Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and
(11th and final edition, 1913)
Slack - Swivel.
- Not taut. To slack up a rope or fall of a
tackle is to ease it.
- Slack Helm.-- When a vessel carries very
little, if any, weather helm.
- Slack in Stays.-- Slow in coming head to wind,
and still slower in paying off.
- Slack Tide.--
- The tide between the two streams when it runs
neither one way nor the other. There are high-water
slack and low-water slack.
- Slant of Wind.-- A favouring wind. A wind that
frees a vessel when close-hauled.
- Sleep, or All Asleep.-- When the sails are full
and do not flap or shiver.
- Sliding Gunter.--
- A gentleman under the signature of "Far West"
says he has used a form of sliding gunter as shown
by Fig. 97.
- FIG 97.
- It is fitted as shown, the sail goes up and
down as a cutter's sail, but with one halyard. On
letting go the halyard, the sail falls into the
boat in a moment; it is made up on the boom, and
covered in the usual way. If the traveller is made
as shown it never jams, running up and down easily.
The traveller does not come into play under full
sail, but when reefed down the yard is sent up to
its proper place, and the downhaul, which is
spliced to the traveller, hauled taut; this holds
the yard to the mast, setting the sail well. The
masthead, or pole, should be as long as the
distance between the tack and the upper reef
cringle ; the sail may be further reefed by lashing
the halyard a foot or more above where it is fast
to the yard.
- Sliding Keel.--
- An old term for a keel which was lifted at the
ends in contradistinction a pivoted board. (See the
chapter on" Centreboards.")
- Slings.-- Ropes or strops used to support or
sling yards, &c.
- Slip.-- To let go, as to slip the cable.
- A fore-and-aft rigged vessel something like a
cutter, but usually has a standing bowsprit. Small
sloops have only one head sail set on a stay. (See
- Slot.-- An aperture generally for a pin or bolt
to travel in.
- Smack.-- A small trading vessel usually cutter
rigged. A fishing cutter.
- Small Helm.-- Said of a vessel when she carries
- Small Stuff.--
- A term applied in the dockyards to denote
planking of 4in. thickness and under.
- FIG 98.
- Snatch Block.--
- A block with an opening in the shell so that a
rope can be put over the sheave without reeving it.
(See Fig. 98.)
- Sneak Box.-- A shallow and beamy boat in use on
Barnegat Bay, U.S.A.
- A double-eyed strop used to support the heel of
a sprit on the mast. (See "Sprit Sail.")
- A two-masted vessel with a stay, termed a
horse, from the mainmast head to the deck on which
a trysail was set. Frequently a spar was fitted
instead of the stay.
- To bring a vessel up suddenly when she has way
on and only a short range of cable to veer out.
Sometimes necessary if the vessel must be stopped
at all costs, but a practice likely to break the
fluke of an anchor if it is a good and quick
- Comfortably canvassed to suit the weather.
Anything made neat, or stowed compactly.
- So !-An order to cease, often given instead of
"belay" when men are hauling on a rope.
- Soldiers' Wind.--
- A wind so that a vessel can lie her course all
through to her destination without tacking or any
display of seamanship.
- Sooji Mooji.--
- A composition of caustic soda and quicklime
(see "Caustic Soda") for cleaning off old paint,
- Sound.-- Not decayed or rotten; free of shakes,
splits, crushings, &c.
- Sounding.-- See "Lead."
- Soundings.-- To be near enough to land for the
deep sea lead to find a bottom.
- Spales or Spauls.--
- Cross shores used to keep the frame of a vessel
in position whilst building.
- A rope made fast by both ends to a spar or
stay, usually for the purpose of booking a tackle
to. Very long spans are now commonly fitted to
gaffs to hook the peak halyards to.
- Spanish Burton.--
- A purchase composed of three single blocks. A
double Spanish Burton consists of one double and
two single blocks.
- Spanish Reef.--
- A knot tied in the head of a jib. headed sail
to shorten the hoist or reduce the area of the
- The fore-and-aft sail set with boom and gaff on
the mizen of a square-rigged ship; termed also the
- Span Shackle.--
- A bolt with a triangular shackle. The gammon
iron that encircles the bowsprit at the stem. When
it is directly over the stem the forestay is
shackled to it.
