Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and Architecture

(11th and final edition, 1913)

W. Y. Z.

A slang term for a waterwag, namely, the smallest type of Kingstown boat.
Waist.-- The middle fore and aft part of a vessel's decks.
Green hands, or old decrepit seamen, who are stationed about in the waist of a vessel to haul upon ropes, &c.
The peculiar eddying water that appears after a ship has passed. Vessels are said to leave a clean wake that do not cause waves to form astern.
Wales.-- Thick strakes of plank.
Walk Away with It.-- See "Run Away."
Wall Knot.--
A knot formed at the end of a rope by unlaying and interweaving the strands.
Wall Sided.--
Up and down sides of a vessel that neither tumble home nor flare out.
To lie in the trough of a sea and roll heavily; to roll under the sea.
Warrants.-- See "Admiralty Warrants."
Wash Strake.--
A strake, fixed or movable, of plank fitted to the gunwale of an open boat to increase her height out of water.
An anchor buoy or mooring buoy is said to watch when it keeps above water.
Watch and Watch.--
The arrangement whereby one half of the crew is on deck for four hours, then the other half for four hours.
The divisions of time for work on board a vessel. The crew of a ship is divided for this work into two watches, port and starboard, each watch being alternately on deck, excepting in emergencies, when both watches may be called on deck. Watches are thus divided: From 8 p.m. to midnight is the "First Watch." From midnight to 4 a.m. is the "Middle Watch." From 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. is the "Morning Watch." From 8 a.m. to noon is the "Forenoon Watch." From noon to 4 p.m. the "Afternoon Watch." From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. the two "Dog Watches."
Watching for a Smooth.--
In a sea way looking out for a time when the waves are smaller to tack in, &c.
Watch Tackle.--
A tackle consisting of single and double block; the single block has a hook, the double a tail.
One cubic foot fresh water .0279 ton or 62.39lb.; one gallon .00447 ton. A ton fresh water equal to 223.76 gallons.
One cubic foot salt water .0286 ton or 64.05lb.; one gallon .0046 ton ; 1 ton 217.95 gallons.
One gallon fresh water weighs 10.01lb.; one pint 20oz. A ton of fresh water is usually taken as 36 cubic feet; a ton of salt water as 35 cubic feet. (See "Cubic Measure of Water.")
Water Ballast.--
Water carried in tanks or breakers as ballast. The tanks or breakers should be either full or empty.
Water Borne.--
Not resting on the ground, but being in the condition of floating.
Taking water into the tanks by the hose or by means of breakers. Steam yachts often "water" by filling their dinghy or their cutter, and then pump it into the tanks with the donkey pumps, if the water has to he fetched from shore.
Water Line.--
A horizontal plane passing through a vessel longitudinally. Length on load waterline means the length in a straight line from the fore side of the stem to the aft side of the sternpost or counter at the water level.
Water Logged.--
The condition of a vessel, that although her hold is full of water, she does not sink, owing to the buoyant nature of her cargo, or from other causes.
Boil 12oz. of beeswax in 1 gallon of linseed oil for two hours ; paint the cloth with this mixture twice or thrice. Colour as required.
Waterproofing Sail Cloth.--
The recipe used by Mr. Berthon to render the canvas of his collapsing boats waterproof, and similar to that used in H.M. dockyards for hammock cloths, is as follows: To 6oz. of hard yellow soap add 1 1/2 pints of water, and when boiling, add 5lb. (more or less according to the required consistency) of ground spruce ochre, 1/2lb. patent driers, and 5lb. of boiled linseed oil. For waterproofing sheets, the ochre should be omitted, as it adds to the weight, lessens the flexibility, and is unnecessary.
Existing coverings are made waterproof by preparations of india-rubber, oil, paint, &c. Fabrics coated with india-rubber are not proof against the effects of climate or rough usage, are not easily repaired, and, compared with those coated with the Chinese and other preparations, are very heavy, and, if the same dimensions, expensive. The recipe for "waterproofing" calico used by the Chinese, is said to be efficient, alike in the hottest and coldest climates, is believed to be composed of boiled oil one quart, soft soap 1oz., and beeswax 1oz.; the whole boiled until reduced to three-quarters of its previous quantity; but experiments are required to test the above proportions.
To waterproof cotton drilling boil a mixture of 6oz. hard yellow soap, 1-1/2 pint water, 1/2lb. patent driers, 5lb. boiled linseed oil.
Mr. Arthur Hill Coates, a well-known amateur yachtsman, of Bangor, co. Down, gave the following instructions for waterproofing sail covers:
To make a sail cover so that it is not stiff, but as soft as kid, use strong good calico ; when the cover is made, wash out with boiling water all the finish or dressing, dry thoroughly, saturate with petroleum oil, wring out, and allow to dry in air. When quite dry, paint with white lead, coloured to taste, mixed with raw linseed oil and turpentine, three thin coats. I have a cover five years old as good as the first day, and as soft as could be desired, and that never sticks. Waterproof coats and leggings for boating made the same way are a luxury.
The formation of waves is a subject which has received much attention, but no completely satisfactory theory as to their genesis has yet been evolved. The general theory is, that the smooth sea is acted upon by the impact and friction of the moving air or wind, and that the waves increase in size and speed, until the wind force is incapable of further developing them. Deep sea waves vary much in length, even under similar influences of wind pressure, and its continuation. Captain Motter of the French Navy, measured a wave in the North Atlantic, 2720ft., or half a mile from crest to crest, and Sir James Ross, one 1920ft. long. Such waves however, are seldom met with, and Dr. Scoresby observed that Atlantic storm waves had lengths of from 500ft. to 600ft. Measuring the heights of waves is a more difficult matter than measuring their lengths, and there has been much exaggeration under this head.
The late Sir E. Belcher, at the Institute of Naval Architects in 1862, mentioned a wave he had observed rise to 100ft. Professor Rankine, in his work on Navel Architecture, speaks of waves on rocky coasts rising to 150ft., and waves have been known to fly over the Eddystone Lighthouse. However, the greatest heights of deep sea waves as measured by Dr. Scoresby, and other accurate observers, have been 48ft., but it is rare to meet with waves exceeding 30ft. in height. Ordinary storm waves such as met with in the Atlantic of about 200ft. in length, have a height of about one-twentieth of their length, but the ratio becomes lower as the length of the waves increase, and waves of 1000ft. in length have been observed with but a height of 10ft. On the other hand, waves of 600ft. in length have been observed of unusual steepness, and with heights one-eighth of their lengths. A long series of observations made by M. Bertin on the heights and lengths of waves, would seem to prove that the average height of deep sea waves is as 1 to 25 of their length. This of course is applied to single waves only. In what is termed a "confused sea," where a long wave may overtake and pass through a short one, the general height becomes increased, almost to the extent of the combined heights of both waves, and the wave form under such circumstances, is more or less "confused." In the English Channel, superposed waves are common, and the waves generally being short and steep, heights are met with of about one eighth the length of the waves. (A wave length is the length from crest to crest, and wave height, the height from hollow to crest.)
The speed of waves is generally proportional to their length. Thus a wave 20ft. long will travel 6 miles an hour, and one 50ft. long, 9 miles ; 120ft., 15 miles ; 200ft., 19 miles ; 400ft., 27 miles; 600ft., 32 miles ; 1000ft., 42 miles. It must be understood that it is only the wave motion, or form, and not the water which travels, and no substance resting on the water is carried forward by the advance of waves further than the force of gravity may give a substance an alternate forward and backward motion, as it became differently situated on the sides of waves. Thus a ship will simply rise and fall with the waves and not be carried forward by them, and an unbroken wave would do a ship no harm in the sense of an impact due to the wave striking her. The danger from waves arises when they break over a ship, or when a ship by intercepting a wave causes it to break. (The best article in a popular form on Waves, and oscillations of ships among them, is in Sir W.H. White's "Manual of Naval Architecture.")
A work by Mr Vaughan Cornish entitled "Waves of the Sea" (T. Fisher Unwin, 1910), contains some interesting matter.
Waves, to Still.-- See "Oil on Troubled Water."
Motion through the water, as underway, headway, sternway, steerage way, leeway, &c. (See "Under way.")
Way Enough.--
In rowing, an order given by the person steering a boat when being rowed alongside a vessel or causeway to direct the oarsmen to cease rowing with the stroke about to be completed, and lay in their oars. Way enough! is strictly merely an order to cease rowing and should be followed by the order "Oars!" if the men are to be directed to lay in their oars. In practice, however, the orders "Way enough!" and "Oars !" have an identical effect upon a smart yacht's crew when bringing a boat alongside, i.e., simply to cause the crew to cease rowing, throw up their oars, and lay them in. This order generally follows the order "In bow!" -- which see. (See also "Oars.")
Balks of timber arranged in a kind of chute to haul vessels upon or to launch them off.
To bring the wind on the other side of a vessel by putting the helm up so that the vessel's head goes round away from the wind instead of towards the wind as in tacking. Used on square rigged vessels instead of gybe.
The windward or "breezy" side of an object. The side on which the "weather" is felt; not to leeward. To weather is to pass on the windward side of an object. In cross tacking the vessel "weathers" another that crosses ahead of her. To weather on another vessel is to gain on her in a windward direction by holding a better wind than she does -- to eat her out of the wind.
Weather Board.--
On the weather side of a vessel. Sometimes in working to windward by a long board and a short one the short one is called "weather board."
Weather Boards.--
Pieces of boards fitted over open ports to turn water or rain off.
Weather Cloth.--
The cloth in a sail next the luff. The "weather" leach of a sail is the luff.
Weather Cloths.--
Pieces of canvas fitted on ridge ropes and stanchions of yachts above the bulwarks ; also the tarpaulins used to cover the hammocks when stowed in the nettings.
Weather Gauge.--
The condition of a vessel that is to windward of another one. In slang, to possess an advantage.
Weather Helm.--
The helm or tiller hauled to windward when a vessel owing to too much after sail has an inclination to fly up in the wind. If the centre of effort of the sails is much abaft the centre of lateral resistance, a vessel will require weather helm to keep her out of the wind. The tendency to fly up in the wind can he remedied by reducing the after sail, or setting more head sail, or by easing the main sheet. However, all vessels should carry a little weather helm. (The contrary to "Lee Helm," which see.) It has been frequently argued that the effect of the water pressure on the rudder when the helm is to windward (that is the rudder to leeward), is to press the vessel bodily to wind. ward, and no doubt there is some truth in this, although the influence of the rudder in this respect could be only small.
A relative term used in sailing to define the action of one vessel which is eating to windward of another, thus, if a vessel is said to he weathering on another she is eating her out of the wind, or closing up to her from the leeward, or departing from her in a windward direction. Weathering an object is passing on its windward side.
