Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and
(11th and final edition, 1913)
- Mackerel Sky.--
- A sky streaked with fine clouds, something in
the manner of the stripes on the back of a
- Mackerel Tailed.--
- A boat with a very sharp or fine after body.
"Cod's bead and mackerel's tail" or "full forward
and fine aft," once supposed to represent the form
of least resistance.
- Built, as built mast, &c., meaning that the
mast is not made of one piece of timber, but by
several pieces bound together like a cask. A term
of reproach to a boat builder when applied to his
work, in contradistinction to the regular term
- The open ocean. The principal, as mainmast,
main boom, main stay, main sail, &c.
- Main Breadth.--
- The extreme breadth of a vessel. Main Course.--
The main sail of a square rigged ship.
- Main Keel.-- The keel proper, and not the
keelson or false keel.
- The rope or tackle which holds the aft clew of
the main sail, or main boom. A good arrangement of
mainsheet for a small boat with boom to the sail is
to make fast one end of the sheet to one end of the
quarter knee, or near thereto (so that the sheet is
clear of the helms. man), take the other end
through a thimble eye in a strop round the boom and
down through another thimble eye strap in the other
quarter knee; the hauling part can be made fast by
a turn and bight above the second thimble. This
arrangement would do for a 10ft. or 12ft. boat, but
in one of larger size a block should be stropped to
the boom and quarter knees instead of the thimbles.
- Mainsheet Horse.--
- A mainsheet horse is frequently used in small
boats, and for racing craft in large yachts as
well. Less mainsheet is required on a wind when the
lower block travels on a horse, and therefore the
boom cannot lift so much and assist in throwing the
sail in a bag. In a seaway, however, there is some
advantage in having more drift between the blocks
than would be very likely given if a horse were
used. For small boats, to obviate the shifting of
the mainsheet from side to side in tacking, the
horse is of advantage. The foresheet can travel on
a horse if the boat be decked or half decked.
- Mainsheet Slip.--
- The Navy mainsheet slip is usually fitted to
the gunwale, with a lanyard on the ring which holds
the tongue to slip the sheet if necessary. This
slip can also be fitted to a mainsheet horse, but
practically the hitch at a answers all the purpose,
as the lanyard has to be manipulated by the hand
just the same as any ordinary tongue and ring
attachment has. (Fig. 66.)
- The mainmast headman of a schooner to pass the
lacing of a topsail, keep the topsail yard clear,
- Make Fast.-- To securely belay a rope or join
- Make Beady There.--
- An order sometimes given to prepare to tack or
lower a sail, as "Make ready for going about there
!" the " there" referring to the crew.
- Make Sail.--
- To set sails. To add to sails already set. To
shake out reefs to commence sailing after laying
- Make Stern Way.--
- To drive astern as a vessel sometimes will in
tacking by getting in irons or through the head
sails being thrown aback.
- Making the Land.-- After losing sight of the
land to approach and sight it.
- Making Water.--
- Leaking. A vessel is said to make no water if
she is so tight that none ever gets through her
seams, &c., into the hold.
- To apply manual power to anything, as "Man the
capstan," "Man the boat,' &c.
- Man Overboard.--
- A shout of alarm made on board ship when a man
gets overboard by accident. In such cases it is not
usual to wait for orders, lint everyone joins in if
he sees he can be of service in throwing a life.
buoy, helping to launch a boat, jumping over.
- An architectural term, but used in America for
a booby hatch or raised deck. A mansard roof to a
house is a light structure above the masonry. It
took its name from Mansard, a French architect of
the 17th century.
- FIG 66
- Man Ship.--
- An old-fashioned custom in the Navy of
mustering the crew along the bulwarks to cheer upon
parting company or meeting another ship after
racing. Losing yachts man the weather deck or
bulwarks and cheer a victorious yacht, a custom
probably derived from the practice in "fighting
days" of one war ship cheering another which was an
enemy. (See "Cheering.")
