• tamarack, American larch

    A tough and durable wood used in boat building for knees or crooks. It is suitable for stems, keels, and breast-hooks of small boats. It is also called tamarack or American larch.

  • A North Atlantic food fish related to cod.
  • octant
    John Hadley invented his "reflecting quadrant" in 1731, the direct ancestor to the modern sextant. Called a reflecting quadrant for most of the 18th century and quadrant in 19th century America, it actually has an arc of 45 degrees hence its modern name of octant. Instead of working with sun shadows, the octant used mirrors to line up a reflection of the sun or other celestial object with the horizon. It could be used for star sights, which was a major advantage. It evolved into the sextant about 1757 but continued to be made into the middle of the 19th century.
  • John Hadley

    1682-1744.  An English landowner and gentleman, John Hadley studied optics and instrument making. Working with his brothers, Hadley created the first effective reflecting telescope in 1719-1720, and in 1734 he published his invention of the octant which came to be called Hadley's quadrant.

  • A term used for a family of cod-like fish. Most common in New England waters is the white hake.
  • A longitudinal model of half of a vessel's hull. In the 19th century, it was a primary design tool, with most American sailing vessel designs starting out as carved half models, from which dimensions for the full-sized hull would be taken. Some of these were turned into decorative half models by putting them on a backboard and adding deck houses. In the late 19th and early 20th century half models were used to develop patterns for iron or steel plates that made up the hull. Today half models are made from paper drawings as decorative pieces.

  • A large flatfish or flounder sometimes weighing hundreds of pounds. The Atlantic halibut has been overfished to the point that it is endangered.
  • halliard
    A rope used for hoisting or lowering yards, spars, or sails on their respective masts or stays. From "haul yard."
  • A small half-decked cat-ketch-rigged centerboard fishing boat from Casco Bay and the Hampton, New Hamshire area before that. Open or half-decked for rowing and sailing. Earliest ones were double ended; the late 19th-century boat had a transom stern. They were usually between 17 and 27 feet long. In the early 20th century, most were converted to engined boats and are one of the roots of modern lobster boats.
  • Hand line
    To fish by hand with only a line and a hook. The line and hook used to do so.
  • Capstan bars.
  • A hard biscuit made of wheat flour and water. It became very hard and would keep for a long time. While it could be made on ship, it was more commonly bought in barrels.
  • A spear-like weapon whose head was designed so that it would not pull out of the hunted animal. It was attached to a line. It has been used in hunting whales, seals and walruses, as well as in catching sword fish.
  • John Harrison
    1693-1776. English clockmaker who designed and built the first successful chronometers, clocks accurate enough to take to sea to measure longitude, starting in 1730. After 5 versions of his chronometer, he was finally awarded the full prize put up by the government of 20,000 pounds.
  • Ferdinand R. Hassler
    1779-1843. Born in Switzerland, he emigrated to the United States in 1805. Employed as a teacher of mathematics and surveying at West Point, he was hired to begin a coast survey in 1811. He became first superintendent of the Coast Survey in 1815, then became superintendent of the Bureau of Weights and Measures when the Survey was given to the Army. In 1832, the survey was taken away from the Army and Navy, and Hassler was appointed again as superintendent, the position he held until 1843. It was those years that the United States developed a vigorous survey program.
  • The opening in a ship's deck allowing access to compartments below.
  • To tack a square-rigged vessel.
  • The capital city of Cuba, and its largest port.
  • On cod fishing vessels, the man who cuts open the fish, tears out the entrails, and breaks off the head of the fish.
  • Hellgate
    A narrow tidal strait in the East River, New York City.
  • Usually refers to the whole steering apparatus of the ship: the rudder, tiller, chains, engine, etc. The more strict definition refers just to the tiller.
  • The plant Cannabis sativa, used to make natural rope. The fibers are usually tarred as a preservative.
  • Ship Henrietta

    The largest sailing vessel built at Bucksville, South Carolina, was the ship Henrietta, launched in May 1875. She was named for the wife of Captain Jonathan C. Nichols of Searsport, who commanded the vessel. Henrietta was 210 feet long, and 1203 tons. The builder in charge was Elisha Dunbar of Searsport. Henrietta sailed for two decades under the command of five Searsport captains. She was lost off Kobe, Japan, in an 1894 typhoon. Henrietta was built and commanded by Searsport men, but never came to Searsport. See also Bucksville, South Carolina. There was also a bark Henrietta, built in 1847. This vessel was commanded by Captain William McGilvery, and he sailed her to Ireland during the potato famine, bringing a cargo of food.

  • 1394-1460. Henry, Prince of Portugal, took the name Navigator because of his patronage of a succession of Portuguese seafarers who explored the Atlantic islands off Portugal and down the African coast, ultimately rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Recent research has found the story that he established an observatory and a school of navigation to be a myth.
  • A breed of beef cattle, reddish brown with a white face, originally from England.
  • Perhaps the world's most important food fish; there are sixteen species, with the Atlantic herring the dominent North Atlantic species. Fished heavily for centuries, today herring is caught in Maine waters primarily for lobster bait with some going to sardines. With new fishing technology there are serious concerns about overfishing.
  • To cut or chop with an axe or adze.
  • The thick tough skins of cattle, buffalo, or other large animal.
  • Cask or barrel for liquids containing from 54 to 63 gallons, depending on the type of liquid. About the size of today's 55 gallon drum.
  • A large space below deck used for storing cargo or provisions.
  • A soft sandstone used to scrub the deck of a wooden ship. The word can be used as a noun or as a verb.
  • A combination living quarters, business office, and warehouse for foreigners in China.
  • An early style lobster trap. Another word for trap is pot.
  • The chief Chinese customs officer in the days of the Old China Trade.
  • Heave , Hove to
    Hove may be used as the past tense of to heave, or throw. "Hove to," when used to talk about a vessel, means that the vessel stops.
  • Henry Hudson

    c.1570-c.1611. English explorer and navigator. His three exploration voyages were attempts to find a Northwest passage to China. Hired by the Dutch East India Company in 1609, on his second voyage, in the Half Moon, he sailed down the Maine coast, stopping in Penobscot Bay and cutting some trees for masts. Passing Cape Cod, he sailed south to the Chesapeake then up the Atlantic Coast attempting to get into the Delaware Bay and finally finding and sailing up what is now called the Hudson River. This gave the Dutch their claim to this area. On his third voyage in 1611, he sailed up into what is now Hudson's Bay and was set loose in a small boat by a mutinous crew.