Weatherliness.-- See "Weatherly."
The quality of hanging to windward well or holding a good wind. This term is often improperly used to denote good behaviour in a sea way or in bad weather.
Weather Lurch.--
A weather roll or a roll to windward. In running with the main boom well off, the boom should be always secured with a guy, or it may fall to the opposite side during a weather roll, and cause some damage.
Weather Tide, or Weather-going Tide.--
The tide which makes to windward or against the wind. (See "Lee-going tide.")
Wedges of Immersion and Emersion.-- See "Immersed."
Wedging Up.--
Lifting a vessel by driving wedges under her keel to take her weight off the building blocks before launching.
The exudations of damp or water through the seams or cracks of planks, &c.
Weigh.-- To raise a thing, as weighing the anchor. (See "Underway.")
Weight of Metal Plates in Pounds per Square Foot.
Weight of Chains.
A sunken part of the deck aft, termed cockpit sometimes. In small vessels there is usually a well aft in which the steersman sits ; the cabin of a small boat is usually entered from the well. The cabin of most American yachts, large or small, is usually entered from the cockpit aft.
Well That! Well There !--An order to cease hauling and belay.
Wexford Flat Bottom Boats.--
These boats are built for the herring fishery, and are generally termed "cots." The fishing season lasts from about the middle of October to Christmas, and very often the boats are not put into the water for the rest of the year.
They are suitable to any coast without quays or shelter, and where there is often a heavy surf, making it necessary to haul boats above high-water mark every time they are used.
FIG 112.
The beam of the boat, which is of the larger sort, is about one fourth of its length, say 6ft. beam to 24ft. in length, built of the undermentioned woods, viz.: the bottom and the beams of either white or yellow pine, the strakes of yellow pine, and the stem and stern posts, and the timbers of elm grown in the country.
The accompanying sketch (Fig. 112) shows a boat turned over on its side exhibiting the bottom.
The bottom boards are of wood, not less than an inch and a half thick; they are laid down on heavy pieces of squared wood, and the elm timbers, which are sawn out of wood having the necessary bend, so as to reach from a few inches beyond the centre of the bottom to the top of the gunwale, are about two inches square -- they cross one another, the bottom boards are then pegged to these timbers by driving pegs three-quarters of an inch thick and some 8in. in length through the timbers and boards ; the ends are left to be cut off after the boat has been finished and turned over. These pegs are secured by cutting out a wedge from the lower end with a chisel, and then driving a wedge into the place from which it has been cut, thus filling the peg in the hole more tightly. No nails are used for the bottom except to attach the short piece of keel at the stern, say four feet; and the heads of these nails are sunk in the keel. The wooden pegs never move, and wear evenly with the bottom; breadth at bottom, 4.5 ft. The stem and stern are alike, no transom being required. The end of a short keel extends some two inches beyond the bottom of the sternpost to protect the rudder. The stem and stern posts are morticed for the ends of the bottom boards, and, as it is well to have them strong, there is a good lot of dead wood.
FIG 113.
The first strake is three-quarters of an inch thick, and often an inch; but before fastening this on the beam of wood under the centre of the boat is either removed or sunk in the ground, say, three inches, and heavy weights of stones usually are placed on the bottom, near the centre, to bend the bottom boards, as it is considered that they do not row or sail so well on quite an even bottom.
The rest of the strakes are half an inch thick, and fastened on both to the timbers and themselves with iron nails, galvanised if procurable. Twelve-penny nails are used to fix to the bottom boards and timbers, and six-penny nails to the strakes. Of course these boats are all clincher built, and are rather heavy, weighing three and a half or four hundredweight. They require four men generally to run them down and haul them up upon rollers. These are some 6in. in diameter if the sand is heavy. Long boards are placed under the rollers. The sails are usually two or three sprit sails (see Fig. 113),
and sometimes a foresail. No keel boats are ever used, owing to the great advantage of a flat bottom for grounding.
Accidents seldom take place with these boats, but, like all shallow boats, they require very skilful handling.
The centre-board now remains to be described. It runs in a frame or sheath formed for it in the centre of the boat. These, when let down, draw about 3ft. below the bottom of the boat, and are about 2ft. broad. The board is about 1in. thick; no iron is used for them. When they near the shore they are hauled up. They are not required when the sails are not used. The depth of these boats is about 2ft. to the top of the gunwale, and they generally pull four oars. They are too broad for one man to scull. Of course they will not carry so much sail as a keel boat, nor will they sail so near the wind.
The ballast used consists of large stones. The fishermen at Wexford are a bold and hardy race, and they need be, for herring fishing on a December night is desperately cold work; but it is their harvest of the sea, and when four men can take from twelve to twenty mace of herrings in the night (the mace is 500, and worth from 15s to 20s.), it pays them well. It is a pretty sight to see forty or fifty boats out of a night; but it is very cold work, and none but those brought up to it could stand it.
Used to give motion to the rudder by chains which pass over a barrel and lead through blocks to the tiller. When the tiller points forward the chain is put over the barrel first; when the tiller points aft the chain is put under the barrel first.
Where Away ?--
When an object is sighted, a question as to its bearing.
A small boat for rowing and sailing, usual rig a spritsail, main, and mizen, and foresail. (French "Houari.")
Whip.-- A purchase consisting of one single block. A pennant vane.
Whip, To.-- To bind the ends of rope with twine to prevent their fraying.
Whiskers.-- Used to spread bowsprit shrouds.
Whistling for Wind.--
In calms or light winds sailors sometimes amuse themselves by whistling in the hope that it will bring a breeze. They also scratch the boom for a breeze, or to make the vessel go faster. During heavy weather the superstition is all the other way, and no whistling or boom scratching is permitted.
Whole Sail Strength.--
A wind of such strength that a yacht can just carry all her canvas, including her "best" (not ballooner) gaff topsail, to windward.
Wicked-looking.-- Said of a craft which has a smart, raking appearance.
A drum with crank handles, pawl, &c., fitted to the mast to get in the topsail sheet, &c.
Winch Roller Reefing Gear.--
Rolling the foot of a sail round the boom is an old invention, just as reefing square sails round the yards is, and pretty good proof of the value of the boom roller in short handed vessels is the fact that it is generally used by the pilots about the Isle of Wight, &c. They revolve the boom by the means of an endless chain on sheaves, and it answers very well; but various other plans are in use, and those invented by Mr. Baden-Powell, Mr. Roger Turner, and Mr. Linton Hope are highly recommended by yachtsmen who have seen them in use. Mr Baden-Powell's gear is shown in the chapter on canoeing.
FIG 114
Turner's gear (see Fig. 114) is very largely used ; the sole manufacturers are W. Delf and Son, Beccles, Suffolk. It is very inexpensive, the cost being as follows :-
Special prices are given for larger sizes.
In ordering the gear owners should mention whether A, B, C, or D is required, and also give the exact diameter of each end of the boom. One claw-ring (charged extra, as above) will be sent with each set of gear, unless otherwise specified.
Mr. Hope's gear is made by Messrs. Woodnutt, of St. Helens, Isle of Wight, and has been fitted to vessels up to 90 tons It is illustrated on Plate LXXIV.
Mr. F. D. Marshall, writing of his gear, says : "After having tried the roller reefing arrangement, as depicted on the accompanying scale drawing (quarter full size), for three years, it can be confidently recommended to fellow yachtsmen as suitable for yachts ranging from 18ft. to 42ft. rating. The facility with which any number of reefs may be taken in or shaken out is astonishing, and there is the further recommendation that the sail is not pulled out of shape by the reef earings, but rolled smoothly and compactly round the boom. It has been urged that the mainsheet ring will chafe the sail when reefed, as the friction will be great, but on carefully examining the Lady Nancy's mainsail after three years of wear no sign of chafing is to be noticed. The mainsheet ring at the extremities must, of course, be well padded with soft. canvas, and, if this is carefully done, the chafing is reduced to a minimum.
"It is not within the writer's knowledge who first invented this arrangement, but the Lady Nancy's, in the first instance, was made by Herr Heidtmann, of Hamburgh, but was improved and perfected by the writer. Previously he had seen a similar arrangement on some Hamburgh boats, and it was the facility with which these boats reefed that induced the writer to give the system a trial.
"The drawing (see Plate LXXIII) is sufficiently clear, and little explanation is necessary. The apparatus, however, must be very conscientiously and strongly made of the toughest (preferably Swedish) iron.
"The main boom must be quite parallel from end to end.
"The eyebolt, for fastening the tack of the sail to the boom, must be almost flush with the boom, otherwise the eye will cause an indentation in the sail when rolled. A split and hinged eyebolt is the best to adopt.
"The main boom has a groove along its upper side, to take the foot rope of mainsail. This is necessary, to cause the foot to roll evenly around the boom.
"The sail must be laced to the boom.
"The topping lift is attached to a loose swivel plate, to prevent the lift rolling round the boom as the latter is revolved.
"The mainsheet ring is made of a grooved piece of iron (the grooving is for strength), to which is riveted the outside bar of round iron. The ring must be of such strength that it cannot spring open in heavy weather and allow the main boom to get adrift.
"The extremities of the ring are padded with soft canvas. Do not pad with leather, as this will stain the mainsail.
"Modus Operandi.-- It is always advisable to hoist the mainsail before reefing, if at moorings, as the sail rolls around the boom tighter and snugger, although the reefing may be accomplished with the sail on deck, if care be taken to stretch the sail along the boom as latter is revolved. Having sail properly hoisted and peak well set up proceed to reef as follows: Slack throat halyard until hook (D) is free from traveller band (E). Untoggle as many mast beeps according to the quantity of sail to be rolled up. Have a piece of gas or steam tube handy to ship on handle of ratchet, this lengthening of handle gives more leverage and power. Work the ratchet, and roll the sail around boom, so that boom travels up the mast as high as pen can reach, and work the ratchet (assuming the sail is to be so much shortened). While the sail is being rolled up, slack mainsheet as necessary, remembering to keep sheet as taut as possible. Overhaul topping lift as main boom goes skywards. Lower away on throat and peak halyards until boom is down in place. If sail is to be further shortened, proceed as before. When sufficient has been rolled up, lower away until hook (D) can grip the hand (E). Set up on throat and peak, overhaul topping lift, and all is finished.
"NOTE.-- Instead of reefing the sail up the mast as described the sail may be rolled down by simply slacking the main and peak halyards as the sail is taken up by the revolving boom. The topping lift will take the weight of the boom. Experience, however, has shown that a snugger job is made by rolling the sail up the mast and lowering boom afterwards."