- Spars.-- The masts, booms, gaffs, yards,
bowsprit, &c. of a vessel.
- Spars, Mensuration of.--
- Cubical contents of a spar can thus be found.
Find the area of each end (see "Area of Circles");
add the areas of the circles together and halve the
sum. Multiply the half by the length of the spar.
If the spar tapers towards each end, the area of
each end and the middle area should be taken, added
together, and divided by 3. And the plan is as
follows: take the girth (see circumference "Areas
of Circles ") of the spar at each end and halve it.
Find the square of the half, and multiply it by the
length of the spar. If the spar tapers at both
ends, find the girths at three places, halve and
divide by 3; find the square of the quotient, and
multiply it by the length of the spar. The weight
of spars can be found by multiplying their solid
contents by the weight in pounds per cubic foot of
the wood the spar is made of. Thus a cubic foot of
red pine will weigh from 32 to 40lb., and a cubic
foot of oak from 53 to 60lb. (See "Weight and Bulk
- Spectacle Strop.-- A short strop with an eye at
- Speed of Yachts.--
- The speed of yachts and ships under sail is a
subject of great interest to yachtsmen. Speaking
generally, modern yachts attain far greater speed
than old vessels in light winds, and the less the
wind the greater the difference in favour of modern
types. The American schooner Westward in
1910 displayed extraordinary speed in light airs
(and also in fresh winds). Such cutters as
Shamrock, 23 metres, 75 ft. L.W.L., attain
marvellous speed with hardly any wind at all when
older yachts would scarcely be able to move.
- In strong breezes when maximum speed is
attained, the difference in the speed of yachts is
only slightly in favour of modern vessels. No doubt
very exaggerated opinions prevail as to the speed a
yacht is capable of. Very frequently there is a
mistake made about the distance sailed in a certain
time; no allowance has been made for tide, or the
speed has been inaccurately judged. So far as our
experience goes, the following table gives the
maximum speed ballasted sailing yachts of certain
length and tonnage generally attain;
- These observed speeds correspond with the
theory that speed varies as the square roots of the
length on load waterline in vessels of similar form
and proportions. Of course, there have been
isolated instances when these speeds have been
exceeded, and especially by unballasted small
- A modern vessel, it is important to remember,
will attain a speed nearly approaching her maximum
speed when sailing quite close hauled. Sailing at
the same angle to the wind an old-fashioned vessel
could make but slow headway. When off the wind, in
a fresh breeze old and new types approach
- There has been no better instance of the
equality in speed of old and new vessels on a broad
reach (when sailing at high speed) than that
afforded by the races sailed across Channel on July
18th, 1903. After rounding the mark-boat off
Boulogne, the yachts sailed back to Dover Wick in a
steady jackyard topsail breeze a little abaft of
the beam. The matches included yachts of every
type, but the old boats were all thoroughly well
preserved, though possibly in some instances a
little undercanvased. Those which may be regarded
as good reaching boats came home in the order of
their length on load waterline, irrespective of age
and type. The weight of the wind was such that
Fiona was probably travelling her fastest.
The speeds of Cicely, Irex, and
Bona, no doubt, would have considerably
increased had there been rather more wind, whilst
probably Palmosa, although she had only a
jibheader aloft, would not have done much better
under different conditions.
- The time of sailing the distance, which is
approximately twenty-five miles, was as follows :-
- Length Time.
- Yacht. L.W.L. in ft. H. M. S.
- it is interesting to notice how nearly the time
occupied in seconds by the yachts varied in inverse
ratio to the square root of the length of load
waterline in feet
- Yacht L.W. L. Knots.
