To equalize and minimize strains

The boat sailer or yachtsman should be able, from close observation of
the barometer and the general appearance of the sky, to foretell the
weather with a certain degree of accuracy. The aneroid barometer is
peculiarly sensitive to all atmospheric changes, and is thus invaluable
for meteorological forecasts. A regular code of phenomena has been
formulated by meteorologists, from which I take the following:

A rapid rise indicates unsettled weather.

A gradual rise indicates settled weather.

A rise with dry air and cold increasing in summer indicates wind from
the northward, and if rain has fallen better weather may be expected.

A rise with moist air and a low temperature indicates a continuance of
fine weather.

A rapid fall indicates stormy weather.

A rapid fall with westerly wind indicates stormy weather from northward.

A fall with northerly wind indicates storm with rain and hail in summer
and snow in winter.

A fall with increased moisture in the air and increasing heat indicates
southerly wind and rain.

A fall after very calm and warm weather indicates rain and squalls.

The barometer rises for a northerly wind, including from northwest by
north to the eastward, for dry or less wet weather, for less wind, or
for more than one of these changes, except on a few occasions when rain,
hail or snow comes from the northward with strong wind.

The barometer falls for a southerly wind, including from southeast by
south to the westward, for wet weather, for stronger wind, or for more
than one of these changes, except on a few occasions, when moderate
wind, with rain or snow, comes from the northward.

A fall, with a south wind, precedes rain.

A sudden and considerable fall, with the wind due west, presages a
violent storm from the north or northwest, during which the glass will
rise to its former height.

A steady and considerable fall of the barometer during an east wind
indicates a shift of wind to the southward, unless a heavy fall of snow
or rain immediately follows.

A falling barometer, with the wind at north, brings bad weather; in
summer rain and gales; in spring snows and frosts.

If, after a storm of wind and rain, the barometer remains steady at the
point to which it had fallen, severe weather may follow without a change
in the wind. But on the rising of the barometer a change of wind may be
looked for.

The following rhymes are familiar to most sailors:

When the glass falls low,
Look out for a blow.

First rise after low,
Portends a stronger blow.

When the glass is high,
Let all your kites fly.

Long foretold—long last;
Short notice—soon past.

The following notes may be relied on for forecasting the weather:

Red sky at sunset, fine weather.

Red sky in the morning, wind or rain, and
often both.

Gray sky in the morning, fine weather.

Hard, oily looking clouds, strong wind.

Yellowish green clouds, wind and rain.

Bright yellow sky at sunset, wind.

Pale yellow sky at sunset, rain.

Very clear atmosphere near the horizon is a
sign of more wind and often rain.

Here follow some old sailors’ jingles which I heard when a boy in the

When rain comes before the wind,
Sheets and halyards you must mind;
When wind comes before the rain,
Hoist your topsails up again.

Evening red and morning gray
Are sure signs of a fine day;
But evening gray and morning red,
Makes a sailor shake his head.

Amateurs while on a cruise should frequently look at the barometer and
take notes of its height and enter them in the log.

The action of the aneroid barometer depends on the effect produced by
the pressure of the atmosphere on a circular metallic chamber partially
exhausted of air and hermetically sealed. This kind of barometer is
liable to changes on account of its mechanism getting out of order, and
it should be often compared with a mercurial barometer, which from its
cumbersomeness cannot be conveniently carried in a small craft. Aneroid
barometers of excellent quality, and of about the size of an ordinary
watch, are offered for sale at a reasonable price, and a cruise should
not be undertaken without one.

A phosphorescent sea is a certain sign of continuance of fine weather.

When porpoises come into shallow water and ascend the river stormy
weather is near.

Sea birds fly far out to sea in fine weather, but if they fly inland bad
weather may be expected.

A halo round the moon, especially if it appears distant and yet very
distinct, indicates a gale of wind and probably rain.

When the wind changes it usually shifts with the sun from left to right.
Thus an East wind shifts to West by way of Southeast, South and
Southwest, and a West wind shifts to East by way of Northwest, North and
Northeast. If the wind shifts the opposite way it is said to “back,” but
this it rarely does except in unsettled weather.

The United States Signal Service has a local observer stationed at each
of the principal ports. When the “information signal,” which consists of
a red pennant, is displayed, it indicates that information has been
received from the central office of a storm covering a limited area,
dangerous only for vessels about to sail to certain points. Ship-masters
and others interested will be supplied with the necessary information on

A cautionary signal, which is a Yellow Flag with a white center,
indicates that the winds expected are not so violent that well found and
seaworthy vessels cannot encounter them without great danger. A
cautionary flag hoisted alone signifies that the direction of the
expected wind is doubtful.


