Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and
(11th and final edition, 1913)
- Nail-sick Clench-built Boat.--
- This is when the nail fastenings have become
loose in a boat so that she leaks. Mr. J. C.
Wilcocks recommends that the boat should have the
whole of her ballast taken out; let her then be
thoroughly cleaned out and laid on her sides, with
sufficient weight to keep her so until the water
begins to come over the gunwale. A man should be
inside with some chalk or white paint, and mark
every leak which becomes visible, first on one
side, then on the other; or the boat can be hauled
up and filled with water and marked outside. If the
boat be decked, any recesses behind bulkheads or in
the counter must be carefully examined, and marked
in the same manner. After all the leaks have been
discovered, let her be dried, and every nail
examined; the lands or joinings of the planks
should also be tried with the blade of a very thin
knife. Any rivets which have worked very loose must
be cut out, and replaced with nails and reeves of a
larger size, and through the chief parts of the
bottom it will probably be necessary to put an
additional nail between every two originally
driven. Many of the old nails which are only a
little slack should again be hardened by a few taps
on the inside, a boy holding on against the head of
the nail on the outside. After this work has been
thus gone through, melt a pound of pitch in a
gallon of boiling Stockholm tar, and give her a
good coat inside up to the level of the inside of
the lockers that is to say, as high as it can be
done not to interfere with the paint. The garboard
strake fastenings, and also those of the hood ends,
must also be examined, and will be certain to
require careful caulking. In tarring the boat
inside, the ledges or lands should be quite filled
up with the boiling stuff.
- The wind is said to "narrow" when it blows at a
smaller angle from ahead, or 'shorten,' which term
Navigation.-- Text Books on this subject for
- (1.) Navigation for Yachtsmen. (In 1 vol.
Horace Cox, Bream's-buildings, E.C. 15s.) By Lieut.
Vincent J. English, R.N.
(2.) Self-Instruction in Navigation. (In 3 vols.
Macmillan & Co., St. Martin's street, London.)
By the Earl of Dunraven.
The situation of a vessel that gets ashore
during high water at spring tides, and as the tides
get shorter every day towards the neap tides she
cannot be floated off till the next spring tides.
Generally termed be-neaped.
- Neap Tides.--
The tides which occur between new and full moon;
spring tides being at or near the new and full
- Near.-- Very close to the wind, so that the
sails shake or lift.
- Near the Wind.--
Close to wind ; generally used in a sense to
convey the meaning that the vessel is too near the
wind, as "She's near forward," meaning that the
head sails are shaking or lifting. (See "Nip.")
Small lines or ropes used to support hammocks
when they are slung under the beams. Also reef
points are sometimes termed nettles.
The intimation conveyed sternly to the watch
below to turn up when they do not obey the first
summons, as "Do you hear the news there, sleepers
- Niggling.-- Sailing close to the wind or too
A short bight in a rope, such as the part that
goes round a sheave, &c. To nip a vessel is to
sail her very close, or too close, to the wind.
- Nippering.-- Joining a rope by cross turns.
- Neck.-- The weather corner of a gaff sail. The
- No Nearer.--
An order given to a steersman not to luff any
more, or not to bring the vessel any closer to
wind. When sailing free a course is frequently
given to the steersman thus, W.S.W. and no nearer;
or S.E. and no nearer, which may be varied "Nothing
to windward of W.S.W.," &c.
A name given to a jib, generally meaning a jib
that is too big for the after sail; or a jib that
bellies out into a bag.
- Nor'-wester.-- A stiff glass of grog, usually
- Nose-ender.-- Dead on end. A wind which blows
directly down a vessel's intended course, involving
a dead beat. (See "Muzzler.")
- Noose.-- A slip knot or running bight in a
The number of a ship in the registry kept by the
Registrar-General of Shipping; hence when a ship
"makes her number" she hoists the signal flag
denoting her number so that her name may be read.
Also the number of a seaman on a ship's book. "To
lose the number of the mess" is to fail to appear
at mess through desertion, drowning, or sudden
- Oars !-An order given to cease rowing and toss
up the oars. (See "Lay in Oars.")
- The opposite to near (which see), as "Off the
wind." "Nothing off" is an order given to a
helmsman to steer nothing to leeward of a
particular course, or to sail nothing off the wind,
but to keep the vessel full and bye. (See "No
- Off and On.-- Beating along a shore by a board
off and then a board on.
- Away from the land, seaward. To make an offing
is to sail away clear of the land.
- "Off She Goes !"--
- The shout raised when a vessel begins to move
down the ways at launching.
