Nautical words

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Beaufort Notation. Code by which weather conditions may be tersely expressed by a combination of letters of alphabet.

Beaufort Wind Scale. Devised by Admiral Beaufort in 1808 to express wind force by use of numbers from 0 to 12. Revised in 1905 by Dr. G. C. Simpson. Further revised in 1926 to express wind speeds.

Beaufort Wind Force

Mean Wind Speed in Knots

Descriptive Term






Light air



Light breeze



Gentle breeze



Moderate breeze



Fresh breeze



Strong breeze



Near gale






Strong gale






Violent storm



Becalmed 38 Bell

Becalmed. Said of a sailing vessel when she is unable to make way owing to absence of wind.

Becket. Loop of rope, sennit or wire used for fastening, or for attachment.

Becket Bend. Name sometimes given to 'Sheet Bend'.

Becket Rowlock. Rope strop, around thole pin, to confine an oar when rowing.

Becueing. Sometimes called 'Scowing'. Dropping anchor with cable made fast to crown but stopped to ring with medium-strength lashing. In normal circumstances anchor will hold in usual way. Should anchor get foul, extra force used in weigh­ing will break stop at ring, and anchor can then be weighed by crown.

Bed. That on which anything-anchor, engine, etc., rests. Form­erly applied to the impression left in the ground by a vessel that has grounded.

Bed of Bowsprit. That part which rests on stem, or in bowsprit hole. Is greatest diameter of bowsprit; outer end diameter being 2/3rds, and inner end diameter being 5/6ths, that of bed.

Bed of Capstan. Trued and strengthened part of deck on which capstan is placed. Also applied to flat steel plate that carries pawl rack.

Bedplate. In general, any plate on which a fitting is bedded. Bed­plate of main engines is of cast iron or mild steel. Carries crank­shaft and bears engines. Rests on cast iron chocks and is through fastened to tank tops by holding down bolts.

Bees Block. Hardwood fitting at head of bowsprit for taking fore topmast stay and, in R.N., foretop bowline.

Bees of Bowsprit. Another name for 'Bees Blocks'.

Beetle. Heavy wooden mallet.

Before the Mast. Said of a man who goes to sea as a rating, and lives forward. Forward of a mast.

Before. On the forward side of.

Bel. Radio unit for measuring loss or gain in strength.

Belace.* Old form of 'Belay'.

Belage.* Old form of 'Belay'.

Belat. Strong N.N.W. offshore wind prevalent off' south coast of Arabia during winter.

Belay. To make fast a rope by turning up with it around a cleat, belaying pin, bollard, etc. Often used by seamen in the sense of arresting, stopping or cancelling; e.g. 'Belay the last order'.

Belaying Pin. Pin-shaped pieces of wood or metal fitted in a socket and used for belaying ropes.

Belfry. Ornamental mounting for carrying ship's bell.

Belfast Bow. Name given to raked stem introduced by Harland & Wolff of Belfast. Allows larger forecastle deck without increas­ing waterline measurements; provides .increased forward buoy­ancy when pitching.

Bell. Compulsory fitting in all seagoing ships. Must not be less than 12 in. diameter at mouth, and must be so placed that its sound is not obstructed. Frequent and rapid ringing of bell is required of an anchored vessel in fog. Ship's time is indicated by half-hourly striking of bell.

Bellatrix 39 Beneaped

Bellatrix. Star  Orionis. S.H.A. 279°; Dec. N6°; Mag. 1-7. Name is Latin for 'Warlike'. Astrologers maintained that star had a martial influence.

Bell Buoy. Buoy carrying bell often rung by action of waves, or wash of passing vessels. Belleville Boiler. First large water tube boiler to be successful for marine purposes (1901). Bell Rope. Small rope on tongue of bell for ringing it. 2. Rope on a pump handle to assist in turning it.

Belly. Rounded swell of sail caused by wind and stretching of the canvas.

Belly Band. Extra cloth of canvas in single topsail or course. Fitted below lowest reef points and in line with bowline bridle.

Belly Halyard. Gaff" halyard leading through block at middle of gaff to give extra support. Below. Below upper deck. Under hatches. Beluga. Arctic whale that comes as far south as St. Lawrence river, and sometimes ascends it. Has no dorsal fin and is less than 20 feet in length.

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