A dangerous storm signal, which is a Red Square Flag with black center,
is hoisted when the wind is over thirty-five miles an hour.

At night a Red Light indicates Easterly winds, and a Red and White Light
Westerly winds.

[Illustration: STORM SIGNALS.]

Following are the weather signals, which explain themselves:



Beaufort’s scale is used to measure the velocity of the wind. It is
given below:

_Hourly _Scale._ _State._
in Miles._

– 0 calm.

1 1 light airs.

2 to 3 2 light breezes.

4 to 7 3 gentle breeze.

9 to 15 4 moderate breeze.

15 to 18 5 fresh breeze.

19 to 22 6 strong breeze.

23 to 28 7 moderate gale.

28 to 40 8 fresh gale.

40 to 48 9 strong gale.

48 to 56 10 whole gale.

57 to 80 11 storm.

80 to 100 12 hurricane.



Those who go a-sailing for pleasure in small craft, frequently suffer
hardships, or at least inconvenience, in the way of meals, because of
their lack of knowledge of the provisions to take with them, and of
simple methods of preparing wholesome and appetizing dishes.

[Illustration: Fig. 1. A Yachtsman’s Stove.]

Sea cooking differs materially from shore cooking, inasmuch as the stove
in a house is erected on a floor that is both stationary and stable. The
yachtsman who has a cosy galley with a fixed stove that burn coal or
coke or charcoal, and that draws well, has reason to bless his fortunate

There have now come into vogue several varieties of the blue-flame
wickless cooking stove. In the accompanying illustration, Fig. 1, I have
depicted a stove which I have found to suit. It is wickless and burns
the ordinary kerosene oil. To suit sea conditions the stove is slung on
gimbals like a ship’s compass, so as to yield to every motion of the
vessel. The railing round the top prevents pots and pans from sliding to
leeward. Fig. 2 shows the finest fry-pan ever invented for an oil stove,
on which broiling is impracticable. It acts as a broiler or fryer at
will. The raised bars prevent the steak or cutlet from being soddened
with fat, the result being equal or nearly equal to a gridiron. If
frying is required put the necessary quantity of oil, butter or fat in
the pan. Let it come to a boil, and then immerse in it the article,
fish, flesh, fowl, reptile, or vegetable that you wish to cook.

With a stove having only one lid or burner the sea-cook might often have
some difficulty in keeping three utensils on the boil at once. Luckily
ingenuity has surmounted the obstacle, and Fig. 3 shows three stew-pans
of small size that will fit over the burner of the stove shown in Fig.
1. They are in the market, but it took me a long time to find out where
they are for sale. In one you may cook curry, in the second rice, while
clam broth may simmer in the third. In good sooth a very cerberus of

Some sort of a contrivance for storing ice so as to keep it solid as
long as possible is indispensable. Such a device is shown in Fig. 4.


Fig. 2. The Ideal Fry-Pan.

For sea picnics buy as many of the thin wooden plates (costing only a
trifle) as you may require. These after being used may be thrown
overboard. Take no crockery ware or china to sea in a small boat. Cups,
saucers, plates and dishes can be obtained made of enameled steel. These
are unbreakable and cleanly. Stew-pans, kettles, pitchers, coffee-pots
and fry-pans are also made of enameled steel, and they cannot be
surpassed. Cooks’ furnishings depend on the size of the boat and the
hands she carries. I suggest the following, but leave the sizes to the
discretion of the purchaser who knows about how many mouths he has to
feed: One kettle for boiling water for tea or coffee, one deep fry-pan,
one iron pot with tight-fitting cover for boiling meat, fish or cooking
chowder, one teapot, one coffee-pot, a soup ladle, a long iron
two-pronged fork (known aboard ship as the cook’s tormentors), two
stew-pans for cooking vegetables, one broiler (if the implement can be
used), one cook’s knife, one vegetable knife, one swab for washing pots,
pans and plates, and dish towels for drying them, soap, cups, plates,
dishes, knives, forks, spoons, glasses, _quant. suff._ Do not forget a
galvanized iron bucket for the cook, a can opener and a corkscrew. Also
matches in an airtight can or glass. Fuel in either fluid or solid shape
should not be omitted.

