Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and
(11th and final edition, 1913)
- Oil colour used for preserving wood and
- A rope spliced to a ring bolt in the bow of a
boat to make fast by at wharves, steps, or other
landing places. "To let go the painter" is
figuratively to depart.
- Palm.-- The guard and thimble used by sail
makers. Also the fluke of an anchor.
- A wind is said to be paltry which is light and
intermittent, or varying a great deal in direction
and force; baffling.
- To roll a spar, cask, &c., by placing it in
the bight of a rope, one end of which is fast, the
other hauled upon.
- To cover a rope with strips of canvas painted
or otherwise. The canvas is wound round the rope
and stitched or "served" with marline.
- Parrel or Parral.--
- Ropes or irons used to secure yards at the
slings to the mast; rope parrels are commonly rove
through balls of wood, so that they hoist easily on
the mast. Parrels are used on the jaws of a gaff.
An eye is usually spliced in either end of a
- To break, to burst asunder, as the "fore stay
parted about half way up to the eye."
- A strong frame of timber fixed between the deck
beams to receive and support the mast, termed mast
partners, but some times termed carlines.
- Pass.-- To reeve, as pass a lacing or earing.
Also to hand a thing one from another.
- A voyage. To carry a person from one place to
another is to give a passage.
- A vessel of any description cannot, according
to statute, have on board more than twelve
passengers without taking out a licence. However,
the opinion of the judges was expressed on the
point in the Court of Queen's Bench in April, 1889.
It appears that the owners of the steam tug Era
were summoned before the Ipswich magistrates for
carrying a party of friends, twenty-one in number,
on a pleasure excursion on the river Orwell, she
not having a passenger certificate in accordance
with the 318th section of the Merchant Shipping
Act, 1854. For the defence it was contended that
the steamer was not plying within the meaning of
the statute, and the magistrates declined to
convict. The Board of Trade then took the case to
the Court of Queen's Bench. The court without
hesitation decided that the magistrates were right
not to convict, and the Lord Chief Justice, in the
course of his judgment, said: "If the owner of a
yacht took a party up and down a river for
amusement, surely it is too clear for argument that
such a case would not be within the Act. The case
was not really within the meaning of the Act, and
it would be straining the meaning of the Act to say
that the steamer was in any reasonable sense
plying." Mr. Justice Hawkins concurred, and stated
it was not shown that the Era was plying at the
time she took the party for an excursion on the
Orwell. In spite of this judgment the Board of
Trade in 1892 sanctioned a vexatious prosecution of
the owner of the yacht Myrtle. But if the statute
does not apply to an ordinary steamship like the
Era when she is not plying, it cannot apply to a
yacht. Judgment was given against the owner of the
yacht, who was too late with his appeal.
- Paul or Pawl.--
- An iron stop used to prevent the back recoil of
the barrel of a windlass, &c.
- Pawl Bitt.--
- A long timber from the deck to the keelson
forming one of the bowsprit bitts.
- To run hot pitch and tar, or marine glue,
&c., into seams after they are caulked.
- Paying off Pennant.--
- A long streamer flown when a man-of-war is
being paid out of commission.
- Pay Off.--
- When a vessel's head goes off to leeward by
virtue of the head sails being put aback or the
helm being put up.
- Pay Out.-- To veer or slack out chain or
- The upper after corner of gaff sails, gaff
topsails, lugsails, &c. A sail is said to have
a great deal of peak when the gaff or yard makes a
small angle with a vertical. A low peak means a
fiat-headed sail. (See "Fore Peak.")
- Peak Downhaul.--
- A rope rove through a single block at the gaff
end to haul upon when lowering the mainsail.
- Peak Halyards.-- The halyards by which the peak
of a sail is hoisted.
- Peak Purchase.-- A tackle attached to one end
of the peak halyards.
- Pendant.-- A stout rope to which tackles are
- Pennant or Pendant.--
- A long white streamer with a St. George's cross
at the hoist, used only by ships of the Royal Navy.
