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A capstan but without a drumhead, and in which the bars were inserted right through the top of the barrel instead of into pigeon-holes in the upper perimeter (drumhead) as in a capstan proper; the holes for the bars in a crab being in different planes. In the days of sail it was used for any heavy lifting work on board in exactly the same way as a capstan but sometimes extemporized for use in positions where the fall of the purchase used for lifting a weight could not be led to an existing winch or capstan. See also crustacea.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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