Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and
(11th and final edition, 1913)
Board - By.
- In beating to windward a board is the time a
vessel is on one tack and the distance she makes on
Thus it may be a long board or a short board.
Working to windward by a long board and a short
board is when a vessel can more nearly lie her
course on one tack than on another.
Thus, suppose the wind be S.W., and the vessel's
course from headland to headland S.S.W., and the
vessel can lie four points from the wind; then on
the starboard tack the vessel will head S., or two
points off her course ; on the port tack she will
lie W., or six points off her course.
The long board will be the one on the starboard
A vessel is said to make a good board when the
wind frees her on one tack; a bad board when it
heads her. A stern board is to get stern way on
To board a ship is to enter upon her deck,
generally supposed to mean without invitation.
"By the board." To fall close by the deck. A
mast is said to go by the board when it breaks by
the deck and falls overboard.
- Board and Board.--
- Vessels are said to work board and board when
they keep in company and tack simultaneously.
- Boat Builders' Union.--
- An association of boat builders, founded 1821,
and called the "Sons of Sincerity Society of
Ship-Boat Builders." Their place of meeting is the
"City Arms," near Stepney Station, London. If any
person desired to obtain a boat builder to assist
in building a boat it could he done through this
- Boat Chocks or Skills.--
- Pieces of wood with a score in them to take the
keel of boats when they are lifted in upon
- Boat Hook.--
- A wood pole with a metal hook and prong at one
end; sometimes with two hooks. A yacht's gig has
two boat hooks-one for the use of the bowman,
another for the stroke; by these means a boat is
held alongside the stops of a jetty or by the
gangway of a vessel, &c.
- Boat Keeper.--
- The man left in charge of a boat when the other
part of her crew go on shore.
- Boat's Crew.--
- Men told off to always man a particular boat,
such as the gig, cutter, or dinghy of a yacht.
- Boats' Etiquette.--
- It the person in charge of a yacht's boat
desires to salute a passing boat containing an
admiral, captain, commodore, or other person of
consequence, he directs the crew to lie on their
oars as the boat passes, and to raise their hats or
caps. The owner on leaving his yacht with a party
is the last in the boat and the first out; and on
leaving the shore is last to get into the boat and
the first to board the yacht. This is the custom in
the Royal Navy (the senior officer taking the place
of the owner), in order that the admiral, captain,
or other person might not be kept waiting
alongside, which might be an unpleasant situation
in had weather. Thus the saying "the captain is the
last in and the first out of a boat." (See
"Salutes" and "Ensign.")
- An officer who takes charge of a yacht's gear,
and it is his duty to superintend all work done
upon the spars, rigging, or sails. He also takes
charge of all spare gear and sails, and sees that
everything on deck and above deck is neat, clear,
and ship-shape. He must in every sense of the word
be a thorough seaman, and must know how all work
upon rigging and sails should be done. As he has
constantly to handle the sails and rigging, he
necessarily has a knowledge of their condition, and
it is his duty to report all defects in the
- Boatswain's Call.--
- A whistle consisting of a hollow ball and a
tube leading to a hole in it.-- By varying the
sounds the men are "piped" to their work just the
same as soldiers are ordered by the sound of a
bugle. The pipe is seldom met with in English
yachts, except in some of large size, and the
boatswain has little to do with giving orders.
- Bobstay.-- The stay from the bowsprit to the
- Part of a vessel's hull, as fore-body,
middle-body, and after-body. A vessel is said to be
long-bodied when the fullness is carried well
towards the ends ; short-bodied when the
fore-and-aft lines taper very suddenly; a long-body
thus means a great parallel length of middle-body.
(See "Straight of Breadth.")
- Body Plan.--
- A plan which contains the cross sections of a
vessel. The midship section or largest section is
generally shown on the right-hand side of the
middle line of the body plan; sometimes on both
- Bollard.-- A stout timber to fasten ropes and
- Bollard Timbers.--
- The bollard timbers of a vessel are the same as
the knightheads; originally the knightheads were
carved figures of knights (fitted near the foremast
to receive the windlass), hence the name
knightheads. (See "Knightheads.")
- Bollock Blocks.--
- Two blocks in the middle of a topsail yard of
square rigged vessel, used in hoisting.