- Cicely 9)52 ... 8172 ... 1151
- Irex 9l8) ... 5)40 ... 10 79
- Bona 8 8)3 ... s))7 ... 10.92
- Fiona 8)44 ... 8710 ... 1033
- Namara 8387 ... 879) ... 1023
- Moonbeam 7.748 ... 910) ... 9-55
- Palmosa... 7748 ... 987) ... 9.30
- Owing to the great difference in the age, and
consequently in type, it would be unfair to compare
them according to Y.R.A. linear rating, a form of
measurement which naturally penalises some more
severely than others, but supposing their rating
for the purposes of this race to have accorded with
their L.W.L. length, it is really remarkable how
very close the yachts would have come together
under the existing scale of time allowance of the
Y.R.A. Cicely, at 92ft. would have allowed
Palmosa, at 54ft., 1580sec., according to
the Y.R.A. time scale, whilst the actual difference
between them in the race was 1503sec. These
circumstances lead us to conclude that, for
practical purposes, there is as much truth today in
the adage that the speed of yachts varies according
to the square root of the length as there was at a
time the oldest of these competitors was launched,
and when yachtsmen were less inclined to believe
mathematical calculations than they are now. When
we consider, too, the long period over which the
careers of the competing vessels have extended, for
Fiona was built in 1865 and Moonbeam
in 1903, the races from Dover to Boulogne and back,
on July 18th, 1903, must be regarded as amongst the
most interesting contests recorded in yachting
- There are some apparently well-authenticated
reports that yachts of great length on the
load-line have reached a speed of 16 knots. The
fastest speed ever attained by a sailing yacht
(which can be regarded as actually authentic) was
reached by the schooner Rainbow in 1898.
This yacht was designed by Mr. G.L. Watson, and
built on the Clyde for the late Mr. C.L. Orr-Ewing.
She was 115ft. long, L.W.L., and carried 13,460 sq.
ft. of canvas. In the race from Dover to Heligoland
for the German Emperor's Cup in 1898 she sailed
from the Borkam Lightship to Heligoland mark boat,
a distance of 60 miles, in four hours, and twice
during that time the log registered 16.5 knots. On
August 3rd, 1898, at Cowes, she sailed the Queen's
course, 47 miles, at an average speed of 12.3
- The yawl Sybarita on June 11th, 1901,
racing against the cutter Kariad in a match
from Rothesay round the Ailsa Crag and back, which
sailed in nearly a gale of wind and very heavy sea,
averaged 12.3 knots.
- On August 6th, 1902, the German Emperor's
schooner Meteor III, with a water line of
120ft., sailed the Queen's course at Cowes in 3hrs.
50min. 27sec., just two minutes less time than
Rainbow occupied on August 3rd, 1898;
Rainbow, however, had to make several tacks,
and Meteor reached all the way.
Meteor's time of 1902 was the fastest ever
recorded over the Queen's course at that date; but
on August 7th, 1908, the schooner Cicely
sailed the Queen's course in 3hrs. 43min. 27sec.,
thus beating the old records of Rainbow and
- On August 8th, 1908, a German built vessel --
Germania (L.W.L. about 107ft.) -- sailed the
old Queen's course at Cowes (Bullock and Lymington)
in 3hrs. 35min. 11sec., the distance, 47 miles,
being covered at an average speed of 13.1 knots.
This is now the fastest race ever sailed at
- The American yacht Sappho (121ft.
L.W.L.) is alleged to have made 16 knots as long
ago as 1869; and as doubts have at various times
been thrown upon the statement, an extract from her
log book in crossing the Atlantic in 1869 is given
further on. The Sappho left Sandy Hook
Lightship 7 a.m. July 28, and arrived Queenstown
Harbour 9 p.m. Aug. 9, Queenstown time, making the
run in 12 days 9 hours 36 min. (two hours less to
the Old Head of Kinsale).
- The marvellous Transatlantic passage of the
schooner Atlantic (135ft. L.W.L.), Sandy
Hook to the Scilly Islands in 11 days 16hrs. 22min.
is given on page 750. This was done in 1905 after a
lapse of 36 years.
- In the case of the Sappho it will be
seen that the strong wind was on the quarter the
whole way, and as the sea was exceptionally smooth,
more favourable conditions for attaining high speed
could not have been had. As a rule, with a strong
wind, there is a great deal of sea, and this, of
course, is an unfavourable condition for the
attainment of high speeds, and it must be
remembered that the schooner Atlantic was
14ft. longer on the L.W.L. than the Sappho.
