earings - Ropes used to fasten the corners of the heads of sails to the yards, by the cringles. The upper corners of sails are frequently termed earings.
ears of a bolt - The lugs or upper projections of a bolt with a score in it, into which another part is fitted and held by a through pin so as to form a joint like that of a gooseneck.
ease (away) - To let out a line while under full control; gradually releasing a line for a sheet or docking line.
ease the helm - The order given when sailing against a head sea to ease the weather helm, and by luffing meet the sea bow on, and at the same time deaden the ship's way so that the sea and ship meet less violently. Generally to put the helm amidship, or more amidship after it has been put to port or starboard.
eating a vessel out of the wind - When two vessels are sailing in company, and if one soaks or settles out to windward of the other she is said to eat her out of the wind. In reality, to make less leeway.
eating to windward - A vessel is said to eat to windward when she, apparently, soaks out to windward of her wake.
ebb - A tidal current that flows towards the sea, usually from a river or narrow inlet.
eddy - Water or currents of air apparently moving in circles. This can indicate underwater obstacles.
edge away - To gradually keep a vessel more off a wind after sailing close hauled.
edge down on a vessel - To bear away towards a vessel to leeward, so as to approach her in an oblique direction.
electronic navigation - Vessel piloting by automatic or manual electronic instruments; devices include: electronic compass, echo sounders, radar and position-finding systems (Decca, Loran-C, Omega, VOR and GPS satellite systems).
end for end - To shift a spar, rope, etc., by reversing the direction of the ends.
end on - Said of vessel when she has an object bearing in a line with the keel, directly ahead of the bow. On approaching a mark or buoy it is said to be end on if it is directly ahead of the vessel, the bowsprit will then point to the object, hence it is sometimes said that an object is "right on for the bowsprit end."
ensign - The national flag; the flag of an organization, such as the US Power Squadron and Coast Guard Auxiliary.
ensign, hoisting of - Ensigns and burgees are hoisted every morning at eight o'clock (9 AM from September 30 to March 31), and hauled down at sunset. At sea it is only usual to hoist colours when passing another vessel.
entrance - The fore part of a vessel, the bow. A good entrance into the water means a long well-formed bow.
entry - Hull qualifier in terms of hull behavior and efficiency in relation to wave action. A "sharper" entry implies a faster hull speed (for a racing hull).
EPIRB - Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon; a emergency transmitter that continually operating while issueing a distress message for others to detect. Current EPIRB units can use satellite communications and transmit GPS coordinates.
equipment - The complete outfit of a vessel including everything used in her handling, working, and accommodation. The inventory comprises the equipment.
Esnecca - A kind of yacht of the twelfth century known as "a sharp prowed ship."
estimated position - Less precise than a "fix", it is a navigational point based on vessel speed, course run and other factors, such as wind & current drifts.
ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) - The time of day of your arrival at a destination, based on your present speed and track (course).
ETE (Estimated Time Enroute) - The time left to your destination based on your present speed amd tracl.
even keel - Said of a vessel when she is not heeled either to port or starboard, also when her keel is horizontal, that is when she is so trimmed that her draught forward is the same as aft.
every stitch set - When all available canvas that will draw is set.
extreme breadth - The greatest breadth of a vessel from the outside of the plank on one side to the outside of the plank on the other side, wales and doubling planks being included and measured in the breadth.
eye bolt - A bolt (or large machine screw) with a ring formed or welded on the top.
eyelet holes - Small holes worked in sails for lacings, etc., to be rove through.
eyes of her - The extreme fore end of the ship near the hawse pipes, which are the "eyes of her."
eyes of the rigging - The loops spliced into the ends of shrouds to go over the mast, and for the rigging screws.
eye splice - A fixed loop in the end of a line.Back to the index.
fair - to make a smooth finish or curve.
fairing a drawing - A process by which the intersections of curved lines with other lines in the body plan, half-breadth plan, and sheer plan are made to correspond. A fair curve
fairlead - A rigging fitting such as a bullseyeor turning block; its purpose is to change and control the direction of a line while minimizing friction.
fairway - The ship's course in a channel. The navigable channel of a harbour as distinct from an anchorage in a harbour. A harbour master's duty is to see that the fairway is kept clear, and that no vessels improperly anchor in it. A fair way is generally buoyed.
fair wind - A wind by which a vessel can proceed on her course without tacking; it may range from close-hauled point to dead aft.
fake, a - One of the rings formed in coiling a rope. The folds of a cable when ranged on deck in long close loops. To fake is to arrange in folds.
fall - The loose end of the rope of a tackle, the hauling part of a tackle; also applied generally to the tackle of the bobstay and the topmast backstays.
fall aboard - One ship sailing or driving into another. A sail is said to fall aboard when the wind is so light that it will not stay blown out.
fall astern - To drop astern. When two vessels are sailing together, if one fails to keep company with the other by not sailing so fast.
fall off - To drop away from the wind; when a vessel is hove to she is said to fall off if her head falls to leeward, in opposition to coming to; also when a vessel yaws to windward of her course and then falls off to her course or to leeward of it. Not used in the sense of breaking off, which means when the wind comes more ahead and causes an alteration in the direction of a vessel's head to leeward of a course she had previously been sailing.
fall to - To join in hauling, to commence work.
falling tide - The ebbing tide.
false keel - A piece of timber fitted under the main keel to deepen it or protect it when taking the ground.
false tack - A trick sometimes practiced in yacht racing when two vessels are working close hauled together, and one has been "weather bowing" the other every time they went about. To be rid of this irritation, the crew of the vessel under the lee quarter of the other makes a sudden move as if about to tack; the helm is put down and the vessel shot up in the wind; the other vessel does the same and probably goes on the opposite tack; if she does so the former vessel fills off on her original tack, and the two part company. To shoot up in the wind and fill off on the same tack again.
fashion timbers - The timbers which form the shape or fashion of the stern.
fast - Made fast by belaying, or tying off.
fastening - A screw, bolt or nail that is used to fasten plumbing and rigging fixtures. Any method used to hold planks in a wooden ship to its frames.
fathom - A length of six feet; a term used for measuring water depth or an anchor line. To fathom something is to arrive at the bottom of it, to understand it.
fathometer - (Raytheon) trademark for a brand of an electronic depth finder.
fay, to - To join pieces of timber together very closely Plank is said to fay the timbers when it fits closely to it.
