Strictly, that part of a ship's bow where the hawseholes and hawsepipes are situated through which the anchor cables pass. But it is by extension, and in its most generally accepted meaning, also the distance between the ship's head and its anchor as it lies on the bottom. Thus another vessel which crosses this space is said to cross the hawse. When a ship lies to two anchors, it has a clear hawse when the two cables grow from the ship without crossing; when they do cross, the ship has a foul hawse. The normal practice in ships when they lie to two anchors is to insert a mooring swivel between the two cables so that the ship swings in a restricted circle without the cables becoming crossed.
Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.