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Thursday, September 01, 2011

What d'ya mean by "Crow's nest?"

 Golden Hind Model (SAFR 22687)

A sailor get's a bird's-eye view of his environment from a crow's nest. Galleons of the 16th century often had one or more crow's nests situated high on the tallest masts, where a sailor often shared this lofty perch with crows brought aboard in a cage, hence the term, "crow's nest." If the captain wanted to locate land, a crow was released from the perch and the navigator sailed in the direction of the bird's flight as it invariably headed towards land. Modern mates use the term to describe any kind of protected station fitted aloft to accommodate a lookout.

Detail of the model

The Park's full hull model artifact, English galleon Golden Hind, catalog number SAFR 22687, has excellent examples of crow's nest perches on the main and foremast. See it for yourself. The Golden Hind is currently on exhibit in the Prismatarium room of the Museum Building.


Rogers, John G. Origins of sea terms. Mystic, Conn.: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1984.
MacEwen, William A. and A.H. Lewis. Encyclopedia of nautical knowledge. Cambridge, Md.: Cornell Maritime Press, 1953.

--Contributor: Palma J. You, Archives Technician.

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