Fun with Boatspeak

February 26, 2010

This item appeared while I was emptying some old file folders. I don’t know when it came in and as far as I can recall I’ve never met the author. If you know nothing about boats it will seem as reasonable as most of the talk heard around the clubhouse, or the strained saltiness found in some national boating magazines. The more you know about boats, the better it is. Enjoy.


This vessel was designed for a particularly eccentric customer who required some rather unusual specifications. Consequently the result has been a rather unique vessel.

In the construction most of the timber was huldered but not all. For instance the keel pikes attaching the keelons to the shankers are of butted cedar with fluted hogsheads. This allows for the complete absence of garboard strakes. A flared-in wormrun is moulded from the bulwarks through the buttocks and down to the keelson. At the boltplates unique vangs have been adapted to the after flanges. These are in fact used as karphangers and thus do away with the necessity of the upper carlines. A specialty of this type of construction is the addition of several copper squeegee pins in the exposed areas of the keel, which reduce the tendency to warp when broaching in irons.

The entire rigging has been cannailed and pinnaced, with the reekers diapered to the collarings. This will enable the crew to change sails on the windward tack without having to rope the steersman, a common practice when gybing to leeward on previous vessels of this type. The upper lee brailles have been spliced to the bunnets with cast bronze buntlines as a precaution against the main being overhauled by the mizzen. Clew garnets with synchronized andirons of polyester are led back to the cockpit via sheet blocks and are set up with lower highfield levers. The cranze iron is fastened with three-inch silver yonts at the termination of the bowsprit buttend, which should reduce the strain on the gammon iron and relieve the bobstay gaff boom of its intert tendency to wean. The futtock shrouds are faired into the deadeyes with drivers led through the gaskets to maintain equilibrium when more than three sheets to the wind. A flemish horse is stabled to starboard of the dolphin striker with triple doublings on either side. The tabernacle is similar to that found on Arab dhows, though of a slightly different denomination. On either side of the bow the catheads have been led around the double kingposts and have been moused to the ratlines.

Grommets are placed in conspicuous positions along all luffs and leaches and the lubber holes have been enlarged to accommodate the leg-irons. At the masthead, the banderole is stiffened with a bullwhanger spliced through the lower extremity of the spiderband leading to the whisker hoops. Hopefully this should prevent the topmast from steeving. The running rigging is made fast by the normal method of chinkles, and all bights are double-spliced. The irish pennants will make a fine sight when riding at anchor in some foreign port.

The ground tackle consists of a three-ton kellick and, if this should fail, a 48-ouncer of dutch courage is supplied. The patented armstrong anchor winch is used, except in emergencies when a backup spanish windlass can be applied to increase the purchasing power when in U.S. ports.

For power a five stroke coke and diesel ulcer craig has been chosen with a 0 to 1 reduction gear. This turns a 3-inch singled bladed right hand wing nut on a treaded nylon shaft. The generator is driven off the main camshaft exhaust valve to provide either 7 or 19 volts to the interior propane lighting or the kerosense navigation lamps. Batteries are made up of three and one-half banks of phosphorence bronze cells.

This vessel should provide an interesting experience under sail and we hope to be able to report on her sea trials shortly after launching.

John Lovett
Naval doodler and boat-bodger, ret.d.

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