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MARITIME TERMS

 

 

Aloft - up on the higher rigging of the ship.

Amidships - the middle of the ship.

Anchor - a very heavy "hook" thrown overboard with a line attached that keeps a vessel in one place. The PRIDE OF BALTIMORE gave Lady Maryland her anchor.

Avast - a command to stop hauling lines or heaving machinery.

Ballast - a load of weight in the bottom of a ship that balances the vessel. Originally stones or bricks, now usually lead bars.

Baltimore Clipper - a famous schooner built for speed and maneuverability. They were very light on the water, narrow and had many sails. In the War of 1812, Baltimore Clippers served as profitable privateers and blockade-runners. The PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is a Baltimore Clipper.

Belaying Pins - wooden pins (made of Osage Orange wood) in the rail which are used to secure (belay) lines.

Bilge - the lowest part of a boat's hull. In the bilge there is a normal collection of water that has a somewhat offensive odor. Bilge pumps remove this water.

Block - a nautical pulley holding line of the rigging.

Boom - the horizontal pole that supports the bottom of the sails.

Bow, fore - the forward end of the ship (remember you bow forward).

Captain's Cabin - usually the furthest cabin aft, with the most room and comfort.

Companionway - the openings in the deck leading down to the ship's compartments.

Crew - the men and women who operate a ship under the Captain's direction.

Dredge 1. Using a dredge (big machine with a steam shovel on a barge) to remove sludge (mud, or silt) from the bottom of water. 2. Dragging a dredge (large rake with a chain bag) over the bottom to pick up oysters.

Ease Off - a command to let a sheet out to loosen the sail.

Fo'c'sle (forecastle) - the crew's living quarters in the forward part of the ship.

Forepeak - the furthest compartment forward in the ship.

Furl - to bring down and fold (flake) a sail.

Gaff - the upper spars attached to the foresail and mainsail that raise and lower the top of the sail.

Galley - a ship's kitchen.

Halyard - originates from "hauling yards". A halyard is a line or rope that is used to lift (hoist) a sail and keep it up.

Head - a ship's toilet.

Helm - the steering wheel which controls the rudder.

Hull - the body of a ship.

Keel - the fin shaped structure that runs along the bottom of the hull which keeps a boat from slipping sideways when sailing.

Knot - the boat's speed. Using a sand hour- glass, a sailor would record the length of line let out in a period of time by counting the number of knots (spaced every 33 feet) in the line. One knot (nautical mile) equals approximately 1.15 miles per hour.

Lazarette - a compartment located in the stern of the vessel that was used to quarantine the sick and is today usually used for storage.

Leeward - the side away from the wind - downwind.

Log - a nautical journal kept by the captain and crew, a record of the ship's position and sailing conditions.

Main Hold - the main compartment in the middle of a vessel that would hold cargo.

Make Fast - a command from the captain or crew to secure a line.

Mast - a long vertical pole that supports the sails.

Mast Hoops - wooden (white oak) rings that encircle the mast. The sail is attached to these rings, allowing the sail to be pulled up the greased mast easily.

Nautical Mile - is approximately equivalent to 1.15 statute (land) miles. One nautical mile is the same distance as one minute of latitude.

Navigation - the science of determining a vessel's position while safely sailing from one position to another using navigational aids (charts, instruments, stars, etc.).

Oyster Dredging - a process of collecting oysters by scraping the bottom of the Bay using a rake-like instrument.

Peak - the after end of the gaff (away from the mast). Both the throat and the peak have halyards attached to them that are used to raise the sails.

Pilot Schooner - a boat that delivered pilots to large vessels entering the Chesapeake Bay. The pilot would then navigate the large ship through the tricky Bay channels. Pilot schooners had to be fast, because the first pilot schooner to reach the large ship would be paid for their service.

Port - left side of ship when facing forward (remember port has four letters like left). The word "port" also can refer to a harbor. (Viking ships always placed the port side of their ships against a dock when in port.)

Privateering - legal pirating in early U.S. history authorized by the Government. Baltimore Clippers were very successful Privateers in the War of 1812.

Pungy - a fast schooner of Chesapeake Bay origin that thrived in the 1800's as a workboat engaged in oystering and carrying cargo.

Rake - the angle formed when the mast leans backward.

Ratline - narrow rope ladder following the shrouds aloft to the top of the mast.

Reefing Points - small lines attached to the sail that are used to "shorten" (reef) the sail when the wind becomes too strong. The sail is lowered to the reefing points that are then tied around the boom.

Rigging - 1. Running rigging - all lines that are moved in the operation of sailing to raise and trim the sails. 2. Standing rigging - all lines that do not move but which support the masts.

Shroud - the standing rigging that supports the masts (from the port to the starboard side). In the old days, they had so many shrouds attached to the masts that the masts were shrouded (blocked) from view.

Skipjack - a native Chesapeake Bay sailboat with a V-shaped bottom and one large mainsail. Skipjacks are used for dredging oysters.

Spar - the large rounded poles that connect sails to the vessels.

Starboard - right side of ship when looking forward (on Viking ships the rudder or starboard was always on the right side of a ship).

Schooner - a ship with two or more masts - rigged with sails both forward and aft. Usually the foremast is shorter than the following mainmast.

Stays - the fore and aft standing rigging, headstays (bow) and backstays (stern).

Stern, aft - the rear of the vessel.

Sheet - the line attached to the sail that pulls the sail in or lets it out. A sheet adjusts the sails angle to the wind (trims the sail).

Shipsmith - the person who forges the metal fittings for the ship by hand. Like blacksmith, the shipsmith uses a coal fire and anvil to hammer hot metal into a desired shape.

Shipwrights - the men and women who specialize in building wooden ships.

Throat - the end of a boom or gaff where it travels up and down the mast.

Topsides - up on the deck-top floor of the ship.

Trunnel - (tree nail) the wooden nails that hold a ship together. Unlike a metal nail, trunnels move with the expanding and contracting wood.

Watch - a portion of the crew that is on duty at a given time.

Windward - the side from which the wind is blowing upwind.


 

 

 

 

 

        

            

 

 

 

 


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