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Abaft - Toward the rear (stern) of the boat. Behind.

Abeam - At right angles to the keel of the boat, but not on the boat.

Aboard - On or within the boat. Inside a ship or on the deck of a ship. "Come aboard, sir," is a sailor's way of reporting himself on board after leave of absence. To run or fall aboard a vessel is for one vessel to come into collision with another. A sail is said to fall aboard when, from the lightness of the wind or other causes, it ceases to blow out. To haul the boom aboard is to haul the boom in by the mainsheet from off the lee quarter.

About - Having tacked. "She's about!" she is going to tack or has tacked. "Ready about" is the signal given for the men to prepare to tack the ship. "About ship!" or "'Bout ship !" is the order given to tack, that is to put the vessel on the opposite tack to the one she is on when the order is given to tack. To go about is to tack.

Above Deck - On the deck (not over it - see ALOFT)

Abreast - Side by side; by the side of. Synonymous with "Abeam." To Breast is to come abreast of another vessel, object, or landmark

Absence Flag - A rectangular blue flag hoisted below the starboard crosstree to denote that the owner is not on board the yacht. When the owner steps on board the flag is lowered. This is an American custom which is gradually being adopted in Europe. It is a most useful regulation.

Accommodation - The cabins of a vessel.

Accommodation Ladder - A side ladder, with platform, for boarding vessels. In the case of yachts, they are usually made to fold up on the bulwarks when the yacht is under way.

Acker - A tide coming on the top of another tide.

A-Cock Bill or Cock Bill - An anchor hanging from the cat head ready to let go. The situation of yards when one arm is topped up as a sign of mourning.

Across Tide - Crossing the stream of the tide so that it comes broadside on. If a vessel in beating to windward crosses a tide fairly at right angles on one tack, she will stem it on the next or have it stern on, according to whether the tide be lee-going or weathergoing.

Admeasurement - An expression for the builder's tonnage of a ship calculated by length and breadth, and abbreviated O.M. (old measurement) and B.M. (Builder's Measurement), which see. Still used in measuring ships for passage of the Suez and Panama Canals and is done by the Admeasures Office

Adrift - Loose, not on moorings or towline. Floating with the tide. Generally driving about without control. Also a vessel is said to be adrift when she breaks away from her moorings, warps, &c. The term is also applied to loose spars rolling about the deck ; sheets or ropes which are not belayed.

Afloat - The state of being waterborne after being aground. To be on board ship.

Afore - The contrary of abaft. Towards the forward end of anything.

Aft - Toward the stern of the boat. An abbreviation of abaft, generally applied to the stern. To go aft is to walk towards the stern; to launch aft is to move a spar or anything else towards the stern. To haul aft the sheets is to bring the clew of the sail more aboard by hauling on the sheets.

After - The state of being aft, as after-sail, after-leech, after-side.

After Body - The part of a vessel abaft her midship section.

After End - The stern end of a vessel or anything else, or the end of anything nearest the stern of a vessel.

After-Guard - Men stationed aft to work sheets, &c. In racing yachts, if there be any amateurs on board, they are generally made use of as an after-guard. In merchant ships the ordinary seamen or landsmen enjoy the distinction.

After-most - A thing or point situated the most aft of all.

Afternoon Watch - The watch between noon and four o'clock.

After Part - The stern extremities of a vessel or anything else.

After Peak - The hold of a vessel near the run. A small cuddy or locker made in the run of a boat aft.

After Rake - Contrary to fore rake. The rake or overhang the stern post has abaft the heel of the keel. To incline sternwards.

Aftward - Towards the stern ; contrary to forward.

Against the Sun - An expression used to show how a rope is coiled: from right to left is against the sun, from left to right is with the sun. The wind is said to blow against the sun when it comes from the westward, and to back when it changes from west to east by the south.

Aground - Touching or fast to the bottom. A vessel is said to be aground when her keel or bottom rests on the ground.

Ahead - In a forward direction; in advance of.

Ahoy - An interjection used to attract attention . In hailing a vessel, as "Cetonia Ahoy!"

A-Hull - A ship under bare poles, with her helm lashed a-lee. An abandoned ship.

Aids To Navigation - Artificial objects to supplement natural landmarks indicating safe and unsafe waters.

Airtight - See Addendum following Letter Z

Alee - Away from the direction of the wind. Opposite of windward. The helm is a-lee when it is put down to leeward. Hard a-lee means that the helm must be put as far to leeward as it can be got. (See "Helm's a-lee.")

 All - A prefix put to many words to show that the whole is included, as "all aback," meaning all the sails are aback; "all-ataunto," meaning that the ship is fully rigged and fitted out, with everything in its place; "all hands," the whole ship's company; "all standing," with everything in its place, nothing being shifted.

All Aback For'ard - A cry raised when a vessel is sailed so near to wind that the head sails lift or shake.

Alley - The channel made in the after part of a steamship for the propeller shaft is termed the shaft alley. The passage under the bridge deck of a steamer is an alley, or alleyway. (See "Lane.")

Aloft - Above the deck of the boat. Up the mast; overhead. "Aloft there !" is a manner of hailing seamen who may be aloft on the mast, tops, yards.

Along shore - Close to the shore, by the shore, or on the shore.