It is said to owe its origin to the following
incident : a Dutch Admiral hoisted a broom at his
masthead as a symbol that he would sweep the
English from the sea; the English Admiral retorted
by hoisting a long streamer to denote that he would
whip the Dutch off the sea; the English Admiral
more nearly succeeded in his object than the
Dutchman did. A Commodore has a broad pennant or
swallow tail flag. (See "Burgee," "Hoisting
Pennant," and "Irish Pennants," "Paying off
- Peter.-- See "Blue Peter."
- Peter Boat.--
- A small fishing heat, sharp at both ends,
formerly common at the mouth of the Thames and
- Petticoat Trousers.--
- An ancient garment worn by sailors, now only
used by fishermen; a kind of kilt often made out of
a blanket or oilskin.
- Pig.-- A heavy mass of iron or lead.
- Pile Driving.-- Pitching heavily and frequently
in a short steep sea.
- A person who takes charge of a ship in narrow
or dangerous channels, and, who from his local
knowledge of the same, can, or ought to, avoid the
dangers of stranding. (For pilot signals see
- The metal hooks by which rudders are attached
to the gudgeon sockets.
- Pipe.-- To summon men to duty by a whistle from
the boatswain's call.
- Pipe Up.-- The wind is said to pipe up when it
increases in strength suddenly.
- The plunging motion of a vessel when she dives
by the head; the opposite motion to 'scending,
which is rising by the head and sinking by the
- The outside skin of a vessel; plank laid on the
frames or beams of a vessel whether inside or
- Plank Sheer.--
- The outside plank at the deck edge which
reaches the timber heads, and shows the sheer of
the vessel. Also the same as covering board.
- Platform.-- The floor of a cabin. (See
- Ply to Windward.--
- Plying to windward is synonymous with beating
- Points.-- See "Reef Points."
- Point the Yards.--
- To brace them up sharp when at anchor, so that
they shall not feel the full force of the
- Point, To.--
- A vessel is said to point well when she lies
very close to the wind. A term more used in America
than in this country. Out point, to point higher,
- Pole.-- The part of a topmast about the
- Pole Mast.--
- A long mast without a topmast, but with a long
"pole" or piece above the hounds.
- The raised part of a vessel at her extreme
after end. To be pooped is when running before the
wind a sea breaks in over the stern.
- Poor John.-- Dried hake, which is a coarse fish
caught on the west coast.
- The left hand side,the opposite to starboard.
Formerly also termed larboard; but Falconer says,
in his dictionary (1789), that larboard should
never be used in conning the helm, owing to the
possibility of its being mistaken for starboard. To
port the helm is to put the tiller to port so that
the vessel's head goes to starboard. The term
"port" is of uncertain origin, but it occurs in
Arthur Pitt's Voyage, 1580. It was authoritatively
adopted in the Royal Navy at the beginning of the
- Portable Dinghies.--
- Numerous plans have been suggested for the
construction of portable dinghies for small yachts,
the best known perhaps being one adopted by Biffen,
the well known bent builder, in 1858. The boat was
divided longitudinally into halves, each half being
a complete boat, the longitudinal bulkheads coming
as high as the thwarts; three iron clamps were
fitted to one half of the keel, into which the
other half of the keel was fitted. The top part of
the bulkheads were kept together by thumbscrews
inserted above the water line. The boat was 9ft.
long, and 4ft. broad; in shape she did not differ
from an ordinary dinghy when put together. She was
used in a 6 tonner, and when not in use one half
was stowed on either side of the cabin below. It
was said that this boat could be put together in
half a minute. In 1862 Biffen built a similar boat
which was net so well recommended, on account of
the multiplicity of fastenings. The obvious
objection to such contrivances is of course the
trouble of putting the parts together when the boat
has to be used. (See "Berthon's Collapsible Boats"
and "Stowing a Punt.")
- Port Lights.--
- Circular or square glass lights in the sides of
a vessel. (See "Dead Lights.")