Wind Bound.-- See "Bound."
Windfall.-- An unexpected advantage or acquisition of treasure.
Wind Jamming.--
A new-fashioned slang term for sailing by the wind. Wind jammers, sailing ships.
A horizontal barrel, revolved by cranks or handspikes, forgetting the anchor. In yachts a small neat capstan is now generally used.
Wind Marks.--
The marks or assumed marks on sheets to which they are hauled in for sailing by the wind.
The following arrangement and description of winds has been generally adopted:
Windsail.-- A canvas shaft or tube for conveying air to or from below deck.
Wing and Wing.--
A schooner before the wind with the main sail off the lee quarter, and the foresail boomed out to windward. Some. times termed goose winged. (See "Goose Wing.")
Wings of a Ship.-- That part of a ship at the sides near the load line.
A west country term for a kind of winch used in the bow of a boat by fishermen to raise the anchor. (See "Anchor.")
Winning Flag or Crowing Flag.--
The racing flag which is hoisted after a race to denote that a yacht has won a prize. It is hoisted immediately below and on the same halyards as the burgee. When a regatta is concluded a yacht hoists under her burgee as many racing flags as she has won prizes at the regatta. On arriving at a port, fresh from a regatta where she has been successful, she, in a like manner, hoists as many racing flags as she has won prizes; and if she calls at her own port she hoists as many flags as she has won prizes up to date. When she has sailed her last match she hoists as many racing flags as she has won prizes during the season. These are also hoisted when she returns to her own port. For a first prize, the racing flag should be close up under the burgee; about 1/3 down the mast for a second; and 1/2 or 2/3 down for a third, or different coloured flags may be used to denote second and third prizes.


