Terminology from the Age of Sail

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Search result for definition: dressing sails
Dressing Sails: Applying a treatment to sails to preserve and keep them supple in wet and cold weather. Often a mixture of linseed oil and ochre, giving the sails a red-brown appearance. Tar, tallow and oak bark were also used as ingredients, hence the term barking sails. New sails normally were/are not dressed in the first year or so, since they have to be fully stretched first before treatment can be applied.

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