Adapted from 'The Seaman's Friend...' by R. H. DANA Jr

Dana was also the author of ‘Two Years Before the Mast’

[Dum's copy: Thomas Groom & Co., Boston 1851. 6th Edition, Revised and Corrected]

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LABOUR A vessel is said to labour when she rolls or pitches heavily.
LACING Rope used to lash a sail to a gaff, or a bonnet to a sail. Also, a piece of compass or knee timber, fayed to the back of the figure-head and the knee of the head, and bolted to each.
LAND-FALL The making land after being at sea.

A good land-fall, is when a vessel makes the land as intended.

LAND HO! The cry used when land is first seen.
LANYARDS Ropes rove through dead-eyes for setting up rigging. Also, a rope made fast to anything to secure it, or as a handle, is called a lanyard.
LARBOARD The left side of a vessel, looking forward.
LARBOWLINES The familiar term for the men in the larboard watch.
LARGE A vessel is said to be going large, when she has the wind free.
LATCHINGS Loops on the head rope of a bonnet, by which it is laced to the foot of the sail.
LAUNCH A large boat. The LONG-BOAT.
LAUNCH-HO! High enough!
LAY To come or to go; as, Lay aloft! Lay forward! Lay aft! Also, the direction which the strands of a rope are twisted; as, from left to right, or from right to left.
LEACHLINE A rope used for hauling up the leach of a sail.
LEAD A piece of lead, in the shape of a cone or pyramid, with a small hole at the base, and a line attached to the upper end, used for sounding. (See HAND-LEAD, DEEP-SEA-LEAD.)
LEADING-WIND A fair wind. More particularly applied to a wind abeam or quartering.
LEAK A hole or breach in a vessel, at which the water comes in.
LEDGES Small pieces of timber placed athwart-ships under the decks of a vessel, between the beams.
LEE The side opposite to that from which the wind blows; as, if a vessel has the wind on her starboard side, that will be the weather, and the larboard will be the lee side.

A lee shore is the shore upon which the wind is blowing.

Under the lee of anything, is when you have that between you and the wind.

By the lee. The situation of a vessel, going free, when she has fallen off so much as to bring the wind round her stern, and to take her sails aback on the other side.

LEE-BOARD A board fitted to the lee side of flat-bottomed boats, to prevent their drifting to leeward.
LEEWAY What a vessel loses by drifting to leeward. When sailing close-hauled with all sail set, a vessel should make no leeway. If the topgallant sails are furled, it is customary to allow one point; under close-reefed topsails, two points; when under one close-reefed sail, four or five points.
LEECH or LEACH The border or edge of a sail, at the sides.
LEEFANGE An iron bar, upon which the sheets of fore-and-aft sails traverse. Also, a rope rove through the cringle of a sail which has a bonnet to it, for hauling in, so as to lace on the bonnet. Not much used.
LEEWARD (Pronounced lu-ard.) The lee side. In a direction opposite to that from which the wind blows, which is called windward. The opposite of lee is weather, and of leeward is windward; the two first being adjectives.
LIE-TO is to stop the progress of a vessel at sea, either by counterbracing the yards, or by reducing sail so that she will make little or no headway, but will merely come to and fall off by the counteraction of the sails and helm.
LIFE-LINES Ropes carried along yards, booms, &c., or at any part of the vessel, for men to hold on by.
LIFT A rope or tackle, going from the yard-arms to the mast-head, to support and move the yard. Also, a term applied to the sails when the wind strikes them on the leeches and raises them slightly.
LIGHT To move or lift anything along; as, to "Light out to windward!" that is, haul the sail over to windward. The light sails are all above the topsails, also the studdingsails and flying jib.
LIGHTER A large boat, used in loading and unloading vessels.
LIMBERS or LIMBER-HOLES Holes cut in the lower part of the floor-timbers, next the keelson, forming a passage for the water fore-and-aft.

Limber-boards are placed over the limbers, and are movable.

Limber-rope. A rope rove fore-and-aft through the limbers, to clear them if necessary.

Limber-streak. The streak of foot-waling nearest the keelson.

LIST The inclination of a vessel to one side; as, a list to port, or a list to starboard.
LIZARD A piece of rope, sometimes with two legs, and one or more iron thimbles spliced into it. It is used for various purposes. One with two legs, and a thimble to each, is often made fast to the topsail tye, for the buntlines to reeve through. A single one is sometimes used on the swinging-boom topping-lift.
LOCKER A chest or box, to stow anything away in.

Chain-locker. Where the chain cable are kept.

Boatswain's locker. Where tools and small stuff for working upon rigging are kept.

LOG or LOG-BOOK A journal kept by the chief officer, in which the situation of the vessel, winds, weather, courses, distances, and everything of importance that occurs, is noted down.

Log. A line with a piece of board, called the log-chip, attached to it, wound upon a reel, and used for ascertaining the ship's rate of sailing.

LONG-BOAT The largest boat in a merchant vessel. When at sea, it is carried between the fore and main masts.
LONGERS The longest casks, stowed next the keelson.
LONG-TIMBERS Timbers in the cant-bodies, reaching from the dead-wood to the head of the second futtock.
LOOF That part of a vessel where the planks begin to bend as they approach the stern.
LOOM That part of an oar which is within the row-lock. Also, to appear above the surface of the water; to appear larger than nature, as in a fog.
LUBBER'S HOLE A hole in the top, next the mast.
LUFF To put the helm so as to bring the ship up nearer to the wind.

Spring-a-luff! Keep your luff! &c. Orders to luff. Also, the roundest part of a vessel's bow. Also, the forward leech of fore-and-aft sails.

LUFF-TACKLE A purchase composed of a double and single block.

Luff-upon-luff. A luff tackle applied to the fall of another.

LUGGER A small vessel carrying lug-sails.

Lug-sail. A sail used in boats and small vessels, bent to a yard which hangs obliquely to the mast.

LURCH The sudden rolling of a vessel to one side.
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© 2018 Duncan Linklater