When we come to the question of the food supplies to be taken aboard,
much will depend upon the individual. Hard tack, salt tack, flour,
beans, corned beef, salt pork, bacon, hams, canned meats, sardines,
canned fruits and vegetables, cornmeal, lard, butter, cheese, condensed
milk, sweetened and unsweetened coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, pepper,
salt, mustard, vinegar, poultry seasoning, sugar and rice are some of
the staple comestibles that suggest themselves, but these may be added
to or subtracted from according to circumstances.

A ham is one of the most easily procured comestibles. Pick out a small
one, not too fat. If you want it tough as leather, boil it furiously for
a couple of hours, then haul it out of the pot and eat it. If you want a
delicate, tender and juicy ham soak it in a bucket of fresh water for
twelve hours. Then scrape it well and pop it into a big pot full of cold
fresh water. Let it come slowly to the boil. As soon as the water
reaches the boiling stage, regulate the heat so that a gentle simmering,
the faintest possible ebullition is kept up for five or six hours,
according to the size of the joint. Then take it out of the pot and skin
it. The rind will come off as easily as an old shoe. Then return meat to
the water in which it was boiled and let it remain until it is quite
cold. Next dish it, drain it and put it in the ice box to harden. Cut in
very thin slices with a sharp knife, and you will admit that cooked
after this scientific formula ham is mighty fine eating.

[Illustration: Fig. 3. A Nest of Stew-pans.]

Corned beef cooked after this same fashion will also be a success. The
secret is a simple one of chemistry. Hard boiling hardens the fibers and
tears the meat to rags. Gentle simmering softens the meat while allowing
it to retain its juices.

The navy bean at present in use, though much may be said in its praise,
is far inferior to the lima bean. This legume if substituted for the
insignificant (by comparison only) little bean on which Boston
breakfasts every Sabbath morn will be found so palatable that the lesser
variety will never again be used. Procure a quart of lima beans. Pick
out all that are shriveled or discolored. Soak the rest all night in
plenty of cold fresh water and in the morning you will find them plump
and tender. Wash them well and place them in a pot on the fire with a
square piece of salt pork weighing three-quarters of a pound; simmer
them gently till they are tender, but not till they reach the porridge
stage. On the contrary, let each bean be separate like the soft and
swelling grains of well-cooked rice. Strain through a colander, saving a
pint of the water in which they were boiled. Pack in the bean pot. Bury
the chunk of pork in the beans. Season the pint of water reserved as
mentioned above, to your liking. Pour over the beans in the pot and put
in the oven to bake. The flavoring of beans depends upon the taste of
the cook.

Sirloin steaks are a good staple viand. Make the butcher cut them not
less than two inches thick. If you cannot grill them heat your fry-pan
almost red-hot. Put no fat in the pan. Place your steak cut into
convenient chunks into the hot pan. Let one side sear for a minute or so
to keep in the juices. Then turn meat over. It will be cooked
sufficiently for most palates in five or six minutes. Place on a piping
hot platter, spread some fresh butter on the steak, sprinkle with
pepper, and pipe to grub. Chops may be cooked in the same way.

Meat may be roasted in an iron pot if the cook has no oven. Moderate
heat, continuous care to prevent burning, and frequent basting are the
three requisites of a successful pot roast.

So far as beverages are concerned, useful hints in that direction are
given in Fig. 5, which shows a picturesque and shipshape vessel to carry
when a-cruising.

[Illustration: Fig. 4. Ice Tub.]

There is no daintier dish than a fresh, fat lobster, generous and juicy,
just hauled from the pot in which he was caught. Pick out a particularly
lively specimen of medium size but heavy. The cock lobster may be
distinguished from the hen by the narrowness of the tail, the upper two
fins of which are stiff and hard, while the tail of the hen is broader
and the fins soft. The male has the higher flavor; the flesh, too, is
firmer and the color when boiled is a deeper red. The hen is well
adapted for lobster _a la_ Newburg, but for eating on the half-shell a
male in prime condition is far preferable.

The secret of cooking lobsters is to plunge them into a pot of furiously
boiling sea water, and to keep the water in a condition of fast
ebullition for just twenty minutes. Fresh water to which salt is added
will not do so well. Salt water fresh from the ocean is indispensable.
It brings out the correct flavor and imparts an indefinable zest to the
lobster. Hard-shell crabs may be boiled in the same way, but ten minutes
will be ample time.

