Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and
(11th and final edition, 1913)
- A strong upright trunk used in boats and barges
to step the mast in on deck so that it can be
lowered for going under bridges. It is, in fact, a
lengthening of the mast, the trunk being the housed
part with a hinge or joint on deck. In small boats
that have no deck the mast is generally stepped at
the bottom of the tabernacle, and not on the top.
Used also in certain yachts.
- The strengthening pieces of canvas sewn to the
edges of sails where the roping goes on.
- The lower fore-corner of a sail. To tack is to
go about or shift from one tack to another. The
side on which the wind blows on the sail, as
starboard tack or port tack.
- This term probably originated with the square
rig, as "port tacks" aboard means that the lower
port corners of the sail are now hauled inboard,
whereas when the wind was on the other side these
corners had been hauled outboard by the
- An arrangement of ropes and pulleys for
increasing power ; a purchase. (Pronounced
"tay-kel" by sailors.)
- Tackle-fall.-- The hauling part of the rope of
- Tack Tackles.-- The tackles employed to set
down the tacks of sails.
- Taffrail.-- The continuation of the top rail
round the aft side of the counter.
- Tail Block.--
- A block with a tail or piece of rope stropped
to it for making fast the block instead of a
- A tail block is put on to a rope by a rolling
hitch, as shown in Fig. 106 The hitches are jammed
up close together. The end of the tail can be
seized back to the rope if required.
- FIG 106
- FIG 107
- Often when in a hurry only one hitch is taken
(Fig. 107), the tail being gripped round the rope
with the hand. A tail tackle is put on to a rope in
the same manner as a tail block.
- Tail On.-- An order to take hold of a rope and
- Tail Tackle.--
- A watch tackle; that is, a double and single
block. The single block has a hook; the double
block a rope tail, which can be hitched to ropes or
parts of rigging, &c.
- Take In or Take Off To hand or furl a
- Take, To.--
- A jib is said to take when a vessel has been
head to wind and the jib fills on one side or the
- Take Up.-- To shrink; to tighten up.
- Tanning a Sail.--
- No tanning will entirely prevent mildew, if the
canvas is left unopened and unaired an unlimited
time. For a 20ft. boat boil in a furnace of 15
gallons 28lb. of catechu, until thoroughly
dissolved; put in such sails as convenient, and let
them soak a night; then spread and mop them over
both sides with the mixture. If required very dark
indeed, double the amount of catechu Sails too
large for a furnace or vat are mopped only on a
floor of asphalte, or cement, with the mixture.
Sails are sometimes "tanned" in a tan yard with oak
bark and ochre. The yarn of the Bembridge Redwings
is dyed before it is woven.
- Tall, high, towering. (See "A-taunto.")
Taut.-- Tight : stretched as tightly as
- Taut Bowline.--
- A ship is said to be on a taut bowline when the
bowlines on the leeches of the sail are hauled as
taut as possible for sailing near the wind. With
everything stretched as flat as possible for
- To attend to a sheet and watch it to see if it
requires hauling in or slacking out ; generally to
attend to any work on board ship.
- Tenon.-- A sort of tongue cut at the end of a
piece of timber to fit into a mortise.
- Thick Stuff.-- Timber or plank over 4in.
- A ring, pear-shaped or circular, with a groove
outside for ropes to fit in. When the thimble is
pear-shaped it is usually termed a "heart thimble
or thimble heart." These thimbles are used for the
eye splices in ropes, whilst circular thimbles are
mostly used for the cringles of sails, &c. For
steel wire shrouds the thimble is usually
- Thimble Eyes.--
- Eyes spliced in rigging round a thimble. A
thimble seized in a strop.
- Tholes.-- Pins fitted into the holes in
rowlocks for oars to work in.
- A vessel is said to thread her way when she
weaves in and out among other vessels, or through a
narrow channel. Thread of oakum or cotton for
caulking small boats.
- Three Sheets in the Wind.--
- Half drunk. "Three cloths shaking," said
sometimes of -a mainsail when a vessel is sailed
too near the wind.
- The deepest part of the hollow of the jaws of a
gaff, or the hollow of a V shaped knee, or the
hollow of a floor. The throat halyards are those
which are attached to the throat of a gaff. The
upper weather corner of a gaff-sail is often called
the throat, or nook, because it is attached to the
throat of the gaff.
- Through Bolt, or Through Fastening.--
- A bolt that passes through timber and plank,
- Thumb Cleat.--
- Pieces of wood put on spars, &c. to prevent
ropes or strops from slipping.
