||William Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine
Table of Contents
TABLING to TAIL
TAIL-BLOCK to TENDING
TENON to TIDE
TIER to TOGGEL
TOMPION to TOPPING
TOPPING-LIFT to TRACT-SCOUT
TRACTING to TREE-NAILS
TRESTLE-TREES to TRIP
TRIPPING to TRYING
TUCK to TYE
TOPTOP, (hune, Fr.) a sort of platform, surrounding the lower mast-head, from which it projects on all sides like a scaffold.
The principal intention of the top is to extend the top-mast-shrouds, so as to form a greater angle with the mast, and thereby give additional support to the latter. It is sustained by certain timbers fixed across the hounds or shoulders of the mast, and called the trestle-trees and cross-trees, the former of which are expressed by k, fig. I. plate VI. and the latter by l, l, fig. 2. The plan of the top is represented in fig. 6. where g g represents the holes through which the top-mast shrouds communicate with those of the lowermast, as explained in the article SHROUD.
Besides the use above mentioned, the top is otherwise extremely convenient to contain the materials necessary for extending the small sails, and for fixing or repairing the rigging and machinery, with more facility and expedition. In ships of war it is used as a kind of redoubt, and is accordingly fortified for attack or defence, being furnished with swivels, musketry, and other fire-arms; and guarded by a thick fence of corded hammocs. Finally, it is employed as a place for looking out, either in the day or night.
The frame of the top is either close-planked like a platform, or open like a grating. The former kind, which is exhibited in fig. 6. plate VI. is generally stronger and more convenient; but the latter is much better in tempestuous weather, as presenting a smaller surface to the wind when the ship leans over to one side, and by consequence being less exposed to its efforts.
In all ships of war, and in the largest merchantmen, the top is fenced on the aft-side by a rail of about three feet high, stretching across, and supported by stanchions, between which a netting is usually constructed, as appears by fig. I. plate IX. The outside of this netting is generally covered with red bayze or red painted canvas, which is extended from the rail down to the edge of the top, and called the top-armour. By this name it seems to have been considered as a sort of blind, behind which the men may conceal themselves from the aims of the enemy's fire-arms in time of action, whilst they are charging their own muskets, carabines, or swivels.
The dimensions of tops in the royal navy are as follow. The breadth of the top athwart ships, q q, fig. 6. is one third of the length of its corresponding top-mast. The length of all tops, from the foremost to the after edge p p, is equal to three fourths of their breadth athwart; and the square hole in the middle is five inches to a foot of those dimensions. The trestle-trees and cross-trees extend nearly to the edge of the tops. See those articles.
© Derived from Thomas Cadell's new corrected edition, London: 1780, page 293, 2004
Published by South Seas, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher
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