- Ports and Portholes.--
- Square holes in the side of a ship for the
- Port Sills.--
- The bottom framing of a port hole to which the
lower half-port or shutter is hinged, also the
frame to which the upper half-port is
- Pram Bow.--
- A form of bow employed in modern sailing yachts
reintroduced in modified form about 1892 and
gradually exaggerated until 1900. A modified form
of pram bow is the best form for lifting the head
of the vessel over the seas and is suitable for
cruising as well as racing yachts. In a pram bow
the profile is a convex curve like the line of a
mussel's shell and the transverse half sections are
somewhat similar convex curves meeting at the stem.
In a modified pram bow, or mussel bow, the angle of
the curves of the transverse half sections at the
stem is sharp or acute, and in the extreme pram
bow, or spoon bow, the angle at the stem is obtuse
or bluff or even obliterated until the transverse
bow section is U shaped.
- Pram or Praam.--
- A dinghy or boat with a shovel bow, used in
Holland and the Baltic.
- Preserving a Boat.--
- All small boats, if possible, should be hauled
out of water or beached when not in use. Whenever
the varnish or paint becomes worn, the boat should
- Press of Sail.-- All the sail a vessel dare
- Additional ropes, stays, tackles, &c. used
to prevent spars being carried away if their proper
stays give out, as preventer backstays for the
topmast, preventer bobstay, &c. A preventer is
also any rope or lashing used to prevent something
- Preventive Man.--
- An old fashioned name for a coast guard man,
whose duty it is to prevent or detect the landing
of smuggled goods.
- An armed vessel, privately owned, carrying a
licence or "letters-of-marque" from the Government
empowering her to snake war on the enemy's ships.
In no way to be confounded with a pirate, although
in some instances such vessels may have degenerated
into pirates. Privateering is not permitted under
our present laws.
- FIG 83.
- Privateer's Flag.-- The Union Jack with a red
- A declaration that a yacht has net conformed to
sailing rules; also a term used by the Commissioner
of Wrecks in case of a wreck being reported.
- Puddening.-- A sort of fender made of old rope,
for a boat's stem, &c.
- A gust of wind. A free puff is when it enables
a vessel to luff; a foul puff when it breaks her
- Puncheon.-- A certain sized cask.
- A part of the framework of a deckhouse. It is a
kind of pilaster morticed into the coaming, and is
the principal support of the deckhouse roof.
- Punt.-- A small boat or dinghy. (See "Stowing a
- Punt Building.--
- The following are directions for building a
fishing punt as shown by Fig. 83 :-
- Take for the sides two 1in. planks 16in. wide
and 14ft. long; for the ends use 2in. plank. Cut
the stern-piece 30in. long at bottom, and 40in. at
top; cut the bow piece 12in. long at bottom, and
20in. at top; then cut a centre piece 12in. wide,
40in. long at bottom, and 50in. long at top: put
these pieces in position, and securely nail the
sides to them; this can be readily done by bringing
the planks into place by means of a rope, twisted
by a short lever. After the sides are thus secured
true up the bottom edges, and plank crosswise with
three-quarter inch plank one eighth of an inch
apart; caulk these seams with oakum or cotton, and
pitch the whole bottom, and 2in. or 3in. up the
sides. A keel 1in., 2in., or 3in. deep can then be
nailed on, depending on the depth of the water
where the boat is to be used. For seats nail a
plank across each end, and one for the rower over
the middle piece; two rowlocks, about 6in. above
the sides of the boat, complete the job. These can
be made of plank, set up en end, and fastened to
the inside of the boat. A common carpenter can make
such a boat in about two days, and, if planed and
painted, it looks well. The ends ought to incline
outwards about 3in. to the foot. No. 1 shows the
skiff completed, but with a stern piece adapted for
steering with an oar; No. 5 is a diagram of the
stern piece; No. 4 the bow piece; No. 2 the middle
piece, and No. 3 the rowlock. By putting in two
pieces in the middle the required distance apart,
and perforating the cross planking between them, a
well would be readily formed.