Wire Rope, Weight of.--
The weight, elasticity, and strength of iron and steel wire rope and hemp rope vary very considerably, according to the quality of the iron, steel, or hemp used in its manufacture. The following table of the weight of different sizes of rope, iron, hemp, &c. was compiled by the well-known civil engineer Mr. G.L. Molesworth:
Manilla rope, if not dried up and chafed, is slightly stronger size for size than hemp.
A stringer or ledge running fore and aft in a boat to support the thwarts. (See "Clyde Sailing Boats.") Called also "Risings."
Wisby Laws.--
A code of maritime laws which, with the rules of Oleron, for many centuries formed the basis of all regulations relating to seamen and ships. Wisby is a seaport of Gothland in the Baltic, and a port famous so long back as the 13th century.
Woof.-- The threads or texture of any kind of cloth or canvas, &c.
A vessel is said to work when the different parts of her frame, planking, &c., are not securely bound together so that the various parts relative to each other alter their positions.
Working to Windward.--
Proceeding by short tacks. Beating to windward. To work up to a vessel is to get nearer to her or catch her whilst beating to windward.
Something worth knowing; a piece of valuable experience. Wrinkles in copper are generally a sign of severe strains in vessels, or that the vessel "works," or that her frame and plank shifts when she is under way in a sea. Sometimes wrinkles will show when a vessel is hauled up to dry and disappear when she is put in the water as the plank swells.