FCC - Federal Communications Commission. It is the licensing organization for all U.S. radio signal transmission equipment, including AM, FM, SSB, TV, Satellite, and RADAR equipment.
feather edge - When a plank or timber tapers to a very thin edge, "tapering to nothing."
feathering - Turning an oar over on its blade as it comes out of the water.
feeling her way - Proceeding by depth sounding with the hand lead.
feel the helm - In close hauled sailing when a vessel begins to gripe or carry weather helm. Also generally, when a vessel begins to gather headway so that she can be steered, or 'feel her helm'.
feint - To pretend to tack. See "False Tack."
fender - A cushioning object; bumper; a device hung between a boat and a dock/float/pier/boat to prevent chafing damage.
fend off - To ward off the effects of a collision by placing a fender between the vessel and the object which is going to be struck.
fetch - The distance across water, where the wind is/was blowing; to sail a course that will clear a shoal or buoy ("lay").
fetch away - To slip or move without intention. To fetch sternway or headway is when a vessel begins to move ahead or astern.
fiberglass - Fibrous-formed glass; fiber-reinforced plastic, which may be woven or in mat form.
fid - A pointed (or tapered) tool used to separate rope strands, as in splicing. A square iron pin used to keep topmasts and bowsprits in their places.
fidded - When the fid has secured the topmast or bowsprit in its proper place.
fiddle block - A long fiddle-shaped block with one sheave above another. It has the shape of a violin body.
fiddle head - The curved part of the knee at the upper fore part of the stem in schooners, turned upwards aft like the curly part of a fiddle head. A scroll head turns downwards.
figure-eight - A knot; knot usually serving as a stopper (at the end of a line) to prevent the rope from passing through a fairlead or block.
fill, to -When a vessel has been sailed so close to wind that the sails have shaken, and the helm being put up the sails are "filled" with wind In getting under way after being hove to a vessel is said to fill, or to have been "filled upon."
fillings or filling timbers - Pieces of wood or timbers used to fill various spaces that may occur in ship building.
fine - To sail a vessel "fine" is to keep her so chose to the wind that her sails are on the point of shaking; considered sometimes good sailing if done with great watchfulness. Too fine means too near the wind.
fin keel - Keel shaped like a fish fin; typically shorter and deeper than a full-length keel.
finger pier - A narrow pier; may project from the shore, larger pier or dock.
fish, to - To strengthen or repair a damaged spar by lashing a batten ore another spar to it.
fisherman's walk - When there is very little deck room, "Three steps and overboard."
fitted out - When a vessel is "all-a-taunto,'' or has all equipment and supplies aboard. A vessel ready to proceed to sea.
fitting out - Getting a ship's rigging, sails, etc., into place after she has taken on cargo.
fix - A vessel's position, regardless of how it is determined.
flags - Pieces of bunting of various forms, colors, and devices, such as ensigns, jacks, burgees.
flame arrester - A safety device, designed to absorb heat; its purpose is to prevent an exhaust backfire from causing an explosion.
flare - The outward curve of a vessel's sides near the bow. A pyrotechnic signal used to indicate distress.
flashing - A light that is "on" less than it is "off" in a regular sequence of single flashes.
flat aback - In square rigged ships when all the yards are trimmed across the ship, with the wind ahead so as to produce sternway.
flat aft - When sheets are trimmed in as chose as the vessel will bear fore close hauled sailing.
flat floored - When the bottom timbers or floors of a vessel project from the keel in a more or less horizontal direction.
flatten in sheets - To haul in the sheets.
fleet, to - To overhaul a tackle or separate the blocks after they have been hauled close together.
flemish - To coil a rope in a spiral on a flat surface; may be for a mat or appearance.
flinders bar - A soft iron bar, in/on the binnacle; used to compensate for compass error (resulting from vertical magnetism in a steel-hulled vessel).
floating anchor - Although floating anchors are continually referred to in old writings as a means whereby many ships have been enabled to ride out very heavy gales in comparative ease, we seldom hear of their being used now, except in yachts. No doubt many a ship has been lost through getting broadside on to the sea, whereas they might have kept bowing the sea by such a simple contrivance as a floating anchor. However, masters, it would seem, prefer to heave-to, because they like to keep their vessels under command. In a very heavy sea and gale a floating anchor may be of very great service, and no doubt if a vessel can be kept bow to the sea, she will feel the violence of it in a much less degree than she would if hove-to, when she might be continually flying-to against the sea after falling off.
flood - The incoming tide; the rising tide. See also "Ebb."
floor - Structural members in the bottom of a boat.
flotsam - Wreckage debris floating on the water.
flowing sheet - In sailing free, when the sheets are eased up or slackened off.
flowing tide - The rising tide, the flood tide.
fluid compass - (definition from around 1910) A compass card in a basin of fluid, usually alcohol (spirit), used in rough weather because the card should not jump about. In a small yacht a good and steady compass is an essential part of the outfit, and if there be any sea on the usual compass card and bowl are perfectly useless to steer by. The fluid compass then becomes necessary, and frequently a "life boat" compass is used. A more yacht-like looking liquid compass, however, is one sold by most yacht fitters. The extreme height is only 1ft. 2in., and the card remains steady under the most trying circumstances of pitching and rolling. alcohol is usually used in the compass bowl in the proportion of one-fourth to three-fourths water; or glycerine in the same proportion; or distilled water can be used alone. A grain of thymol is said to prevent the alcohol from turning brown.
fluke - The shovel-shaped part of an anchor's "arms"; used to dig into the ground to prevent dragging.
flush deck - A deck without any above or below deck structures, such as a cabin or cockpit.
fly - The part of a flag which blows out; the opposite side to the hoist; the halyards are bent (tied) to the hoist.
flying bridge - A high steering position, also called a flybridge.
flying jib - A jib set in vessels on the flying jib boom. There is then the jib, the outer jib, and flying jib, or inner jib, jib, and flying jib; probably called flying jib because unlike the others it is not set on a stay. A yacht's jib topsail is sometimes termed a "flying jib " but, being set on a stay, this is incorrect. To put this older definition in current terms: On a ship with fully rigged bowspirt and jibboom, the sails named from fore to aft are flying jib, outer jib, inner jib and staysail.
flying light - Said of a vessel when she has been lightened in ballast so as to float with her proper load-line out of water.
flying start - In compettition sailing, a start made under way; a running start. In the old days yachts started from anchor or from moorings. This practice has long since been abandoned, and all starts in yacht races are flying starts.
