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In naval architecture, a taffrail is the handrail around the open deck area toward the stern of a ship or boat. The rear deck of a ship is often called the afterdeck or poop deck. Not all ships have an afterdeck or poop deck. Sometimes taffrail refers to just curved wooden top of the stern of a sailing man-of-war or East Indiaman ship. The rail of these wooden sailing ships usually had hand-carved wooden rails, often highly decorated.[1] Sometimes taffrail refers to complete deck area at the stern of a vessel.[2][3][4][5]

A taffrail log is a mechanical speed logging device, used like a car odometer. The taffrail log was towed from the stern or taffrail of the ship by a long line. Taffrail log were developed in the eighteenth century and became a practical device in the nineteenth century. [6]

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  1. ^ Getty Images, Taffrail Pictures and Images
  2. ^ Directions for laying off ships on the mouldloft floor, page 80, By John Fincham
  3. ^ Naval Architecture, Or, The Rudiments and Rules of Ship Building, page 111, By Marmaduke Stalkartt
  4. ^ Royal, National Maritime Museum, Taffrail carving; horses head
  5. ^ The Nautical Magazine for 1875, page 491
  6. ^ My stic seaport, taffrail log