navel pipe

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The name of the pipe which led from the forecastle deck—or from the main deck in the case of earlier warships when the capstan was situated between decks—to the chain, or cable, lockers below, through which the anchor cable passed. The origin of the term was probably anatomical, coming from the similarity of feeding the cable into the chain locker to a mother feeding an unborn baby through the umbilical cord.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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