- Marine Glue.--
- This composition is said to be composed of 1
part indiarubber, 12 mineral naphtha or coal tar
heated gently, and 20 parts of shellac, mixed with
it. The composition is now usually employed to stop
the seams of decks after they are caulked. The old
fashioned plan was to use white lead putty for the
stopping and indeed it is at this present time
occasionally used the objection to it is that it
dries as hard as a cement and cracks, the result
being that water gets into the caulking, rots it,
and then leaky decks are the consequence. Moreover,
hard putty is very difficult to get out of the
seams without damaging the edges of the plank, and
then in re-stopping ragged ugly seams are the
result. Marine glue, on the other band, can easily
he renewed, and the edges of the plank remain
- In using marine glue the following practice
should be observed : In driving the oakum or cotton
thread (the latter is sometimes preferred as it can
be laid in finer strands, a matter of consideration
if the plank is closely laid) into the seams, the
caulking iron Should be dipped in naphtha and not
in oil, as, if the sides of the plank are touched
with the latter the glue will not adhere ; naphtha,
on the other hand, dissolves the glue and assists
in closely cementing the seams. The plank should be
quite dry when the glue is applied, or it will not
adhere to the sides of the seams. The glue should
be dissolved in a pot, and applied by lip ladles
used for paying, two being kept going; or the glue
can be melted in the lip ladles. Great care must be
taken that the glue is melted slowly, as if it be
melted over too fierce a fire it will be spoilt. A
little of the liquid glue can be usefully mixed
with the other as it assists in keeping it
dissolved. The glue that runs over the sides of the
seams should be cleaned off with a broad sharp
chisel and remelted. It is not advisable to scrape
the surplus glue off the seams, as it cannot be so
removed without leaving a ragged, unsightly
surface. The manufacturer of this marine glue is
Mr. Jeffry, Limehouse. A cheaper marine glue, not
easily spoilt in melting, is made by the Waterproof
Glue Company, Landport, Hants.
- A sailor. Two hundred years ago it was spelt
"maryner," and appears to have only been applied to
men who were perfect as seamen. Thus, from a muster
roll made in the seventeenth century, we find so
many men set down as maryners" and so many as
- The pieces of leather, &c., on a lead-line
(see "Lead.") In sounding it is usual to say, "By
the mark," &c., if the depth of water accords
to a mark; if there be no "mark," as between three
and five fathoms, the leadsman says, "By the deep
four," &c. (Sea "Lead.")
- To hitch spun yarn round a rope to secure its
parts, or round a hank of yarn to secure it. (See "
- Marline Spike.--
- An iron implement tapering to a sharp point,
used to open the strands of rope for splicing, to
turn eye bolts, &c.
- A strut or spreader for the bobstay, formerly
termed a dolphin striker on big ships.
- Mast Carlines or Carlings.--
- Pieces of timber fitted fore and aft between
the beams to support the mast, &c.
- Master.-- The captain of a ship. (See
- Master's Certificate.--
- Certificates known as "Yacht Master's
Certificates" are granted by the Board of Trade to
owners of yachts of British Registry.
- The examination for these Certificates is
purely voluntary, and is confined to persons who
command their own seagoing pleasure yachts. A
Master of a yacht who is net also the sole
owner, or who is under 21 years of age, is not
eligible for examination.
- Only one description of Certificate is
issued, whether the yacht is foreign-going or
cruises within the home trade limits.
- The Certificate will not entitle the holder
to command any vessel except the pleasure yacht
or yachts, of which he is at the time the sole
- Candidates are not required to have served
any specified time afloat, as it is believed
that their sea knowledge will he sufficiently
tested by the examination they will have to pass
- A candidate for examination is required to
produce a statutory declaration to the effect
(1) that he is sole owner of the yacht; (2) that
the yacht is seagoing; (3) that it is not to be
used for trading purposes. He will also be
required to fill up the usual form of
application, and pay the fee of £2 at a
Mercantile Marine Office.
- In all other respects the regulations
relating to examinations of Masters of
foreign-going ships will apply in these
- EXAMINATION IN NAVIGATION
- The examination in navigation for a Yacht
Master's Certificate is precisely the same as that
prescribed for an Ordinary Master's Certificate,
except that in the civil duties of a shipmaster the
Master of a yacht will only be expected to possess
a knowledge of what he is required to do by the
Merchant Shipping Act.