All fresh vegetables are, in the opinion of the writer, improved in
flavor by cooking them in sea water fresh from the ocean, not from a
harbor contaminated by noxious influences from the shore. All vegetables
should be immersed in boiling water and cooked till done. Potatoes will
take about half an hour to boil, but cabbages, carrots and turnips much
longer. I should not advise the cooking of the last-named three
esculents aboard a small craft. Canned asparagus, French peas and string
beans take little time to prepare and are excellent if a reliable brand
is purchased. Open the can, drain off the liquid and throw it away. Wash
the vegetables, strain the water off, place in a stew-pan with a lump of
butter, and heat thoroughly. The liquid of canned vegetables is unfit
for human food.

Hard clams or quahaugs are plentiful at any port during the boating
season. The recuperative qualities of the small variety served ice-cold
on the half shell with a dash of Tabasco sauce and no other seasoning
are beyond praise. Now while the little clam is excellent eating just as
soon as opened from the shell, taking care to waste none of his precious
juices, his elder brother also has inestimable gastronomic values.

The easiest and simplest method of preparing clam broth is to scrub the
clams well and wash them in several waters. Put them in an iron pot,
without any water or liquid. Let them remain on the fire for twenty
minutes. Then strain the juice, into which put a little fresh butter, a
small quantity of milk, and a dash of red pepper. Drink while hot.

[Illustration: Fig. 5. A Traveling Companion.]

Never add water to clam broth, and never let it boil after the milk is
added, as it will curdle nine times out of ten.

To make clam soup, clean the clams as for broth. Place them in an iron
pot on the stove. As soon as they open take them out of their shells and
chop very fine. A hardwood bowl and a two-blade chopping knife are the
best apparatus for this job. Strain the clam liquor, return to the pot,
add minced onions to taste and the chopped clams; simmer gently for one
hour, thicken to taste with cracker dust, season with sweet herbs and
pepper; let boil fast for ten minutes, take off the stove and add some
hot milk and a lump of fresh butter. Serve.

Clam chowder is an old sea dish whose popularity seems likely never to
wane. It is a simple dish to prepare, although many cooks make a mystery
of it. Cut half a pound of streaky salt pork into small cubes. Fry in an
iron pot together with half a dozen medium-sized sliced onions until
they are a light brown. Chop fifty hard-shell clams fine. Peel and slice
thin a dozen large raw potatoes. Break up four sea biscuits and soak
till soft in cold water or milk. Scald and peel and slice six ripe and
juicy tomatoes. Put these ingredients into the pot in layers, pour over
them the strained juice of the clams. Season with red and black pepper,
sauces and herbs to taste. Cover an inch with hot fresh water and simmer
for three hours. A pint of sound California claret added just before
serving is an improvement. An old hen makes tip-top chowder cooked in
the same fashion.

Fish chowder may be prepared in a similar way. Cod, haddock, sea bass
and bluefish are good made into a chowder.

The soft-shell clam makes a delicate stew or broth. The tough parts
should be rejected from the chopping bowl. Boiled for twenty minutes and
eaten from the shell with a little butter and pepper they are also very
appetizing. A big potful soon disappears.

There is no excuse for the yachtsman neglecting to enjoy the delights of
fish fresh from the sea. Fishing tackle should always be carried.
Bluefish and mackerel may be caught by trolling; and if you have
fisherman’s luck, once in a blue moon a Spanish mackerel may fall to
your lot. If so, that day must be marked by a white stone, for a Spanish
mackerel transferred in about two shakes of a lamb’s tail from the
fish-hook to the fry-pan, or better still, if your arrangements permit,
to the gridiron or broiler, is good enough for the gods to feed on. Two
axioms should be borne in mind, namely, to fry in plenty of boiling fat
or to plunge into boiling water. Never humiliate a fish by placing him
in a cold fry-pan or into a cooking pot of cold water.

Before frying fish dip in well-beaten egg and then sprinkle with bread
crumbs or cracker dust, dip in egg again, and then add more bread crumbs
or cracker dust. This is for epicures. For ordinary seafarers if the
fish is rolled in yellow cornmeal without the egg the result will be
nearly the same. Cut up large fish into suitable sizes, but fry small
fish whole.

Soft-shell crabs should be cooked in boiling fat. When brown they are
done. Ten minutes is usually enough to cook them thoroughly.

Always when you boil fish of any kind indigenous to salt water or fresh
put them in boiling water either from the sea or fresh water well
salted. A little vinegar added is good. A two-pound fish should cook
sufficiently in fifteen or at most twenty minutes. Fish with white flesh
take longer to boil than those with dark.