flying to - When a vessel, in sailing free, luffs suddenly, or comes to suddenly; also after tacking, if a vessel's head is kept much off the wind, and the helm be put amidships, the vessel will fly to, i.e. fly to the wind quickly. A vessel that carries a hard weather helm will fly to directly when the tiller is released.
fly up in the wind - When a vessel is allowed to come head to wind suddenly.
fo'c'sle - An abbreviation of forecastle. Refers to that portion of the cabin which is farthest forward. In square-riggers often used as quarters for the crew. In the early days of sail a castle like structure was built on the fore and aft ends of the hull and used as fighting platforms with the midships area reserved for rigging and sails.
following sea - Overtaking waves or sea from astern.
foot - The bottom edge of a triangular sail.
fore - Position near or at the front of a vessel.
fore-and-aft - From front to back; from stem to stern.
fore and aft rig - The fore and aft rig, or schooner rig, required only a small crew, and was generally used in the coastal and fishing trades. Ships with this rig could point higher into the wind and were usually more maneuverable when working in the changing winds along the coast. The rig was not limited to coastal schooners, and big fore-and-afters could be seen plying across the ocean.
fore-body - The fore part of a ship which is forward of the widest midsection.
forecabin - Cabin located near the front of the vessel, as opposed to aftcabin.
forecast - The formalized weather prediction.
forecastle - The crew quarters; also called fo'c'sle.
foredeck - The forward part of a vessel's main deck.
fore foot - The foremost part of the keel at its intersection with the stem under water.
fore guy - The stay of a square sail boom or spinnaker boom which leads forward.
foremast - Vertical spar or mast most foreward
forepeak - The ships' extreme forward compartment, typically used for anchor or sail stowage. In larger ships, it is the crews quarters.
fore-rake - The rake the stem has forward beyond a perpendicular dropped to the fore end of the keel.
fore-reach - When one vessel reaches past or sails past another; generally applied in close hauled sailing. Thus it is frequently said that one vessel "fore-reaches but does not hold so good a wind as the other" ; meaning that she passes through the water faster but does not or cannot keep so close to the wind.
foresail - In square rigged ships the large lower sail set on the foremast; in cutters the triangular sail or jib foresail set on the forestay; in fore-and-aft schooners the gaff sail set abaft the foremast.
foresheet - The sheet of the foresail.
foresheet horse - An iron bar for the foresheet to work upon.
forestay - A stay, from high (on the mast) to the foredeck; the outermost stay, running from the top of the mast to the bow.
forestaysail - Similar to a jib, it is the sail attached to the forestay.
fore-topman - In a schooner yacht a man stationed aloft to work the fore-topsail tack and sheet in going about.
Foretopmast - The topmast over the foremast.
foretriangle - An area bounded by the foredeck, headstay and the mast.
forward - A direction to the front; a direction towards the bow.
forward quarter spring line - A mooring line (running forward from the quarter) to control the forward/backward rocking motion of a berthed vessel.
foreyard - The yard on the foremast for setting the foresail in square-rigged ships.
forge ahead - When a vessel that is hove to gathers way; generally when a vessel moves past another.
foretriangle - The triangle formed by the forestay, mast, and fore deck.
foul - Entangled, not clear. To touch another yacht.
fouled - Any piece of equipment that is jammed or entangled, or dirtied.
foul anchor - When an anchor gets a turn of the cable round its arms or stock; when imbedded among rocks, so that it cannot be readily recovered. Also a pictorial anchor with a cable round the shank.
foul berth - When two vessels which are anchored or moored have not room to swing without fouling each other. If a vessel is properly moored and another fouls her berth, the second vessel is held liable for any damage which may ensue.
foul bottom - A rocky bottom; also the bottom of a ship when it is covered with weeds.
foul hawse - When moored if the cables get crossed by the vessel swinging with the tide.
founder - To sink; the going down of a ship.
fractional rig - A rig where the sloop's jib does not reach the top of its mast, but instead to a point 3/4~ 7/8ths, etc., of the way up the mast.
frames - The ribs of a vessel; lateral, transverse structural members that form the shape of the hull.
frapping - A rope put round the parts of a tackle or other ropes which are some distance apart, to draw them together and increase their tension or prevent them overhauling. Frequently a frapping is put on the parts of the head sheets, especially on the jib topsail sheet, to draw them down to the rail, and thus bring a strain on the leech and foot. When two spars are formed into sheer legs the line is wrapped around them in an over and under fashion three times then frapped in circular fashion two times giving rise to the phrase "Wrap thrice and Frap twice."
frapping a ship - Passing a chain cable or hawser round the hull of a ship to keep her from falling to pieces when she is straining in a heavy sea. Formerly common with timber ships.
free - Not close hauled. When a vessel is sailing with a point or two to come and go upon. The wind is said to free a vessel when it enables her to check sheets so as to be no longer close hauled. Also when it enables a vessel that is close hauled to lie nearer her course, as "the wind frees her."
freeboard - The vertical distance between topsides and the waterline.
freshen - To alter the strain upon a rope.
freshen hawse - To veer out or heave cable, so that a different part will take the chafe of the hawse pipe.
Freshen the Nip - To shift a rope or line so that its nip, or short turn, or bight, may come in another part. In slang, to quench a desire for drink.
fronts - The boundaries between air masses (either warm or cold); boundaries delineated by differences in air temperature.
full - When all the sails are filled with the wind and quite steady.
full aft - When a vessel is said not to taper sufficiently aft.
full and bye - Sailing by the wind or close hauled, yet at the same time keeping all the sails full so that they do not shake through being too close to wind. Generally a vessel does better to windward when kept a" good full and bye" than when nipped or starved of wind.
full and change - Phases of the moon.
full bowed - The same as bluff bowed.
full rigged ship - square rigged on all masts. Staysails could be set between the masts. Outboard of the square sails might be set studdingsails, and above the royals (uppermost sails) might be set sails with such names as skysail, moonraker, Trust to God, or Angel Whispers.
fully battened - Sail with batten running full length of the sail (horizontally).
futtocks - The timbers which abut above the floors called first, second, and third futtocks. This should properly be written foothooks.
furling - The gathering (folding or rolling) of a sail on its boom (when not in use).Back to the index.
gaff - A device used to boat a large fish; A spar that holds the upper side of a four-sided (rectangular or junk style) sail.
