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Sailing Ship Decks

Weather Decks are upper decks having no overhead protection from the weather, but sheltering the deck below.

    Poop deck, the deck forming the roof of a poop or poop cabin, built on the upper deck and extending from the mizzenmast aft. An exposed partial deck on the stern superstructure of a ship. an exposed partial weather deck on the stern superstructure of a ship. Guns were rarely carried on this deck. It was mainly used as a viewpoint and signalling platform. The poop deck also gave protection to the men at the wheel and provided a roof for the captain's cabin. The ropes controlling the yards (spars) and sails of the main and mizzen masts were operated from the poop deck. The memory of the aftercastle, later to become the quarterdeck, is recorded only in abbreviations of the parts of ship, FX and AX "X" in this instance representing castle. In the course of time the aftercastle became the poop; the development of this word, like many things, is conjectural.

    Quarter-deck, the part of the upper deck abaft the mainmast, including the poop deck when there is one. A deck which runs unbroken from forward-aft is of course a whole deck; and one which goes approximately half the ship's length, like the forecastle deck of a destroyer, is a half deck. Consequently a quarterdeck was roughly a quarter of the ship's length; it was a small deck forward of and just below the poop, between poop and mainmast. When the aftercastle disappeared the quarterdeck came into its own. Quarter-deck, the sanctum of the captain and superior officers. The quarterdeck was the nerve center of the ship. In a gun-decked ship, it is the deck below the spar-deck, extending from the mainmast to the cabin bulk-heads.

    Half-deck, that portion of the deck next below the spar deck which is between the mainmast and the cabin. The Half-Deck, (corps de garde, Fr.) is a space under the quarter-deck of a ship of war, that contained between the foremost bulk-head of the steerage, and the fore-part of the quarter-deck. The Half-deck is the sanctum of the second mate, carpenters, coopers, boatswain, and all secondary officers.

Great cabin at at the stern provides the most comfortable living space on the ship. It was divided into 3 areas on the largest ships, consisting of the day and dining cabins plus the bed space. These were partitioned from the rest of the deck by wooden panels that could be removed during a battle. This would allow the great cabin to be turned into part of the upper gun deck

The waist is that part of the upper deck between the quarter-deck and forecastle. Waisters. Green hands, or broken-down seamen, are placed in the waist of a man-of-war.

Spar deck is either the upper deck, or sometimes a light deck fitted over the upper deck.

Flush deck, any continuous, unbroken deck from stem to stern.

Upper deck, the highest deck of the hull, extending from stem to stern.

Gun deck, a deck below the spar deck, on which the ship's guns are carried. The central part of the upper gun deck may be uncovered and open to the air. This would give the crew a work area that had plenty of light and was well ventilated. During daylight hours and under the supervision of skilled craftsmen the crew would carry out tasks such as patching sails and repairing ropes.

    Upper gun deck is the highest gun deck if there are three gun decks.

    main deck is the upper if there are two gun decks.

    middle gun deck is the middle gun deck if there are three gun decks.

    lower gun deck is the lowest of the gun decks.

The lightest guns occupy the highest of the 3 decks, while the heaviest can be found on the lowest deck. This was done to aid the ship's stability while at sea. By placing the heaviest guns on the lowest deck the ship is less likely to capsize in rough weather.

Berth deck, a deck next below the gun deck, where the hammocks of the crew are swung.

Orlop deck, the deck or part of a deck where the cables are stowed, usually below the water line. The deck above the holds in the old ships, what would now be called the platform deck, was known as the orlop deck, a contraction of 'overlap', a word of Dutch origin meaning 'that which runs over the hold'.

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Page last modified: 22-07-2011 17:41:07 ZULU