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OCCUR IN THESE VOLUMES, BUT ALSO SUCH AS MOST FREQUENTLY OCCUR IN THE GAZETTE ACCOUNTS OF NAVAL ENGAGEMENTS, AND IN THB NARRATIVES OF VOYAGES OR SHIPWRECKS; CONSEQUENTLY, THE UTILITY OF SUCH AN ALPHABETICAL EXPLANATION MUST BE SUFFICIENTLY OBVIOUS.
ABACK, the situation of the sails when their surfaces are flatted against the masts by the force of the wind.
The sails are said to be taken aback, when they are brought into this situation, either by a sudden change of the wind, or by an alteration in the ship's course. They are laid aback, to effect an immediate retreat, without turning to the right or left; or, in the sea phrase, to give the ship stern-way, in order to avoid some olanger discovered before her in a narrow channel ; or when she has advanced beyond her station in the line of battle, or otherwise,
ABAFT, the hinder part of a ship, or all those parts both within and without, which lie towards the stern, in opposition to afore; which see.
ABAFT, is also used as a preposition, and siguifies further, att,
or nearer the stern; as, the barricade stands abaft the main-mast, i. e, or nearer the stern.
ADMIRAL, an officer of the first rank and command in the fleet, and who is distinguished by a flag displayed at his main-topmast-head. Also an officer who superintends the naval forces of a nation, and who is authorised to determine in all maritime causes.
The origin and denomination of this important office, which seems to have been established in most countries that border on the sea, have given rise to a great variety of opinions. Some have borrowed them from the Greek, others from the Arabic, while a third sort, with greater probability, derive both the title and diy. nity from the Saracens.* But since no certain conclusion have been deduced from these elaborate researches, and as it rather appears the province of this work to give the reader an idea of the office and duty of an admiral at sea, than to furnish an bistorical or chronological detail of the rank and power with which admirals have been invested in different nations, we shall contentedly resign this task to the ingenious lexicographers, who have so repeatedly entertained us with such critical investigations.
ADMIRAL of the fleet, the highest officer under the admiralty of Great Britain: when he embarks on any expedition, he is distinguished by the union flag at the main-top-mast-head.
VICE-ADMIRAL, the officer next in rank and command to the admiral; his flag is displayed at the fore-top-mast-head.
REAR-ADMIRAL, the officer next in rank and command to the vice-admiral, and who carries his flag at the mizen-top-masthead.
There are at present in England, besides the admiral of the fleet, three admirals of the white squadron, and four of the blue. Three vice-admirals of the red, three of the white, and four of the blue. Four rear-admirals of the red, four of the white, and five of the blue squadron : besides twenty-two rear-admirals that have carried no flag, who are superannuated upon half-pay.
VICE-ADMIRAL is also an officer appointed by the lords-commissioners of the admiralty. There are several of these officers
• In regno Saracenorum quatuor prætoies statuit, qui admiralli vocabantur.-Sigebert.
established in different parts of Great Britain, with judges and marshals under them, for executing jurisdiction within their respective districts. Their decisions, however, are not final, an appeal lying to the court of admiralty in London.
ADRIFT, the state of a ship or vessel broke loose from her moorings, and driven without controul at the mercy of wind, seas, current, or all of them together.
AFT, behind, or near the stern of the ship; being opposed to fore; as, run out the guns fore and aft; i. e. from one end of the ship to the other; and whence.
ALEE, the situation of the helm when it is pushed down to the lee side of the ship, in order to put the ship about, or to lay ker head to the windward.
ANCHOR, a heavy, strong, crooked instrument of iron, dropped from a ship into the bottom of the water, to retain hier in a convenient station in a harbour, road, or river.
The anchors now made are contrived so as to sink into the ground as soon as they reach it, and to hold a great strain before they can be loosened or dislodged from their station. They are composed of a shank, a stock, a ring, and two arms with their flukes. The stock, which is a long piece of timber fixed across the shank, serves to guide the flukes in a direction perpendicular to the surface of the ground; so that one of them sinks into it by its own weight as soon as it falls, and is still preserved steadily in that position by the stock, which, together with the shank, lies flat on the bottom. In this situation it must necessarily sustain a great effort before it can be dragged through the earth horizontally. Indeed this can only be effected by the violence of the wind or tide, or of both of them, sometimes increased by the turbulence of the sea, and acting upon the ship so as to stretch the cable to its utmost tension, which accordingly may dislodge the anchor from its bed, especially if the ground be soft and oozy or rocky. When the anchor is thus displaced, it is said, in the sea phrase, to come home.
Every ship has, or ought to have, three principal anchors, with a cable to each, viz. the sheet, maitresse ancre, (which is the anchora facra of the ancients) the best bower, second ancre, and small bower, ancre d'affourche, so called from their usual situa.
tion on the ship's bow. There are besides smaller anchors, for removing a ship from place to place in a harbour or river, where there may not be room or wind for sailing; these are the streamanchor, anchor de touë; the kedge and grappling, grapin : this last, however, is chiefly designed for boats.
FOUL ANCHOR: it is so called when it either hooks so other anchor, wreck, or cable, under the surface of the water; or when, by the wind suddenly abating, the ship slackens her strain, and straying round the bed of her anchor entangles her slack cable about the upper fluke of it, and easily draws it out of its place, as soon as she begins to ride with a strain. To prevent this, it is usual, as she approaches the anchor, in light winds, to draw the slack cable into the ship as fast as possible.
ANCHOR-GROUND, is a bottom which is neither too deep, too shallow, nor rocky; as in the first the cable bears too nearly perpendicular, and is thereby apt to jerk the anchor out of the ground; in the second, the ship's bottom is apt to strike at low water, or when the sea runs high, by which she is exposed to the danger of sinking; and in the third, the anchor is liable to hook the broken and pointed ends of rocks, and tear away its Aukes; whilst the cable from the same cause, is constantly in danger of being cut through as it rubs on their edges.
APEEK, perpendicular to the anchor; a ship is said to be in this situation, when the cable is drawn so tight into the bow as to bring her directly over the anchor, so that the cable bears right down from the ship’s stem.
ARMED-SHIP, a vessel occasionally taken into the service of the government in time of war, and employed to guard some particular coast, or attend on a fleet. She is therefore armed and equipped in all respects like a ship of war, and commanded by an officer of the navy, who has the rank of master and commander. All ships of this sort are upon the establishment of the King's sloops, having a lieutenant, master, purser, surgeon, &c.
ATHWART, when used in navigation, implies across the line of the course; as we discovered a fleet at day. break standing athwart us, i. e, steering across our way.
ATHWART-HAWSE, the situation of a ship when she is driven by the wind, tide, or other accident, across the fore-part of