even keel


Also found in: Idioms.

even keel

[¦ē·vən ′kēl]
(naval architecture)
Floating level, without inclination.
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References in classic literature ?
Some ships sailed fast on an even keel, others had to be trimmed quite one foot by the stern, and I have heard of a ship that gave her best speed on a wind when so loaded as to float a couple of inches by the head.
As before, the Pequod steeply leaned over towards the sperm whale's head, now, by the counterpoise of both heads, she regained her even keel; though sorely strained, you may well believe.
Borckman and the black steersman echoed his words, and, as the wheel spun down, the Arangi, with the swiftness of a witch, rounded into the wind and attained a momentary even keel to the flapping of her headsails and a shifting of headsheets.
It really was a violent storm, approaching a hurricane in force, and at one time it seemed as though the craft, having been heeled far over under a staggering wave that swept her decks, would not come back to an even keel.
The spritsail flapped emptily and the boat righted to an even keel, causing the two men swiftly to change position.
She rested safely now upon an even keel; nor did she leak, for she was well calked with fiber and tarry pitch.
The Reindeer righted very slowly, and when she was on an even keel was so much awash that I doubted if she could be saved.
As the machine came back to an even keel, and he knew that he was now wholly in the invisible stream, he readjusted the wing-tips, rapidly away from him during the several moments of his discomfiture.
But the Vanator did not fall to the ground, within sight of the city at least, though as long as the watchers could see her never for an instant did she rest upon an even keel. Sometimes she lay upon one side or the other, or again she hurtled along keel up, or rolled over and over, or stood upon her nose or her tail at the caprice of the great force that carried her along.
After the last, long dive the Ithaca righted herself laboriously, wallowing drunkenly, but apparently upon an even keel in less turbulent waters.
"Kindling wood--there won't be anything else left of her," Captain Doane commented in the ensuing calm, as he crept gingerly up the companionway with his chronometer cuddled on an even keel to his breast.
Victorious on the 13-8 favourite on its previous outing at Aintree, jockey Barry Geraghty got Florida Pearl back on an even keel quickly after a mistake four out when he had just taken the lead.