A strake is:

#part of a boat or ship. It is a horizontal strip of wooden planking or steel plating on the exterior hull of a vessel, running longitudinally along the vessel from the stem to the stern.
#a device for controlling air flow over an aircraft or automobile (especially a racing car).
#a tool for tamping down and levelling semi-fluid materials into a mould.


which, in conjunction with the other strakes, keeps the sea out and the vessel afloat. It is a strip of planking in a wooden vessel or of plating in a metal one, running longitudinally along the vessel's side, bottom or the turn of the bilge, usually from one end of the vessel to the other.

pecial Strakes

The strake immediately adjacent to the keel is known as the "garboard strake". The longest continuous strake at the top of the side of the vessel on the main deck is called the "sheer strake".

In old vessels, a rubbing strake was built in just below a carvel sheer strake. It was much less broad but thicker than other strakes so that it projected and took any rubbing against piers or other boats when the boat was in use. In clinker boats, the rubbing strake was applied to the outside of the sheer strake. Others have no special name other than bottom strakes, bilge strakes and topside strakes.

A stealer is a short strake employed to reduce the width of plank required where the girth of the hull increases. It is commonly employed in carvel and iron/steel shipbuilding, but there are very few, possibly only one type of clinker craft to use them.


Where the transverse sections of the vessel's shape are fuller, the strakes are wider. They taper toward the ends. In many larger vessels, to avoid ending with very narrow strakes, two are normally converted to one toward their ends. This one is known as a stealer or stealer strake. It was one of these which was also shaped to fit the concave line of the hull, under the counter at the sternpost. Historically, these had to be shaped by carving from an especially thick plank of wood (known as a short strake or plank). When someone was describing the epitome of thickness, he thought of the metaphor, "thick as two short planks".

In very small boats, strakes can be made of one continuous piece of wood. Usually, they are made of more than one piece of wood or metal scarfed or butted together similar to brick wall construction. In metal vessels, the modern practice is to butt-weld them with full penetration welds.

In a riveted steel ship, the strakes were usually lapped and joddled, but where a smoother finish was sought, they too might be riveted on a butt strap, though this was weaker. In modern welded construction, the plates are normally butt-welded all round to adjoining plates within the strake and to adjoining strakes.

Wooden Vessels

Wooden planks can be scarfed into a strake by suitably tapering the thickness of the adjoining ends. Traditionally, the adjoining faces were coated with mixed white lead and grease, then held together with copper rivets. It was important to not have the plank end as thin as a feather edge and to have the outboard thin edge at the after end of the joint. In later times, after adhesives had been developed by the aircraft industry, the joint might be made with resin glue and no rivets. In heavier carvel work, the joint would be a butt, riveted to a butt strap. Even large clinker vessels had scarfed strakes as in this form of construction; the strakes contribute a significant proportion of the structural strength of the boat as well as keeping it water-tight.

Assembling the strakes

Two methods used to plank a wooden hull are; carvel in which the edges of the strakes butt against each other, using an internal frame structure to maintain the boat's shape and clinker in which the adjoining strakes are held together on an overlap. Their varying widths and angles of overlap determine the hull's shape.

In the former form of construction, one more traditional in the Mediterranean than in north Europe produces a relatively smooth hull surface but needs caulking to make it watertight and it is relatively heavy (due to the mass of the required internal framing). Carvel boats are planked up onto pre-erected frames which become part of the boat.

The second method is clinker. It is traditional in the north and produced relatively light but strong boats. Normally, the boats are built from the garboard up so that the upper plank overlaps (aka hems) the lower on the outside. That overlap is known as the land and it is held together by copper rivets. In the twentieth century, the boat may have been built of plywood and the strakes glued together without clenched nails. Medieval boats are more likely to have been riveted with iron nails. To rivet the lands, the planks in the two adjoining strakes are pierced, a nail inserted from the outside and a rove or rove punched over the inside end of the nail. The latter is then cut off a little proud of the rove. The nail is then clenched over the rove.

When the shell of the boat is complete, the strakes are stiffened by the insertion of steam-bent timbers. These too, are riveted to the planking through the lands. The timbers, which are sometimes miscalled ribs, spread the load on the strakes and tie them together reducing the tendency of the relatively thin strake to split. With glued ply clinker construction, the timbers are unnecessary.

At the hood-ends of the strakes, where they approach the stem, they are let into each other with geralds (aka chases or gains). In these, the land of the lower strake is tapered to a feather edge at the end of the land where it is supported by the rebate formed by the apron. The strakes then meet the stem flush, which is also referred to as being hooded.

Steel ships may be plated as clinker-built vessels but more usually, they were built with strakes alternately in and out. The modern method is to butt-weld the strakes to each other as well as the plates within them, end to end. This leaves a smoother finish and is lighter.


In aviation, a strake (also known as a leading edge extension when positioned forward of the wing) is an aerodynamic surface generally mounted on the fuselage of an aircraft to fine-tune the airflow. Aircraft designers choose the location, angle and shape of the strake to produce the desired interaction.

The aircraft industry expanded very rapidly at the time of World War I. The skills required both in woodwork and in designing were similar to those of boatbuilding. The aircraft firms like Sopwith eagerly sought boat builders, especially those accustomed to work with such as rowing club best boats, Thames A Class Raters and the pre-war racing power boats. At that time, a good deal of boatbuilding thinking and terminology transferred with the men. It is therefore not surprising to find a longitudinal plate resembling a rubbing strake, though with a different purpose, being called a strake.


The word strake also refers to a straightedge used for levelling a bed of sand, or striking poured concrete or plaster level with the edges of the formwork or mould into which it has been poured. A strake used for flooring or paving work is often called a 'screed'.

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, (on the side of a vessel)

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Strake — Strake, n. [See {Streak}.] 1. A streak. [Obs.] Spenser. White strake. Gen. xxx. 37. [1913 Webster] 2. An iron band by which the fellies of a wheel are secured to each other, being not continuous, as the tire is, but made up of separate pieces.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Strake — Strake, obs. imp. of {Strike}. Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • strake — [strāk] n. [ME, akin to strecchen, to STRETCH] a single line of planking or metal plating extending along the hull of a ship or boat from stem to stern …   English World dictionary

  • Strake — Strakes (auch Leading Edge EXtension, LEX) sind aerodynamische Baugruppen an modernen (im allgemeinen militärischen) Flugzeugen, die die Strömung über den Tragflächen bei hohen Anstellwinkeln beeinflussen. Ziel ist es, aerodynamische Effekte zu… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • strake — See bilge strake garboard strake sheer strake …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • strake — noun a) A type of aerodynamic surface mounted on an aircraft fuselage to fine tune the airflow. , 1866, The separate pieces of iron, forming together the fitting of the wheel, are called strakes, and the great nails by which they are fastened to… …   Wiktionary

  • Strake Jesuit College Preparatory — Infobox Secondary school name = Strake Jesuit College Preparatory motto = Men for Others , Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam , Sic Deus Vult established = June 21, 1960 type = Jesuit Private school affiliations = Catholic, Jesuit president = Fr. Daniel K.… …   Wikipedia

  • strake — noun Etymology: Middle English; akin to Old English streccan to stretch more at stretch Date: 14th century 1. a continuous band of hull planking or plates on a ship; also the width of such a band 2. streak, stripe …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • strake — straked, adj. /strayk/, n. Naut. a continuous course of planks or plates on a ship forming a hull shell, deck, etc. [1300 50; ME; appar. akin to STRETCH] * * * …   Universalium

  • strake — continuous band of plates on side of a ship Nautical Terms …   Phrontistery dictionary

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