To anyone knowledgeable about sailing ships

So, there is a particular part of the ship, that I've seen plenty of times, but I can't recall it ever being actually named. It's a series of, basically just wooden sticks, with little handles on them, that are lining the sides of deck, stuck through holes. To the best of my knowledge, they are used as rope anchor points, or at least that's the theory I had for what purpose they would serve. They could be pulled out in a hurry by simply grabbing the handle and yanking up, releasing a line in an emergency. And they could also, apparently, be pulled out to serve as an impromptu weapon if being boarded. They are usually designed with the general shape and size of a police baton, or at least the classic, turn of the century style batons you might see a Copper carrying in some Victorian era show.

Anyone know what they are called? I've tried various search phrases and couldn't find any good results, but seeing as I don't know what it's called, "Stick thingy on the side of ships" isn't really likely to have a good result. :P

I think your talking about a belaying pin.

image

According to wikipedia: "A belaying pin is a solid metal or wooden device used on traditionally rigged sailing vessels to secure lines of running rigging. Largely replaced on most modern vessels by cleats, they are still used, particularly on square rigged ships.

A belaying pin is composed of a round handle and cylindrical shaft. The shaft is inserted into a hole in various strategically located wooden pinrails (lining the inside of the bulwarks, surrounding the base of masts, or free-standing, called fife rails) up to the base of the handle. A line is then led under and behind the base of the pin then round the top in a Figure-8 pattern till at least four turns are complete.

Excess line is coiled and stored neatly by taking a bight from the upper part of the final strand, looping it over and round beneath the coil, then twisting it once or more before slipping the twisted end over the top of the belaying pin to secure the coil in place."

Yes! That's exactly what I was trying to find!

Thanks a ton! Been doing some research for a novel and I just couldn't find the word for that thing to save my ass.

Much appreciated!

Happyninja42:
Yes! That's exactly what I was trying to find!

Thanks a ton! Been doing some research for a novel and I just couldn't find the word for that thing to save my ass.

Much appreciated!

No problem, let me know if there are any other terms you need assistance with.

 

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