- Pieces of hard wood bolted to the yoke or lower
cap on the mast for the rigging to rest upon. They
are sometimes covered with leather or sheepskin
with the hair on, or raw hide, to prevent the
rigging chafing. (See "Rigging Plans.")
- A fastening of metal. An eye bolt is a bolt
with an eye in it used to hook blocks, &c., to.
A ring bolt is a bolt with an eye and a ring in
the eye. An ear bolt or lug bolt is a bolt with a
kind of slot in it to receive the part of another
bolt, a pin keeping the two together and forming a
kind of joint. Bay bolts are bolts with jagged
edges to prevent their drawing. A bolt applies to a
roll of canvas.
- Bolt Rope.--
- The rope sewn round the edges of sails. It is
made of the very best quality hemp, dressed with
Stockholm tar. A fore-and-aft sail is roped on port
side, a squaresail on aft side. There is the
weather (luff) rope, leech rope, toot rope, and
head rope. Steel wire is used for the luff ropes of
all racing sails.
- Booby Hatch.--
- A hatch on coamings used to give greater height
in the cabin of small yachts, and which can be
removed. It is also called a "coach roof."
- A spar used to extend the foot of sails. To top
the boom is to make sail and away. To boom off is
to shove off a wharf, bank, &c., by the aid of
spars. Stakes of wood used to denote a channel
through shoal water are termed booms.
- Boom Irons.--
- Iron bands on square yards, with eyes, in which
studding sail booms travel.
- A short boom of great strength, usually written
- An addition to a sail by lacing a short piece
to its foot; common in America and on some fishing
vessel, not often seen in British yachts.
- A sudden tide wave, which rolls along rapidly
at certain times on some rivers, and makes a great
- The north wind. An old sailor's saying is, "as
cold as Boreas with an iceberg in each pocket."
Popularly the god that rules the wind, as Aeolus is
supposed to do.
- Bore Away.--
- Did bear away. Said of a vessel that alters her
course in a leewardly direction, as "she bore
- Bore by the Head.--
- A vessel is said to bore by the head when she,
whilst passing through the water, is depressed by
- Boring.-- Forcing a vessel through loose ice in
the Arctic seas.
- A slang American term for sailing master, or
chief in command, or the manager or master of any
business or show.
- Both Sheets Aft.--
- When a square-rigged ship has the wind dead
aft, so that the sheets lead aft alike, with the
- Usually understood as the part of a vessel
below the water line or bilge.
- The hull or bottom of a ship pledged as
security for a loan. If the ship be lost the money
is lost unless the lender has covered himself by
- Encased with metal bands. Also referring to the
destination of a vessel.
- Wind-bound means that a vessel is in a port or
at an anchorage because the wind is unfavourable
for her to proceed. Formerly square-rigged ships
were everlastingly windbound, i.e., waiting in port
because the wind was adverse; now they go out and
look for a fair wind, and generally can sail so
well on a wind that waiting for a fair wind would
be considered an unpardonable piece of folly.
- The fore part of a vessel ; forward of the
greatest transverse section. In taking bearings an
object is said to be on the bow if its direction
does not make more than an angle of 45û with
the line of the keel.
- Bower Anchor.-- The anchor in constant
- Bow Fast.-- A warp for holding the vessel by
- Bowing the Sea.--
- Meeting the sea bow on or end on, or nearly end
on, as in close-hauled sailing. When the sea runs
the with the wind.
- Bowline Haul.--
- The foremost man in hauling on a bowline sings
out, "One! two ! ! three ! ! ! haul ! ! ! !" the
weight of all the men being thrown on the rope when
the "haul" is shouted out. This chant is sometimes
varied, thus :
- Heave on the bowlin'
- When the ship's a rollin'-
- Heave on the bowlin',
- The bowlin' haul !!!
- The origin of this probably is from the fact
that when the ship takes her weather roll the sails
lift and so some of the bowlines become slack and
can be got in.
- Bowline Knot.-- Formed thus :
- Ropes made fast to cringles in the weather
leech of square sails, to pull them taut and steady
when sailing on a wind. The bowlines usually lead
into a bridle.
