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Waist, Wake, Wale, Ward room, Warm front, Warp, Wash, Washboard, Watch, Waterline, Water track, Waterways, Wave, Way, Waypoint, Wear, Weather, Weather deck, Weather gauge, Weather helm, Weigh, Well, W.E.S.T., West, Wharf, Whale, Whaleboat, Whammel, Wheel, Wheelhouse, Whip, Whipstaff, WIG, Williamson turn, Winch, Wind, Wind against tide, Windage, Windjammer, Windlass, Wind over tide, Windward, Wire, Withy, Worm, Wreck, Wythe
A run of planking along the side of a ship or boat which is significantly thicker and stronger than the surrounding strakes, and which provides extra strength and reinforcement along the length of the ship.
A rubbing strake may be a wale or, more often, it is an extra (sacrificial) plank attached outside the strakes.
" . . . as the wales are framed of plank, broader and thicker than the rest, they resemble ranges of hoops encircling the sides and bows." Falconer, 1815.
The quarters of the commissioned officers of a ship, usually occupying the after-part of the berth-deck. The rooms on the starboard side are occupied by the line officers, those on the port side by the staff officers.
A mess room or meeting room for the ship's officers.
A mass of warmer air is less dense than a mass of colder air. As the warmer air mass moves toward the colder air it rises above the colder air. The boundary between the air masses is a warm front.
The synoptic chart to the right has a deep depression to the SE of Greenland: the red line with red semicircles is the boundary (warm front) of warmer air moving North in the direction of the red arrow and anticlockwise around the depression. A cold front (blue line with blue triangles) follows, and overtakes, the warm front as colder air moves from Greenland around the depression.
Warmer air can hold more water vapour than colder air. Warm air which has moved for hundreds of miles over the North Atlantic may be saturated with water vapour.
At ground level a warm front is a line, along the red line on the synoptic chart. Because the warmer air is sliding upward over the adjoining mass of colder air it extends for miles ahead of, and higher than, the line on the ground. Where the moister warmer air mixes with the underlying drier colder air water is condensed. At altitudes of 5 to 11 km, several miles ahead of the warm front on the ground, the water condenses as ice crystals, and can be seen as cirrus clouds. At lower altitudes, closer to the front on the ground, the water vapour condenses as liquid water and falls as rain. If the vapour condenses in cold air it may crystallise as snow.
v To move a boat from place to place using warps controlled from the boat itself.
v Distortion of a piece of wood as it dries over time.
The wash of the high-speed ferries entering and leaving Harwich was reputed to have caused people on the beach at Felixstowe "to flee for their lives", and to capsize a small angling vessel, drowning one angler.
This device was also a ‘musical’ instrument in skiffle bands.
The First watch is from 2000 to midnight, ship’s time
The Middle watch is from Midnight to 0400
The Morning watch is from 0400 to 0800
The Forenoon watch is from 0800 to noon
The Afternoon watch is from noon to 1600
The First Dogwatch is from 1600 to 1800
The Last Dogwatch is from 1800 to 2000
alt.: A group of sailors who are usually on duty together.
n A portable (usually wearable) instrument for finding the time of day.
Most analogue watches show minutes (up to 60) and hours (up to 12).
Digital watches can usually be set to either 12 hours or 24 hours.
Simple watches do nothing other than tell the time.
More complicated watches have stopwatches, timers, and more.
Modern electronic 'watches' are computers which can communicate with other computers and with the wearer.
Early watches were operated by clockwork: an arrangement of gears and balance wheels driven by a coil spring.
Modern watches are almost all electric, driven by a battery and timed either by an electronic circuit or by a remote radio clock.
A chronometer is an especially accurate form of clockwork watch.
Modern computer watches may be linked to a computer/telephone, and have a range of applications and functions: their timekeeping is controlled by an electronic circuit and updated by a remote clock.
The most accurate timepiece available to the modern sailor is probably the clock in a GNSS instrument!
n A series of lines, drawn on the body plan, parallel with the Load Water Line or with the baseline of the drawing. They help the boatbuilder to verify the Table of Offsets and to construct the frames and moulds. See Kopanycia.
A line drawn on the chart indicating the vessel’s heading, corrected from °Compass to °True and adjusted for leeway. The water track begins at a fix and ends at the distance from the fix where the vessel would be in the absence of tide and leeway: it is a vector where the direction is the vessel’s heading, and the magnitude is the distance travelled, through the water, in one hour.