gaff topsail - The topsail set over a gaff sail, such as the topsail set over a cutter's mainsail. Sometimes the sail has a head yard, and sometimes not.
galley - The ships' kitchen. A long narrow rowing boat propelled by six or eight oars.
gallows - Frames of oak erected above the dock in ships to carry spare spars on or the spanker boom instead of a crutch.
gammon iron - An iron hoop fitted to the side of the stem, or on top of the stem, as a span-shackle, to receive and hold the bowsprit.
gammoning - The lashings which secure the bowsprit to the stem piece, and are passed backward and forwards in the form of an X, over the bowsprit. Now generally chain is used. In yachts, an iron band or hoop, called the gammon iron or span-shackle, is fitted to the stem, through which the bowsprit passes.
gangway - The area of a ship's side where people board and disembark. The opening in the bulwarks, or side, through which persons enter or leave a vessel. Used generally as a passage, or thoroughfare of any kind. "Don't block the gangway," is a common admonition to thoughtless people who stand about in passages or thoroughfares, to the impediment of passers.
gangway ladder - The steps hung from the gangway outside the vessel. Sometimes there is also a board, or kind of platform, called the "Gangway Board."
gangplank, gangway board - The platform used to connect the Gangway to the adjacent shore, pier, dock, or another vessel's gangway if moored alongside.
gant-line - A whip purchase; a single block with a rope rove through it. A gant-line is used to hoist the rigging to the masthead on beginning to fit out.
garboard strake - The planks next to the keel.
garland - A strap put round spars when they are hoisted on board.
garnet - A kind of tackle used for hoisting things out of the hold of vessels; also used for clewing up square sails.
gash - Extra, leftovers, or garbage; Slang for surplus to requirements; Unnecessary, extra, or spare
gaskets - Pieces of rope, sometimes plaited, by which sails when furled are kept to the yards. The pieces of rope by which sails are secured when furled, such as the tyers of the mainsail, by which that sail, when rolled up on the boom, is secured.
gather way - When a vessel begins to move through the water, under the influence of the wind on her sails, or under the influence of steam.
gel coat - Protective coating or finish of a fiberglass vessel.
genoa - An overlapping jib. See "jib" on this page for more information.
geographic position - A fix; a charted position, GPS coordinates.
get a pull - To hand on a sheet or tack or fall of a tackle.
getting soundings aboard - Running aground.
gig - A long boat of four or six oars kept for the owner of a yacht.
gilling - To gill a vessel along is to sail her very near the wind, so that very little of the weight of the wind is felt on the sails which are kept lufting and only have steerage way kept on the vessel. A vessel is generally "gilled " (pronounced "jilled") through heavy squalls or very broken water.
gimbals - Pivoted rings used to support a device that may tip or remain level; rings holding a compass.
girt - To moor a vessel so that she cannot swing by tide or wind. To draw a sail into puckers; to divide the belly of a sail into bags as by a rope.
girt-line - (See "Gant-line.")
girth - The measurement round the vessel. The girth is generally measured at a station 0.55 from the fore end of the L.W.L. It is taken in two separate ways--i.e., by skin or by chain. The skin girth is taken by following the skin surface of the plank or body right round under the keel, from gunwale to gun. wale. The chain girth is taken at the same place and between the same points with the string, tape, or chain pulled taut. The difference between the two girths is called the "d" measurement. (See also "d.")
"Give Her the Weight of It" - An admonition to a helmsman to sail a vessel a good heavy full when close-hauled.
give way - The order to a boat's crew to commence rowing or to pull with more force or more quickly. May be "Give Way Together", "Give Way Starboard" or "Give Way Port" denoting which banks of oars. Used in conjunction with other commands given by the Coxswain; e.g. If the boat is starboard side alongside the ship a command may be, "Fend Off Starboard" to gain distance from the ship's hull then "Backwater Port, GiveWay Starboard" to effect a turn followed by "Give Way Together."
give-way vessel - A vessel that does not have the right-of-way in an overtaking position; also called the burdened vessel.
giving the keel - Heeling over suddenly and bringing the keel near the surface; vessels that are not very stiff under canvas are said to "give the keel."
glass - The term by which a sailor knows the barometer. Also a telescope, and the sand glass used to denote half-hours on board ship, or the half-minute or quarter-minute glass used when heaving the log.
glass calm - When it is so calm that the sea looks like a sheet of glass.
go about - To tack.
going large - The same as sailing with the wind free.
going through her lee - When one vessel overtakes and passes another vessel to leeward; considered to be a very smart thing for a vessel to do if they are close together and of equal size.
gollywobbler - A full, quadrilateral sail used in light air on schooners. It is flown high, between the fore and main mast, and is also known as a fisherman's staysail.
good full - Same as "Clean Full," or little fuller than "Full and By."
gooseneck - The fitting that connects the boom to the mast.An iron jointed bolt used to fix the end of booms to the mast.
goose wing, to - A schooner "goose wings" when dead before the wind by booming out the gaff foresail on the opposite side to the mainsail. An uncertain operation, and a practice not now in much use, as the introduction of spinnakers has made it unnecessary. (See "Wing and Wing.")
goose wings - The lower part or clews of sails when the upper part is furled or brailed up; used for scudding in heavy weather.
GPS (Global Positioning System) - A world-wide satellite radio navigation system, used to determine a ship's fix. Accurate positioning requires that at least three satellites be line-of-sight visible to the craft. Due to a possibility of large waves in a storm, the G.P.S. position should be constantly recorded so it can be transmitted as the "last known position" in an ememrgency.
grab rail - A convenient grip; may be on a ladder or cabin top. Hand-hold fittings mounted on cabin tops and sides for personal safety when moving around the boat.
graduated sail - A sail whose cloths taper towards the head from the foot upwards; so that a whole cloth forms the luff as well as the leech
granny knot - A knot tied in error; a faulty knot; an unsecured knot, not sure to hold.
grapnel - A grappling iron with four claws used to moor small boats by or to drag the bed of the sea.
gratings - Open woodwork put in the bottom of boats, in gangways.
graving - Cleaning a vessel's bottom.
graving dock - A dock which can be emptied of water by opening the gates as the tide falls, and its return prevented as the tide rises by closing the gates. Used for clearing the bottoms of vessels, repairing the same. See also "Drydock."
gravity, center of - The centre of gravity is the common centre of a weight or weights. In sailing ships the Center of Gravity is the balance point of the ship between the bow and stern, port and starboard rail at the widest breadth of the ship and the keel and mast top. Also the balance point between the Center of Effort and the Center of Lateral Resistance.