- The regulation relating to an Ordinary Master's
Certificate is as follows :A Candidate for an
Ordinary Master's Certificate will ho required to
work out any twelve of the nautical problems
prescribed for the grades of Second and First Mate
that may be given him by the Examiner, in addition
to the chart paper, the cyclone paper, and the oral
subjects prescribed for the grades of Second and
First Mate. He will also be required :-
- (a) To find the latitude by the altitude of the
Polar star at any time.
- (b) To find the latitude by the meridian
altitude of the moon.
- (c) To find the magnetic bearing of any fixed
object when at sea or at anchor from bearings of
the object taken with the ship's head on
equidistant compass points, and to compute the
deviation therefrom; to construct a deviation
- curve upon a Napier's diagram which will be
furnished by the Examiner, and show that he
understands its practical application ; to give
satisfactory written and oral answers to certain
practical questions as to the effect of the ship's
iron upon the compasses, and the method of
determining the deviation, and show how to
compensate the deviation by magnets and soft iron
by the aid of Beall's Compass Deviascope.
- (d) To find on a chart the course to steer by
compass in order to counteract the effect of a
given current, and find the distance the ship will
make good towards a given point in a given time ;
and to work out practically the correction to apply
to soundings taken at a given time and place to
compare with the depth marked on the chart.
- He will be required to answer viva voce
questions on the following subjects :-
- (e) The law as to the engagement and discharge
and management of the crew, and the entries to be
made in the official log.
- (f) How to prevent and check an outbreak of
scurvy on board ship.
- (g) The law as to load-line marks, and the
entries and reports to be made respecting
- (h) Invoices charter party, hills of lading,
Lloyd's agent, nature of bottomry, bills of
exchange, surveys, averages, &c.
- (i) The prevailing winds and currents of tile
- (j) The trade routes.
- (k) Tides.
- EXAMINATION IN SEAMANSHIP. -
- The candidate must give satisfactory answers as
to his knowledge of making and taking in sail, and
as to the management of a yacht under canvas in
moderate and in stormy weather. He must have a
thorough knowledge of the rule of the road at sea
as regards both steamers and sailing vessels, their
regulation lights and fog and sound signals; and be
able to describe the signals of distress, and the
signals to be made by ships wanting a pilot, and
the liabilities and penalties incurred by the
misuse of these signals. He must also understand
the use and management of the rocket apparatus in
the event of his vessel being stranded. He must be
able to mark and use the lead and log lines; to
cant a vessel on a lee shore; to moor and unmoor a
ship; to keep a clear anchor, and to carry out an
anchor. He must know how to keep his vessel out of
the trough of the sea in the event of accident; how
to rig rafts and jury rudders, &c.; and what
steps to take if his vessel is disabled or
unmanageable and drifting towards a lee shore. He
will also be examined as to his resources for for
the preservation of the crew in the event of wreck.
He must also possess a knowledge of the measures he
should adopt for preventing and checking an
outbreak of scurvy on board; and be prepared to
answer any other questions relating to the
management of a yacht either steam or sailing which
the Examiner may ask.
- EXTRA MASTER OF YACHT.-- An Extra Certificate
will be issued to the owner of a yacht who either
holds, or is qualified to be examine d for, a Yacht
Master's Certificate, subject to examination in
navigation as prescribed for an Extra Master's
Certificate, and examination in seamanship as
prescribed for a Yacht Master's Certificate, but
the Candidate for an Extra Certificate will be
expected to show a more extensive practical
knowledge than is required of a Candidate for the
Yacht Master's Certificate.
- NOTE.-- An Extra Master's Certificate entitles
the holder to go to sea as Master of any vessel
sailing or steam.
- The examination is voluntary and intended for
such persons as wish to prove their superior
qualifications and are desirous of having
Certificates of the highest grade granted by the
Board of Trade.
- The extra examination may take place when the
applicant is qualified to go up for examination for
an Ordinary Master's Certificate, or at any time
subsequent to his having passed the examination for
- Master Mariner.--
- A master of a vessel who has a master's
certificate of competency. An old fashioned term. A
"master mariner is popularly known as a captain"
among yacht sailors ; but a master is only a
self-dubbed captain. Master is the correct term,
and the only recognised one in law. Yacht masters
are not required to hold the Board of Trade
certificate of competency.