- The waterproof clothing worn by sailors,
&c. The following is said to be a good dressing
for them: Dissolve in one and a quarter pint rain
water 6oz. common yellow soap over a slow fire;
when dissolved, boil and stir in five pints of
boiled linseed oil, in which 8oz. of patent driers
have previously been mixed. Let the mixture simmer
for a quarter of an hour, and then apply it hot,
rubbing well in with a hard brush. Two coats at
first and one every season. If the oilskins become
sticky the paint must be got off by a mixture of
soap and soda and soaking and hard scrubbing.
Liquid ammonia one part to twenty of water and
soap, all applied hot, form, it is said, a good
mixture for removing the dressing. The oilskins
must be well dried before coating them again.
Sticky oilskins may often be put right by rubbing
powdered talc over them. (See also
- Oil on Troubled Waters.--
- There is no doubt that the use of oil for
smoothing down broken water or preventing wave
crests breaking was known to the ancients.
Aristotle supposed that the thin film of oil
prevented wave formation, by reducing the friction
of the wind on the water surface. There is no doubt
that this friction is the primary cause of wave
formation, and if the whole water surface were
covered with oil, possibly the wave formation would
be reduced ; but this in no way accounts for the
fact that the spreading of oil on a small portion
of a disturbed water surface will suddenly arrest
the breaking of waves. (See the article "Waves.")
Actually what the oil does is to prevent the waves
rising into cusps and then falling to pieces. Also,
when these cusps are formed, waves rise to
great-or, as it may be termed, unnatural heights.
If the height of the waves much exceeds a certain
proportion to the length, the wave crest becomes
deformed, and finally breaks. It is the broken
water the broken water has actual motion-and not
the undulations, which does the harm, and the oil,
we suppose, owing to its greater viscousness,
prevents waves rising into the deformed conditions
which bring about their disruption. It should be
clearly understood that broken water-whether it is
a wave tumbling to pieces in mid-ocean or on the
shore in the form of surf--has actual motion
relative to the earth, and represents a great
force. In the case of unbroken waves, the
undulations only move; that is to say, the wave
motion travels, but not the water. An unbroken wave
will pass under a boat and leave her in exactly the
same position relative to the earth; but if she be
struck by a broken wave, she may be hurled a
considerable distance, or, if she resists the
force, she may be greatly damaged.
- On account of the importance to navigators of a
knowledge of the use of oil to prevent heavy seas
from breaking on board, the Hamburg Nautical School
offered a prize for the best essay on the subject,
and it was won by Capt. R. Karlowa, of the Hamburg
- American Steamship Company, whose paper is here
- FIG 68
- FIG 69
- FIG 70
- In the diagrams, the arrows denote the
direction of the wind and sea; the flowing lines
indicate the spreading oil.
- Scudding before a gale (Fig. 68), distribute
oil from the bow by means of oil-bags or through
waste-pipes ; it will thus spread aft and give
protection both from quartering and following seas.
If only distributed astern (Fig. 69) there will be
no protection from the quartering sea.
- Running before a gale, yawing badly and
threatening to broach-to (Figs. 70 and 71), oil
should be distributed from the bow and from both
sides, abaft the beam. In Fig. 70, for instance,
where it is only distributed at the how, the
weather quarter is left unprotected when the ship
yaws. In Fig. 71, however, with oil-bags abaft the
beam as well as forward, the quarter is
- Lying-to (Fig. 72), a vessel can he brought
closer to the wind by using one or two oil bags
forward, to windward. With a high beam sea, use
oil-bags along the weather side at intervals of 40
or 50 feet.
- In a heavy cross-sea (Fig. 73) as in the centre
of a hurricane, or after the centre has passed,
oil-bags should be hung out at regular intervals
along both sides.
- FIG. 71
- FIG. 72.
- FIG. 73.
- FIG. 74.
- FIG. 75.
- FIG. 76
- Steaming into a heavy head-sea (Fig. 74), use
oil through forward closet-pipes. Oil bags would be
tossed back on deck.
- Drifting in the trough of a heavy sea (Figs. 75
and 76), use oil from waste pipes forward and bags
on weather side, as in Fig. 72. These answer the
purpose very much better than one bag at weather
bow and one at lee quarter, although this has been
tried with some success (Fig. 76).
- Lying-to, to tack or wear (Fig. 77), use oil
from weather bow.
- Cracking on, with high wind abeam and heavy sea
(Fig. 78), use oil from waste-pipes, weather
- Towing another vessel in a heavy sea, oil is of
the greatest service, and may prevent the hawser
from breaking. Distribute oil from the towing
vessel, forward and on both sides. If only used
aft, the tow alone gets the benefit (Fig. 79.)
- At anchor in an open roadstead, use cilia bags
from jib-boom, or haul them out ahead of the vessel
by means of an endless rope rove through a
tail-block secured to the anchor chain (Fig.
