SPLICING THE MAINBRACE
"Splice the mainbrace" is the order given within the Royal Navy to issue an extra tot of rum* or grog to the men. (Grog is rum diluted with water, named after the 18th century admiral "Old Grog" Vernon.) It seems the phrase derives from the hazardous job of repairing the rigging's main brace. The order can be given by commanding officers and the monarch (the queen mother also issued the order on occasion). In recent times, the order had been issued when Queen Elizabeth II reviewed the fleet during the Sivler Jubilee of 1977; in 1981 to commemorate the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales; and in 2002 to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee.
* The Navy's rum ration was abolished in July 1970 by the 1st Sea Lord Admiral "Ginger" Le Fanu. (In response to his order, the admiral's nickname swiftly became "Dry Ginger.")
Ernest Dimnet (1866-1954)