great circle - The circumference of the earth; the circle formed by the intersection of a sphere and a plane; such as the lines of latitude or longitude. It is the shortest route on the globe, and not necessarily a straight line on a map.
green hand - A landsman shipped on board a vessel, and who has yet to learn his duties.
green horn - A conceited simpleton, presumed to be incapable of learning the duties of a seaman.
green sea - The unbroken mass of water that will sometimes break on board a vessel as distinct from the mere bucketfulls of water or spray that may fly over her. Such bodies of water always have a green appearance, while smaller quantities look grey, hence, we suppose, the term. Also the portion of the ocean which is life bearing as opposed to blue water which is the pelagic version of a desert.
gridiron - A large cross framing over which a vessel is placed at high water in order that her bottom may be examined as the tide falls.
grin - A vessel is said to grin when she dives head and shoulders into a sea and comes up streaming with water.
gripe - The fore part of the dead wood of a vessel; the forefoot.
gripe, to - A vessel is said to gripe when she has a tendency to fly up in the wind, and requires weather helm to check or "pay off" the tendency.
grommet - An eyelet; a ring (circle) formed by a rope.
gross tonnage - Computed as 40 cubic feet per ton, it is the vessel's total interior space (including non-cargo space); a vessel's weight; weight of a vessel's water displacement.
grounding - The act of getting aground or taking the ground as the tide falls.
ground swells - Waves that become steeper and shorter as they approach the shore.
ground tackle - All gear associated with the anchoring of a ship; its anchor, anchor line and shackles.
ground ways - The blocks on which a vessel is supported whilst she is being built.
gudgeons - Metal eye bolts fitted to the stern post to receive the pintles of the rudder.
gunter rig - Similar to a gaff rig, except that the spar forming the "gaff" is hoisted to an almost vertical position, extending well above the mast.
gunter, sliding - Not to be confounded with the modern gunter lug which is really a cross between a high-peaked gaff sail and a Clyde lug. The slider has jaws on the heel of the yard or gaff, which is usually curved. Either one or two halyards are used.
gunwale or gunnel - The toe rail. Most generally, the upper edge of the side of a boat.
guy - A rigging line; a line attached to a movable spar like a spinnaker pole, used to control it.
gybing - See "Jibing."
gyres - Circular, oceanic currents.
gyvers - Tackles.Back to the index.
hail - The signaling of a ship; a call to a ship. To "hail from" a locality is to belong to a particular place by birthright.
half-breadth plan - A drawing showing the horizontal sections or waterlines of a vessel by halves.
half-breadths - The width of horizontal sections at particular points; also half-breadths on diagonal lines.
half-hitch - The simplest form of a knot.
hall-mast high - Hoisting a burgee or ensign only halfway up as a mark of respect to a person who has recently died.
halyard - A hoisting line; the rope to raise a sail or spar.
hammock - A canvas bed swung to the deck beams.
hand - To hand a sail is to stow, furl, or take in; hence a sail is said to be "handed" when either of these operations has been performed. A member of a ship's crew.
hand bearing compass - A small, portable compass, usually used for taking bearings (or sightings).
handing a sail - To hand a sail is to stow it or take it in.
hand lead - A lead weight, lowered on a rope, to determine water depth.
handle her - The act of controlling the movements of a vessel. An admonition to the crew to be smart in working the sheets in tacking or jibing. Also a steamboat master is said to "handle" his vessel in bringing her alongside a wharf pier.
handsomely - Carefully, or slowly; in a proper manner, as in the easing (letting out) of a line. Not too fast nor yet too slow, but with great care; cleverly.
handspike - A bar of wood, used as a lever.
hand taut - As tight or taut as a rope can be got by the hand without swigging upon it.
handy - A vessel is said to be handy when she answers her helm quickly, and will turn in a small circle, or go from one tack to the other quickly.
handy billy - A watch tackle kept on deck for general use to get a pull on whatever is required, such as sheets, tacks, or halyards.
hang - To lean towards. To hang to windward is to make but little leeway. "Hang on here!" an order for men to assist in hauling.
hanging compass - A compass suspended under the beams with the face of the card downwards; termed also a "Telltale Compass."
hanging knee - Knees that help keep the beams and frame together ; one arm is bolted to the under side of a beam, the other to the frame.
hanging locker - A storage place; storage for clothing.
hank - A small snap hook to secure the jib luff to the headstay.
"Hank for hank" - Slang for "tack for tack."
harbor - A safe anchorage; an anchorage protected from most storms; a location for loading/unloading a vessel.
harbormaster - The person in charge of all anchorage matters.
harbour watch - The watch kept on board a vessel at night when she is riding to an anchor in harbour; the anchor watch. Harbour or Anchor Watches are often 12 or 24 hours in duration allowing the other crew members more time to go ashore.
hard - A landing place, usually made of gravel placed in piles across soft ares where the small boats land.
hard-chined - A hull shaped with flat panels, that are joined at an angle.
hard hown - The order to put the helm hard-a-lee. Also the tiller may be put hard-a-port; hard-a-starboard; hard-a-weather; hard up.
hard In - Sheets are said to be hard in when a vessel is close-hauled.
hard over - Making an abrupt turn; turning a wheel (or tiller) in one direction as far as it can go. In sailing, the boat is tilted over to the safe maximum or more. If the toe rail is in the water, you are likely hard over.
hard up - The tiller as far to windward as it can be got for bearing away.
harpings - Pieces of timber or battens that are fitted around the frames of a vessel in an unbroken line to keep the frames in their places before the plank is put on.
hatch - A deck opening; a fitted hatch cover, which may be hinged or sliding; an opening to a lower ship compartment.
hatch covers - the coverings for hatchways
hatchway coamings - The raised frame above the deck upon which the hatches or hatch covers rest.
haul - To pull a line or rope.
"Haul aft the sheets" - The order to haul in the sheets for close-hauled sailing.
haul Her wind - To become close-hauled after sailing free. Generally to sail closer to the wind when sailing free. Haul to the wind. Haul on the wind.
hauling out - Removal of a vessel from water.
hauling part - The part of a tackle to which power is given.
haul round a mark, point - When a vessel in sailing free has to come closer to the wind as her course alters round a point or buoy. By hauling in the sheets the vessel will sometimes luff sufficiently without any help from the helm.
