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Awning.-A canvas covering acting as a roof or tent.
Aye (adv., perhaps from ajo, Lat. (defective verb), to say yes).— Yes, and is always used in lieu thereof at sea, with a repetition, "Aye, aye, sir," meaning "I understand; and will execute the order."
Back. With sailing ships.—To back is to haul the sails over to windward. In square rigged vessels this is only done on special occasions, when it is called laying the sails aback. In small craft the practice is more frequent, and especially with boats which are slow in stays, (i.e., in coming round, in tacking), as those of much length often are. By holding a foresail or a jib over to the weather side (the side upon which the wind is blowing) the boat's head will be thrown off, or away from the wind, and she will often come round; this is called boxing off her head. But by holding the boom of the main or mizzen sail to windward, her stern will be thrown off; and this, properly speaking, is back-sailing, which is, as it were, the opposite to boxing off; although, in many instances, it answers the same purpose. (See BOXING OFF.)
With steam vessels. -"Back her" is an order to reverse engines, so that the ship may be suddenly stopped or made to go astern.
In rowing, to back, or backwater, is to stop the progress of a boat suddenly, or to drive her backwards, by pushing the oars in the direction contrary to that employed in ordinary rowing.
Back and fill.-A term used of a vessel when, in a narrow channel, with the wind against her, but with a favourable tide, she allows herself to be carried on the tide, keeping in the stream by alternately filling her sails and laying them aback.
To back an anchor.-To add a smaller anchor, or a weight, to a large one to prevent its coming home, i.e., dragging. (See ANCHOR.) Back-board or backrail.-In skiffs, the framing or rail round the after thwart, making this a comfortable seat for coxswain and passengers. It is sometimes of iron, and sometimes of mahogany and cane work.
Back-rope (in ships).—The rope which stays the dolphin striker. It is, properly speaking, the pendant of the tackle which sets up the dolphin striker, and it is usually of chain.
Back-stays.-Ropes stretched from a mast or topmast head to the sides of a vessel some way aft of the mast to give extra support to the masts against going forward. In smaller craft they are usually passed over the head of the mast, above the shrouds, and terminate with tackles. There are back-stays and topmast back-stays, named according to the mast they support, the term back-stays" without further specification usually meaning those of the lower mast. The topmast back-stays are so arranged that they may be slackened off as the boom swings over; for their position is such that unless slackened the boom and sail would foul them. It is evident, therefore, that if the boat
be tacking about, these topmast back-stays must be continually shifted, for which reason they are often called shifting backstays; or that if she be running before the wind they must be run right out, so as to let the boom lay over; and consequently these shifting stays may just as well be, and often are, called runners, and sometimes travellers. In small boats, however, and those to be worked single-handed, this continual shifting of stays is found to be very awkward, while the mast is so short as hardly to require their support, except in the case of racing; and on this account they are generally dispensed with. In ships, the back-stays being more numerous, the forward ones are called breast back-stays, and sustain the mast when the wind is before the beam, while the after ones may be shifted from side to side, as required, and constitute the travellers.
Backing of the wind. The veering of the wind in the direction opposite to that of the sun's circuit. Winds may continue veering in the direction of the sun for several days together, circling the compass several times; but the opposite to this, called backing, seldom, if ever, completes the circle. Backing generally prognosticates unsettled weather.
Backwater. (In rowing, see BACK.)—A backwater is a small stream or ditch behind a river wall; it takes the drainage of the country round, which has been cut off from the natural drainage of the river by the construction of the wall. The backwater therefore communicates with the river, either by pipes or at certain intervals by sluices.
Baffle.-To baffle with the wind is to contend against it, as when beating to windward in very foul weather. (See ŤACK.) Baffling winds are those which frequently shift.
Bag-reef (in square sails).—An extra reef band (band of canvas) on a sail, the most general use of which is to prevent the sail from bagging. Balance-lug.-(See LUG.)
Balance-reef (of a gaff-sail).-A reef band (that is a band of canvas) sewed diagonally across the sail from the highest reef cringle of the after leech to the throat earing. It allows the sail to be so reefed that either the peak or the lower half only may be set. But it is rarely seen.
Bale, baler.-To bale or bale out is to remove water from an open boat by means of a baler, which may be any small vessel capable of holding water, such as a hand bowl or an old tin pot. The baler is occasionally dignified by the name of the kit.
Ball, or ball off.—To twist rope yarns into balls.
