These are devices used on traditional sailing vessels to secure lines of rigging.
These belaying pins are made of solid wood with a curved top portion and cylindrical bottom part. They can also be made of metal.
They are inserted into a hole in a wooden pinrail, which usually runs along the inside of the bulwarks, though this one is a free-standing pinrail called a fife rail.
Although the belaying pin can be lifted out and removed, it is usually left in place. To secure a line, it is first led around the bottom of the pin and then the top, to form a complete turn.
It is taken once more around the bottom of the pin, and then three cross-shaped turns are applied by looping the line round alternate sides of the top and bottom. This pattern can be remembered as "one hug and three kisses".
Other arrangements are possible, but ensuring that the same pattern is used on a particular ship means that sailors know what to expect when releasing a line fastened by someone else - possibly in the dark.
According to the Belaying Plan of the Star of India these pins secure the Main Topgallant, Upper Topsail and Main Royal Sheets. As these sails are currently not set, the lines are hanging loose.
All images © 2004-2014 by Walter Otto Koenig, Images may not be copied, downloaded, or linked. All rights reserved.