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DICTIONARY of SEA TERMS 1841/1851

     Adapted from 'The Seaman's Friend...' by R. H. DANA Jr

Dana was the author of ‘Two Years Before the Mast’
[Boston: Thomas Groom & Co., 1851. 6th Edition, Revised and Corrected]
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CABIN The after part of a vessel, in which the officers live.
CABLE A large, strong rope, made fast to the anchor, by which the vessel is secured. It is usually 120 fathoms in length.
CABLE-TIER (See TIER.)
CABOOSE A house on deck, where the cooking is done. Commonly called the Galley.
CALK. (See CAULK.)
CAMBERED When the floor of a vessel is higher at the middle than towards the stem and stern.
CAMEL A machine used for lifting vessels over a shoal or bar.
CAMFERING Taking off an angle or edge of a timber.
CAN-HOOKS Slings with flat hooks at each end, used for hoisting barrels or light casks, the hooks being placed round the chimes, and the purchase hooked to the centre of the slings. Small ones are usually wholly of iron.
CANT-PIECES Pieces of timber fastened to the angles of fishes and side-trees to supply any part that may prove rotten.
CANT-TIMBERS Timbers at the two ends of a vessel, raised obliquely from the keel.

Lower Half cants [reads "cints"] Those parts of frames situated forward and abaft the square frames, or the floor timbers which cross the keel.

CANVASS The cloth of which sails are made. No. 1 is the coarsest and strongest.
CAP A thick, strong block of wood with two holes through it, one square and the other round, used to confine together the head of one mast and the lower art of the mast next above it.
CAPSIZE To overturn.
CAPSTAN A machine placed perpendicularly in the deck and used for a strong purchase in heaving or hoisting. Men-of-war weigh their anchors by capstans. Merchant vessels use a windlass. (See BAR.)
CAREEN To heave a vessel down upon her side by purchases upon the masts. To lie over, when sailing on the wind.
CARLINGS Short and small pieces of timber running between the beams.
CARRICK-BEND. A kind of knot.

Carrick-bitts are the windless bitts.

CARRY-AWAY To break a spar or part a rope.
CAST To pay a vessel's head off, in getting under way, on the tack she is to sail upon.
CAT The tackle used to hoist the anchor up to the cat-head.

Cat-block. The block of this tackle.

CAT-HARPIN An iron leg used to confine the upper part of the rigging to the mast.
CAT-HEAD Large timbers projecting from the vessel's side, to which the anchor is raised and secured.
CAT'S-PAW A kind of hitch made in a rope.

A light current of air seen on the surface of the water during a calm.

CAULK To fill the seams of a vessel with oakum.
CAVIL (See KEVEL.)
CEILING The inside planking of a vessel.
CHAFE To rub the surface of a rope or spar.

Chafing-gear is the stuff put upon the rigging and spars to prevent their chafing.

CHAINS Strong links or plates of iron, the lower ends of which are bolted through the ship's side to the timbers. Their upper ends are secured to the bottom of the dead-eyes in the channels. Also, used familiarly for the CHANNELS, which see. The chain cable of a vessel is called familiarly her chain.

Rudder-chains lead from the outer and upper end of the rudder to the quarters. They are hung slack.

CHAIN-PLATES Plates of iron bolted to the side of a ship, to which the chains and dead-eyes of the lower rigging are connected.
CHANNELS Broad pieces of plank bolted edgewise to the outside of a vessel. Used for spreading the lower rigging. (See CHAINS.)
CHAPELLING Wearing a ship round, when taken aback, without bracing the head yards.
CHECK A term sometime used for slacking off a little on a brace, and then belaying it.
CHEEKS The projections on each side of a mast, upon which the trestle-trees rest. The sides of the shell of a block.
CHEERLY! Quickly, with a will.
CHESS-TREES Pieces of oak, fitted to the sides of a vessel, abaft the fore chains, with a sheave in them, to board the main tack to. Now out of use.
CHIMES The ends of the staves of a cask, where they come out beyond the head of the cask.
CHINSE To thrust oakum into seams with a small iron.
CHOCK A wedge used to secure anything with, or for anything to rest upon. The long boat rests upon two large chocks, when it is stowed.

Chock-a-block. When the lower block of a tackle is run close up to the upper one, so that you can hoist no higher. This is also called hoisting up two-blocks.

CISTERN An apartment in the hold of a vessel, having a pipe leading through the side, with a cock, by which water may be let into her.
CLAMPS Thick planks on the inside of vessels, to support the ends of beams. Also, crooked plates of iron fore-locked upon the trunnions of cannon. Any plate of iron made to turn, open, and shut so as to confine a spar or boom, as, a studdingsail boom, or a boat's mast.
CLASP-HOOK (See CLOVE-HOOK.)
CLEAT A piece of wood used in different parts of a vessel to belay ropes to.
CLEW The lower corner of square sails, and the after corner of a fore-and-aft sail.

To clew up, is to haul up the clew of a sail.

