An unofficial form of punishment in the British Navy during the days of sail, often inflicted as summary justice by the crew of a ship against a member who had transgressed the lower-deck code of honour. It was also often used for the same purpose in the midshipmen's mess. Originally it was administered with a flat piece of wood called a cobbingboard, the offender being tied down before the punishment was inflicted on his breeches. Later, in the 19th century it became a much more vicious punishment, the instrument used being a hammock clew which, with its 22 nettles, became in effect not a cat-o'-nine-tails but one with 22 tails. It was forbidden by the Admiralty towards the end of the 19th century.
Subjects: Maritime History.