Aloft - up on the higher rigging of the
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
Companionway - the openings in the deck leading down to the ship's
Crew - the men and women who operate a ship under the Captain's
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
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
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
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
Stays - the fore and aft standing rigging, headstays (bow) and
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
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
Throat - the end of a boom or gaff where it travels up and down the
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
Watch - a portion of the crew that is on duty at a given time.
Windward - the side from which the wind is blowing upwind.