Well...I'm not locked out of anything in work and have loads to do but this is more interesting....
Most of the posts are quite right, Port side was the side presented to the port or harbour for docking. The reason for this was that the other side starboard or steerboard was the side which has an oar like steering system / device and therefore would get damaged if they docked on that side.
The word Halyard originated in tall ships / square riggers. The yard is the long timber spar from which the square sails hang. To haul the yard was to lift the yard up with the sail set in order to tension the sail against the yard below, to which the sheets are connected.
The term to "Splice the Main Brace" I think is a bit of a nonsense! to splice is to open the lay of a rope and re-weave it to create a ring / hoop / bight at one end or lay it back onto itself in a "long splice" to stop it unravelling. You can also join two identical rope together neatly. A brace is a rope and cable combination connected to the end of the yards / yard arms on a square rigger. They are used to turn or brace the yards to one side or other so that the ship can sail a bit closer to the wind. Now....the question is what is a main brace? The braces are normally named after the yard that it controls..ie.. Course Brace, Topsail Brace, T'gallant Brace, Skysail Brace, Royal Brace, etc. A Mainsail is a fore and aft sail mounted on the mast, not on a yard and therefore would not require a brace, just a sheet. So its all a bit strange, you hear this term a lot in movies, but I think it's silly make up jargon. If they said "Splice the Topsail Brace" it would make more sense, and it would probably mean join the cable at the yard end to the rope at the deck end, but it wouldn't be an urgent thing most likely, it would be part of a running maintenance schedule!.
A new one....."To freeze the balls off a brass money".
A brass monkey was a brass triangle upon which cannonballs were stacked. When it got cold enough the brass would contract making the triangle slightly smaller and the cannonballs would fall off the triangle...and hence it became so cold that it froze the balls off a brass monkey!
Last edited by IainMurray; 12-07-2006 at 06:56 AM.