- Master Mate.--
- A mate certificated as master. This was
originally written "master's mate," and meant a
person appointed to assist the master of a man of
war in carrying out his duties.
- The part of a mast above the hounds. To
masthead is to hoist anything up to the truck,
- Masthead Light.--
- The white light which power vessels are
required to exhibit at the masthead when under way.
(See "Side Lights.")
- Masthead Man.-- In yacht parlance, the man who
goes aloft to lace a topsail, &c.
- Masthead Pendants.-- The pendants and runners
which help support the mast.
- Mast Hoops.--
- The hoops to which the luff of fore and aft
sails are seized to keep the sail to the mast.
- Mast Rope.--
- The heel rope by which a topmast is sent up and
lowered; sometimes termed heel rope.
- In competition as yachts in a race. Formerly
all contests between yachts were termed matches. Of
late years the term race has been more generally
applied to such encounters.
- An officer next in command to a master.
Maul.-- A heavy hammer used by
- Meaking Iron.-- An implement used to extract
old caulking from seams.
- Formerly written admeasurement. The computation
of a vessel's tonnage by certain rules. (See "
- Meet Her.--
- When a vessel begins to fly to or run off the
wind, to stop her doing so by the helm. Generally
to check a vessel's tendency to yaw by using the
- Meet, To.--
- To meet a vessel with the helm is after the
helm has been put one way to alter her course to
put it the other way to stop the course being
altered any further. This is also called "checking
with the helm."
- Mess.-- The number of officers or men who eat
together. Disorder; entanglement.
- 1 Metre =3.280899 feet, 1 Square Metre =
10.7643 square feet. To convert linear feet into
metres multiply by 0.30479 or 0.305; to convert
linear metres into feet multiply by 3.28 ; to
convert square feet into square metres multiply by
0.0929 ; to convert square metres into square feet
multiply by 10.764.
- Racing yachts of the International Classes are
measured in England in feet and tenths of feet and
metres are not used by the Y.R.A. or by British
- The metre system is only used on the Continent.
Nevertheless in 1906, when the International Rules
were agreed to, in concession to foreign countries
England agreed to the Class Limits being fixed in
metres. Thus we have classes of 23; 19; 15; 12; 10;
9; 8; 7; 6 and 5 metres, the equivalents in English
- 75.46; 62.33; 49.21; 39.37; 32.80; 29.52;
26.24; 22.96; 19.68 and 16.40 feet.
- This figure approximately represents the length
on waterline of the yacht; thus a 15-metre yacht is
about 49.21 feet on L.W.L. The reader will
therefore see that no change whatever has been
effected in English yachting by the adoption in
1906 of metres for yacht measurement, because for
all calculations our designers still employ the old
English unit, the "foot." English designers,
however, have never used feet and inches but always
employ feet and tenths the decimal scale being
easier to work. The effect of the adoption of the
Metric standard has been to make English class
limits work out at an odd figure, thus instead of a
1-rater or 24 footer we now have a "22.96 footer"
which is a 7-metre boat.
- A slang term for a small racing yacht built to
the International Rules ; just as a "Rater" implied
a "1-Rater" or "24 footer" or such craft; so a
"Metre Beat" now implies a similar boat of the
- Middle Body.-- The middle third of a vessel's
- Middle Watch.-- The watch between midnight and
- Sails if rolled up when they are damp
frequently mildew, and it is almost impossible to
get the stains out entirely. New sails suffer most
in this respect, as the "dressing" not being
entirely washed or worked out of them will ferment
and cause the mildew. The stains can be partly
removed by scrubbing the sail with fresh water and
soap; then rub the sail with soap and sprinkle or
rub whiting over it; leave the sail to dry and
bleach in the sun, and repeat the process more than
once if necessary. Both sides of the sail should be
scrubbed. Chloride of lime and other caustics and
acids would remove mildew, but would almost
certainly make the canvas rotten. If chloride of
lime be used only the clear liquor should be
allowed to touch the sail, and the latter should be
well rinsed in fresh water afterwards (see "
Bleaching "). If sails are stowed whilst damp or
wet, they should be hoisted again as soon as
possible for drying or airing.