- In the Atlantic race of 1886, between the
American yachts Dauntless and
Coronet, the Dauntless logged 328 miles in
24 hours, whilst the biggest run of the Coronet was
- It is equally well authenticated that the
American yacht Meteor (which was lost in the
Mediterranean), in a passage from Cowes to Lisbon
in 1869, logged 319 miles in 24 hours, with a
strong, quarterly, double-reef wind. During some
portion of the 24 hours the Meteor logged 16
- The Cambria, in the Atlantic yacht race
1870 only attained a maximum speed of 11.5 knots,
but there was a heavy quarter sea whenever she had
a strong fair wind. In the year 1871 the late Mr.
Dixon Kemp said that the greatest sustained speed
that he had ever been witness to an a match was in
a race between the Livonia (106ft. on the
waterline) and Columbia (98ft.) in America.
The Livonia did the distance between the S.W. Spit
buoy and Sandy Hook Lightship, 8.75 nautical miles,
in 40 minutes, or at the rate of 13 knots; and no
doubt that some part of the time she was going 13.5
knots. The tide was not strong, and abeam.
- The reader will observe that this speed has
been exceeded by more modern vessels. In a match of
the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Ryde, on Aug. 12,
1885, the Irex (cutter, 83.5ft. on the
waterline) in a strong reaching wind went round a
course of 50 miles in four hours eight minutes. The
tide was equally with and against her, so the
average speed through the water was 12.1
- We do not think this speed has been much
exceeded by English yachts of the lengths given,
but the late Mr. Thellusson stated that the
Guinevere (121ft. L.W.L.) logged 14 knots.
Mr. Heckstall Smith timed the schooner
Germania (107ft L.W.L.) to sail 5 nautical
miles, from the East Princessa Buoy to the Warner
Lightship, in 20min.; making a slight curve to
allow for water on the end of St. Helens Patch, she
was then doing 15 knots. This was in a race on
August 12th, 1912. Regarding, then, the figures
given by the late Mr. Thellusson, and other
yachtsmen of the old school, about the year 1870,
and those of the present day, it may be concluded,
in a general sense, that there has been a slight
increase in the maximum speed of yachts.
- When we consider that Irex was 7ft.
shorter than Sybarita, no less than 33ft.
shorter than Rainbow, and 37ft. shorter than
Guinevere, Sappho, and 23ft. shorter
than Germania her performance can only be
regarded as marvellous.
- The fastest day run of a sailing yacht in an
ocean passage was made by the American yacht
Atlantic on May 24th, 1905, in a race across
the Atlantic Ocean for a Cup given by the German
Emperor. This yacht was a three-masted fore-and-aft
schooner, 185ft long over all, 135ft L.W.L., 29ft.
6in. beam, and 15ft draught, 532 tons, T.M. She ran
341 nautical miles in the day, thus averaging 14.2
knots (see her log below): the late Captain Charles
Barr was at the helm. Her owner was Mr. Wilson
- It is recorded that the clipper ship
Sovereign of the Seas in 1852 averaged 300
miles a day for eleven consecutive days, and 333
miles for four consecutive days. Her greatest
distance any day, noon to noon, was 362 miles; but
in 1853, on a voyage from Oaten to New York, she
ran 396 miles on March 16, and on the 18th
- The ship Red Jacket, New York to England,
January, 1853, logged 417 miles, and in the
Southern Ocean, July, 1853, she made the following
- Date. Miles. Date Miles. Date Miles.
- July 3 312 July 7 299 July 11 24)
- 4 300 ,, 5...... 380 ,, 32 700
- 288 ,, 9 7)7
- G 400 I ,, 10 334 Total... 318i
- On July 8 the latitude was 46 38' S., longitude
1195 44' E. The foregoing particulars were
published by her commander, Mr. Samuel Reid, in the
Field of April 16, 1887.
- The James Baines, in the Southern Ocean,
June 17, 1856, did 418 miles in the 24 hours,
latitude 430 31' 5., longitude 106s 15' E. On the
18th she logged for a time 21 knots. This may or
may not be authentic, but the extract from her log
is given below.