Along the land - To lay along the land is when a vessel can hug or keep close to the land without tacking.

Along the wind - Sailing along the wind means to sail with the wind from a point to four points free, or with the wind abeam.

Alongside - By the side of the ship. "The gig is alongside, sir," is a common way of informing the owner, master, or other officers that the boat is manned and by the gangway, in readiness to take people off; also said when a boat is brought to the gangway so that passengers can embark.

Amidships - In or toward the center of the boat.

The middle part of a ship. The middle part of anything. To put the helm amidships is to bring it in a line with the keel. Generally the word has reference to the middle fore-and-aft line of the ship, and to a middle athwartship part of a ship.

Anchor, Mushroom - This is a kind of moorings or anchor shaped like a mushroom, which holds well for moorings in mud or sand.

Anchor Shackle.-- A shackle which connects the chain with the anchor.

Anchor, Tripping - If an anchor is let go on very firm holding-ground, or on ground where the anchor is likely to get foul, a tripping line is made fast to the crown of the anchor; to the other end of the line a buoy is made fast, and when the anchor is "wanted" it can be broken out of the ground by hauling on the tripping line if it cannot be got by hauling on the cable.

Another plan is to "scow" the anchor by bending the end of the cable to the crown instead of to the ring or shackle. The cable is then "stopped" to the ring by a yarn. When the cable is hauled upon the stop breaks, and, of course, the cable being fast to the crown, the anchor is readily broken out of the ground. A boat should not be left moored with her anchor "scowed," as, if any unusual strain came upon the cable, the stop would break, and the boat would probably go adrift. The trip line should be used in such cases. (See "Scowing.")

Anchor Watch - A watch kept constantly on deck when a ship is at anchor, to be ready to veer out or take in chain, or to slip, make sail, give warning to the hands below, &c., if the vessel be in danger of collision or other mishaps. One hand may keep an anchor watch, and call up the officers and crew if necessary.

Anchorage - A place suitable for anchoring in relation to the wind, seas and bottom.

Answer - To repeat an order after an officer; thus, if the order be to the helmsman "No more away," he will repeat, "No more away, sir" ; or to the jib-sheetman, "Check the jibsheet," he will answer, "Check the jib-sheet, sir." Thus the crew should always "answer every order to show that they comprehend".

Answer Her Helm - A vessel is said to answer her helm when she moves quickly in obedience to a movement of the rudder. Long, deep vessels, and full quartered vessels which have not a long clean run to the rudder, are slow to answer their helm. A vessel cannot "answer her helm" it she has not way on through the water, hence "steerage way."

A-Peek or Peak - An anchor is said to be a-peak when the cable has been so much hove in as to form a line with the forestay; "hove short" so that the vessel is over her anchor. Yards are a-peak when topped by opposite lifts. (See "A Cock Bill.")

Apostles - Seaman's slang for knightheads, bollards, &c., for belaying warps to. They formerly had carved heads to represent the upper part of the human body.

Apron - A piece of timber fitted at the fore end of the keel at its intersection with the stem and up the stem.

Arch Board - The formation of the counter across its extreme aft end, being a continuation of the covering board, and covers the heads of the counter frames.

Ardent - A vessel is said to be ardent when she gripes or shows a tendency to come to against a weather helm.

Areas of Circles - The area of a circle is found by multiplying the square of the diameter by the fraction 0.7854.

Arms - The extremities of anything, as yard arms.

Ashore - A vessel is said to be ashore when she is aground. To go ashore is to leave the ship for the land.

A-stay - Synonymous with a-peak

Astern - In back of the boat, opposite of ahead. Towards the stern. To move astern; to launch astern ; to drop astern. An object or vessel which is abaft another vessel or object. Sailors never use the word "behind" to represent the position of being astern.

Astrolabe - An ancient instrument for measuring the altitude of the sun, superseded by the quadrant and sextant.

A-taunto - With all the masts on end, and rigging completely fitted. (See "All a-taunto.")

Athwart - Transversely, at right angles to fore and aft ; across the keel. Athwartship is thus across the ship from one side to the other. Athwart hawse is when one vessel gets across the stem of another.

Athwartships - At right angles to the centerline of the boat; rowboat seats are generally athwart ships.

A-trip - When the anchor is broken out of the ground or is a-weigh. A topmast is said to be a-trip when it has been launched and unfidded.

Avast - Stop, cease, hold, discontinue. As avast heaving (stop heaving), avast hauling (stop hauling).

Awash.-- Level with the surface of the water

Away - A general order to go, as "away aloft" for men to go into the rigging; "away aft," for the men to move aft, &c. "Gigs away there," or "cutters away there," or "dinghys away there," is the common way of giving the order to get the boats ready and manned. "Away with it," to run away with the fall of a tackle when hauling upon it. "Away she goes," said of a vessel when first she moves in launching. "Away to leeward," "away to windward," "away on the port how."

A-Weather - The situation of the helm when it is hauled to windward. To haul a sail a-weather is to haul the sheet in to windward instead of to leeward, to form a back sail, to box a vessel's head off the wind or put stern way on her. Generally to windward.

Aweigh - The position of anchor as it is raised clear of the bottom. Said of the anchor when it is a-trip or broken out of the ground. The anchor is weighed when hove up to the hawse pipe.