Generally a "yacht" is any vessel which is permanently fitted out and used by her owner for pleasure. The word is of Dutch origin. In the time of Elizabeth a "yacht" was kept for the use of the Sovereign, and since that date every succeeding monarch has had more than one yacht.
About the year 1900 there was considerable. discussion as to whether any pleasure craft, privately owned, could he justly described as a yacht and Mr R. E. Froude defined "a racing yacht" as such a vessel "combining habitability with speed." This appears a good general definition, for should the vessel be constructed so as to be merely a fast vessel but uninhabitable, she ceases to be a gentle. man's yacht in the true sense of the word, but is more truly described as a "sailing machine." On the other hand, if the craft is nothing more than a luxurious cruiser lacking in speed, she cannot be properly described as a "racing yacht."
Schooners (see "Schooner") are supposed to have been evolved out of the old pinks, which were referred to be Spenser in his "Faerie Queene." They were certainly common among the many different vessels in the British navy during the reign of the Stuarts, and were chiefly remarkable for their sharp sterns. (In the "Navy List" for 1644 are the names of the Paramour pink and Talbot pink.) They were of Dutch origin; but they were certainly used by the Spaniards in the Mediterranean, and differed from the xebecs by having flat instead of sharp floors. However, according to the researches of Admiral Smythe, a yacht existed in England in the time of the Plantagenets under the name of "esnecca." This name, esnecca, appears to have been dropped by the English in the reign of Charles II, when that Monarch was presented by the Dutch with a "yacht" named Mary, in the year 1660. Charles II became very fond of yachting; and besides many yachts which were designed for him by Sir Phineas Pett, he is credited with having desired one for himself, named Jamaie, which was built at Lambeth.
The Jamaie was matched against a small Dutch yacht named Bezan in 1662 from Greenwich to Gravesend and back, and the King was gratified to find his vessel leading by three miles at the finish, although the little Dutch craft led by half a mile beating down, "the wind being contrary, but saved his stakes in returning, his majesty sometimes steering himself," according to Mr. Pepys. This is probably the first account of a yacht match, and the first record of an amateur helmsman. These yachts were, no doubt, sloop rigged, but yachts did not owe their origin to Charles II; for, as before said, the Plantagenets had their Royal yachts, and one later on, often referred to, the Rat of White, was built by Queen Elizabeth at Cowes. It is scarcely possible, therefore, that the Dutch can claim a greater antiquity for yachts than the English; and, indeed, so far as "yachting," as now understood, goes, there appears to be no doubt that it originated with Charles II, whose frequent yacht matches with his brother, the Duke of York, and his constant changing of his vessels, are duly recorded by Pepys.


The following is a list of the yachts built by Charles II:
American yachting dates no farther back than the commencement of the last century. Mr. J. C. Stevens, when he resigned the commodoreship of the New York Yacht Club in 1855, wrote a letter to the members, in which he left one to infer that American yachting originated with him; and he went on to say, "I have been a yacht owner for more than half a century, commencing in 1802 as builder, cabin boy, cook, and all the hands of the celebrated yacht Diver, 9ft. long, 3ft. wide, and 3ft. deep, ending as commodore of a squadron whose flagship, the Maria, carries her pennant one hundred and fifty feet above the surface of the sea" ; and her bottom, he might have added, four feet under the surface of the sea, as truly she was four feet in the water and one hundred and fifty in the air. The first American yacht club was the "New York Yacht Club," organised in 1844.
Various yachts were built at Cowes during the eighteenth century, but to Cork apparently belongs the honour of originating yachting as a national pastime. In 1720 the "Cork Harbour Water Club" was established; but the yachts were small; and not until about 1783 did any private person build a yacht of any considerable size. This yacht was built at Itchen for the Duke of Richmond, and between that date and 1812 various yachts were built at Cowes, Fishbourne, and Southampton.
In 1810 a club was started at Cowes (the club seal of the Royal Yacht Squadron bears date 1812), and thenceforward yachting made very rapid strides. In 1812 there were probably fifty yachts afloat, and these belonged exclusively to noblemen or to country gentlemen. In 1850 the number of yachts reached 500, and the pastime of cruising and racing had taken a firm hold of all branches of the community. From this time forward the growth in the number of yachts became very rapid, as will be gleaned from the tables which follow. Until the present century the number of sailing yachts and their tonnage continued to increase. In 1899 there were 5161 sailing yachts in the world. In 1904 there were 5335. In 1912 the number had dropped to 4980. The reason for this was that hundreds of small sailing yachts between the years 1904 and 1912 were fitted with oil motors and for this reason are not included in the figures as sailing vessels.


In 1912 there were 2746 steam and motor yachts and 4980 sailing yachts; 1590 yachts fitted with motors are included in the number of steamers in 1912.














The tables prove that in the world the sport of yachting is ever on the increase. The number of yachts in the world has steadily increased in the last twenty years.
[Note that only the first of several tables is in this first draft.]
In the last decade, however, this increase in the fleet has been due to the growth of maritime sport in foreign nations. The United Kingdom has reached its high water mark. In Germany in 1901 there were 470 yachts, and in France in 1901 there were 577. In 1912 Germany nearly doubled her number of yachts, having 900, but in France there was a decrease, being only 546.
The following table shows at a glance how the increase has arisen in the foreign fleet:


Yachts in the World.

Owned in the United Kingdom.

Built in the United Kingdom.





















The figures in the last column prove that the growth of yachting in foreign countries continues to benefit British yacht builders and designers. In 1891 England had built over 70 percent of the world's yachts. She has still built 58.3 percent, notwithstanding the fact that from 1891 to 1912 the number of foreign owned yachts has increased by 48 percent.
Yacht Club.--

A club formed with the ostensible object of associating yacht owners, and promoting a fondness for the sea. (See "Recognised Yacht Club.")


