Category Archives: Nautical trivia

Flying Colours

To come through a battle with flying colours means a ship has come through relatively unscathed and with her colours (flag) flying. Today it means to come through an ordeal having done very well.

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Keel Hauling

A severe naval punishment during the 15th and 16th centuries. The victim, presumably a delinquent sailor, was dragged from one side of the boat to the other, under the bottom of the boat (keel). Tossed over one side and pulled up on the other, he was usually allowed to catch his breath before suddenly being […]

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Chip log

Chip log(navigational instrument) A chip log, also called common log, ship log, or just log, is a navigation tool mariners use to estimate the speed of a vessel through water. The word knot, to mean nautical mile per hour, derives from this measurement method. History All nautical instruments that measure the speed of a ship […]

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Knot

KNOT (unit) The knot is a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile (1.852 km) per hour, approximately 1.151 mph. The ISO Standard symbol for the knot is kn. The same symbol is preferred by the IEEE; kt is also common. The knot is a non-SI unit that is “accepted for use with the SI”. Worldwide, […]

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Nipper

Nipper The anchor cable was a nine-stranded cable-laid rope which came through the hawse-pipe, ran alongside the two capstans (on the main-deck), and was stowed down in the cable tier beneath the main deck. Nippers were short pieces of rope (stoppers) one end of which would be fastened to the ‘messenger’, the other end to […]

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