- A vessel hove-to for a pilot (Fig. 81), should
distribute oil from the weather side and lee
quarter. The pilot-boat runs up to windward and
lowers a boat, which pulls down to leeward and
around the vessel's stern.
- FIG. 77.
- FIG. 78.
- The pilot-boat runs down to leeward, gets out
oil-bags to windward and on her lee quarter, and
the boat pulls back around her stern, protected by
the oil. The vessels drift to leeward and leave an
oil-slick to windward, between the two.
- There are many other cases where oil may be
used to advantage -- such as lowering and hoisting
boats, riding to a sea anchor, crossing rollers or
surf on a bar, and from lifeboats and stranded
vessels. Thick and heavy oils are the best. Mineral
oils are not so effective as animal or vegetable
oils. Raw petroleum has given favourable results,
but not so good when it is refined. Certain oils,
like cocoa-nut oil and some kinds of fish oil,
congeal in cold weather, and are therefore useless,
but may be mixed with mineral oils to advantage.
The simplest and best method of distributing oil is
by means of canvas bags about one foot. long,
filled with oakum and oil, pierced with holes by
means of a coarse sail-needle, and
- held by a lanyard. The waste-pipes forward are
also very useful for this purpose.
- It should be noted that oil has little or no
effect on the broken water due to surf breaking on
a shore; and the experiments made on the broken
water, on bars of harbour entrances, show that the
condition of the water cannot be much modified by
oil; the wave breaking is, in such cases, mostly
governed by the depth of the water. The deeper the
water, the greater the effect of the oil in
modifying the wave breaking.
- If a bar harbour has to be entered on a flood
tide a boat could discharge oil so that it would
run in ahead of her. On an ebb tide, the oil could
be distributed by some apparatus in connection with
- "A wave-smoother," made by The Storm Anchor
Co., Campbell-road, Bow, is shown by Fig. 82 as
intended for lifeboats. It is a sail made of stout
canvas, with a buoyant wooden yard on top, and a
tube made of strong galvanised steel at bottom,
large enough to contain from one to two gallons of
oil. This tube acts at once as a sinker and yard:
it is a self-distributor when in the sea, and a
safe and strong receptacle for oil. The central
figure shows it hanging in beckets under the boat's
thwart, whence it may be thrown overboard, and will
then commence acting instantly, as storm anchor and
wave-smoother. Its four guys should be made fast to
about 60 feet of the boat's painter, and veered
ahead. It will not fail to keep the boat's head to
the sea; and the oil, rising to the surface, will
most effectually calm down the breaking and high
topping waves before they burst on the boat. By
this system the boat will require little, if any,
personal management, as the anchor and the oil
acting together will render the terrible disaster
of capsizing very remote.
- FIG. 81.
- If used for scudding, it should be tightly
furled and towed astern by the four guys; but when
the seas rise high, boats should be hove to.
- If kept suspended under athwart it can never be
trodden on and burst, as it would be in any other
place by a body of people hurriedly springing into
a boat. When overboard it will discharge oil at a
uniform rate, and make one gallon go as far as five
applied in any other way.
- FIG. 79.
- FIG. 80.
- Vegetable oil mixed with one half fish oil and
one-tenth weight of tow or oakum, is
- Another wave-smoother is made by the "Mermaid"
Wave Subduer Company, 19, Castle-street,
- FIG. 82.
- Attempts made to still the waves for ships to
have a comparatively smooth passage with a bead sea
have not been very successful. In 1888, trials were
made on board the North German Lloyd liners with
rockets containing oil fired ahead of the ships in
the teeth of a gale. It was said that five
rockets--we presume in instantaneous
succession--were fired 900ft. ahead of the ship
dead to windward in a gale, and that from 1500 sq.
- Oil on Troubled Waters-continued.
- 2000 sq. ft. were covered with the oil
liberated from the rockets. If the oil from these
five rockets covered an area of, say 2000 sq. ft.,
the area would he more or less circular in form,
with a diameter, say, of 50ft. Thus we assume that
the oil spread out 25ft. in all directions whilst
the ship was travelling 900ft. ; we further assume
that the speed of the ship would he, in a gale
about 15 knots, equal to 1516ft. per minute; thus
the oil, whilst the ship traversed 900ft., would
only have thirty-six seconds to spread in; or, in
other words, a rocket would have to he fired every
seven seconds to make an oily path for a ship
travelling at the rate of 15 knots, It should he
noted that the oily path would be no broader than
the ship, and that keeping in it would be like
walking a chalk line under the influence of very
exuberant spirits. We do not think such a streak as
this would he of much value to a ship, even if she
could keep actually in it, or just to leeward of
- To make a continuous oily path for a ship
travelling at the rate of 15 knots, five rockets
would have to he fired every seven seconds. Thus,
forty-three rockets would have to be fired per
minute, 2580 per hour, and 61,920 per twenty-four
hours. If the ship travelled at the rate given, she
would he about eight days on a voyage; and if
rockets were required the whole time, 495,360, or
practically half a million, would have to he fired.
