sight of one another
N.B.-The excessive use of Light or Sound Signals, mere especially flee latter, is liable to cause grave confusion and Ship masters are desired to exercise the greatest discretion in employing them particularly in crowded waters.
The following urgent and important signals may be made either by long and short flashes of light or by long and short sounds on a steam whistle sin en, foghorn, &
For example The signal, which in the Morse Alphabet represents the letter U is made by two short and one long flashes or blast - and means You are standing into danger."
Instructions for the use of Flashing or Sound Signals.
1. With flashing signals the lamp must always be turned towards the person addressed.
2. To attract attention, a series of rapid short flashes or sounds should be made and continued until the person addressed gives the sign of attention by doing the same.
If, however, it is supposed that the person addressed cannot reply, the signal may be made after a moderate pause, or, under certain circumstances, the communication may be made without preparatory signs.
3. After making a few rapid short flashes or sounds as an acknowledgment, the receiver must watch, or listen attentively, until the communication is completed, when he must make the sign indicated below, showing that the message is understood.
4. If the receiver does not understand the message, he must wait until the signal is repeated.
5. Duration of SHORT flashes or sounds
Duration of LONG flashes or sounds
Interval between each flash or sound ...
Preparative signal to attract attention...
Answer, or "I understand"
Urgent and important Signals.
You arc standing into danger (U)
I want assistance ; remain by me (V)
Have encountered ice (W)
Your lights are out (or, want trimming) (P)
The way is off my ship; you may feel your way past me (R)
Stop, or, Heave to; I have something important to communicate (L)
Am disabled; communicate with me (F)
Steering Signals.
When a vessel is in tow, the following signals may be made by flashes between her and the tug or towing vessel:
Steer more to starboard
Steer more to port
Cast off hawsers
The following signals, when used or displayed together or separately, shall be deemed to be signals for a pilot:
"in the Day-time.
"1. The Pilot jack (Union Jack with white border) to be hoisted to the fore.
"2. The International Code pilotage signal indicated by P T.
"3. The International Code flag S (white with small blue square centre), with or without the code pennant over it.
"4. The distant signal-two halls or shapes resembling balls hoisted about a cone point upwards.
"At Night.
"1. The pyrotechnic light, commonly known as a blue light, every fifteen minutes.
"2. A bright white light, flashed or shown at short or frequent intervals just above the bulwarks, for about a minute at a time."
"If a Master of a vessel uses or displays, or causes or permits any person under his authority to use or display, any of the pilot signals is for any other purpose than that of summoning a pilot, or uses or causes or permits any person under his authority to use any other signal for a pilot, he shall for each offence be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds."
Yachts find it a great convenience to be able to signal messages to the shore or to another vessel, and the British method of semaphoring, as illustrated, is very useful for short distances. Where hand flags are not available, a hat or cap, or the arm alone, can be used. Signalling at night can be carried on by showing and observing a light, thus making long and short flashes indicating the signals of the Morse Telegraphic Code. Coastguards are acquainted with both systems.
INSTRUCTIONS.-- The person intending to semaphore should make the International Code signal VON (I am going to semaphore to you) and show the Alphabetical sign, then wait until the person to whom the signal is to be made makes the sign C.
The communication should then be proceeded with by spelling, a momentary pause being made between each sign or letter, and the arms being dropped between each word or group.
Should the sign A be made by the Receiver, the last two words should be repeated until the sign C is again made.
If, in the course of an Alphabetical message, Numerals have to be signalled, the Numeral sign (see illustration) should be shown, and the numbers then made. When the Numeral signal is finished, the Alphabetical sign should be made and the communication by spelling proceeded with as before.
Answering and Receiving Semaphore Signals. The sign C should ]d be made by the Receiver of the signal, thus denoting that he is ready to read and write down the signal.
When a word is lost, the Receiver should make the sign A and the Sender should then repeat the last two words until the sign C is made again by the Receiver.
Signal of Distress.-- An ensign hoisted jack downwards.
Sister Block.--
A double block with two sheaves of the same size one above the other, and seized to the topmast shrouds of square rigged ships to receive the lifts and reef tackle pendants.
Sails are said to "sit" well when they do not girt, pucker, belly, or shake. This word is sometimes wrongly written "set."
An instrument (usually a born on a stick) for wetting sails. In old yacht club rules skeeting to windward only was allowed, as it was thought the skeet might be used as a means of propulsion. "Fire engines" were occasionally used for skeeting, but the practice has gone out of fashion.
Pieces of timber put under a boat for resting her on deck, or when launching off.
Skiff.-- A small boat used by coast watermen for the conveyance of passengers.
Skin.-- The outside or inside planking of a vessel.
Skinning.-- In stowing a mainsail lifting the outside part up time after time, the bunt forming a kind of bag. This should never be allowed, as it ruins the sail.
Skin Resistance.-- The resistance a vessel meets with owing to the friction of the water on her plank or sheathing. (See "Resistance.")
A slang term for the master of a yacht or other vessel. Ancient, "Schipper."
Skysail.-- A square sail set above the royals.
Sky Scraper.-- A triangular sail set above the skysail. Never used now.
Sky Pilot.-- A term applied by sailors to chaplains, also "Fire Escape."
Slab Line.-- A rope used to brail up the foot of courses.

Slab Reef.--

A kind of half-reef in a mainsail below the first reef, it takes up the foot or slab of the sail.





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© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
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