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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WAIST That part of the upper deck between the quarter-deck and forecastle.

Waisters. Green hands, or broken-down seamen, placed in the waist of a man-of-war.

WAKE The track or path a ship leaves behind her in the water.
WALES Strong planks in a vessel's sides, running her whole length fore and aft.
WALL A knot put on the end of a rope.
WALL-SIDED A vessel is wall-sided when her sides run up perpendicularly from the bends. In opposition to tumbling home or flaring out.
WARD-ROOM The room in a vessel of war in which the commissioned officers live.
WARE or WEAR To turn a vessel round, so that, from having the wind on one side, you bring it upon the other, carrying her stern round by the wind. In tacking, the same result is produced by carrying a vessel's head round by the wind.
WARP To move a vessel from one place to another by means of a rope made fast to some fixed object, or to a kedge.

A warp is a rope used for warping. If the warp is bent to a kedge which is let go, and the vessel is hove ahead by the capstan or windlass, it would be called kedging.

WASH-BOARDS Light pieces of board placed above the gunwale of a boat.
WATCH A division of time on board ship. There are seven watches in a day, reckoning from 12 M. round through the 24 hours, five of them being of four hours each, and the two others, called dog watches, of two hours each, viz., from 4 to 6, and from 6 to 8, P.M. (See DOG WATCH.) Also, a certain portion of a ship's company, appointed to stand a given length of time. In the merchant service all hands are divided into two watches, larboard and starboard, with a mate to command each.

A buoy is said to watch when it floats on the surface.

WATCH-AND-WATCH The arrangement by which the watches are alternated every other four hours. In distinction from keeping all hands during one or more watches.

Anchor watch, a small watch of one or two men, kept while in port.

WATCH HO! WATCH! The cry of the man that heaves the deep-sea-lead.
WATCH-TACKLE A small luff purchase with a short fall, the double block having a tail to it, and the single one a hook. Used for various purposes about decks.
WATER SAIL A save-all, set under the swinging-boom.
WATER-WAYS Long pieces of timber, running fore and aft on both sides, connecting the deck with the vessel's sides. The scuppers are made through them to let the water off.
WEATHER In the direction from which the wind blows. (See WIND-WARD, LEE.)

A ship carries a weather helm when she tends to come up into the wind, requiring you to put the helm up.

Weather gage. A vessel has the weather gage of another when she is to windward of her.

A weatherly ship, is one that works well to windward, making but little leeway.

WEATHER-BITT To take an additional turn with a cable round the windlass-end.
WEATHER ROLL The roll which a ship makes to windward.
WEIGH To lift up; as, to weigh an anchor or a mast.
WHEEL The instrument by which a ship is steered; being a barrel, (round which the tiller-ropes go,) and a wheel with spokes.
WHIP A purchase formed by a rope rove through a single block.

To whip, is to hoist by a whip. Also, to secure the end of a rope from fagging by a seizing of twine.

Whip-upon-whip. One whip applied to the fall of another.

WINCH A purchase formed by a horizontal spindle or shaft with a wheel or crank at the end. A small one with a wheel is used for making ropes or spunyarn.
WINDLASS The machine used in merchant vessels to weigh the anchor by.
WIND-RODE The situation of a vessel at anchor when she swings and rides by the force of the wind, instead of the tide or current. (See TIDE-RODE.)
WING That part of the hold or between-decks which is next the side.
WINGERS Casks stowed in the wings of a vessel.
WING-AND-WING The situation of a fore-and-aft vessel when she is going dead before the wind, with her foresail hauled over on one side and her mainsail on the other.
WITHE or WYTHE An iron instrument fitted on the end of a boom or mast, with a ring to it, through which another boom or mast is rigged out and secured.
WOOLD To wind a piece of rope round a spar, or other thing.
WORK UP To draw the yarns from old rigging and make them into spunyarn, foxes, sennit, &c. Also, a phrase for keeping a crew constantly at work upon needless matters, and in all weathers, and beyond their usual hours, for punishment.
WORM To fill up between the lays of a rope with small stuff wound round spirally. Stuff so wound round is called worming.
WRING To bend or strain a mast by setting the rigging up too taut.
WRING-BOLTS Bolts that secure the planks to the timbers.
WRING-STAVES Strong pieces of plank used with the wring-bolts.
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© 2018 Duncan Linklater