Yachting Etiquette.--

British yacht owners follow the regulations of the Royal Navy as far as possible in saluting, &c. (See "Saluting"; see also the "King's Regulations for the Royal Navy," which can be obtained from Messrs. Harrison and Sons, price 2s. 6d.) The New York Yacht Club has drawn up the following complete set of rules of "Yacht Routine" for the use of its members. Although those relating to flag signals, "meals," "guest flag," &c., are not in common use in British waters, the general Routine set forth is in accordance with time honoured custom and drafted with commendable accuracy.




1. IN COMMISSION.-- The distinguishing marks of a yacht in commission, other than the yacht ensign, are a burgee and flag or private signal. On sailing yachts, when under way, the yacht ensign should be displayed at the main peak of single and of two-masted yachts, at the mizzen peak of three-masted yachts and at the mizzen gaff of ketches and yawls. Steam or other power yachts should fly the yacht ensign from a staff at the stern. When at anchor, the yacht ensign should be displayed from a staff at the stern of all yachts, other than ketches and yawls, where it should be displayed at the mizzen truck. On a yacht with two or more masts, the burgee is flown at the fore truck and the private signal at the main. When under way, single-masted yachts, other than ketches and yawls, should fly the owner's private signal at the main truck; when at anchor, the burgee. On ketches and yawls, the private signal should be flown at the mizzen and the burgee at the main.
On a mastless yacht, the distinguishing flag is flown at the loftiest or most conspicuous heist, but the burgee and private signal should never be flown on the same hoist. The distinguishing flag of a Flag Officer is always flown at the main both day and night. The Club burgee and private signal may be "made up and mastheaded previous to colours and "broken out" when the signal for colours is given, but the ensign should never be "made up" and "broken out."
2. Distinguishing SIGNALS, PENNANTS, &c.-- Distinguishing signals, pennants, &c., will be found described in the By-Laws, and in the coloured plates in the N.Y.Y.C. Book of Rules.
3. JACK.-- When prescribed by routine a yacht should fly the National Union Jack.
4. ABSENT SIGNAL.-- The absent signal is a rectangular blue flag by day and a blue light by night.
5. OWNER'S MEAL SIGNAL.-- The owner's meal signal is a rectangular white flag by day and a white light by night.
6. GUEST FLAG.-- The guest flag is a rectangular blue flag (same as absent signal) with a white stripe running diagonally across from head.
7. CREW'S MEAL SIGNAL.-- The crew's meal signal is a red pennant.
The absent flag and meal signals are not considered "colours."
8. CLUB LAUNCH'S SIGNAL.-- To call the Club launch the letter "T" should be hoisted from daylight until dark, and a red light should be shown at night. Three blasts on the fog horn may also be sounded.


1. RANK.-- In making colours, salutes, &c. the yacht always represents the rank of its owner, whether he be aboard or not.
2. FLAG OFFICERS.-- A Flag Officer should always fly his flag while his yacht is in commission, except when he is on a cruise with another club of which he is a member.
3. IN COMMISSION.-- A yacht in commission should make colours at 8 A.M. and haul down at sunset taking time from the Senior Officer present.
4. IN COMPANY WITH A U.S. VESSEL, &c.-- When in company with a vessel of the United States Navy, or at anchor off a United States Naval Station, the Senior Officer should give the time for colours with such vessel or station.
5. OFF THE ANCHORAGE OF ANOTHER CLUB.-- The time for colours in the home anchorage of another club should be taken from its Senior Officer present, subject to paragraph 4.
6. ENTERING PORT BEFORE OR AFTER COLOURS.-- When a yacht comes to anchor, or gets under way, her colours should be hoisted, although the time is earlier or later than that specified in paragraph 3, provided there be sufficient light for the colours to be recognised. On entering harbour under such circumstances, the colours should be hauled down immediately after anchoring. At other times, all yachts, except Flagships, should fly, between sunset and morning colours, a night pennant at the main.
7. ENSIGN DISPLAYED AT SEA.-- Unless there are good reasons to the contrary, the ensign should, when at sea, be displayed on falling in with ships of war, and on approaching lightships, lighthouses, signal stations, military posts, or towns.
8. HALF-MAST COLOURS.-- On occasions of national mourning, the ensign only should be half masted. On the death of a yacht owner, the burgee and his private signal, but not the ensign, should be half masted. When mourning is ordered for the death of a member, the burgee only should be half masted. This rule should apply to a yacht both at anchor and under way, and to the Club House.
9. COLOURS; HOW HALF MASTED.-- In half masting colours they should, if not previously hoisted, be first mastheaded and then lowered to half mast. Before lowering from half mast, colours should first be mastheaded and then lowered. When the ensign is at half mast, it should be mastheaded before making or returning a salute.
10. THE JACK; WHEN DISPLAYED.-- The Jack should be set on Sundays, on all ceremonial occasions, and when the Senior Officer present has it set. When displayed, the Jack should be set on a staff at the bow. The Jack should not be set when awnings are housed, when wash clothes are triced up, or when under way, except as provided in Section VII., paragraph 4 ("Dressing Ship.")
11. UNOFFICIAL PRESENCE OF FLAG OFFICER.-- A Flag Officer embarked in a boat, not flying his distinctive flag, should be considered as present in an unofficial capacity.
12. The burgee and private signal should never be flown on the same hoist.
13. The time for sunset as published in the Club Book shall be official.


1. ABSENT SIGNAL.-- When an owner is not on board, his yacht should hoist the absent signal at the starboard main spreader. An absent signal does not exempt a yacht from the observance of the Club routine.
2. OWNER'S MEAL SIGNAL.-- During an owner's meal hours his yacht should hoist the specified signal at the starboard main spreader.
3. GUEST FLAG.-- Should the owner be absent, the guest flag may be hoisted.
4. CREW'S MEAL SIGNAL.-- During the crew's meal hours the specified signal should be flown at the port fore spreader of a yacht with two or more masts, and at the port spreader of single-masted yachts.
5. SQUARE-RIGGED YACHTS.-- In a square rigged yacht, the owner's absent or meal signals should be hoisted at the starboard main yardarm, and the crew's meal signal at the port fore yardarm.
6. MEAL SIGNALS UNDER WAY.-- Meal signals may be hoisted when the colours are not displayed, but never when under way.
7. COMMITTEE BOAT.-- On a yacht acting us Committee beat, the Regatta Committee flag should be hoisted at the main truck underneath the private signal or Flag Officer's pennant.