These could not possibly he manufactured and fired
a distance of 900ft. under a cost of 6d. each, or a
total cost of 12,384£, a sum probably more
than double the average amount of passage money per
voyage. We do not, therefore, think that the luxury
of having an oily track across the Atlantic is yet
within range of things practicable.
- O.M.-- See "B.M."
- In the direction of, as "on the bow," "on the
beam," "on the quarter," "on for that buoy,"
- On a Bowline.--
- Close-hauled. Generally applied to the square
rig when a ship has her bowlines hauled taut to
keep the leeches of the sails from shaking when she
- On on Easy Bowline.-- Not quite close-hauled; a
- On a Wind.-- Close-hauled; not off the
- One-Design Class.--
- A number of boats built precisely alike; the
design, construction, and sails being exactly
similar. Boats are built in this manner, by mutual
arrangement, for racing purposes, and afford
excellent sport because, all things being equal,
the steersman and crew showing most knowledge of
seamanship are likely to secure the prize. The
drawback to a one-design class is that when once
the form of boat is stereotyped it cannot be
improved, and thus were all competitive sailing
conducted on the one-design class principle the
science of yacht architecture would remain at a
- On End.--
- A mast is said to be on end when in its place;
literally, standing on its end. Generally applied
- One, Two, Three, Haul !--
- A cry raised by the foremost hand in hauling on
a tackle. All hands throw their whole weight and
strength on the rope or fall at the word
- Open.-- Upon sailing round a point or headland
when an object comes into view.
- Opposite Tacks.--
- When of two vessels one is on the port tack and
the other on starboard tack. Cross tacks.
- Ordinary Seaman.--
- On board a man-of-war a young sailor not yet
efficient in his duties so as to entitle him to the
rank of A.B.
- Outer and Inner Turns.--
- In bending a sail to a yard, the outer turns
haul the sail out taut along the yard, the inner
turns secure the sail.
- A rope or tackle by which a sail is hauled out
on a spar, as distinct from an inhaul by which it
is hauled inboard.
- A contrivance of some sort for extending a sail
or stay outboard. A name for a kind of rowboat
which has the rowlocks extended beyond the boat's
side by iron rod brackets.
- Over-canvassed.-- Too much canvas.
- The rough water caused by the tide pouring over
a rough or precipitous bottom.
- The portions of the hull which project beyond
the waterline fore and aft.
- To overtake another vessel; to loosen the parts
of a tackle; to ease up, to slacken, or free the
fall of a tackle ; to slacken or "lighten up" a
- When any part, spars and sails included, of one
vessel covers or overlaps any pert of another
vessel. Technically in a yacht race yachts are not
considered overlapping within the meaning of the
rules (1) unless they are sailing approximately the
same course or nearly in the same direction (2)
unless they are close enough together for risk of
collision to be involved.
- For instance, if A were found to be covering B
by a line drawn at right angles across a chart, and
A and B were a quarter of a mile apart, this would
not be an overlap. Moreover, if A and B were
sailing different ways on opposite tacks the
question of an overlap would never be involved.
Questions about "Overlaps" are often discussed by
yachtsmen when speaking of racing, because under
the rules an overlap often governs the right of
way, but it should always be remembered the term
"overlap" only begins to apply when A and B come
within range of risk of collision and when they are
sailing in the same direction. When the risk of
collision ceases, or before it begins, the overlap
obviously ceases to have any importance, because
when no such risk exists, the sea being free
property, A and B may sail anywhere they please.
- Over-masted.-- Masts that are too large or long
for a vessel.
- Generally more rigging, spars, and canvas than
a vessel will properly bear.
- Over-set.-- To cause a capsize.
- Overshoot a Mark.--
- To go up to a mark with too much way on so that
the vessel shoots past it.
- Over-reach or Overstand.--
- To stand so long on a reach that upon tacking
the vessel can fetch much farther to windward of a
mark than was necessary or desirable.
- To approach a vessel that is sailing ahead. The
"rule of the road" is that an overtaking vessel
must keep clear of the vessel she overtakes; the
vessel so overtaken must, however, keep her course
steadily. In competitive yacht sailing this rule is
somewhat different, as it allows the vessel that is
overtaken to alter her course to windward to
prevent the other passing her to windward; she must
not, however, alter her course to leeward to
prevent the overtaking vessel passing on her lee
© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
May not be reproduced without my permission.
Go scan your own damn dictionary.