Sailing on a bowline means sailing on a wind
when the bowlines would be hauled taut ; hence the
phrase "sailing on a taut bowline." Sailing on an
easy bowline means sailing with the sails well
full, and the bowlines eased up a little, so that
the vessel is not quite "on a wind" or close
- Continuation of buttock lines, showing the
outline of vertical fore-and-aft sections in the
forebody. Generally the whole line is termed a
- Bowsing.-- Hauling with a will upon a
- A spar projecting from the bow of a vessel. A
running bowsprit is one that can easily be reefed
in like a cutter's. Sometimes when a bowsprit is
reefed in by the fids it is wrongly said to be
housed ; a bowsprit is housed when run close in to
the cranse iron. A standing bowsprit is one fitted
in a shoe.
- Bowsprit Bitts.--
- Timbers fitted into carlines on the deck to
take the bowsprit.
- Bowsprit Cranse.--
- The iron cap at the bowsprit end, to which the
gear is spliced or shackled.
- Bowsprit Shrouds. The horizontal stays from the
bowsprit to the sides of the vessel.
- In tacking a ship to make her turn on her heel
by hauling the head sheets aweather, and getting
sternway on. Practised by square-rigged ships,
sometimes in working narrow channels.
- Bowing off.--
- Assisting to pay a vessel's head off the wind
by hauling the bead sheets a-weather.
- Bow Scarf.--
- A method of joining two pieces of timber by
letting each into the other one-half its own
thickness; sometimes termed a butt scarf.
- Box the Compass.--
- To call over all the points of a compass in
regular order. To understand the compass points and
subdivisions. (See "Compass.")
- Braced Sharp Up.--
- Said of a square-rigged ship when the weather
braces are slacked up and the lee ones hauled in
taut so as to trim the sails as close to wind as
- Copper, gunmetal, or brass straps fitted round
the main piece of rudder or rudder-post and
fastened to the sternpost. -- Strengthening pieces
of iron or wood to bind together weak places in a
vessel. -- Ropes need in working the yards of a
- Brace-up and Haul Aft! --
- The order to trim sails after a vessel has been
hove to with sails slack.
- Ropes fast to the leeches of fore-and-aft sails
and leading through blocks on the mast hoops. ;
need to haul or truss the sail up to the mast
instead of lowering it and stowing it.
- A breaking in of the sea. A clean breach is
when a wave boards a vessel in solid form, and
sometimes makes a clean sweep of the deck, taking
crew, boats, and everything else overboard. To make
a clean breach over a vessel is when the sea enters
one side and pours out the other.
- Break Aboard.-- When the crest of a wave falls
aboard on the deck of a vessel.
- Casks for containing water. Also the disturbed
water over reefs, rocks, shoals, &c.
- Breakers Ahead! -- The cry when breakers are
sighted close ahead.
- Break Off.--
- In close-hauled sailing, when the wind comes
more from ahead so as to cause the vessel's head to
break to leeward of the course she had been
sailing. Not to be confused with "fall off," which
means that the vessel's head goes off farther away
from the wind.
- Break Tacks.-- When a vessel goes from one tack
to the other.
- Cleaning off a ship's bottom by burning the
excrescences thereon. Sometimes when a vessel is
not coppered small worms will eat into the plank.
It is usual then to scrape her bottom, coal tar
her, and then bream her off by fire in basket
- Breast Fast.-- A warp fastened to a vessel
amidships to hold her.
- A strong > shaped wood knee used forward to
bind the stem, shelf, and frame of a vessel
together. Breasthooks are also used in other parts
of a vessel. They are now usually made of wrought
- Breeze.-- Small coke fuel, to be bought cheap
- Breeze, A.--
- In sailor's parlance, a strong blow of wind;
but generally a wind of no particular strength, as
light breeze, gentle breeze, moderate breeze,
strong breeze, &c. (See "Wind.")
- Breeze of Wind.-- A strong wind.
- The wind is said to "breeze-up" when it
increases fast in strength from a light wind.
- Breezy Side.-- The windward side of an
- Bridles.-- The parts of moorings to hold on by;
many ropes gathered into one.
