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Ship's log

The ships log is the instrument used to measure the speed of a ship. The speed of a ship was formerly estimated using a boat log. The plank was tied to a rope with regularly spaced knots that a sailor counted aloud as they slid between his fingers. The count was made during the time of an hourglass. The resulting number, expressed in knots, ther...

The ships log is the instrument used to measure the speed of a ship. The speed of a ship was formerly estimated using a boat log. The plank was tied to a rope with regularly spaced knots that a sailor counted aloud as they slid between his fingers. The count was made during the time of an hourglass. The resulting number, expressed in knots, therefore measures a speed and not a length. As a result of the Anglo-Saxon measurements, the nodes were spaced at 47 feet and 3 inches (14.4 m) and the hourglass was calibrated to measure a period of 28 seconds.

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