1. COMMODORE.-- From sunset until sunrise. the Commodore should show two blue lights hung vertically at the stern.
2. VlCE-COMMODORE.-- The Vice-Commodore should show lights, as provided for the Commodore, substituting red lights for blue.
3. REAR COMMODORE.-- The Rear Commodore should show lights, as provided for the Commodore, substituting white lights for blue.
4. ABSENT SIGNAL.-- When a yacht is at anchor amid the owner is absent, a blue light should after dark be shown at the starboard main spreader in a fore-and-aft rigged yacht and at the starboard main yardarm in a square-rigged yacht.
5. SEARCHLIGHTS.-- A search light should be carefully handled, and its beam should never be thrown on the pilot house or on the helmsman of a yacht or boat under way.
6. BOAT BOOMS.-- Boat booms should be rigged in at night, but if rigged out, a white light should be showing at the boom end.
7. All boats riding by a stern line should show a white light.


Guns should be used only for "colours," for drawing attention to signals, and as hereinafter provided.


1. STEAM WHISTLES.-- Steam whistles should never be used in saluting.
2. GUNS.-- Gun salutes should be avoided as much as possible.
3. ENSIGNS.-- All salutes, except as hereinafter provided, should be made by dipping the ensign once.
4. VESSELS OF THE U.S. NAVY.-- Vessels of the United States Navy should be saluted by dipping the ensign once.
5. COMMODORE.-- On all occasions, except as provided in section IX, paragraph 1 (Annual Cruise), the Commodore should, on coming to anchor, be saluted with one gnu by the officer in command of the anchorage. This salute should be answered in kind by the Commodore. All other yachts present should dip the ensign once (see Section VIII.)
6. Junior FLAG OFFICER.-- A Junior Flag Officer should, when coming to anchor, he saluted by the officer in command of the anchorage by dipping the ensign once, unless the latter he senior in rank, in which case the junior should salute first.
7. CAPTAINS.-- A Captain should salute the Senior Officer present by dipping the ensign once, either before or when the yacht comes to anchor.
8. PASSING.-- The salute for passing yachts is one dip of the ensign.
9. COMMITTEE BOAT.-- A Committee Boat should neither salute nor be saluted during a race.
10. SALUTING ANOTHER CLUB.-- On arriving at the home anchorage of another club, a yacht should, on coming to anchor, salute by dipping the ensign once. After the tender of Civilities has been received, the owner of the entering yacht should visit the officer in command of the anchorage.
11. DURING OFFICIAL VISIT OF A FLAG OFFICER.-- When a Flag Officer makes an official visit, his flag, if senior, should be hoisted at the fore of a yacht with two or more masts, and at the main of a single masted yacht, the burgee being hauled down. The Flag Officer's flag should be kept flying while he remains on board, and when leaving and well clear of the yacht, one gun should be fired and his flag be hauled down.
12. SALUTING QUARTERDECK.-- When a yacht is boarded or left, the quarterdeck should be saluted by touching the cap.
13. DISTINGUISHED VISITORS.-- When a distinguished visitor of another nationality visits a yacht, his national ensign should, if possible, he displayed at the fore, on a yacht with two or more masts; and at the main, on a single-masted yacht, the Club burgee being hauled down.
14. PERSONAL FLAGS OF OFFICIALS.-- A yacht may display the personal flag of a National State, or Municipal officer, when such an official is on board. This flag should be displayed at the main for the President of the United States, and at the fore for all other officials.


1. GENERAL RULE.-- In dressing ship, rectangular flags should alternate with pennants on distance lines whenever possible.
2. DISTINCTIVE FLAGS AND FOREIGN ENSIGNS.-- Flag Officer's flags and burgees should not be used in dressing ship, nor should the ensign of any foreign nation be displayed, except when the dressing is in compliment to such nation. On this occasion the foreign ensign should be displayed at the fore truck. When a yacht is dressed the ensign should be displayed in lowered boats.
3. NATIONAL ANNIVERSARIES.-- On the Fourth of July, and when ordered on other national anniversaries, a yacht in commission, not under way, should, when the weather permits, dress ship at 8 a.m., and remain dressed till sunset. When said anniversaries occur on Sunday, all special ceremonies may be postponed to the following day.
4. On special occasions only, such as marine parades, a steam yacht under way, or sailing yacht under tow, may dress ship.


1. DUTIES.-- The Senior Officer present should (except in the home waters of a foreign club) command the anchorage, give the time for colours, make and return salutes, visits, etc.
2. STATION VESSEL.-- His yacht should remain the station vessel until a senior in rank arrives.
3. TRANSFER OF COMMAND.-- When a Senior Officer transfers the command he should fire one gun. This should be answered in kind by the officer assuming command of the anchorage.
4. SHIP'S BELLS.-- Time should always be taken from the Flagship or the Senior Officer's yacht present. If in company with a naval vessel time should be taken from that vessel.


1. COMMODORE'S SALUTE.-- On joining the Squadron at the rendezvous, the Commodore should, on coming to anchor, he sainted by the officer in command firing one gun, all other yachts present to follow by firing one gun or dipping the ensign once. This salute will be returned by the Commodore firing one gun. Yachts arriving after the Commodore has assumed command should dip the ensign once either on passing the Flagship or on coming to anchor. When the Squadron is disbanded, the Commodore should fire one gun and be answered by the yachts present firing one gun or dipping the ensign once.
2. JOINING OR PARTING COMPANY.-- After joining the Squadron a yacht should request permission before leaving.
3. Gun AND OTHER SIGNALS.-- When with the Squadron guns should not be fired except to call attention to signals, or as provided for in other paragraphs.
4. SQUADRONS PASSING AT SEA.-- When squadrons of different clubs meet at sea, salutes should be exchanged by the Senior Officers alone.
5. SALUTES FROM SINGLE YACHTS.-- Salutes from a single yacht at sea should be answered only by the flagship.
6. BURGERS ON SINGLE-MASTED YACHTS.-- Single-masted yachts, while cruising in Squadron, should display their private signal when under sail, and the Club burgee when at anchor. [no, actually that's "BURGEES"]


HOME WATERS.-- "Home Waters" should be understood to mean all waters from Sandy Hook to Cape Cod, excluding the home anchorages of other recognised yacht clubs.