"Haul the boom aboard" - An order to get the main boom hauled in on the quarter for close-hauled sailing.
haul up - To hoist a sail. A vessel is said to "haul up" when she comes, or is brought nearer the wind or nearer her course if she has been sailing to leeward of it. Haul up a point, haul up to windward of that buoy.
hawse, Terms relating to the -
hawse bags - Canvas bags filled with oakum, used in a heavy sea to stop the hawse holes, and prevent the admission of water. Wooden hawse plugs are generally used in a yacht.
hawse hole - A hull opening through which mooring lines are run.
hawsepipes - Hawse hole fittings; fitting used to stow and protect the upper portion of the anchor rode (in larger vessels).
hawser - A rope of a larger width; a rope having a diameter of more than 4.5 inches. A large rope laid up with the sun or right-handed.
hawse timbers - The large timbers in the bows of ships in which the hawse holes are cut.
head - The toilet aboard a vessel; the head may refer to the entire compartment or the fixture itself. The fore part of a vessel. The upper part of a sail. For a triangular sail, the top corner.
head earings - The earings of the upper part of a squaresail,
headfoil - a grooved rod fitted over the forestay to provide support for luff of the sail or help support the forestay.
heading - The current direction a ship is pointed.
head knocker - A block with a jam cleat, located on the boom and used to control the main sheet on small boats.
headland - A high cliff or point.
headmost - The first in order.
head reach - In sailing by the wind when a vessel passes another either to windward or to leeward. A vessel is said to "head-reach" when she is hove to, but forges ahead a knot or two.
head rope - The rope to which the head of a sail is sewn.
headsail - Any sail (or set of sails) forward of the mast; sail(s) located in the foretriangle.
head seas - Waves coming towards the bow, as opposed to following seas.
head sheets - The sheets of the head sails.
headstay - The rigging from the bow to the top of the mast; the foremost stay.
head to wind - When a vessel is so situated that the wind blows no more on one bow than the other; when her head is directly pointed to the wind. If a sailing vessel, is is considered "In irons," or unable to sail or steer.
headway - The forward movement (motion) of the ship through the water.
head wind - A wind that blows directly down the course a vessel is desired to sail. A foul wind. To be headed by the wind is when the wind shifts so that a vessel cannot lie her course, or puts her head off to leeward of the course she had been heading.
heart - A sort of deadeye made of lignum vitae with one large hole in it to pass a lanyard through turn after turn instead of through three holes, as in an ordinary deadeye. They are something like a heart in shape, and the lower one is metal bound; the stay goes round the upper one either by a spliced eye or an eye seizing; also used for jib sheet.
heart thimble - A thimble shaped like a heart put in the eye splices of ropes. These are usually made solid for rigging screws.
heave - To throw a rope or line; strongly pulling on a line.
heave about - To go into stays to tack.
heave ahead - To draw a vessel ahead by heaving on her cable, warp, etc.
Heave and Pawl - In heaving on the windlass or capstan to give a sort of jerking heave, so that the pawl may be put in, and so prevent "coming up," or the cable flying out again. Also, in heaving on the mast winches "heave and pawl" is generally used in the sense of "belay;" that is stop heaving at the next fall of the pawl.
"Heave and rally" - An order to encourage the men to heave with energy when there is a difficulty in breaking the anchor out of the ground.
"Heave and sight" - A call given after the anchor is off the ground, and when it is known to be near the surface on account of the muddy condition of the water it is making in consequence of the mud on the flukes. Literally it means one more heave and you will see the anchor above water.
"Heave and stand to your bars!" - An order given after heaving until the vessel is over the anchor to give another heave as the bow descends with the sea and then stand fast, as in all probability the next time she descends, or lifts, her head with the sea she will break the anchor out of the ground.
heave and weigh - The last heave of the capstan that breaks the anchor out.
heave down - To careen a vessel by putting tackles on her mastheads from a hulk or wharf, and heeling her so as to get at her aide which was under water for repairs. A vessel is said to be hove down by a squall when she does not right immediately.
heaving line - A coiled rope thrown from a vessel.
heaving to - Setting the sails in order to reduce headway speed (during a storm).
heave in stays - The same as heave about.
heave short - To heave on the cable until the vessel is over the anchor, or the cable taut in a line with the forestay, so that with another heave, or by the action of the sails, the anchor will be broken out of the ground.
heave the lead - The order to cast the lead for sounding.
heave the log - The order to throw the log ship overboard to test the rate of sailing.
heave to - To so trim a vessel's sails aback that she does not move ahead. The same as "lie to" or "lay to" as sailors call it. If the gale be a fair one the ship usually scuds before it; if a foul one she heaves to. To do this, trim the jib to windward (on the wrong, or upwind, side of the boat) and flatten the mainsail, bringing it as close to centerline as possible.
heavy weather - Stormy weather conditions; windy weather; notion of rough seas or dangerous situation.
heel, heeling - To lean to one side; to tip. Also see LIST, ROLL
heeler - A heavy wind puff that makes a boat heel.
heeling error - The deviation of a compass reading which is created by the shift of heavy iron (engine/keel) within the vessel such that the magnetic force varies.
heel rope - The rope by which a running bowsprit or topmast is hauled up or out.
heel, to - To incline, to careen, to list over, to depart from the upright.
height - A distance measured in a vertical direction, as height of freeboard.
helm - The tiller; the wheel; any steering device used by a vessel. Usually applied only to the tiller, the word is derived from Saxon helma or healma, a handle and a rudder.
"Helm's a-lee" - The usual call made in tacking or in going about, as a signal for the crew to work the sheets, etc. The helm is a-lee when the tiller is "put down" or to leeward.