- The Lightning is said to have averaged
18 knots for 24 hours -- that is, 432 miles in the
24 hours, and the James Baines, on a voyage to
Australia, in 1855, is credited with 430 miles in
the 24 hours. In the Field of April 3rd, 1909, Mr.
W.H. Stoneham records that he was serving on board
the full rigged ship Jura, 1198 tons, on her
maiden voyage from Greenock to Calcutta, and when
running her easting down she logged 420 miles, noon
to noon. This was in December, 1875. In all cases
nautical miles are meant, and not statute
- The Melbourne in a passage to Australia
in 1876 averaged 300 miles for 17 consecutive days.
Her greatest runs were 374, 365, and 352 miles per
- The greatest speed ever entered in a log of a
sailing ship was in the log of the James Baines,
June 18th, 1856, 8:30 p.m.; it runs thus: "In all
starboard stud sails, ship going 21 knots with main
skysail set." (See "Time Allowance by
- The term of work allotted to any of the men in
a watch. Thus there is the spell at the helm termed
"trick"; spell at the masthead to look out, spell
at the pomp, &c. When a man's time comes to be
relieved and the one who has to take his place
lags, the former sings out "Spell 0!" (See
- A fore-and-aft sail set with gaffs in
square-rigged ships, as trysails on the fore and
- Spider-Hoop or Spider Band.--
- An iron band round the mast with iron belaying
pins in it.
- Marking on a bar of wood the distances that a
curved line (say that of a frame) is from a
- Spilling Lines.--
- Ropes attached to sails for spilling them of
wind in reefing or furling.
- Spindle Jib.-- A jib topsail.
- Spindle Model.-- A name given to a cylindrical
model tapering at the ends.
- Spindrift.-- See "Spoon Drift."
- A jib-headed sail reaching from the topmast
head to the deck, first introduced in yacht racing
in a Royal London match, June 5, 1865, by Mr.
William Gordon in the Niobe, and hence for some
time termed a "Ni-ohs." The term "spinnaker"
appears to have been applied to it as a kind of
nickname, without "rhyme or reason." In 1866 Mr.
Herbert Maudslay had a similar sail made for his
yacht Sphinx, and it was first used in a match of
the Royal Victoria Yacht Club at Ryde. The men
called the yacht "Spinks," and hence the Itchen
Ferry men nicknamed the sail a "spinker," as the
year before they called it a Ni-ohs. From spinker
came spinniker, or, as now written, "spinnaker."
The word, as heard spoken by the crew of the
Sphinx, was introduced into our nautical vocabulary
by the late Mr. Dixon Kemp in describing a yacht
match he sailed at Ryde on board the Sphinx, Aug.
15, 1866, and reported in the Field of Aug. 18. The
word next appeared in print in Hunt's "Yachting
Magazine" for September, 1866, in reference to the
same match, the word having apparently been taken
from the Field. The author first spelt the word
"spinniker," and the "spinnaker" form was not
introduced until 1869.
- Prior to the introduction of the spinnaker a
square sail and square topsail or raffee were used.
The accompanying wood-cut (Fig. 99) was made in
1854, and represents the Phantom (cutter, 27 tons)
in a match on the Thames. Sometimes a large jib was
hoisted by a block lashed half way up the topmast,
and boomed out by the tack (if allowed by the
rules) when before the wind. These large head sails
were, however, generally prohibited, and the
following is a copy of the rule of the Royal Thames
Yacht Club prior to 1865:
- "That all yachts cutter rigged, and not
carrying more than four fore and aft sails, be
eligible to sail; but no jib to exceed 2ft. in the
head nor to be hoisted above the mainmast head,
neither shall it be boomed out." It was the
rescinding of this role in 1865 that brought into
existence the "Ni-ohs" or "spinniker." Mr.
MacMullen, in his "Down Channel" (published in
1869), says that he had a similar sail in 1852; but
booming out a big balloon or jib by the tack was
always a common practice both on board yachts and
- Timber worked inside a vessel under the shelf
in a fore-and-aft direction.
- Spitfire.-- The smallest storm jib.
