Category Archives: Sailing Ship Parts


I made this set of Catheads out of 4mm x 4mm stock. Had to make a few of them to get the holes right.

Cathead –

Cathead is a large wooden beam located on either side of the bow of a sailing ship, and angled forward at roughly 45 degrees. The beam is used to support the ship’s anchor when raising it (weighing anchor) or lowering it (letting go), and for carrying the anchor on its stock-end when suspended outside the ship’s side. It is furnished with sheaves at the outer end, and the inner end (which is called the cat’s-tail) fits down on the cat-beam. The cat stopper also fastens the anchor on. The purpose of the cathead is to provide both a heavy enough beam to support the massive weight of the anchor, and to hold the metal anchor away from the wooden side of the ship to prevent damage.

Hole for Cathead

The diagram shows the Bulwark being split here but I decided to keep the Caprail and have it extend to the Headrails. Besides it will be stronger this way.

What I did was to use a small drill and I kept using bigger and bigger drills. Then I used my Xacto Knife to square it up. I also used my Dremel as well with this tip…

Dremel tip

Catheads done. Only problem is that I’m missing some Davits that’s supposed to go on top of them. Guess I’ll have to order some.

After installation and gluing in, I found out that I was supposed to make these angled down a bit. I’m not worried about it. It looks good as it is.

Different Parts of the Decks on Sailing Ships

A ship has a number of different types of decks which are located at different levels and places on the ship. Needless to say, every seafarer working on a ship should be aware of these decks.

Moreover, as there are various names to a generalised concept, it’s necessary for sailors to understand what each deck name and interpretation entails.

1. Poop Deck: Originating from the Latin term for a vessel’s stern-side – Puppis – the poop deck is located on the vessel’s stern. The poop deck is basically used by the vessel’s commanding superiors to observe the work and navigational proceedings. Technically, it is the deck that forms the roof of a cabin built in the aft part of the superstructure of the ship.

2. Main Deck: As the name suggests, the main deck is the primary deck in any vessel. The main deck however is not the topmost deck in a vessel which is referred to as the weather deck. On sailing warships it is usually the deck below the upper deck.

3. Upper Deck: The deck that covers the hull of the vessel from its fore to its aft is the upper deck. It is the topmost deck on a ship. In all vessels, the upper deck is the biggest deck amongst all other decks.

4. Lower Deck: The deck located below the primary or main deck is the lower deck. Generally the lower deck comprises of more than one deck. It is just next to the lowest or orlop deck.

5. Promenade Deck: Promenade refers to taking a lazy stroll in a feasible place like a beach or a park. In a vessel, the promenade deck serves as a place for the voyagers to take a calming and enjoyable walk on the ship, while enjoying the beauty of the oceanic vista. It is generally the area around the superstructure. It can have open railings or can be enclosed in a glass.

6. Tween Deck:  ‘’tween’ is a colloquial abridging of the word ‘between.’ In a ship, the tween deck actually means an empty space separating or between (tween) two other decks in the hull of a vessel.

7. Flush Deck: The deck that extends without any constructional breaks from the frontal part of the ship to the aft is referred to as the flush deck. On such decks there is no raised forecastle or lowered quarterdeck.

8. Weather Deck: A deck that is not roofed and thus is open to the ever-changing weather conditions of the sea is referred to as the weather deck. It is the uppermost deck on the ship which is exposed to the environment.


strake is a course of the planking or plating of the hull of a vessel. In a wooden construction it is a strip of planking (or multiple planks combined into one) running longitudinally along the vessel’s bottom and sides. In a metal ship it is a course of plating.

Strakes are fastened to the bow at its stem at the front of a ship and stern at its transom at its rear.

Strake namesEdit

Garboard strakes and related near-keel members

In boat and ship construction the strake immediately adjacent to either side of the keel is known as the garboard strake or A strake. The next two are the first broad or B strake and second broad or C strake. Working upward come the bottom strakes, lowers, bilge strakes, topside strakes, and uppers also named sequentially as the D strake, E strake, etc. The uppermost along the topsides is called the sheer strake.[1] Strakes are joined to the stem by their hood ends.[2]

A rubbing strake was traditionally built in just below a carvel sheer strake. It was much less broad but thicker than other strakes so that it projected and took any rubbing against piers or other boats when the boat was in use. In clinker boats, the rubbing strake was applied to the outside of the sheer strake. Many current pleasure craft reflect this history in that they have a mechanically attached (and therefore replaceable) rub rail at the location formerly occupied by a rubbing strake, often doubling to cover the joint between a GRP hull and its innerliner.

A stealer is a short strake employed to reduce the width of plank required where the girth of the hull increases or to accommodate a tuck in the shape. It is commonly employed in carvel and iron/steel shipbuilding, but very few clinker craft use them.

Dolphin Striker

Schematic view of the bow of a ship, showing: A the martingale stay, B the dolphin striker and C the bobstay.

A dolphin striker (an older term for a martingale boom or simply a martingale; sometimes called a striker) is a small vertical or near vertical ancillary spar spanning between the bowsprit and martingale thereby redirecting the tension in the forward end of the martingale slightly more vertically. This vertical component is necessary to more effectively oppose the forestays’ mostly upward tension on the forward end of the bowsprit than would be the case in the absence of the dolphin striker.

Running Rigging

Running rigging is the rigging of a sailing vessel that is used for raising, lowering, shaping and controlling the sails on a sailing vessel—as opposed to the standing rigging, which supports the mast and bowsprit. Running rigging varies between vessels that are rigged fore and aft and those that are square-rigged.

Running rigging on a sailing yacht: 

  1. Main sheet
  2. Jib sheet
  3. Boom vang
  4. Downhaul
  5. Jib halyard