Helmsman - The person steering the ship; person manning the helm. If a sailor can sail a vessel well on a wind he is generally termed a good "helmsman," and not steersman.
helm port - The rudder trunk in the counter.
helm, to port the - To put the helm or tiller to the port side, and thereby bring the vessel's head round to starboard. If a wheel is used besides a tiller the action of turning the wheel to port brings the vessel's head round to port, as the tiller is moved by the chains to starboard. Thus with a wheel, when the order is given to port the wheel is turned to starboard.
helm, to put down the - To put the tiller to leeward and thereby bring the vessel to the wind, or luff; the contrary action to putting up the helm.
helm, to put up the - To bring the tiller to windward, so that the rudder is turned to leeward, and consequently the head of the vessel goes off to leeward or "off the wind."
helm, to starboard the - To put the tiller the way opposite to port.
helm, to steady the - To bring the helm or tiller amidships after it has been moved to port or starboard, as the case may be.
hermaphrodite brig - A two-masted vessel, square-rigged forward, and fore-and-aft canvas only on mainmast, usually called a brigantine.
hermaphrodite hull - Usually wooden planked hull over metal ribs.
high - In the weather system, it is an area of high atmospheric pressure.
high and dry - The situation of a vessel that is ashore when the ebb tide leaves her dry.
high tide - High water level; the highest level water reaches in normal circumstances (non-storm related).
high water at: full and change - On all coast charts the time of high water at the full moon and new moon is set down, the time of high water at the full moon and new moon always occurring at the same hour throughout the year; therefore, if the time of high water at full and change (new moon) is known, and the age of the moon, the time of high water for any particular day can be roughly calculated, about twenty-five minutes being allowed for each tide.
hiking stick - An extension of the tiller that enables the helms man to sir at a distance from it.
hipping - To make a vessel broader on the beam about the waterline.
hitch - A knot used to attach a rope to an object, such as a cleat, spar or ring. A hitch is also a short tack or board made in close-hauled sailing.
hogged - The situation of a vessel when she rises higher in the middle part than at the ends; the opposite of sagged.
hogging piece - A piece of timber worked upon top of the keel to prevent its hogging or rising in the middle.
hoist - The length of the luff of a fore-and-aft sail, or the space it requires for hoisting. The hoist of a flag is the edge to which the roping is stitched. To raise anything by halyards or tackles.
hold - A compartment below deck in a vessel, used solely for carrying cargo.
hold a good wind - To sail close to the wind.
hold her head up - A vessel is said to "hold her head up" well that does not show a tendency to fall off.
holding on - To continue sailing without altering a course or shifting sail.
hold on the fore side - If, when hauling on the fall of a tackle, some of the hands have hold of it on the tackle side of the belaying pin, the hand that has to belay sings out, "Hold on the fore side" to those in front of him, and "Come up behind" to those behind. The hands on the fore side thus hold the fall and keep it from running through the blocks whilst it is being belayed.
holding on to the land - To keep the land aboard in sailing; not departing from the land.
holding tank - A sewage storage tank.
hollow lines - The horizontal lines of a vessel that have inflections.
home - Any operation that is completely performed, as "sheeted home" when the clew of a sail is hauled out to the last inch, etc. An anchor is said to come home when it breaks out of the ground.
homing - Steering the vessel towards the source of a radio beacon.
hood - A covering for skylights, sails, &c.
hood ends - The ends of the plank which are fitted into the rabbet of the stem or stern poet; termed also the hooded ends, meaning probably that they are "housed" or covered in by the rabbet.
Hooker - A small coasting craft.
horizontal angle - When using a sextant, it is the angle established between landmarks, thus providing a line of position.
horizontal lines - The curved lines on the Half breadth Plan which show the water lines, the plane of each section being parallel to the horizon.
horns - The projections which form the jaws of gaffs or booms. The outer ends of the crosstrees are sometimes termed horns.
horn timbers - Timbers which help support the counter.
horse - A bar of iron or wood, or a rope for some part of a vessel's rigging to travel upon, such as the mainsheet.
horseshoe buoy - A lifebuoy; an inverted, U-shaped PFD used in rescue operations.
house - To lower a topmast down within the cap.
housing of a mast - The part under the deck.
hove down - Said of a vessel that is very much careened or heeled by the wind or other cause.
hove her keel out - Said of a vessel that heels over, so as to show her keel. (Generally used only as a figure of speech.)
hove in sight - To come into view; said of a sail that appears above the horizon or round a headland; also of the anchor when it comes above water.
hove in stays - Said of a vessel when she tacks, often meaning that a vessel tacks suddenly.
hove short - When the cable is hove in so that there is but little more length out than the depth of water.
hove-to - The condition of a vessel with her head sails aback, so as to deprive her of way. Vessels hove-to on port tack should fill or get way on, if approached by a vessel on the starboard tack; but if the vessel on port tack can, by hailing or otherwise, make the other vessel understand the situation, the latter should give way; this is the custom of the sea, but there is no statutory regulations concerning the point.
Hoy - A small vessel. Also an abbreviation of "Ahoy."
hug the land - To sail along as close to a weather shore as possible.
hug the wind - To keep very close, or too close to the wind.
hulk - A vessel whose seagoing days are over, but is still useful as a store ship.
hull - The structural body of a ship, excluding masts, riggings and superstructures.
hurricane - A tropical storm, with winds in excess of 60 mph; depending on its location, it is also called a cyclone (inland) or typhoon (Pacific).
hydrofoil - A vessel that transverses over the water using underwater foils.
hydrography - The science associated with the surveying the earth's waters.Back to the index.
immersed - Underwater. The "wedge of immersion" is the part of a vessel put into the water when she heels over.
in and out bolts - Bolts that pass through the skin and frame of a vessel through and through.
inboard - Inside; a motor fitted inside the boat; moving toward the vessels centerline.
inboard cruiser - A powerboat fitted with an inboard motor.
inclinometer - An instrument for measuring the angle of inclination or the extent of heel a ship has under canvas or whilst rolling. Sometimes called a "clinometer."
inflatable - Any watercraft that has an inflatable structure; a craft requiring inflation before it is operational.
Inland Rules - "Rules of the Road"; etiquette for navigating the waters of harbors, rivers and inland waters.
inlet - A narrow body of water such that it connects an inland and non-inland body of water.
inspection port - A watertight covering, usually small, that may be removed so the interior of the hull can be inspected or water removed.
inshore - Close to the shore
iIn the wind - When sailing close hauled, if a vessel comes to nearly head to wind she is said to be "all in the wind."
Intracoastal Waterways - A series of connected rivers and canals that can be traveled (instead of the open seas).
in irons - A sailboat that loses headway, thus losing the ability to steer.
in wale - The clamp or strake of timber inside the top strake of a small boat, generally termed the gunwale.