CLEW-GARNET A rope that hauls up the clew of a foresail or mainsail in a square-rigged vessel.
CLEWLINE A rope that hauls up the clew of a square sail. The clew-garnet is the clewline of a course.
CLINCH A half-hitch, stopped to its own part.
CLOSE-HAULED Applied to a vessel which is sailing with her yards braced up so as to get as much possible to windward. The same as on a taut bowline, full and by, on the wind, &c.
CLOVE-HITCH Two half-hitches round a spar or other rope.
CLOVE-HOOK An iron clasp, in two parts, moving upon the same pivot, and overlapping one another. Used for bending chain sheets to the clews of sails.
CLUB-HAUL To bring a vessel's head round on the other tack, by letting go the lee anchor and cutting or slipping the cable.
CLUBBING Drifting down a current with an anchor out.
COAKING Uniting pieces of spar by means of tabular projections, formed by cutting away the solid of one piece into a hollow, so as to make a projection in the other, in such a manner that they may correctly fit, the butts preventing the pieces from drawing asunder.

Coaks are fitted into the beams and knees of vessels to prevent their drawing.

COAL TAR Tar made from bituminous coal.
COAMINGS Raised work round the hatches, to prevent water going down into the hold.
COAT Mast-Coat is a piece of canvass, tarred or painted, placed round a mast or bowsprit, where it enters the deck.
COCK-BILL To cock-bill a yard or anchor. (See A-COCK-BILL.)
COCK-PIT An apartment in a vessel of war, used by the surgeon during an action.
CODLINE An eighteen thread line.
COXSWAIN The person who steers a boat and has charge of her. (Pronounced cox'n.)
COIL To lay a rope up in a ring, with one turn or fake over another.

A coil is a quantity of rope laid up in that manner.

COLLAR An eye in the end or bight of a shroud or stay, to go over the mast-head.
COME

Come home, said of an anchor when it is broken from the ground and drags.

To come up a rope or tackle, is to slack it off.

COMPANION A wooden covering over the staircase to a cabin.

Companion-way, the staircase to the cabin.

Companion-ladder. The ladder leading from the poop to the main deck.

COMPASS The instrument which tells the course of a vessel.

Compass-timbers are such as are curved or arched.

CONCLUDING-LINE A small line leading through the centre of the steps of a rope or Jacob's ladder.
CONNING or CUNNING Directing the helmsman in steering a vessel.
COUNTER That part of a vessel between the bottom of the stern and the wing-transom and buttock.

Counter-timbers are short timbers put in to strengthen the counter.

To counter-brace yards, is to brace the head-yards one way and the after-yards another.

COURSES The common term for the sails that hang from a ship's lower yards. The foresail is called the fore course and the mainsail the main course.
CRANES Pieces of iron or timber at the vessel's sides, used to stow boats or spars upon. A machine used at a wharf for hoisting.
CRANK The condition of a vessel when she is inclined to lean over a great deal and cannot bear much sail. This may be owing to her construction or to her stowage.
CREEPER An iron instrument, like a grapnell, with four claws, used for dragging the bottom of a harbor or river, to find anything lost.
CRINGLE A short piece of rope with each end spliced into the bolt-rope of a sail, confining an iron ring or thimble.
CROSS-BARS Round bars of iron, bent at each end, used as levers to turn the shank of an anchor.
CROSS-CHOCKS Pieces of timber fayed across the dead-wood amidships, to make good the deficiency at the heels of the lower futtocks.
CROSS-JACK The cross-jack yard is the lower yard on the mizzen mast. (Pronounced croj-jack.)
CROSS-PAWLS Pieces of timber that keep a vessel together while in her frames.
CROSS-PIECE A piece of timber connecting two bitts.
CROSS-SPALES Pieces of timber placed across a vessel, and nailed to the frames, to keep the sides together until the knees are bolted.
CROSS-TREES Pieces of oak supported by the cheeks and trestle-trees, at the mast-heads, to sustain the tops on the lower mast, and to spread the topgallant rigging at the topmast-head.
CROW-FOOT A number of small lines rove through the uvrou [sic] to suspend an awning by.
CROWN of an anchor, is the place where the arms are joined to the shank.

To crown a knot, is to pass the strands over and under each other above the knot.

CRUTCH A knee or piece of knee-timber, placed inside of a vessel, to secure the heels of the cant-timbers abaft. Also, the chock upon which the spanker-boom rests when the sail is not set.
CUCKOLD'S NECK A knot by which a rope is secured to a spar, the two parts of the rope crossing each other, and seized together.
CUDDY A cabin in the fore part of a boat.
CUNTLINE The space between the bilges of two casks, stowed side by side. Where one cask is set upon the cuntline between two others, they are stowed bilge and cuntline. Ashore, the shortest distance between a woman's navel and her anus.
CUT-WATER The foremost part of a vessel's prow, which projects forward of the bows.
CUTTER A small boat. Also, a kind of sloop.

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