Nautical words

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Back Sight. Back altitude.

Backsplice. Method of finishing off end of a rope that is not required to reeve through a block. End is unlaid, 'crown' formed with the strands, ends tucked into rope below crown.

Backspring. Rope led aft, from forward in a ship, to a buoy, or bollard outside ship. Used for heaving ship astern, or for preventing her ranging ahead.

Backstaff. Forerunner of quadrant and sextant. Instrument devised by Captain Davis about 1590. Observer stood with his back to Sun and measured altitude by two concentric rings, one measuring 30°, the other 60°.

Backstays 31 Balancing

Backstays. Ropes led from a mast to a position abaft it. They support mast against forces acting in a forward direction.

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