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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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Nautical Terms


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An Explanation of the Nautical Terms not generally understood which occur in this Work.


ABACK, the situation of the sails when their surfaces are flatted against the masts by the force of the wind. The sails are said to be taken aback, when they are brought into this situation, either by a sudden change of the wind, or by an alteration in the ship’s course. They are laid aback, to effect an immediate retreat, without turning to the right or left; in order to avoid some danger.

ABAFT, the hinder part of a ship.

AFT, behind, or near the stern of the ship.

ANCHOR, the principal are the sheet anchor, the best bower and the small bower, so called from their situation in the ship’s bows. The smaller anchors, are the stream anchor, the kedge anchor, and the grappling.

AWNING, a canopy of canvass extending over the decks of a ship in hot weather.

AZIMUTH-COMPASS, an instrument employed to discover the magnetical azimuth or amplitude of any heavenly object. This operation is performed at sea, to find the exact variation of the magnetical needle.


To BALANCE, to contract a sail into a narrower compass, in a storm, by retrenching or folding up a part of it at one corner.

BEAMS, strong thick pieces of timber, stretching across the ship from side to side, to support the decks, and retain the sides at their proper distance. On the weather beam, is on the weather side of the ship.

To BELAY, to fasten a rope by winding it several times round a cleat, belaying-pin, or kevel.

BENDING a sail, fastening it to its yard or stay.

BIGHT, the double part of a rope when it is folded, in contradistinction to the end.

BIGHT, is also a small bay between two points of land.

BULGE, or BILGE, that part of the floor of a ship, on either side of the keel, which approaches nearer to an horizontal than to a perpendicular

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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page xxiii, 2004
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