- To join the ends of rope together by
interweaving the untwisted strands. An eye splice
is formed by interweaving the untwisted end of a
rope in the lay of the strands.
- Split Lug.--
- A lugsail in two parts (Fig. 100); the fore
part is sheeted like a foresail, and in going about
the tack is never cast off, nor is the tack of the
after part of the sail. The up and down lines on
the sail show where it is divided and where the
mast comes. To heave to, the slew (after cringle)
of the fore part of the log would be hauled up to
the mat or to windward of it, easing the mainsheet
as required. The split lug is not in much favour.
The standing lug (or even balance lug) and foresail
rig has all the advantages of the split lug without
so much yard forward of the mast and without the
disadvantage of not being able to lower the fore
part or foresail. The most that can be said in
favour of the split lug is that it points out the
advantages of a main and foresail in preference to
- Spoken.-- Said when one ship has spoken to
another by signal.
- FIG 100
- The bars of the steering wheel of a ship
radiating from the boss. "To give her a spoke" is
to move the wheel to the extent of the distance
between spoke and spoke.
- The platform ahead and abaft paddle wheels,
usually outside the bulwarks, but sometimes
- Spoon Drift.-- Spray blown from the crests of
- A crosstree, a strut, a piece of wood or steel
used to extend and give breadth and leverage to a
stay such as the bobstay, topmast stay, masthead
stay, or forward mast head stay or strut.stay. The
cross trees act as a spreader to the topmast and
masthead stays, the dolphin striker to the bobstay
and the strut to the forward masthead or
strut-stay. (See "Strut.")
- Spring.-- A warp or hawser or rope.
- Spring a Mast.-- To crack or splinter a
- Spring her Luff.--
- To ease the weather tiller lines so that a
vessel will luff to a free puff.
- Sprit Sail.--
- A four-sided sail stretched by a pole termed a
sprit (Fig. 101). This is a time-honoured
contrivance for setting a sail that has no boom,
but a gaff is preferred if the sail has a
- Sprung.-- Damaged by a cross way cracking or
splintering. (See "Spring a Mast.")
- Spun Yarn -Small rope or cord used for serving,
- Said of sails when they are trimmed at right
angles to the keel. A ship is said to have square
yards when there is little difference between the
lengths of upper and lower yards, or when her yards
are very long.
- Square the Yards.--
- To brace them across at right angles to the
keel. Square the boom is to haul it out at right
angles to the keel.
- A vessel is said to be squeezed when she is
sailed very close to the wind in order that she may
weather some point or object.
- FIG 101.
- Stains on Deck.--
- Iron moulds, &c., can be removed from a
deck by a solution of one part muriatic acid, three
- A term variously employed; as to stand towards
the shore, to stand E.S.E., and so on; to stand on
without tacking. A sail is said to stand when it
does not lift or shake.
- Standard.-- See "Royal Standard."
- Stand By.--
- The order to make ready ; as "Stand by to lower
the topsail!" "Let go the anchor!" &c.
- Standing Part.--
- The part permanently made fast to something,
and not hauled upon.
- Standing Rigging.-- The rigging that is kept
permanently in its place.
- Stand Up.--
- A vessel is said to stand up well that carries
her canvas without heeling much.
- Starboard.-- The right hand side. The opposite
- The men and "watches" who compose the starboard
watch. (See "Larbolins.")
- Start, To.--
- To move, as to slacken a sheet or tack. To
start a butt is to cause a plank to start from its
fastenings at its butt or end.
- Started neither Tack nor Sheet.--
- Said when a vessel sails a long course without
a shift of wind, so that there is no occasion for
her to alter the trim of her sails.
- Starved of Wind.--
- When a vessel is sailed so near the wind that
she does not have enough of it, or feel the weight
- Slay, To.-- To tack.
- Stay Rope.-- The luff or weather bolt rope of a
jib or other sail.
- Ropes for supporting masts and other spars. A
vessel is said to be in stays when she is going
through the operation of tacking. To stay is to
tack. Strictly, when a ship is head to wind.
Probably derived from the fact that a square rigged
ship "stays" a long time before her bead pays off,
and she is than "in stays." (See "Missing
- Steady !-- An order to put the helm amidships,
or not to move it about.