- Thwarts.-- The transverse seats in a boat. (Sea
- Tidal Harbour.-- A harbour that can only be
entered on certain stages of the tide.
- Usually the rise and fall or flow and ebb of
the sea around the coast. The highest tides occur
at the new moon and full moon. Tides in estuaries,
harbours, and bays vary a great deal.
- A runner to which a tackle is hooked, used for
hoisting lug-sails and squaresails.
- Ropes or gaskets used to secure the mainsail of
a fore-and-aft vessel when furled or stowed to the
boom. The tier that takes up the middle of the sail
is termed the bunt tier. (See "Gasket" and
- Impervious to water; well caulked; not leaky.
Never applied to the tension of ropes, &c.,
which are always "taut." (See "Taut.")
- The piece of timber inserted in the rudder head
for steering; usually termed the helm.
- Tiller Lines.--
- The lines attached to the tiller to move it by.
(See "Tiller Ropes," which are a different thing.)
Generally in yachts of 40 tons and over, a tackle
is used. In large yachts a second tackle is
sometimes used, it the yacht carries much weather
helm or is hard to steer : these second tackles are
usually termed relieving tackles.
- Tiller Ropes.--
- The ropes attached to the short tiller when a
wheel is used for steering. The ropes pass round
the drum on the same axis as the wheel. In large
vessels the tiller ropes are frequently made of raw
- Timber-heads.-- The heads or upper ends of the
- Timber Hitch.--
- A quick way of bending a rope to a spar. A loop
or bight is formed by twisting the end of a rope
round its standing part, thus (Fig. 108):
- The end of the rope is shown on the right, and
the standing part passing through the bight on the
- Timbers.-- The frames or ribs of a vessel.
- Time Allowance.--
- The allowance made by one yacht to another in
competitive sailing, proportional to the size of
the yachts and the distance sailed.
- In small boat sailing, an allowance of 1 sec.
per inch for every excess inch of length for every
mile sailed, is a good allowance. Where length and
breadth are multiplied together, 1 sec. per square
foot for every mile makes a good allowance. Where
length and breadth are added together, the
allowance might be 1.25 second per inch per mile.
These allowances are only adapted for boats that do
not differ much in length. Where the difference in
length much exceeds a foot, the boats should be
classed as a 21ft. class, 25ft. class., &c
- FIG 108
- TIME ALLOWANCE BY LENGTH.
- Rating yachts by length, in competitive
sailing, has been practised since the early days of
yacht racing, so far at least as small yachts are
concerned ; but the practice has not become
general, for the principal reason that one yacht,
say of 40ft. length, owing to greater beam, might
be capable of carrying a larger quantity of sail
than another yacht of 40ft. length, and so have
greater speed. If sails were not the means of
propulsion this would be of little consequence, as,
length for length, vessels of varied proportions of
beam might if well modelled, be of equal speed ;
and the speed of vessels of different lengths will
be found to vary nearly as the square roots of
their lengths, unless there be some extraordinary
variance in their general form. It is not,
therefore, surprising to find that the roots of the
linear dimensions of yachts have been many times
suggested as a proper basis for a time
- So far as our experience goes, the speed of
yachts of different sizes accords with those set
out in the table below; and these speeds so agree
with the assumption that the speed varies as the
square root of the length. When the configurations
of the yachts are the same, the quality of immersed
surface varies considerably.
- Thus, in the table it has been assumed that a
yacht 64ft. long can sail one mile in six minutes;
and that the time of other yachts per mile will
vary as the square root of their respective
lengths. Therefore, on this assumption, a yacht
9ft. long will sail a mile in sixteen minutes (or
960 seconds), and the time between a yacht 9ft.
long and any other larger yacht will therefore be
found by the equation
- Y.R.A. TIME ALLOWANCE
- The Yacht Racing Association has now three
scales of time allowance, which are those of the
International Yacht Racing Union (see pages 260 to
262). Scale No.1 is 4 seconds per metre of rating
per mile; scale No.3 is a graduated scale suitable
for all classes of cutters from 23 metres rating
down to 5 metres rating; it is intended to be used
when the International cutter classes arc
amalgamated. Scale No.5 is a combination of scale
No.1 and scale No.3; it is intended to be used when
cutters, yawls, schooners, and ketches sail in the
same race. Scales No.1, No.3, and No.5 are
calculated for a moderate breeze. Scales No.2 and
No.4 for very light winds and very strong winds
have not been adopted by the Y.R.A. and are not
used in Great Britain.
