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1 A narrow pennant or strip of bunting mounted on a spindle. It was flown at the masthead of a sailing vessel to indicate the direction of the wind, though in most modern yachts wind direction is transmitted from an electronic wind vane at the masthead to a dial in the cockpit. In square-riggers, where the helmsman was unable to see the mastheads because of the sails, a small vane, known as a dog-vane, was attached to a pike and placed on the weather side of the quarterdeck. The dog-vane usually consisted of thin strips of cork strung on a piece of twine and sometimes stuck round with feathers.

2 The sights of a variety of quadrants, by which altitudes were measured, were also known as vanes.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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