An excellent sauce for boiled fish may be made thus: Put a piece of
butter as big as an egg in a saucepan or a tomato can; heat till it
bubbles, add a heaping tablespoonful of flour, stir till quite smooth;
pour slowly into this, stirring continually, a pint of the water the
fish was cooked in, and add two hard-boiled eggs chopped fine. This may
be flavored with anchovy sauce or a few drops of Harvey or
Worcestershire. Some prefer the addition of a little lemon juice or even
vinegar. Every man to his taste!

When a very little boy I sailed in the _Derwent_, a small schooner
engaged in carrying bottles from Sunderland to London. The bottles were
taken in from the factory where they were made, stowed in the hold of
the schooner and transported to a wharf at Wapping. Bottles are a clean
kind of freight, and our skipper being a very particular kind of a man
the _Derwent_ was kept as bright as a new pin outside and inside, alow
and aloft. On this dashing little vessel I was cook and cabin boy. There
was no regular galley on deck, simply an iron cooking stove erected on
the foreside of the mainmast; and on that in storm and calm I boiled and
baked for a crew of four for more than a year—in fact till I quit the
coasting trade and signed away foreign. My skipper took me under his
special guidance. The grub had to be well cooked and the deck kept
spotless or I used to suffer. Skipper and mate were epicures after a
fashion, so I had to keep my weather eye open.

My experience in merchant vessels and pleasure craft has fitted me to
write with some small assumption of authority on the subject of sea

Some of my methods may seem queer and perhaps grotesque, but condemn
them not till you have tested them in the crucible of experiment.



Aback—A sail’s condition when the sheet is to windward and it drives the
vessel astern.

Abaft—The position toward the stern of any object or point such as
“abaft the mast” or “abaft the binnacle.”

Afore—The contrary of abaft.

Ahoy!—An interjection used in hailing a vessel, such as “_Vigilant_

Athwart—Across the keel.

Atrip—When the anchor is broken out of the ground.

Avast—Stop, discontinue. As “avast hauling” (stop hauling).

Balance reef—A diagonal reef in a fore-and-aft sail extending from
throat to clew.

Batten down—Covering hatches with tarpaulins and securing them with

Beam ends—A vessel is said to be on her beam ends when knocked down by a
squall to an angle of about 45 degrees.

Belay—To make fast a rope or fall of a tackle.

Below—Greenhorns call it “downstairs” and seamen laugh at them.

Bight—A loop of a rope.

Bilge—The round in a vessel’s timbers where they turn from her sides
toward the keel.

Binnacle—A case in which the compass is contained.

Block and block—When the blocks of a tackle are hauled close together.

Bolt rope—The rope sewn round the edges of sails. It is made of the best

Bonnet—An extra piece of canvas laced to the foot of a jib or foresail,
taken off when it blows hard.

Box the compass—To call over the points of the compass in correct order.

Break off—When a vessel sailing close-hauled is headed by the wind and
is unable to lay the course she was steering.

Bring up—To anchor.

Broach to—To come to against wind and helm.

Capsize—To turn over.

Carvel built—Constructed with the planks flush edge to edge and the
seams caulked and payed.

Caulking—Driving oakum into the seams of a vessel with a mallet and a
blunt chisel called a caulking iron.

Clews—The lower corners of square sails; the lower after-corners of
fore-and-aft sails.

Clinch—To fasten a rope by a half hitch and then seize the end back to
the standing part.

Close-hauled—Hauled as close to the wind as the sails will permit
without shaking their luffs. A cutter-rigged yacht with well-cut canvas
should lie within four and a quarter points of the wind. Some modern
racing craft have done half a point better than this. Square-rigged
vessels cannot head better than five and a-half points of the wind.

Collar—An eye spliced in a shroud or stay to go over the masthead.

Comber—A big wave.

Companion—The entrance from the deck to the cabin below.

Compass bowl—The bowl in the binnacle that contains the compass.

Corinthian—A term in yachting possessing the same significance as
amateur; the opposite of professional.

Counter—That part of a vessel which projects abaft the sternpost.

Covering board—The outside deck plank fitted over the timber heads. The
same as planksheer.

Cracking on—Carrying a press of sail.

Crank—Not stiff under canvas; easily heeled or listed.

Cranze or Cranse—A metal band with eyes on it fitted to the end of a
bowsprit or other spar.

Cringle—A metal thimble worked in the clews and leeches of sails.

Dandy—A cutter-rigged vessel with lug-mizzen set on a jigger-mast.

Davits—Iron cranes on vessels to which boats are hoisted.

Deadeye—A circular wooden block with three holes in it without sheaves,
through which a lanyard is rove to set up standing rigging.

Dead wood—Solid wood worked on top of the keel forward and aft.