A water track is designated by a single arrow-head part way along the line.
In Estimating a Position both components (direction and magnitude (speed)) are known.
In calculating a Course to Steer only the magnitude (speed) is known, and the direction (the vessel’s heading) is estimated graphically.
The undulations of water displaced by a moving vessel.
n A movement of the hand and, possibly, the arm to acknowledge recognition.
The IRPCS, Part A, Rule 3, "General Definitions", says
“ (i) The word “underway” means that a vessel is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground.”
“fast” means ‘fastened’ or secured: unrelated to speed!
Beware of interpretations or summaries of the IRPCS: changing the words always changes the meaning.
There is general acceptance that the word 'way', used alone, means that a vessel is moving through the water: a moving vessel has way and can be steered.
Waypoints have two purposes.
For fixing position, the GNSS unit can be asked to provide the range (distance) and bearing of the waypoint from the unit. The range and bearing can be plotted on a chart to provide a reliable fix. The waypoint may, but need not be positioned on an actual feature; tidal stream diamonds are useful because their latitude and longitude is printed on the chart. The vessel is unlikely to visit such a waypoint.
Rain consists of drops of water, of varying sizes, in which might be dissolved gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide (which makes the rain acidic) and various toxic oxides of sulphur and nitrogen.
Sleet is melting snow; water not quite frozen or crystallized.
Snow is hexagonal crystals of frozen water.
Hailstones consist of many layers of deeply frozen water. Small hailstones hurt; larger stones can cause injury and damage.
Precipitation always reduces visibility; heavy precipitation of any kind can reduce visibility to less than a few metres.
To the sailor, 'weather' means much more than precipitation.
'Bad weather' implies strong, variable winds, low temperatures and precipitation.
adj The direction from which the wind is blowing, as in ‘the weather side of the ship’.
A deck which is exposed to the weather.
n In the Age of Sail a fighting ship which was upwind (to windward) of an enemy had the advantage of manoeuverability; the leeward vessel must sail close-hauled, under fire, to approach the vessel with the weather gauge.
See Balance, under Leeway resistance.
The weight of the anchor is a guide as to whether it has broken free of the seabed and again when it has emerged from the water. The last was especially true of wooden anchors, which were significantly heavier out of the water than under water: it is much less true of modern metal anchors where the weight difference is very small.
cf 'under way'
If the windlass is electric, ensure that the engine is running and that the breaker switch is accessible. Before the anchor is aweigh some skippers like to use the boat engine to approach the anchor to relieve the strain on the windlass; take care not to over-run the rode so that it fouls the keel or propeller. Make sure that the rode falls into the locker correctly: chain has a tendency to pile steeply and to jam the windlass.
In the Age of Sail wooden ships leaked more or less continuously. The carpenter would 'sound the well' (measure the depth of water in the well) regularly and report to an officer. If necessary, the well would be emptied by pumping the water out.
Wood Epoxy Saturation System.
A commercial epoxy resin for 'saturation' of wood, for adhesion of wood and for filling gaps between pieces of wood.
If an observer faces toward the true South, everywhere on his left hand side is East and everywhere on his right hand side is West.
'The West' is everywhere to the West of the Greenwich (Prime) meridian; 'the East' is everywhere to the East of the Prime meridian.
Colloquially, 'the West' might mean North America and Europe: 'the East' might mean the Orient. At one time there might have been an implication of cultural and technological advancement or delay which can no longer be considered appropriate (or even true).
A structure raised above the water on closely spaced posts or piles for loading and unloading cargo.
Marine mammals of the infraorder Cetacea, ranging in size from 2.6m to 30m.
n Any recreational vessel resembling a whaleboat.
n A vessel engaged in whale-watching, either for the entertainment of tourists or as part of marine research.
A working sailing boat. The Lune whammel was used in the River Lune and Morecambe Bay.
On modern power-driven vessels the wheel may be connected to the rudder electrically or by hydraulic tubes.
The wheel may often be replaced by a small lever or joystick.
n A purchase formed by a rope rove through a single block, and used for lifting heavy items from the deck or the hold. The block does not move, and so merely changes the direction of pull on the rope without achieving mechanical advantage.
n A long length of plaited rawhide, used for corporal punishment or for driving cattle or horses.
vb To bind twine around the end of a line to prevent it unravelling. The ends of modern synthetic ropes are often sealed by heating, and melting the fibres together. This is often done with the ‘hot knife’ used to ‘cut’ the line, or by the small hot flame of a cigarette lighter, hence the term ‘butane splice’. Alternatively, the end of the line may be dipped in a solution which seals and coats the fibres.
