A shipwright’s tool used for shaping and smoothing timbers.
The weight in a ship’s hold used to keep it stable and floating at the correct angle and depth.
A vessel of at least three masts, square-rigged on the forward masts but with only fore-and-aft sails on the aftermost mast. The Charles W. Morgan was converted from a ship to a bark in 1867.
In whaling terms, a measure of 31-1/2 gallons, or a whale oil container that held that quantity.
belaying pin
A strong hardwood pin that serves as a cleat for securing lines on a sailing vessel. Belaying pins are arranged in rails around the masts and along the bulwarks, and each is assigned to a specific line.
bilge pumps
Pumps to empty water from the bottom of a ship’s hold.
A decorative scroll carving on a ship’s bow, in the place sometimes occupied by a figurehead.
“bone in her teeth”
A slang term describing a vessel moving fast enough to push a breaking wave of foam at the bow; an allusion to a dog carrying a white bone.
The forward end of a vessel.
bower anchors
A ship’s main anchors, carried at the bow.
The large fore-and-aft spar that extends forward from a vessel’s bow to anchor the stays that support the masts and carry triangular jibs and staysails.
A line attached to the outer end of a yard and usually running aft and to the deck, which is used to adjust the orientation of a square sail to the wind.
A two-masted, square-rigged vessel.
cant frames
The frames or ribs at the bow and stern, which are relatively straight and do not lie across the keel.
The term for a large wooden barrel.
To seal the seams between a vessel’s planks, usually by driving in tarred and twisted hemp fibers called oakum.
The shipbuilding term for the interior planking below decks.
chain locker
An area in a ship’s lower hold for the storage of the anchor chains.
Directing the steering of a ship by giving orders or a compass course to the helmsman at the wheel.
A maker of barrels and other wooden containers.
The proper term for the lowest and usually largest square sail on a mast; also the precise compass coordinate along which a vessel moves.
A small platform of crossed timbers, often with diagonal spreaders for the upper stays, where the foot of the topgallant mast is attached near the head of the topmast.
cutting stage
A narrow platform with a railing, suspended on the starboard side of a whaleship, on which the officers stood to cut the blubber from a whale as it lay alongside in the water.
cutting tackle
The set of large blocks (pulleys), heavy rope, and large iron hook used to hoist the large parts of a whale on board ship.
The pairs of curved vertical timbers from which a vessel’s boats are hung.
Shipbuilding term for the longitudinal structural timbers piled on top of the keel forward of the sternpost to anchor the aft cant frames and give shape to the stern.
double topsails
The style of topsail carried by the Charles W. Morgan after the 1880s, with a fixed yard for the lower topsail and a sliding yard for the upper topsail.
false keel
The longitudinal structural timber attached to the bottom of the keel.
A style of sail that is set parallel to a vessel’s length, either suspended from a stay, hung from a gaff, or attached to the after side of a mast. Fore-and-aft sails add stability and maneuverability and act like wings, allowing a vessel to sail closer to the wind than do square sails.
The crew’s quarters at the bow of a ship, named for the high bow structure in early vessels. Pronounced fo’c’sle.
A sailing vessel’s forwardmost mast.
Alternate name for the fore course.
The shipbuilding term for a vessel’s ribs, which are fastened between the longitudinal keel and keelson to make up the structural skeleton.
To take in a sail by lowering it and lashing it securely to its spar with lines called gaskets.
The diagonal spar at the head of the spanker.
A ship’s toilet, so named because it was originally a simple platform at a ship’s bow or head.
A pair of large iron hoops fastened high on the fore- and/or mainmast of a whaling vessel, within which the lookouts stood while watching for whales.
hurricane house
A structure at the stern of a whaleship, probably introduced in the 1860s to shelter the steering wheel and contain the galley, storage areas, and an officers’ head.
The long spar extending forward from the bowsprit, to which the stays supporting the fore upper masts are attached.
jib hanks
The U-shaped metal fittings that attach a triangular jib or staysail to the stay on which it is set.
The whaleman’s term for the portion of a sperm whale’s head above the whitehorse and below the case.
The traditional term for the left side of a vessel, used by whalemen even after other mariners began using the word “port” for left.
The middle mast in a three-masted vessel. It is normally the tallest mast.
The very top of a mast, also called the truck.
The aftermost mast in a three-masted ship or bark. It is square-rigged in a ship and fore-and-aft-rigged in a bark.
The section of a mast above the topgallant, where the royal sail is set.
runnning lights
Red and green lights set when a vessel is underway at night.
sand berth
To avoid the need to rebuild and regularly maintain her bottom, the Charles W. Morgan was grounded and surrounded with sand at Round Hill from 1925 to 1941 and at Mystic Seaport from 1942 to 1973.
Among sailing vessels, ship is the term for a vessel with at least three masts and with square-rigged sails on all masts. The Charles W. Morgan was rigged as a ship from 1841 to 1867.
The large fore-and-aft sail set between the gaff and boom on the mizzenmast.
A style of sail that hangs from a yard set perpendicular to a vessel’s length. Square-rig sails are mainly for pushing a vessel downwind.
The traditional term for the right side of a vessel.
A fixed piece of standing rigging that supports a section of mast, either for-and-aft (on which staysails are set), or to the sides.
A fore-and-aft sail, usually triangular, that is set on one of the fore-and-aft stays that support the masts.
A berthing space forward of the officers’ quarters at the stern.
The vertical structural timber at a vessel’s bow.
stern counter
Shipbuilding term for the lower, nearly horizontal portion of the stern below the more-vertical transom.
A slang term for tightening a vertical line such as a brace by repeatedly swaying against it in the process of securing it to a belaying pin.
In a sailing vessel, to change direction by swinging the bow through the wind. Also used to describe the direction from which the wind is coming in relation to the vessel, as in starboard tack. The tack is also the forward lower corner of a sail.
In nautical terms, a piece of heavy canvas used to cover and secure hatches and other exposed items.
The third section of a mast, where the topgallant sail is set. Pronounced t’gallant.
The second section of a mast, where the topsail (or double topsails) is set.
try out
The process of rendering oil from blubber by heating it in the cast-iron trypots set in the brick furnace called the tryworks.
The middle portion of a vessel’s deck, between the foredeck and the quarterdeck.
The whaleman’s term for the portion of a sperm whale’s head above the upper jaw.
A vessel’s largest winch, normally located near the bow and used for raising anchors and other heavy weights, including whale parts.
worm shoe
A sacrificial timber attached to the bottom of the false keel to prevent damage, either from boring “shipworms” or from running aground.
A horizontal spar on the forward side of a mast to which is attached the head of a square sail.