Depth of hold—The height between the keelson and the deck of a
single-decked vessel.

Displacement—The quantity of water displaced by a vessel, which in
weight is always equal to her own weight.

Dogvane—A light vane made of bunting or feathers to show the direction
of the wind.

Dowse—To lower a sail suddenly.

Down-haul—A rope by which a sail is hauled down.

Draught of water—The depth of a vessel measured from the under side of
the keel to the load water-line.

Earrings—Ropes for fastening the corners of the heads of sails to yards
and for reefing.

Ease off—To slacken a rope handsomely.

Eyelet holes—Small holes worked in sails for lacings or lashings to be
rove through.

Eyes of the rigging—Collars spliced in the ends of shrouds to go over
the masthead and also over the deadeyes.

Fair leaders—Holes in planks, etc., for ropes to be rove through so that
they lead fairly.

Fair wind—A wind that permits a vessel to steer her course without

Fall—The hauling part of the rope of a tackle.

False keel—A timber bolted to the under side of the keel proper.

Fathom—A sea measure of six feet.

Fender—A species of buffer made of wood, rope or other material to hang
over a vessel’s side to prevent her from chafing against a dock, or
another vessel.

Fid—An iron or wooden bar to keep bowsprits and topmasts in place; a
conical wooden instrument used by riggers and sailmakers.

Fish, To—To strengthen a weak or repair a broken spar by lashing another
spar or batten to it.

Flare—To project outwards; contrary to tumbling home.

Flat aft—When sheets are trimmed as close as possible for effective
windward work.

Floors—The bottom timbers of a vessel.

Flowing sheet—The sheet eased off to a fair wind.

Flush decked—Having neither poop nor forecastle.

Foot—The lower edge of a sail.

Forereach—To sail faster through the water on a wind than another

Freeboard—That part of a ship’s side above the water.

Full and by—To steer as close to the wind as possible, while at the same
time keeping the sails full of wind.

Futtocks—The timbers which join and butt above the floors, called first,
second and third futtocks.

Gammon iron—An iron hoop fitted to the side of the stem, or on top of
the stem, to receive and hold the bowsprit.

Garboard—The strake of plank next above the keel, into which it is
rabbeted and bolted.

Gripe, To—A vessel gripes when she has a tendency to come up in the wind
and requires much weather helm.

Gudgeons—Metal straps with eyes secured to the stern post, into which
the pintles of the rudder are fitted.

Gunwale—The timber fitted over the timber heads and fastened to the top

Guys—Ropes used to steady a spar or other thing.

Gybe—To let a fore-and-aft sail shift from one side to the other when
running before the wind. To let a vessel go so much off the wind as to
bring the wind on the opposite quarter.

Half-mast high—When a flag is hoisted halfway up as a mark of respect to
a person recently dead.

Halyards—Ropes for hoisting sails.

Handsomely—Steadily; carefully.

Handy billy—A watch tackle kept on deck for getting a pull on sheets or

Hanks—Rings or hooks for fastening the luffs of sails to stays.

Hard down—The order to put the tiller a-lee. Hard up, the order to put
the tiller a-weather.

Heave to—To so trim a vessel’s sails that she does not move ahead.

Heel rope—The rope by which a running bowsprit is hauled out or a
topmast lowered.

Hoist—The length of the luff of a fore-and-aft sail.

Horns—The projections forming the jaws of gaffs or booms.

Hounds—The projections on a mast that support the lower cap and rigging.

House—To lower a topmast down within the cap.

Inhaul—The rope used to haul sails inboard.

In irons—The condition of a vessel head to wind and with way lost,
unable to pay off on one tack or the other.

Irish pennants—Loose ropes flying in the breeze or dangling over the

Jackstay—A rod of iron, a wooden cleating, or a wire rope for sails or
yards to travel on; also a wire rope on the main boom to which the foot
of the sail is laced.

Jiggermast—The mizzenmast of a yawl or dandy.

Kentledge—Pig iron used as ballast.

Lanyards—Ropes rove through deadeyes by which shrouds or stays are set

Leeboard—An old-fashioned contrivance to check leeway, still in use on
some Dutch vessels and English barges.

Load water-line—The line of flotation when a vessel is properly
ballasted or laden.

Luff—To come closer to the wind.

Make fast—To belay a rope.

Masthead—That part of the mast above the hounds.

Mast hoops—The hoops to which the luffs of fore and aft sails are seized
to secure the sails to the masts.

Miss stays, To—To fail in an attempt to tack.

Mousing—A yarn wound round a hook to prevent it from becoming unhooked.