- In a yacht the space between the after
athwartship bulkhead of the main cabin and the
athwartship bulkhead of the after cabin. (The
latter is generally known as the ladies' cabin.
Usually the term steerage is limited to the fore
and aft passage and berths therein.
- Steerage Way.--
- When a vessel moves through the water so that
she can be steered. In simply drifting or moving
with the tide a vessel has no steerage way on, and
cannot be steered; therefore steerage way means
that a vessel relatively to the water moves and
passes the water.
- Steersman.-- A helmsman.
- The upward inclination or rake which a bowsprit
has, or which the plank sheer has forward. The
running bowsprit has usually a steeve corresponding
with the sheer forward; a standing bowsprit has
generally considerably more on square rigged
- The timber at the fore end of a vessel into
which the ends of the plank are butted. To stem is
to make headway, as against a current.
- Stemson.-- A piece of timber worked inside the
- A piece of timber or metal to receive a
vessel's mast, &c. To step is to put a thing
into its step.
- The name given to the three-cornered board aft
in an open boat. (See "Stern Sheets.")
- Stern Board.-- A movement of a vessel
- Stern Way.-- Moving astern: to make a stern
- Stern Post.-- The strong timber to which the
rudder is hung.
- Stern Sheets.--
- The seat in the aft end of a boat. Sometimes
the three-cornered bottom board aft in a boat is
termed the stern sheet. This board in' a yachts
gig, in the bow or aft, is usually a wood grating.
In small fishing boats the stern sheet is the
platform on which the fisherman coils away his
nets, lines, &c.
- Stiff.-- Not easily healed ; having great
- Stock of an Anchor.-- The crossbar near the
- Stocks.-- The framework upon which a vessel
rests whilst she is being built.
- To dive into a wave hollow. Generally an easy
sort of pitching, caused by the undulation of waves
- A rope or lashing used to prevent a rope or
chain surging or slipping, as cable stopper,
rigging stoppers, &c. The latter is usually a
short piece of rope put on as a kind of racking to
prevent the rigging or its tackles rendering. A
stopper is sometimes put on with a hitch, as shown
by Fig. 103. (See "Racking.")
- Yarns or short pieces of rope by which sails
are secured when rolled up or stowed. Also the
short lines by which sails are tied to yards when
they are not laced.
- Storm Anchor.-- See "Floating Anchor" and "Oil
on Troubled Waters."
- Storm Sails.-- The storm trysail and storm jib
set in bad weather.
- Stove in.-- Broken in.
- To roll up. To furl a sail. To pack away any
kind of article. A slang term telling a man to
cease talking, as "Stow that."
- Straight of Breadth.--
- The distance where the breadth of a ship is
equal or nearly equal amidships; now generally
termed parallel length of middle body, because the
two sides of a ship may be for some distance
parallel to each other. A straight of breadth is
seldom found in a yacht excepting in some long
steam yachts ; these frequently are of the same
breadth for some distance amid. ships. (See" Body"
and "Dead Flat.")
- Stroke or Streak.-- A length of plank of any
- Strand.-- Yarns twisted together and they then
make the parts or strands of a rope.
- Stranded.-- Said of a rope when one or more of
its strands have burst. Cast ashore.
- Strands.-- Yarns when unlaid and used as
"stops" are sometimes called strands.
- Strap.-- See "Strop."
- The direction of the flood tide and ebb tide.
The tides in the Channel are usually referred to as
the eastern stream for the flood and western stream
for the ebb.
- Stretch.-- A course sailed. Also the elasticity
of canvas or rope, &c.
- To lower, as to strike the topmast, &c.
Also to strike the ground when sailing.
- Striking Topsails.-- See "Saluting."
- Strengthening strakes of plank, steel, or iron
inside or outside a vessel's frame.
- Strop or Strap.--
- A sort of hoop made of rope yarn, wire, or
iron, used to put round spars, blocks, &c. to
hook tackles to. Fig. 102 shows a selvagee strop.
(See also Selvagee.")
- FIG 102
- A selvagee strop is put on to a rope to hook a
block or tackle to, as shown in Fig. 103. the whole
of the strop being used up in the cross turns.