- Mile.-- See "Knot."
- Missing Stays.-- To fail in an attempt to tack,
or to go from one tack to the other.
- Mizen Bumpkin.--
- A short spar that extends from the taffrail aft
for the lower block of the mizen sheet to be hooked
to. Most modern yachts have this bumpkin generally
crooked downwards, the reason given being that the
downward crook shows up the sheer of the yacht. A
more practical reason, however, can be given, and
that is, if a bobstay is used, a more effective
purchase is obtained for it.
- Mizenmast.-- In a ship the after mast. So also
in a yawl or ketch.
- Mizen Staysail.--
- A sail set "flying" from a yawl's mizenmast
head to an eye bolt on deck forward of the
mizenmast. Generally set with a quarterly
- A weight or force multiplied by the length of
the lever upon which it acts. Sail moment generally
means the area of sails and the pressure of wind
upon them multiplied by the distance the centre of
effort is above the centre of lateral resistance,
which represents the length of lever.
- A force represented by a weight and the
velocity with which it is moved.
- Sailors say there will be a moon at such and
such a date, meaning that there will be a new moon
or full moon, from which the time of high water is
- Moor.-- To anchor by two cables.
- Mooring Rings.--
- The rings by which the chain is attached to
large stones used for moorings. Sometimes the bolts
that hold these rings pass clean through the stone,
and are secured underneath, but a more secure plan
than this is that known as a "Lewis." In the
engraving a is the ring or shackle, b a bolt with a
screw nut and linch pin; c c movable parts of the
bolt; d the key or wedge. When the key is in its
place the cavities, if any, can he filled with lead
- FIG 67.
- Morning Watch.-- The watch from 4 AM to 8
- Morse Code.-- See "Signals."
- Mosquito Fleet.--
- A term applied to small racing yachts at
some ports. In 1894 the American Corinthian
Mosquito Fleet claimed to have originated the
term, and was referred to as follows; "The
application of that insectism to yachts or boats
was first made by an association in Barnegat
Bay, U.S.A. It has not yet been adopted in
England. and is one of those crazy Americanisms
which are permitted because we love novelty
above good taste." Dr. Grant, of New York, then
correctly pointed out that the term has been
used in England for many years, and traces the
origin of the word to masca fly and qicito
diminutive or little, hence mosquito or little
fly: As a matter of fact, a "mosquito fleet" has
been in existence for many years on the
Devonshire coast, the great port for them being
- In the regatta programme of the Royal
Western Yacht Club for 1866, the third event is
scheduled as follows :
- "Prize of 6£. for the Mosquito Fleet
of Pleasure Boats."
- There were nine entries, and Mr. R.
Martin's Swallow was the winner, with Mr.
Lander's Bantam second, Mr. Hudson's
Butterfly third, and Mr. C. Hamilton's
Boomerang fourth. It is not certain when the
term Mosquito Fleet first came into use in
this country; but in 1859 "Vanderdecken," in
an article published in Hunt's Yachting
Magazine , said, "The Mosquito Fleet may be
justly esteemed the nursery for our yachtsmen
; the little yacht leads on to the handy 25,
the flying 50, and the stately schooner of
- The depth a timber is made between its curved
surfaces as distinct from its siding, which is the
thickness between its flat surfaces.
- Moulded Breadth.-- The greatest breadth of a
vessel without the plank.
- Depth.-- See " Depth."
- Curves used by draughtsmen. The skeleton frames
made by shipwrights to cut the frames by.
- Mourning Ribband.--
- A blue ribbon or stripe run round a yacht's
side, instead of a gold or white one, to denote
mourning. Mourning is also denoted by flying an
ensign or burgee half-mast.
- Yarns wound round the jaws of hooks to prevent
them becoming detached.
- 'Mudian Rig.-- A contraction of "Bermudian
- Muslin.-- A slang term given to the sails :
generally applied to balloon sails.
- Muzzle.-- To seize an unruly sail and press the
wind out of it in lowering.
- A strong wind which blows directly down a
vessel's intended course. Synonymous with
© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
May not be reproduced without my permission.
Go scan your own damn dictionary.