Irish pennants - Loose ends of ropes, hanging about a vessel's rigging or sails.
isobars - Found on a weather map, they are lines of equal atmospheric pressure.
isogonic lines - Found on a chart, they are lines of equal magnetic variation.Back to the index.
jack in the basket - A boom or pole with a cage on the top used to mark a shoal or bank.
jack screw or screw jack - A powerful screw used for moving heavy weights.
jack stay - A rod of steel shaped as a railway metal, or a rope, usually wire rope, for sails or yards to travel on. Also the steel railway or wire rope stay on the boom of laced sails on which the hanks or lacings are attached.
jack yard - The small yard on the foot of large topsails to extend them beyond the gaff. Termed also jenny yards and foot yards.
jack yard topsail - A topsail set on two yards.
Jacob's ladder - A rope ladder, which is lowered from the deck so that passengers may embark.
jam - In belaying or making fast a rope to close up or jam the turns
jaws of a gaff - The horns at the end of the gaff which half encircle the mast. A rope called a "jaw rope," or jaw parrel, is fitted to the ends of the horns, and, passing round the mast, keeps the gaff in its place. Wood beads are rove on the rope to make it slide easily on the mast.
jenny yard - See "jack yard."
jetsam - Goods thrown overboard in heavy weather to lighten the ship.
jettison - To throw cargo overboard.
jetty - A natural or man-made structure that projects from the shore; typically used to prevent shoreline erosion.
- A triangular sail, usually set on the headstay. There
are No.1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 jib, the latter being the storm or spitfire jib. The size of the jib sail is commonly reported as a percentage, as in a "95% jib." This is not the percentage of the main, but the ratio of the LP to the J dimension. Divide the LP (Luff Perpendicular) by the J (mast to forestay mounting point distance) times 100 to get the percentage of overlap. This graphic image may help illustrate these dimensions. A "working" jib is usually greater than 90% and rarely greater than 110% overlap. A Storm Jib is usually a 25% sail. A genoa is never less than 100% overlap and can easily go 155% to 160% overlap.
I went nuts trying to find out what a #2 or a #4 jib was supposed to be. I finally learned there is no size. Take your sails and line them up from largest to smallest. Now number then from "1" to whatever. The #2 sail is your second largest jib sail, it is that simple. Normally the scale is from "1" to "5", but there is nothing keeping you from having a #12 sail, except maybe money.
jib-boom - The spar beyond the bowsprit in schooners upon which the outer jib is set.
jibe - To change direction (when sailing); when the sailboat's boom swings to the opposite side.
jib foresail - In schooners the stay-foresail. (See "Fore-staysail.")
jibheader - An abbreviation of the term jibheaded topsail. A thimble-headed topsail. The triangular topsail of a fore and aft vessel.
jibing, or gybing - To keep a vessel so much off the wind that at last it blows on the opposite quarter and causes the sails to shift over. The opposite of tacking, which is to come to the wind until it blows on the opposite bow of the vessel to the one on which it has been blowing.
jib stay - In schooners the stay to which jibs are hanked.
jib topsail - A triangular headsail made of light canvas set upon the topmast stay above the jib.
jib traveller - The iron hoop, with hook and shackle, on the bowsprit to which the jib tack cringle is hooked.
jiffy reefing - A fast method of reefing, where the reef that is tied in. Lines pull down the luff and the leech of the sail, reducing its area.
jigger mast - The mizzen mast of a yawl or dandy.
Joggle - In the shipwright's craft, carpentry, and masonry, a notch or notches forming a box scarf to enable two pieces of wood to fit together. The heels of timbers are sometimes joggled to the keel in this manner.
joggles - Notches cut in a boat's timbers for the plank to fit into.
join ship - To come on board a vessel, or to enter as a seaman on board.
jolly boat - A yacht's boat larger than a dinghy, and not so large as a cutter. Used by a merchant ship much the same as a dinghy by a yacht.
Jolly Roger - A pirate's flag. A white skull and cross bones on a black field.
Back to the index.
kamsin - A south-westerly wind which is said to blow on the Nile for fifty days during March and April.
kedge - The smallest anchor a yacht carries, used for anchoring temporarily by a hawser or warp. To kedge is to anchor by the kedge, or to carry the kedge anchor out in a boat and warp ahead by it.
keel - The vessel's "backbone", or timber at the very bottom of the hull to which frames are attatched; the lateral area beneath the hull which provides steering stability.
keelson or kelson - A structural member or inside keel fitted over the throats of the floors above and parallel to the keel.
"Keep her full" - When close hauled, an admonition not to keep too close to the wind.
"Keep her off" - An order to sail more off the wind; to put the helm up. To keep off is to keep away from the wind.
"Keep your luff" - An admonition to keep close to the wind. In match sailing, an order given when a vessel is being overtaken by one coming up from astern not to give way and allow the vessel to pass to windward. It is an old maxim in close-hauled sailing, "keep your luff and never look astern" meaning that if you sail as close to the wind as possible the overtaking vessel must take her passage to leeward or risk a collision by trying to force a passage to windward.
keg - A small cask, or breaker.
kentledge - Rough pig iron used as ballast.
ketch - A two-masted sailing rig.
kevel or cavel - Large pieces of timber used for belaying ropes to, such as the horizontal piece which is bolted to the stanchions aft to belay the main sheet to.
key model - A model made by horizontal layers or vertical blocks, showing either the water lines or vertical sections of a vessel.
kick-up - Describes a rudder or centerboard that rotates back and up when an obstacle is encountered. Useful when a boat is to be beached or sailed in shoals.
king plank - The ship's center plank; the center plank on a laid deck.
king spoke - When the rudder is in a centered position, it is the topmost spoke of the steering wheel.
kit - A sailor's belongings in the way of clothes. which he carries in his bag or keeps in his locker.
kittiwak knees - Pieces of timber or iron shaped thus - L - used to strengthen particular parts of a ship. A hanging knee is the one fitted under the beams; a lodging knee is a knee fitted horizontally to the beams and shelf, or to the mast partners or deck beams. Floor knees are V-shaped, like breast-hooks.
knees - Structural members that connect/re-inforce a joint of two parts, such as the sternpost to the keel.
knight heads - Strong pieces of timber fitted inside and close to the stem to bear the strain of the bowsprit. Called also "bollard timbers." The name is said to be derived from the windlass bitts, the heads of which formerly were carved to represent the heads of knights.
knockabout - A type of schooner without a bowsprit.
knot - Generic term for a bend or hitch on rope.( BOY'S MANUAL OF SEAMANSHIP AND GUNNERY shows how some knots are tied.) Unit of speed - one nautical mile per hour. The nautical mile is 6080ft, a statute mile is 5280ft. A sea mile = 1.1515 statute mile.Back to the index.