RED DUSTER The British Merchant Navy ensign, designated so in 1864. It is red bunting with the Union flag in the upper left hand corner.
REEMING IRON A tool for cleaning out old caulking from a seam.
REGISTER The record of all vessels registered in a nation for legal and business which are entitled to fly its flag. Now known as a vessel's Flag State.
RIGHT SAILING Running a course on one of the Cardinal Points so as to change Latitude or Longitude only.
RODE The line or chain to an anchor.
ROGUES YARN Coloured yarn woven into cordage to identify it's manufacturer. It was used in the British Royal Navy to identify cordage made in the Naval ropewalks to reduce stealing.
ROSE BOX A strainer box set into bilge lines on the suction side to prevent blockage. Similar to the 'starting box' for roses which are very popular in England.
RUTTER The Navigator's book which contained his calculations and observations during a passage. Many were very through works and formed the basis for the modern day Sailing Directions publications. All German ships had to file a copy with the Hohenzollern Scientific Office of Prussia on return from each voyage.
SAINT ELMO'S FIRE Static electricity discharge sometimes seen in the standing rigging at sea. Quite dramatic but fairly harmless.
SAMPSON POST A single heavy mast support for one or more cargo booms.
SCOTCHMAN Chafing gear of leather or wood in the standing rigging. Similar usage as 'Baggywrinkle'.
SEA ROOM The space required for a ship to maneuver safely.
SEMAPHORE A system of daylight visual signalling using arm positions. From Greek 'sema' meaning sign and 'phoros' meaning bearing.
SEXTANT A navigation instrument for measuring the altitude angle of celestial bodies. From Latin 'sex' meaning sixth and 'ans' meaning part of.
SHAFT ALLEY The tunnel for the propeller shaft between engine room and stern. There is a catwalk and the shaft can be seen spinning. It is kept clean by suspended coir mats moved along the shaft and bearing points are oiled.
SLIPPING THE CABLE To let go the anchor cable without heaving inboard. The ship can get underway quickly and the cable is buoyed for later recovery. NOT something done in Merchant ships except in exceptional circumstances.
SLOP CHEST The ship's store which is usually run by the Purser and has items nice to have at sea. Some have seaboard clothing and are quite elaborate. 'Sloppe' was an old word for clothing in Northern Europe.
SNATCH BLOCK A block with an opening side to receive a line.
SPLICE THE MAIN BRACE Issuing grog to all hands in the British Royal Navy each morning around 1100 when the pipe 'Up Spirits' was called. The Senior hands got 'neaters' and it was then mixed with water down the ranks under the Coxswains watchful eye. The Officers had gins in the Wardroom. In the Merchant Navy it was issued on special occasions only such as after a particularly hard job or with cocoa in very cold weather.
STADIMETER An instrument to the horizontal distance to a point ashore or another ship. From the Greek 'stadion' a length.
STOCKHOLM TAR Pine tar liquid used to coat the standing rigging. This was one of my favourite jobs as a Deck Apprentice.
SUPERCARGO An officer or purser in a merchant ship carried in addition to the ship's crew and usually representing the charterers and their cargo. Could be a very difficult appointment requiring quite some tact. I did it once only, in a Greek ship and it was a nightmare!!
TRADE WINDS Steady winds between Latitude 30 degrees and the Equator. They are NE in the northern hemisphere and SE in the southern hemisphere.
TRICK Be nice now! One's time on watch at the helm steering or monitoring the autopilot.
TWEENDECKS A deck with hatch openings between two full ones below the maindeck.
TYES Lines connecting the yards to the tackles by which they are hoisted and lowered. See also 'Bollocks'.