- In timing vessels passing marks to finish a
race or otherwise, the fairest plan is to take the
time as each vessel's bowsprit end reaches the
mark. In timing yachts that have to gybe or tack
round marks, time must be taken when in the opinion
of the timekeeper the yacht is fairly at or round
the mark; this especially in the case of
- A short rope with an eye at one end and a small
piece of wood at the other, to insert in the eye
and form a kind of strop or becket.
- A weight of 2240lb. avoirdupois. In hydraulics
35 cubic feet of sea water represent a ton, or 36
cubic feet of fresh water.
- Tonnage and Rating.--
- The nominal size or capacity of a ship,
variously estimated. Since the early days when
"tons burden" meant the actual tons weight of coal
a vessel such as the north country keels would
carry, the word "tonnage" has conveyed no fixed
idea of hulk or weight. The nominal tonnage has
been variously computed and the earliest record
(See "Archeologia," Vol. XI) is that the "tons
burden" of the ships of the Royal Navy in the 17th
century was calculated by
- L length on keel, B extreme breadth, and D
depth of hold.
- It was probably found that a ship was capable
of filling up with coal to just half her cubical
capacity, taking 48 cubic feet to the ton, hence
came the divisor 96. Say a vessel was
- 80 x 24 x 12/ 96 = 240 tons, which would be
about the amount of coal or other dead weight she
- Owing probably to the inconvenience of arriving
at the depth of laden vessels entering ports, the
rule was altered to
- L x B N 1/2(B)/94
- and finally, in 1719, an Act was passed
enjoining that the rule just stated should be law,
but to allow for rake of stem 3/5 of the breadth
was ordered to be subtracted from the length.
- In this rule it will be seen there were two
assumptions. First, that the vessel was a
rectangular figure, and, second, that her depth was
equal to her breadth. The result was that ships
were built under it as much like boxes as possible,
and deep in proportion to breadth, because depth
was untaxed and beam heavily taxed. However, in
spite of learned arguments and much abuse (the rule
of measurement was commonly referred to as the
"iniquitous tonnage laws"), the rule remained in
force as the law of the land until the passing of
the Merchant Shipping Act in 1854. Under that Act
the tonnage became one of cubic capacity (100 cubic
feet to the ton), and for roughly estimating the
tons of a laden ship the following rule was allowed
to be used under the Act:
- [much tedium deleted until some future
- In square-rigged ships, the platform at the
lower mast heads to give additional spread to the
topmast rigging, and to form a kind of gallery for
riflemen in war ships. There are fore top, main
top, and mizen top. To top is to raise one end of a
boom or yard by the topping lifts. The "top" of a
vessel is the part above water.
- Topgallant Bulwarks.--
- Bulwarks fitted above the rail to afford
additional shelter on deck.
- Topgallant Mast.-- The mast next above the top.
mast in square-rigged ships.
- Top Hamper.-- Any real or supposed unnecessary
weight carried on deck or masts.
- Topmast Hoops.--
- Hoops were formerly used for jib-headed
topsails, the same as they used to be for the
original "gaff topsails." The hoops when not in use
rest on the masthead. In hoisting the topsail the
lacing is passed through an eyelet hole in the luff
of the sail and through a hoop, and so on. When the
sail is hoisted chock-a-block the lacing is hauled
taut; in lowering the lacing is slackened. Hoops
facilitate the hoisting and lowering of the sail,
and admit of its being lowered and hoisted without
a man going aloft.
- Topping Lifts.-- Ropes or tackles used to raise
or support booms or yards.
- Top Rail.-- The rail fitted on the stanchions
as a finish to the bulwarks.
- Racing yachts usually are supplied with various
topsails, viz., large jackyard topsail, a smaller
one, jib-headed topsail, and jib topsail. Formerly
a square topsail was carried as well, but
spinnakers have superseded squaresails. A cruising
yacht usually carries one yard topsail and one
jib-headed topsail. Schooners carry as well a main
- Topsail Schooner.-- See "Square Topsail
- That part of a vessel above the wales; now in
yachts sometimes understood as the part between the
water-line and deck, or the freeboard.
- Top Timbers.-- The upper parts of the framing
of a vessel.
- Top Your Boom and Sail Large.-- To leave in a
hurry and sail off the wind.