- Brig.-- A two-masted vessel, square-rigged on
- A two-masted vessel, differing from a brig by
being only square-rigged forward. In the Cotton
MSS. is preserved, under date Sept.18 (13 Henry
VIII), an account of Ships of the King's Majesty
between Gravesend and Erith. "The Great Henry" is
among the number, and
- "Brygandyn, clerk of the ship, doth say that
before the said ship be laid in the dock that
her masts be taken down and bestowed in the
great storehouse at Erith," &c. It is
supposed by Charnock (Charnock, vol. ii.
p.106-117) that Brygandyn invented the
In the Harl. MSS. Edward VI occurs the
following: "The two gallies and brigandyne must
be yearly repaired."
- Bring To, or Bring Her To.--
- To luff or to come close to wind. To anchor.
(See "Come To.")
- Bring to Wind.--
- To luff a vessel close to the wind after she
has been sailing off the wind.
- Bring Up.-- To come to anchor.
- Bring Up all Standing.--
- To come to anchor, or to a stop suddenly
without notice, or without any sail being lowered.
To anchor without lowering sail.
- Bristol Fashion.--
- In the best manner possible, Bristol
shipbuilding and seamen formerly having a great
reputation for excellence.
- Broach To.-- To come to against the wind and
- Broad Pennant.-- The swallowtail flag of a
commodore. (See "Burgee.")
- Broadside On.--
- When a vessel moves sideways, or when she is
approached by an object at right angles to her
- Broken Water.--
- When waves lose their form by breaking over
reefs, rocks, or shallows, or by meeting waves from
another direction, termed a cross sea.
- Broom at the Masthead.--
- A signal that a boat or vessel is for sale. The
origin of the custom appears to be unknown; but it
is ingeniously argued that brooms were hoisted as a
signal that a man wanted to make a clean sweep of
his vessel; or the custom may have arisen from the
common practice of selling brooms in the
- Brought To.--
- After a vessel has been sailing off a wind when
she is brought to wind, or close to wind.
- Brought Up.-- At anchor.
- Brought Up with a Round Turn.--
- Figuratively, suddenly stopped: as for
instance, when a rope is being payed out rapidly,
if a turn or bight catches round some object and
checks the paying out of the rope.
- Bucklers.-- Blocks of wood used to stop the
- Builder's Certificate.--
- A document given by the builder of a vessel to
the owner when she is handed over, setting forth
the builder's name, the name of the ship, place of
building, manner of building, rig, dimensions,
tonnage, N.M., and concluding with the following
- "This is to certify that [I or
we] have built at_A_, in the county
of_B_, in the year_C_, the vessel_D_. The
measurement, tonnage, and description of
which are given above.
- As witness my hand, this -- day of
- Signed, --"
- This document must be produced when application
is made for registration.
- Builder's Measurement.-- (See "B.M."
- The athwartship partitions which separate a
vessel into compartments, cabins, &c. Fore and
aft partitions are also termed bulkheads. In yachts
it is not customary to employ watertight
- Bull's Eye.--
- A block without a sheave, and with one hole in
it. They are usually iron bound.
- Bulwark.-- The side of a vessel above the
- Bumboat.-- A boat used by shore people to carry
provisions on sale to ships.
- Bumpkin.-- See "Boomkin."
- Bunk.-- A bed or place to sleep in in a
- The middle part of a sail. To gather up the
bunt is take hold of the middle part of a sail and
gather it up.
- Bunting.-- Woollen stuff of which flags are
- Bunter.-- A kind of tackle.
- Bunt Lines.--
- Ropes attached to sails to haul them up
- Buoy.-- A floating mark.
- The quality of floating or being supported or
borne up by a fluid. A vessel is buoyant in
proportion as she is bulk for bulk lighter than the
fluid she is supported in
- Burden or Burthen.--
- Supposed to mean the quantity in tons of dead
weight that a vessel will carry. The quantity would
be the difference between the weight or
displacement of the ship when light and the weight
or displacement of the ship when she was laden as
deeply as prudent.
- A triangular or square flag flown at the truck
as a kind of pennant. A commodore's pennant is a
"swallowtail" burgee. A vice commodore's burgee has
one white ball in the upper corner or canton of the
hoist ; a rear commodore's, two halls placed
- Burgee, Etiquette of.--
- It is considered etiquette, if a yacht is on a
station where there is a club established, and her
owner is a member of the club, that the flag of
that particular club should be hoisted as the yacht
arrives on the station, although the owner maybe
the commodore, or vice, or rear-commodore of
another club. Frequently, however, in such a ease
the burgee is merely run up on arrival and then
lowered and the commodore's pennant re-hoisted.