1. PRECEDENCE.-- The order of entering and leaving boats is: Juniors enter first and leave last.
2. BOAT FLAGS.-- When in boats, Flag Officers, the Fleet Captain, and Regatta Committee should fly their distinctive flags, Captains their private signals, and Members the burgee. The flag of the Senior Officer embarked has precedence. When two boats are approaching the same gangway or landing stage Flag Officers should have the right of way.
3. HAILING AND ANSWERING.-- Every boat approaching a yacht at night should be hailed, and this hail should be answered promptly. The answer of the Commodore intending to board his own or another yacht should be "Commodore"; of a Junior Flag Officer, "Flag"; of the Fleet Captain, "Fleet" ; of a Captain, the name of his yacht; of a Member, "Aye, aye" ; of a Visitor, "Visitor" ; of a sailing master or any other yacht officer, "No, no" ; and of a member of the crew, "Hello." Passing boats should answer "Passing."
4. BOAT CREWS.-- Boat crews should be dressed alike and in the prescribed uniform. Neck handkerchiefs should always be worn, knotted in front, and cap ribbons should not be tucked under.
Yacht Racing Association.--
An association of yachtsmen originated in 1875 by Prince Batthyany-Strattman (at that time known as Count Edmund Batthyany), Capt. J. W. Hughes, one time owner of the Vanguard cutter, R.Y.S., and the late Mr. Dixon Kemp. The object was to provide one code of sailing rules for use in all matches, and to decide such disputes as might be referred to the Council of the Association. The Association and Council are constituted similarly to the Jockey Club.

The Rules of Yacht Racing known as the "Y.R.A. Rules" were formulated by the Association and are acknowledged in British waters as the only recognised code of yacht racing rules for all sizes of yachts.

Since the formation of the International Yacht Racing Union in 1907, the Yacht Racing Association has been the National Authority for Great Britain affiliated to the Union, which comprises all the yachting nations of Europe.

The Union has adopted, practically without alteration, the "Y.R.A. Rules," hence the code has now become recognised throughout Europe.
Yacht Register.--
A book issued annually in May by Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping, subscription 1£ 1s. Previously to the year 1877 difficulty was experienced in arriving at the age and condition of a yacht, but the "Yacht Register," published by Lloyd's annually since that date, contains all the particulars an intending purchaser need know. Owners will derive benefit from having their yachts surveyed and classed at Lloyd's, and special facilities now exist for making such surveys and assigning characters. The Register contains the following particulars Names of yachts (sail, steam, and motor yachts of all sizes) ; official number, number in the Register; signal letters ; rig; sailmaker's name; registered tonnage, net and gross; Thames tonnage; dimensions (length, breadth, and depth); repairs to yacht, and date thereof; nature of repairs ; class; materials used in her construction ; builder's name; designer's name; date of building; port; port of survey; fastenings; sheathing; description of engines; builders of engines, &c.

So complete is the "Yacht Register" that these headings are given in three languages, English, French, and German. The "Yacht Register" also contains complete lists of yacht and Sailing Clubs, Yacht Club flags, ensigns, and burgees; owners' racing and personal flags; names and addresses of owners of yachts; and names and addresses of builders and designers. A special section of the book, since 1907, has been devoted to the racing yachts built for the International Rating Classes of all countries belonging to the International Yacht Racing Union.
"The Rules and Regulations for Building for Classification of Yacht" and the "Rules for the Building and Classification of Yachts of the International Rating Classes" are two separate volumes forming supplements to the "Yacht Register" -- they are sold separately, price 5s. each. The first-named relates to cruising yachts and all vessels classed "A1," and the second to International racing yachts of the classes of 23 meters and under, which are classed "R." These rules and regulations relate to wood, iron, and composite yachts ; and tables of scantlings, fastenings, &c. are given for each, together with a table for anchors, chains, &c. for sailing yachts and steam yachts. These Volumes are most valuable, and are of great assistance to builders who have little experience of the particular work required in a yacht, as well to the more experienced builders. A yacht can be built of any material and fastened in almost any way an owner or builder may desire, and still she can be admitted with a grade into the book.

Existing yachts can be surveyed, and, if approved, assigned the A1 class for fourteen years, or any other grade, according to their construction, condition, and age. The volumes contain full information as to the manner of having a survey effected. The offices are Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping, Lloyd's Avenue, Fenchurch Street, E.C. (See also "Lloyd's," "Rules," "A1," and "R.")

Yard.-- A spar used to extend a sail.

Yard Arm.-- The extremities of yards.


A yarn is generally understood to mean one of the parts of a strand of a rope. The strands of old rope are separated and used as stops for temporarily securing sails when rolled up, &c. A narrative, a tale, a long story, or discourse. (See "Strands.")
When a vessel's head flies from one direction to another; generally when a vessel does not steer a straight or steady course.
A two-masted fore-and-aft rigged vessel with the mizen mast stepped in her counter.
Yellow Flag or Yellow Jack.-- The quarantine or fever flag.
The lower cap on the masthead. It is cut out of solid wood, and either strengthened by an iron plate over the whole of its top, or an iron band round its entire edge. The crosstrees are fitted on the yoke. A yoke is also the crossbar put on the rudderhead of small boats, to which lines, termed yoke lines, are attached for steering.


Zig-Zag Work.-- Working to windward by short boards.


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© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
May not be reproduced without my permission.
Go scan your own damn dictionary.

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