Near—Very close to the wind.

Nip—To nip a vessel is to sail her too close to the wind.

On a wind—Closehauled.

Outhaul—A rope or tackle by which a sail is hauled out on a spar.

Paddy’s hurricane—A dead calm.

Painter—A rope spliced to a ring bolt in the bow of a boat to make fast

Pay—To pour hot pitch or marine glue into seams after they are caulked.

Pintles—The metal hooks by which rudders are attached to the gudgeons.

Pole mast—A mast without a topmast, but with a long masthead above the

Put about—To tack.

Raffee—A square or triangular sail set flying on the foretopmasts of

Rake—To incline forward or aft from the vertical, as raking mast, a
raking sternpost, etc.

Reef band—A strip of canvas sewn across a sail, in which eyelet holes
for the reef points are worked.

Reef pendant—A strong rope with a Matthew Walker knot in one end. It is
passed up through a hole in the cleat on the boom, and then through the
reef cringle in the sail and down through the hole in the cleat on the
other side of the boom.

Reef points—Short lengths of rope in sails to tie up the part rolled up
when reefing.

Reeve—To pass a rope through a block or a hole of any kind.

Roach—The curved part of the foot of a sail.

Rockered keel—A keel whose ends curve upward.

Running bowsprit—A bowsprit so fitted as to run in or out and reef.

Serve—To cover a rope with spunyarn.

Shake out a reef—To untie the reef points and set the sail.

Sheathing—The copper or other metal nailed on the bottom of a vessel.

Sheave—The grooved wheel in a block or in the sheave hole of a spar over
which the rope passes.

Sheet—The rope by which the clew of a sail is secured.

Snotter—An eye strop used to support the heel of a sprit.

Spitfire jib—The smallest storm jib.

Taunt—Tall, high.


Tie up—A lubber’s synonym for moor. You tie up a dog. You moor a vessel.

Thimble—A heart shaped or circular ring with a groove outside for ropes
to fit in. They are used for the eye splices in ropes, the straps of
blocks and for the cringles in sails.

Thwarts—The transverse seats in boats.

Tumble home—When the sides of a vessel near the deck incline inward the
opposite to flaring.

Tyers—Ropes that secure a mainsail when stowed.

Unbend—To cast loose a sail from stay, gaff, boom or yard.

Veer—To pay out chain.

Wear—To bring the wind on the other side of a vessel by turning her head
from the wind. The reverse of tacking.

Weather gauge—The condition of a vessel that is to windward of another.

Weather helm—A vessel is said to carry weather helm when she has a
tendency to fly up in the wind.

Weathering—If one vessel eats to windward of another, she is said to
weather on her. Weathering an object is passing it on the windward side.

Whip, To—To bind the end of a rope with twine to prevent it from

Yaw—A vessel yaws when her head flies from one direction to the other;
as, for instance, when her helmsman is unable to keep her steady on her

Yawl—A cutter-rigged vessel with a mizzenmast stepped in her counter.




_Names of Spars, Rigging, Sails, Etc._

1 Jib Topsail.
2 Club Topsail Sprit.
3 Topsail Club.
4 Club Topsail Guy.
5 Jib.
6 Club Topsail.
7 Mainsail.
8 Bowsprit.
9 Club Topsail Tack Line.
10 Mainsheet.
11 Foresail or Forestaysail Sheet.
12 Jib Topsail Sheet.
13 Topping Lift.
14 Gaff Topsail, Clewed Down.
15 Tack of Jib.
16 Tack of Jib Topsail.
17 Luff of Jib Topsail.
18 Head of Jib Topsail.
19 Jib Topsail Halyards.
20 Leach of Jib Topsail.
21 Main Gaff.
22 Main Boom.
23 Main Topmast.
24 Foot of Jib.
25 Leach of Jib.
26 Clew of Jib.
27 Reef Points.
28 Tack of Mainsail.
29 Clew of Mainsail.
30 Peak of Mainsail.
31 Throat of Mainsail.
32 Main Crosstrees.
33 Masthead Runner and Tackle.
34 Head of Club Topsail.
35 Clew of Club Topsail.
36 Tack of Club Topsail.
37 Topmast Shrouds.