But if the yacht has two or more masts, a
flag-officer can fly his pennant at the main, and
another club burgee at the mizen or fore. If
several yachts are lying at an anchorage where
there is no club, the yachts will fly the burgee of
the senior flag-officer present; but if there be
two flag-officers of equal rank present, then the
flag of the one whose club is senior by virtue of
the data of its Admiralty warrant will be flown. In
the Royal Navy, if two or three ships are cruising
in company, the title of commodore is given by
courtesy to the senior captain present ; but the
rank does not seem very well defined, as, although
an "appointed" commodore is said to rank next to a
rear-admiral, yet he cannot fly his broad pennant
in the presence of a "superior captain" without
permission. In the case of the Yacht Navy, the
senior officer would mean the one of highest rank;
and where, in the case of clubs, the rank of the
flag-officers is equal, seniority depends upon the
date of the Admiralty warrant of the club which
conferred the rank, and not upon the length of
service of the officer but a vice-commodore of a
senior club does not take precedence of a commodore
of a junior club.
By the same rule when several yachts are present
belonging to clubs that have no Admiralty warrants,
the date of the establishment of the several clubs
would decide the seniority of flag-officers of
equal rank, but clubs with Admiralty warrants
always rank before those without. (See "Saluting,"
"Recognised Clubs," "Royal Clubs," "Admiralty
Warrants," and "Ensigns.")
When the Royal Yacht Squadron was first
established, members : flew private signal flags,
continuing : their crest or other device, and the
fashion has, during the last few years, been much
revived. Owners of yachts with more than one mast
fly such a flag at the fore when the owner is on
board, club burgee always at the main.
If a yacht has only one mast the flag can be
flown from the cross trees. During meals American
yachtsmen sometimes hoist a "dinner napkin", i.e.,
a square white flag at the fore or from the cross
The Cambria in the Atlantic race flew her racing
flag at the main, and the Royal Harwich Yacht Club
burgee at the fore.
See "Yacht Etiquette" farther on.
When a yacht wins a club prize, it is etiquette
to hoist the winning flag under the burgee of the
club giving the prize if the owner is a member; he
should also do the same when going on to another
port if a winning flag is hoisted. The rule cannot,
however, be observed if there be several prizes and
different clubs involved.
- A tackle composed of two single blocks; a
double Spanish burton consists of two single and
one double block.
- Butcher's Cleaver Plate.--
- This plate was devised to get a greater area of
board immersed without increasing its extreme
dimensions, and thereby increasing the surface for
friction. The plate had an iron bar, C, two or
three feet long riveted thereon; and pivoted by the
A is a portion of the keel. B is the plate. C is
an iron bar riveted to the plate at D, and pivoted
in the keel at E, and lifted by a jointed bar
bolted at I.
The effective lateral resistance for any given
plane would be considerably increased if one edge
of the plane made a large angle with the direction
of its motion ; and for this reason a square plate
is not so effective as a triangular one.
- The joining or meeting of two pieces of wood
endways. Butt and butt means that two planks meet
end to end, but do not overlap.
- Butt End.-- The biggest end of a spar.
- Buttock.-- The after-part of a vessel from her
- Buttock Lines.--
- Planes in a fore-and-aft direction, showing the
outline of vertical fore-and-aft sections in the
- By and Large .-- Backing and filling, which
see. (See also "Large.")
- By the Board.--
- To fall overboard; as when a mast breaks short
off at the deck.
- By the Head.--
- When the vessel is trimmed or depressed by the
head so that her proper line of flotation is
- By the Lee.--
- To bring a vessel by the lee is when nearly
before the wind she falls off so much as to bring
the wind on the other quarter ; or the wind may
shift from one quarter of the vessel to the other
without the vessel altering her course (See
- By the Stern.-- The contrary to being down by
- By the Wind.-- Close hauled; hauled by the
© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
May not be reproduced without my permission.
Go scan your own damn dictionary.