- Mr. A. V. FitzHerbert thus describes his plan
of building a punt (Fig. 84):
- For the stem.-
- Take a piece of red pine 3in. by 4in., and 2ft.
long. Groove it out to receive the side boards,
which should be white pine 1in. Each side of boat
made of 1ft. wide plank next bottom, and a 6in.
plank above it, making total depth when planed down
about 17in., or a trifle less.
- The centre mould or bulkhead of 1in. plank,
1ft. wide, should be cut 44in. wide on top, and
40.5in. along the bottom. The stern, also of 1in.
plank, must be 30in. at top, and 24in. at bottom,
by 17in. high, or half an inch higher. Fix the
centre mould firmly upright on a bench, then nail
the lower side planks on to it, at 6ft. 6in. from
- Next put in the stem, first of all fitting it
to take the curve of the planks, and give it a
slight slope aft. The planks had better be fastened
with screws to it. Next fit in the stem, with a
fair slope forward. The sides can be brought close
together to meet the stem by tying a rope round
them. Care must be taken to keep stem in line with
centre of stern and centre mould. Having fastened
in stem, centre, and stern beards, turn the boat
upside down, and place the sides, stern, and centre
moulds level, to receive the bottom, which must be
new laid on across the boat, of inch boards nailed
on like the top of a box, fitting well together at
their inside edges, but slightly open at the
outside to admit of caulking. After putting on the
bottom, turn the boat rightside up, fit in ribs, of
strips of boards, 1in. by 2in., and 17in. long.
Nail them upright to the sides, with one end
resting on the bottom of the boat, about 2ft.
apart; then put on the top board, and the hull is
made. Along the bottom put two parallel keels about
3in. deep by 1in to 1.5in., and 15in apart. Their
use is, first, to keep the bottom boards together;
and secondly, to act as runners when dragging the
boat from one place to another.
- Put one wide seat in the stern, a seat to lift
in and out 6ft from the bow, and a movable seat for
rowing or sliding, commencing at 5ft. 4in. from
stern, and moveable for one yard forward; this can
be done by fastening a piece of 3in. pine to each
side level with top of lower plank, and 1in above
this, and parallel with it, another lighter piece
to keep the seat down.
- There are two sets of rowlock chocks, the after
set for rowing when alone, the forward set for use
when there are two in the boat.
- FIG 84.
- The after rowlock chock is made of 3in. by
4.5in red pine, grooved to a depth of 2in. to let
in the side of the boat to which it is screwed; it
is 20in. long, and has three holes for the
rowlocks, the centre one 4ft. 10in. from the stern
- The forward rowlock chock is 7in. by 3in., red
pine, also grooved, but has an iron bracket
underneath to support it, and two holes for the
rowlock, one further from the centre of boat than
the other; the centre of chock is 7ft. 7in. from
- Purchase.-- A tackle; any contrivance for
increasing mechanical power.
- Put About.-- -To tack. To put about another
vessel is to cause her to tack.
- Put In.-- To call at a port or harbour.
- Put Off.-- To leave, as to leave a ship's side
or the shore.
- Pykar.-- An ancient English boat used for
- Quarter Deck--The deck abaft the main mast
where the crew are not allowed unless duty calls
- Quarter Fast.-- A warp or rope made fast to the
quarter; a quarter spring.
- Quarter Master.-- A petty officer who steers on
large vessels and sees that the orders of the
officer of the watch are properly executed, &c.
- Quarter Timbers. Large pieces of timber secured
to the transom frame, to help form the counter.
- Quarter Watch.-- When the two watches are
subdivided into four watches, so that only one
quarter of the crew is on deck at one time;
sometimes observed in light weather.
- Quarter Wind--The wind that blows on the
quarter, or four or more points abaft the beam but
not dead aft. (See "Compass.")
- Quarters.-- That part of a yacht or ship
nearest the stern.
© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
May not be reproduced without my permission.
Go scan your own damn dictionary.