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Baggywrinkle


This strange-sounding gem is simply a soft covering for ropes aboard yachts that prevent chafing of the sails. Where ropes and lines come into contact with sails there is serious potential for damage to the sail due to the abrasive nature of most rigging.

 

Mainsheet


The mainsheet is a rope or line attached to the boom that allows the sailor to control the speed of a boat by adjusting the main sail.

 

Bilge


The bilge is the lowest part of the interior of a ship. It marks the spot at the inside-bottom of the hull, below any floorboards, and it sits below the water-line.

 

Futtock


Futtocks are the curved timbers used to form the interior ribs on the hulls of wooden ships.

 

Cat-head


The cat-head is a large wooden beam that extends from vessels at a 45 degree angle and is used to assist in raising and lowering the anchor. Many cat-heads have had the faces of lions or other large cats carved into them -- however, it's not known if this gave the cat-head its name, or came as a result of the name.

 

Escutcheon
The place on the stern of a ship where the boat's name is written is known as the escutcheon.

 

Scuttlebutt

This 19th century term for a gossip comes from the nautical Scuttlebutt: “a barrel of water kept on deck, with a hole for a cup”. The nautical slang is from sailors’ habits of gathering by the scuttlebutt to gossip, akin to watercooler gossip.

 

 

Rollocks


A commonly used spelling for "rowlocks." These are the spaces cut into the vessel or small clasps raised up from the side of smaller boats that are used to rest oars when the boat is under paddle.

 

Poop deck
A poop deck is a deck at the rear of a ship, generally formed by the roof of a cabin. If a wave washes over this deck from behind the vessel, it is said to be "pooped."

 

Widow-maker


This is a colloquial term for a boat's bowsprit -- the long pole, or "spar," extending from the bow used by sailors to tend to sails. The treacherous bowsprit earned its name and reputation from of the number of sailors who have lost their lives falling from the it.

And many more!