- Toss the Oars.--
- To throw them out of the rowlocks and rest them
perpendicularly, blades uppermost, on reaching a
- Toss up the Boom.-- To raise the boom by the
- Touching the Wind.--
- Luffing into the wind till the sails shake.
(See "Luff and Touch Her.")
- Tow Rope or Tow Line.-- The rope or hawser used
- Track.-- The course or wake of a ship.
- Trade Wind.--
- Winds that blow in one direction a considerable
time, admitting of traders making expeditious
- Trail Boards.-- Carved boards fitted on the bow
and stem of schooners.
- The frame at the sternpost of a vessel. In
boats the transverse board at the stern, which
gives shape to the quarters and forms the stern end
of the boat.
- Transverse.-- Athwartships. At right-angles to
the line of the keel.
- A four-sided figure with two sides or foot and
head parallel, as a ship's square sail.
- A four-sided figure whose sides do not form
parallel lines, such as a cutter's mainsail.
- Traveller.-- An iron ring, thimble, or strop
which travels on a spar, bar, or rope.
- Traveller, Jointed.--
- The fishermen on the S.W. coast use a jointed
mast traveller. The iron hoop is in two half moons,
each end has an eye turned in (see Fig. 109); the
two halves are connected by these eyes. The object
in having a jointed traveller is to facilitate
- FIG 109.
- Bolts or plugs of wood used to fasten plank to
the timbers of vessels. Pronounced "trennel. "
- Trestle Trees.--
- In ships long pieces of timber fitted at the
masthead in a fore-and-aft direction to support the
- Triatic Stay.--
- A stay from foremast head to mainmast head in a
schooner, and termed sciatic stay in old
- Trick.-- The time a man is stationed at the
helm. (See "Spell.")
- The position of a ship in the water in a
fore-and-aft direction. To trim a vessel is to set
her in a particular position, by the head or stern.
The term is sometimes erroneously used to represent
the shifting of ballast transversely. To trim the
sails is to sheet and tack them so that they are
disposed in the best manner possible, in relation
to the force and direction of the wind.
- A passage. Sometimes used in Scotland to denote
a board made in beating to windward. To trip a spar
is to cant it. To trip an anchor is to break it out
of the ground; an anchor is a-trip when one of its
flukes is on, but not in, the ground. (See "Anchor"
and "Scowing.' )
- Trip or Tripping Line.--
- rope used to cant a spar, as trip halyards for
a topsail, or the line bent to the crown of an
anchor to trip it or break it out of the
- Trough of the Sea.-- The hollow between wave
crest and wave-crest.
- The wooden caps fitted on the upper mastheads
to reeve the signal halyards through.
- True Wind.--
- A wind that does not vary; the prevailing wind
in contradistinction to eddies or baffling
- To "try" is when a vessel is hove to, to so
trim her sails that she may gather headway and make
something to the good.
- A small sort of gaff sail or sharp headed sail
set in heavy weather. The sail set on the fore and
main mast of square rigged ships and brigs similar
to the spanker on the mizen.-- The origin of the
term trysail was probably that in heavy weather it
was the sail set to enable a vessel to "try," or to
make some headway.
- Tuck.-- The form of the hollow in the quarter
near the transom or stern-post.
- Tug.-- A towing boat.-- To tug is to tow.
- Tumble In or Tumble Home.--
- When the sides of a ship near the deck incline
inwards; the opposite to flaring.
- A piece of wood pivoted in the jaw of a gaff
which is always in the plane of the mast.
- Tumbler-fid.-- A self-acting fid for a
- A knot made of small line round a rope as a
stopper or for ornament.
- A circle made by a rope round a pin, &c.
"Turn O" is an order to belay.-- To catch a turn is
to put the fall of a tackle or part of any rope
round a belaying pin, stanchion, &c.
- Turn In.--
- To secure the end of a rope by seizing. To go
to one's berth to sleep.
- Turning to Windward.--
- Working or beating for a point or object by
short boards. Generally beating to windward. To
turn is to tack.
- Turn of the Tide.-- When the tide changes from
flood to ebb, or the contrary.
- Twice Laid Rope.--
- Rope remade from old rope. A term of reproach
for articles of inferior quality.
- Small broom used in scrubbing the decks of
yachts, to clean out corners, &c.
- Twiddling Stick.-- The tiller, hence "twiddling
lines" are the tiller lines.
- Said when a tackle has been used so that its
two blocks come close together. (See
© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
May not be reproduced without my permission.
Go scan your own damn dictionary.