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to man the yards


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A form of ceremonial salute in a warship with masts and yards in the days of sail to honour the visit of a high official. The yards were lined by men standing upon them supported by lifelines rigged between the lifts and the masts and with one man, known as the button-man, standing on the truck of each topgallant mast. In the British Navy this form of salute continued until about 1885 when sail finally gave way to steam propulsion. But the practice is still occasionally seen in square-rigged ships used for sail training, and in shore training establishments which have a mast crossed with yards.

Subjects: Maritime History.


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