John R. Christian

John R. Christian / Images

HMS Victory Squaring the Yards - watercolour

HMS Victory Squaring the Yards - watercolour

The term "Squaring the Yards" was the learning behind this painting, a term of nautical origin from C17, a definition of the term below:

It meant that the yards, the spars that carried the sails, were to be set at right angles to the keel line from bow to stern, a state that was known as "square by the lifts and braces" if the spars were set horizontal. (The lifts and braces were part of the running rigging; the lifts raised and lowered the yards and the braces turned them). At sea, "squaring the yards" meant that the ship sailed directly downwind. After anchoring, "square the yards" was an instruction to make the ship tidy and ready for sailing again.

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