The devil is the name given to the longest seam (joint) on the outside beam of a ship just under the scuppers. All seams needed routine repacking with oakum and pitch to stop them leaking and the devil was the hardest one to do. Sailors would need to hang over the side of the vessel to carry out the task, usually on a small plank and sometimes while at sea. Hence the saying.
By SailingQuiz November 2019 Category: Nautical Saying
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What does Between the devil and the deep blue sea mean?
What is the nautical origin of the phrase "Between the devil and the deep blue sea"?
Definition of the nautical phrase "Between the devil and the deep blue sea".