Ballast.-" Weight deposited in a ship's hold when she has no cargo, or too little to bring her sufficiently low in the water. It is used to counterbalance the effect of the wind upon the masts, and give the ship a proper stability, that she may be enabled to carry sail without danger of upsetting. To ballast a ship, therefore, is the art of disposing those materials so that she may be duly poised
and maintain a proper equilibrium on the water, so as neither to be too stiff nor too crank, qualities equally pernicious: as in the first, although the ship may be fitted to carry a great sail, yet her velocity will not be proportionately increased, whilst her masts are more endangered by her sudden jerks and excessive labouring: and, in the last, she will be incapable of carrying sail without the risk of upsetting. Stiffness in ballasting is occasioned by disposing a great quantity of heavy ballast, as lead, iron, etc., in the bottom, which naturally places the centre of gravity very near the keel; and that being the centre about which the vibrations are made, the lower it is placed the more violent will be the motion of rolling. Crankness, on the other hand, is occasioned by lading so as to raise the centre of gravity too high, which also endangers the mast in carrying sail when it blows hard: for when the masts lose their perpendicular height, they strain on the shrouds in the nature of a lever, which increases the size of their obliquity; and a ship that loses her masts is in great danger of being lost. The whole art of ballasting, therefore, consists in placing the centre of gravity to correspond with the trim and shape of the vessel, so as neither to be too high nor too low, too far forward nor too far aft; and to lade the ship so deep, that the surface of the water may nearly rise to the extreme breadth amidships; and thus she will be enabled to carry a good sail, incline but little, and ply well to the windward." (Falconer's "Dictionary of the Marine.")
Ballast.-"Weighty material placed in the bottom of a ship or vessel, to give her stiffness; that is, to increase her tendency to return to the upright position when inclined or heeled over by the force of the wind or other
cause. (Brande and Cox.) Small craft may be ballasted with either iron (usually cast), lead, zinc, or bags of shot. Beaching boats often carry bags which are filled with shingle or sand as may be required: the sand is found, by absorbing a great quantity of water, to swell sometimes to so great an extent as to burst the bags, which should not therefore be too full of this material. Certain boats, more particularly those belonging to the Navy, are fitted with tanks filled with fresh water; and as this fresh water is with
drawn for use, salt water can take its place in the tank. The cheapest form of ballast for boats (next to shingle) is cast iron, which should be painted; the most expensive, and best, is shot in bags, which lies flat, and absorbs no moisture. A free waterway should be left under all ballast.
Balloon canvas, or press canvas.-The extra spread of canvas (i.e., sail) used by yachts in racing. Thus a large cutter may carry, besides her ordinary sails, balloon jib, balloon foresail, spinnaker, ringsail (or studsail), big topsail, according to the weather and the courses she makes. (See diagram on preceding page.)
Bank (of oars).-Single and double.-(From the French word banc, a bench.) The origin of this word will indicate the meaning of the terms single banked and double banked. A single banked boat is one in which only one rower sits on each thwart (seat); a double banked boat one in which two men occupy each seat with an oar out each side, as is often the case in the Royal Navy.
Bank.-An elevation of the bottom of the sea.
Banker.-A vessel employed in the cod fishery, on the Banks of Newfoundland.
sea-going, river, or canal. But lighters, hoys, and other carrying craft on rivers are also indiscriminately comprehended under the name of barge. The sailing barge is particularly to be distinguished from other craft by being sprit rigged-i.e., by having a sprit-sail as a mainsail (see SPRIT), and by a very small mizzen sail, sometimes called the jigger, the mast and sheet of which are often fixed to the rudder, and the use of which sail is to aid the action of the rudder (with which it works) in getting the long hull about when tacking. The hull is very long, wall-sided, flatbottomed, and lies very deep in the water; and, almost the whole of the interior being devoted to cargo, the mast is sometimes fixed on deck in a framework called the tabernacle. The class is sub-divided into two rigs, viz. :-1. The topsail barge-that is one carrying a topsail, and this is the sea-going barge; and 2. The river or Medway barge, which carries no topsail and is therefore rigged with only a pole main mast. Both of these carry the sprit-main-sail and the small mizzen either attached to or working with the rudder, the principle of which is well worthy of study, and which has sometimes been applied to pleasure boats. These vessels, in common with other flat-bottomed craft, have lee-boards (which see); they sail rapidly in a fresh breeze, very close to the wind, and can face almost any weather, with the seas washing over them from end to end.
Barge-pole.-A long pole used on board a barge, for pushing any object off her, or for holding on by, to a quay or wharf, for which latter purpose it is sometimes furnished with a hook. (See QUANT.) Bark, barkentine. Bark. Generally speaking a threemasted vessel square - rigged on
the fore and main masts and fore-and-aft rigged on the mizzen. The following definition is given by Denham Robinson :-" Bark or barque (Low Lat., barca). A term applied rather vaguely to square-rigged merchant vessels. A bark has three masts which do