Nautical Terms U-Z

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This entry provides simple layman's explanations of nautical terms for the benefit of those that come across them and do not understand them.

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Nautical Terms U[edit]

Uckers: A highly competitive board game originating from the Royal Navy which although based upon Ludo features additional rules such as "blobs", "maxi-blobs" and "suck-backs".

U Gang: Formerly Utility Stewards.

Union Purchase: Two ships derricks linked together by a Union Plate,sometimes known as a "monkeys Face". One derrick is positioned directly over the cargo hold/hatch and secured by guys and preventers, and the other derrick is positioned over the side also secured by guys and preventers. The runners (lifting wire) of each derrick are then shackled to the Union plate. The union plate is a triangled plate with three holes,finally the cargo hook is then shackled in the third hole, so now the two derricks are joined together acting as one lifting unit . Now the ship is able to load or unload cargo with the aid of a winch driver for each derrick and a Hatchman. The Hatchman giving hand signals for the winch drivers to hoist or lower. When the lift is in sight, the two winchmen can swing the load over the hatch or ships side by their own driving skills.

Ullage: The space between the top of the liquid cargo and the top of the tank. An ullage tape is a tape measure used to measure the Ullage in a tank from which the quantity in the tank may be calculated. On tankers long, wooden, sword like, six foot long ullage sticks were also used in the final stages of filling the Tanks.

Nautical Terms V[edit]

Vang: A line, usually of rope but occasionally of flexible steel wire rope, leading from the end of the gaff down to the rail, one on each side, thus steadying the gaff from swinging.

Vast Heaving: Command to stop heaving immediately - "vast" being short for Avast.

Nautical Terms W[edit]

Waft: Old Naval term meaning to "convoy" from place to place by "wafters", an old equivalent of a modern escort vessel.

Wall & Crown: Fancy work on a rope.

Wash Port: Port fitted in Bulwarks let water run off the deck.

Welfy: Old expression for Welfare Leading Hand who looked after crew, post, had own shop in crew quarters.

Wet Nellie: A Liverpool cake made with custard. Alleged to have given rise to the expression "I was standing like a wet Nellie under the overhead railway".

Whitby Fender: A ship between your vessel and the land.

Whites: White uniform.

Whipping: A method of preventing the ends of a rope from unlaying or fraying by turns of stout twine with the ends tucked.

Williamson Turn: A manoeuvre that exactly reverses the travel of a ship, so that it retraces its preceding track; a good start to pick up a man overboard. Precise instructions for its execution vary with ship's handling characteristics, and should be displayed on the bridge.

Wind chutes: Metal port scuttles pushed out through the ports to direct fresh air into the cabin before A/C was put aboard ships. If missing a wind chute could be improvised using a carboard beer box.

Winger: Old expression for a waiter.

Winnets: Small shaped wooden pieces inserted into a pilot ladder ropework above and below each step.

Working Alleyway: Main alleyway in the Catering section.

Nautical Terms X[edit]

Nautical Terms Y[edit]

Yawl: 2 masted sailing vessel. A cutter with a mast stepped abaft the rudder head

Yarn: To spin a yarn is a the term used when sailor told each other tales whilst made rope, or remaking rope.

Yardarm: Horizontal spars on masts from where Square sails are hung . Sun over the yard arm

Nautical Terms Z[edit]

Zed Bed : An upholstered couch installed in a cabin at 90 degrees to the main bunk. Used for a quick nap or when the direction of rolling or pitching made sleeping in the bunk impossible.

Zenith :- The point in the sky directly overhead. In celestial navigation, zenith distance is the complement of Altitude ie 0 deg in the Zenith, 90deg on Horizon, up to 180deg at the Nadir.

Nautical Terms

Terms A-D Terms E-H Terms I-L Terms M-P Terms Q-T Terms U-Z