Sailors had very specific names for the masts and yards of a ship, for the rigging and for the sails. They also had nautical terms for all the other gear on a ship and for the tasks they carried out.
   Did you know, for example, that an anchor has six parts: ring, stock, shank, crown, arms, and flukes. Even the flukes have two parts: palm and pen. See illustration.


Anchor Illustration
19 July 2005
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia


The attached illustrations indicate the parts of an anchor, the names of the masts and yards, and the names of the sails.

Anchor illustration:
   This anchor is part of the collection of the Yarmouth County Museum. It was under water for a number of years and so has partly rusted away.

1. Ring
2. Stock (not original)
3. Shank
4. Crown
5. Arm
6. Flukes


Masts and yards illustration: ship 'Lillian L Robbins'
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia


Masts and yards illustration: slide of "Lillian L Robbins"

This illustration shows the ship "Lillian L. Robbins" at anchor in Hong Kong harbour in
1894. Oil on linen, unknown Chinese artist.

1. (Spike) Bowsprit
2. Fore mast
3. Fore topmast
4. Fore topgallant mast
5. Fore royal mast (in one with topgallant mast)
6. Main mast
7. Main topmast
8. Main topgallant mast
9. Main royal mast (in one with topgallant mast)
10. Mizzen mast
11. Mizzen topmast
12. Mizzen topgallant mast
13. Mizzen royal mast (in one with topgallant mast)
14. Fore yard
15. Fore lower topsail yard
16. Fore upper topsail yard
17. Fore lower topgallant yard
18. Fore upper topgallant yard
19. Fore royal yard
20. Main yard
21. Main lower topsail yard
22. Main upper topsail yard
23. Main lower topgallant yard
24. Main upper topgallant yard
25. Main royal yard
26. Crossjack yard
27. Mizzen lower topsail yard
28. Mizzen upper topsail yard
29. Mizzen topgallant yard
30. Mizzen royal yard
31. Spanker boom
32. Spanker gaff (hidden under furled sail)
33. Monkey gaff


Sails illustration: ship 'Morning Light'
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia


Sails illustration: slide of ship "Morning Light"

   This illustration shows the ship "Morning Light" about to pick up her pilot at Point Lynas on the coast of North Wales on her way into Liverpool, England. Oil on canvas painting signed 'W.H. Yorke, Liverpool 1884'.

1. Flying Jib
2. Outer Jib
3. Inner jib
4. Fore topmast staysail
5. Fore sail or fore course
6. Fore lower topsail
7. Fore upper topsail
8. Fore topgallant sail
9. Fore royal
10. Main lower topmast staysail
11. Middle staysail
12. Main topgallant staysail
13. Main sail or main course
14. Main lower topsail
15. Main upper topsail
16. Main topgallant sail
17. Main royal
18. Mizzen topmast staysail
19. Mizzen topgallant staysail
20. Crossjack or mizzen course
21. Mizzen lower topsail
22. Mizzen upper topsail
23. Mizzen topgallant sail
24. Mizzen royal
25. Spanker


There are several books which illustrate all of these names. Two of the best are:
    Capt. H. Paasch "From Keel to Truck: A Dictionary of Naval Terms" First published 1885. Reprinted 1997.
   Tre Tryckare "The Lore of Ships" published by Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, 1963. Republished 1990 and 1997.