A small ship's anchor formerly carried on board to warp a ship from one berth to another or to haul it off into deeper water after grounding; also the name by which the spare anchor normally carried in yachts is known.
The original name was cagger, an early derivation from catch (i.e. to catch the ground), and certainly dates back to the 14th century, but it had developed into kedge at least by the end of the 16th century. It was also frequently used in harbour by sailing vessels as the main anchor to which the ship lay in order to save labour when the time came to weigh it for departure. In the days of sail a kedge was also sometimes used to back up the bower anchor when a ship was anchored in bad holding ground or when heavy weather was expected.
Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.