The end of the rope has been whipped with white twine.
The eye has been seized with white twine.
vb To use a whip. In the Age of Sail a ‘cat o’nine tails’ was a whip with nine tails, and was used for punishment and enforcing discipline. Its use caused terrible wounds, sometimes resulting in death.
Redrawn from Chatterton
"(m) The term “Wing-in-Ground (WIG) craft” means a multimodal craft which, in its main operational mode, flies in close proximity to the surface by utilizing surface-effect action. "
'Ground effect' is the extra lift given to an aircraft when close (within a few metres) to the surface. It enables craft which intend to stay close to the water to have much smaller wings than conventional aircraft. When close to the water the wings of such craft are said to be 'in the ground-effect'.
The abbreviation appears to be an extraordinary misinterpretation of "Wing in Ground-effect craft".
Put the rudder over full, toward the MOB.
After deviating from the original course by about 60 degrees, change the rudder full to the opposite side.
When heading about 20 degrees short of the reciprocal, put the rudder amidships so that the vessel will turn onto the reciprocal course.
v to winch: to use a winch to pull or tension a line.
A movement of a mass of air.
As warmer air rises colder air moves across the surface (of the sea or land) to take its place.
On a warm summer day the sun heats the ground which, in turn, heats the air above it. This warm air rises, drawing in colder air from the sea. This forms a sea-breeze blowing toward the shore, allowing yachts to sail tens of miles along the coast in winds up to F4 or F5.
A wind which veers changes direction clockwise: a Southerly wind might veer to become a Sou’Westerly wind. A wind which backs changes direction anticlockwise; a Northerly might back to become a Westerly wind.
On a synoptic chart the wind direction can be found from the isobars. In the Northern Hemisphere winds blow anticlockwise around depressions and clockwise around regions of high pressure, Around depressions (cyclones) winds tend to blow about 15° inward toward the depression: around high pressure (anti-cyclones) the winds tend to blow about 15° outward from the high pressure. Cyclonic winds form a rising helix, anticlockwise in the Northern hemisphere, clockwise in the Southern hemisphere. For this reason the direction of wind varies with altitude above the ground.
The speed of a wind at sea is measured in knots; on land it might be measured in miles per hour. A device which measures the speed of wind is an anemometer. Most modern boats carry an anemometer and a wind direction indicator at the top of the mast; they are usually linked electronically to a display on the binnacle or near the chart table.
The true wind, over the surface of the sea, is named from the compass point from which the wind blows. The apparent wind over the deck and sails of a boat is the resultant of the true wind and the movement of the boat; it is displayed electronically as an angle to the heading of the boat.
On a synoptic chart with geostrophic scales the speed of the wind can be measured from the spacing of the isobars.
The strength (force) of a wind is measured by the Beaufort scale.
Upwind is the direction from which the wind is blowing: a vessel sailing upwind is sailing against the wind.
Wind against tide
The wind resistance resulting from the shape of the boat.
A modern windlass, aboard a yacht, may be operated mechanically or electrically.
An electric windlass, on a yacht, has its own electrical battery usually located close to the windlass so that power losses in the wiring are minimised. Its large power requirements mean that the boat's engine should be running while it is in use, so that the alternator keeps its battery charged.
As the anchor is weighed the chain rode falls through the hawse hole into the anchor locker: it may pile up and jam the windlass. To protect the electrical windings an overload (breaker) switch may cut the power from the battery to the windlass. It is wise to find this overload switch before attempting to use the windlass.
In the British world of canals and narrowboats a windlass handle has become known as a windlass. All narrow boats carry at least one windlass (handle); it is used to operate the windlass which winds up and down the paddles (slackers) which control the flow of water into and out of a lock.
The paddle windlass has no permanent handle so that vandals are unable to flood or drain the locks and pounds.
Wind over tide
Nearer to the (source of) the wind. Upwind.
The wind blows from a windward vessel to a leeward vessel
A nominalised adjective describing a rope the strands of which are of iron or steel.
In places, such as West Mersea, withies mark oyster beds and not channels.