_Names of Spars, Sails, Standing and Running Rigging, Etc._


1 Lowermast.
2 Topmast.
3 Bowsprit.
4 Main Boom.
5 Gaff.
6 Topsail Sprit.
7 Spinnaker Boom.
8 Tiller.


9 Crosstrees.
10 Shrouds.
11 Topmast Shrouds.
12 Topping Lift.
13 Masthead Runner and Tackle.
14 Forestay.
15 Topmast Stay.
16 Bobstay.
17 Bobstay Fall.
18 Spinnaker Boom Topping Lift.
19 Spinnaker Boom Brace.
20 Topmast Backstay.
21 Reef Pennant.
22 Truck.
23 Ensign.
24 Channels.
25 Mainsheet.
26 Spinnaker Boom Guy.
27 Clew of Sprit Topsail.
28 Tack of Sprit Topsail.
29 Tack Line or Pendant.
30 Sprit Topsail Halyards.


A Jib.
B Sprit Topsail.
C Mainsail.
D Foresail.
E Jib Topsail.



Since the first edition of this book was printed, yacht designers have
studied to reduce weight aloft.

This has not infrequently resulted in fitting ironwork blocks, etc., far
too flimsy to endure the strain of a stiff breeze. There is always a
happy medium between spider-web rigging and rigging uselessly heavy and
clumsy, and my advice therefore is not to go to extremes. In racing
craft on the fresh-water lakes piano wire has been used for standing
rigging, and because of its enormous strength and notable lightness has
answered well enough. In salt water, however, it should be avoided
because of its liability to corrosion.

The principal changes in rig of late years follow: The substitution of
turnbuckles and rigging screws for the old-fashioned dead eyes and
lanyards; the reduction of the length of the bowsprit because of the
long overhang forward, which has done away with the reefing bowsprit on
all modern craft; the invention of masthead shrouds, bridles on gaffs,
and the throat halyard pennant. By means of the three devices mentioned,
strains aloft are both minimized and equalized. Large vessels carry
double masthead shrouds, and every racing yacht is fitted with single
ones. Gaff bridles and throat halyard pennants are also considered to be
well-nigh indispensable.



In the matter of running rigging, flexible steel wire is now much used
for throat and peak halyards. Its advantage is that there is little or
no “give” to it. The rig of a modern 25-foot water-line sloop with a
pole mast is as follows: Bobstay-rod of steel 3/4-inch in diameter, set
up with a turnbuckle at the end of the bowsprit; shrouds, two each side,
1-1/8-inch steel wire; forestay set up to stem head, 1-1/4-inch steel
wire; jib set flying, hoisted with 3/4-inch 8-stranded flexible
steel-wire halyards, set up with a jig-purchase; runner-shrouds of
7/8-inch wire canvased over; main lifts 3/4-inch flexible steel wire,
parcelled, sewed over with white codline and then covered with white
canvas sewn on. The throat and peak halyards are of 3/4-inch flexible
steel wire. The blocks are all strapped with grommets of flexible steel
wire sewed and leathered.

Steel wire is now also used for the leech ropes of racing sails, and is
employed largely in the lower canvas of all the big racing yachts.
Flexible steel wire is nearly as pliable as new hemp rope of the same
strength. The greater the diameter of the sheaves over which it passes
the longer it will last. This wire cannot be belayed to a cleat.
Therefore, Manila rope is spliced to the hauling end of the wire, which
insures its remaining fast after once being belayed. This is a most
difficult splice to make.

The accompanying illustrations show the sail plans and rigs of a modern
schooner and a modern yawl. When compared with the sloop and cutter rigs
on pages 211 and 212, it will be easily seen that many radical changes
have been made.

It occurred to me in revising the book for this edition, that it might
be wise to omit the directions for rigging a running bowsprit, bending a
loose-footed mainsail, and some other devices which in the light of
modern improvements might be deemed either archaic or obsolete. On
second thoughts, however, I decided to let them stand as written. There
is still a goodly fleet of “old-timers,” cutters and yawls with straight
stems and reefing bowsprits—craft some of them half a century old or
more, and sound as a gold dollar in spite of severe service. The deadeye
and the lanyard, although being pushed hard by the turnbuckle, die
slowly, and are yet to be found in brand new vessels of the twentieth

To equalize and minimize strains on mainbooms, mainsheet bridles are now
fitted. Overhangs are growing longer and longer and bowsprits shorter.
The Larchmont one-design class of 1901 has a length on deck of 40 feet 7
inches, with a water-line length of 25 feet. The sail area is 1,103
feet, and the out side ballast weighs 6,100 pounds. The centerboard
houses entirely below the cabin floor, the draught being 4 feet 6
inches, and 8 feet with the board down. The aim of the designer is to
combine racing and cruising qualities—a much-to-be-desired combination,
never to be completely attained, I fear.