- Another way of putting a strop on a block is
shown in Fig. 104. The bights are passed through
and through round the rope until used up; the
tackle is then hooked to the bights as in Fig 103.
A strop is usually put on a wire rope in this way,
as it is less likely to slip.
- A single spreader. A piece of wood or steel
fitted on the foreside of the mast opposite the
gaff jaws for the purpose of giving spread to a
steel wire stay which supports the masthead, the
"strut-stay" being the wire that goes from the
masthead through or over the "strut" opposite the
gaff jaws and down to the deck at the base of the
mast to take the backward strain of the masthead
and counteract the forward thrust of the gaff.
- Strut-Stay.-- See "Strut."
- Studding Sails.--
- Sails set outside the courses, topsail, &c'
in square rigged ships ; called by sailors
- Small rope, and picked hemp or cotton waste,
and timber. Also slang for sails as, "Give her the
stuff," meaning more sail.
- FIG 103
- Surge.-- When a rope renders round a belaying
- Swansea Pilot Boats.--
- A very snugly rigged kind of schooner met with
in the Bristol Channel. The rig comprises mainmast,
foremast, and running bowsprit; the mainmast is
stepped exactly in the middle of the boat, and has
a great rake aft, so that the head of the mast
plumbs over the after part of the cockpit, two
sheaves are cut in it, through which the halyards
are rove. The foremast is upright, with sheaves
like the mainmast, and a block on the fore part
under the sheave holes for the jib halyards. These
masts require no rigging or stays, and are pole
masted without )out any topmasts. The gaffs are
short, being for a boat of 25 to 30 tons only about
6ft. long, and only require one halyard. One end of
the halyard is spliced to a single block ; the
- FIG. 104.
- end being passed over the first sheave in the
mast, then through a single block, which is booked
on to the gaff, and finally through the upper
sheave in the mast. This end is belayed. A purchase
is formed by a rope passed through the block on the
halyard and through a block on deck. The fore
halyards are rigged the same way, and the jib
halyards are of the ordinary kind. The sails
consist of mainsail, foresail, and jib ; the two
former being laced
- FIG 105
- to the mast. These sails can be taken in in
about one minute and a half, and set in about two
and a half. The outhaul of the jib is passed under
a sheave on the stem, and acts as a bobstay; there
are no shrouds to bow sprit. The advantages of this
rig are said to be that one man can handle a boat
of 25 tons himself, and the boats are equally as
handy with the foresail as without it, likewise the
mainsail. They will stay or do anything either way,
and with only the foresail and jib a boat can be
sailed on a wind. (Fig. 105.)
- Long waves with unbroken crest:, usually met
with after heavy winds have subsided.
- A long bend. To sweep is to impel by sweeps or
large oars; formerly, vessels as large as 300 tons
used sweeps, and by hard work could make three
knots an hour. Sweeps are not permitted in yacht
- Sweeps.-- Large oars.
- Swig, To.--
- The fall of a tackle is put under a cleat or
pin, and is held firmly by one or more of the crew;
another man (or man) then takes hold of the part of
the fall between the cleat and the block and throws
his whole weight on it; as he comes up the other
hand takes in the slack. By swigging on a tackle a
couple of hands can often get in all that is
required, where by steady hauling they might not
have moved the blocks an inch. To drink.
- If a person who cannot swim falls overboard, be
should turn his face upwards towards the sky, and
press his chest forward; he cannot then sink. He
should keep the legs down as much as possible, and
the mouth firmly shut. He should keep composed, and
strike out slowly with the hand. A person could
soon learn to swim by walking into the water breast
high, and then striking out, holding the face well
up towards the sky. It should be always borne in
mind that the human body is somewhat lighter bulk
for bulk than water ; consequently a piece will
appear above water until some of the fluid is
swallowed. The proper thing to do is, therefore, to
see that the piece of the body which floats out of
the water is the face part, so that breathing can
- Swivel Hook.-- A hook that revolves by a pivot
inserted in a socket and clinched.
© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
May not be reproduced without my permission.
Go scan your own damn dictionary.