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Dictionary of Vexillology: Y (Yacht Ensign - Y Shape)

Last modified: 2022-05-28 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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See under ‘ensign’.

Yacht ensign Yacht ensign
Ensign of the Royal Dee Yacht Club, UK (fotw); Ensign of the Borgå Segelsällskap, Finland (fotw)

An imprecise term covering any flag (or pennant) flown from a pleasure vessel - see ‘burgee’, 'club pennant', ‘dinner flag’, ‘guest on board flag’, ‘meal pennant’, ‘owner absent flag’, ‘prize flag’, ‘racing flag’ and ‘yacht ensign’ under ‘ensign’.

Yacht flag Yacht flag Yacht flag
Ensign of the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club 1906 – 1958 (fotw); Yacht Ensign, US (fotw); Burgee of the Uljanik Plovidba Sailing Club, Croatia (fotw)

See ‘broad pennant 3)’ and ‘officer's pennants’.

Yacht officer's broad pennant
Yacht Club Vice-Commodore’s Broad Pennant, Finland (fotw)

See ‘officer’s flags’.

[Yacht Club Commodore flag]
Flag of a Yacht Club Commodore, US (fotw)

See ‘officer’s pennants’ (also ‘broad pennant 3)’).

[Yacht Club Commodore pennant]
Pennant of a Yacht Club Commodore, National Yacht Club, Ireland (fotw)

In UK usage, a crown formed from various modern yachting sails placed upon a circle or fillet that appears on the duty ensign and burgee of the British Yachting Association and is (as far as is known) unique to them – the RYA crown – but see note below (also ‘fillet 3)’ and ‘naval crown’).

[RYA burgee] [RYA duty ensign]
Official Duty Ensign and Burgee of the Royal Yachting Association, UK (Graham Bartram)

Please note that the defaced ensign and burgee may only be flown by officers of the Association whilst on official duty, and that ordinary members fly either the house/hoist flag or burgee - see 'hoist flag'.

A beam or bar attached horizontally to a mast or pole. Formerly used for hoisting sails in square-rigged vessels, it now supports the halyards from which flags and signal hoists are displayed (see also ‘hoist of flags’, ‘mast 2)’, ‘sailor’s mast’, ‘signal flag’, ‘stayed mast’ and ‘yardarm’ below).

Half a yard, on board ships reference is made to the port or starboard yard arms to indicate which side of the mast a flag is to be hoisted (see also ‘battle ensigns’, 'mast 2)' and ‘yard’.

On a flag pole or mast fitted with a yard (either ashore or afloat) the senior position is at the starboard yardarm (this being the right hand side when looking towards the bow of a ship or the left hand when facing a flag pole ashore).
b) When yards carry more than one halyard on a side, the outermost halyard on the starboard yardarm (or starboard outer) is the most senior position.

In British usage now obsolete, the colloquial term for an officer who had been promoted from the rank of post captain, but was thereafter not employed and had, in essence and in fact, been retired from the active list – an admiral without distinction of colour – see ‘distinction of colour’ (also ‘blue ensign 2)’, ‘flag officer 2)’, ‘red ensign 2)’ and ‘white ensign 2)’.

a) In the Royal navy during the 18th and early 19th Centuries, promotions from and above the rank of post captain were entirely dependent upon seniority regardless of any talent (or lack of it) in the person concerned,
b) thus at Trafalgar (1805) Nelson, although commanding a fleet of 27 ships of the line and four frigates, was only a Vice-Admiral of the White.

In British Royal Navy usage and some others, a rating with the rank of Petty Officer who has specialised in the handling and conducting of flag signals in the communications departments of a naval vessel (see also ‘bunting tosser’, ‘flag lieutenant’, ‘flag locker’, 'flags 1)' and ‘signal flag’).

An ancient symbol consisting of a circle with two interlinked halves, and intended to represent complementary opposites within a greater whole – dark and light, male and female or high and low etc.

South Korea Yin-yang Shanghai 1937
National Flag and Emblem of South Korea (fotw): Flag of Shanghai 1937 – 1948 (fotw)

See ‘pall’.

South Africa
National Flag of South Africa (fotw)

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