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. Sometimes taffrail refers to complete deck area at the stern of a vessel.
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.
- Getty Images, Taffrail Pictures and Images
- Directions for laying off ships on the mouldloft floor, page 80, By John Fincham
- Naval Architecture, Or, The Rudiments and Rules of Ship Building, page 111, By Marmaduke Stalkartt
- Royal, National Maritime Museum, Taffrail carving; horses head
- The Nautical Magazine for 1875, page 491
- Mystic seaport, taffrail log