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Dictionary of Vexillology: Y (Yacht Ensign - Yardarm)

Last modified: 2008-01-05 by phil nelson
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See under ‘ensign’.

An imprecise term covering any flag flown from a pleasure vessel - see ‘burgee’, 'club pennant', ‘dinner flag’, ‘guest on board flag’, ‘meal pennant’, ‘owner absent flag’, ‘prize flag’, ‘racing flag’ and ‘yacht ensign’ under ‘ensign’.

See ‘officer’s flags’.

A beam or bar attached horizontally to a mast or pole. Formerly used for hoisting sails in square-rigged vessels, it now supports the halyards from which flags and signal hoists are displayed (see also ‘hoist of flags’, ‘mast 2)’, ‘sailor’s mast’, ‘signal flag’, ‘stayed mast’ and ‘yardarm’ below).

Half a yard, on board ships reference is made to the port or starboard yard arms to indicate which side of the mast a flag is to be hoisted (see also ‘battle ensigns’, 'mast 2)' and ‘yard’.

Please note that on a flag pole or mast fitted with a yard (either ashore or afloat) the senior position is at the starboard yardarm (this being the right hand side when looking towards the bow of a ship or the left hand when facing a flag pole ashore). Please note also that when yards carry more than one halyard on a side, the outermost halyard on the starboard yardarm (or starboard outer) is the most senior position.

In British Royal Navy usage and some others, a rating with the rank of Petty Officer who has specialised in the handling and conducting of flag signals in the communications departments of a naval vessel (see also ‘bunting tosser’, 'flags 1)' and ‘signal flag’).

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