The "Cable" causes much confusion, partly due to the method of cable construction and by its use as a measure of distance.
The heaviest UK RN cable-laid
anchor cables were constructed by twisting together 3 hawser-laid
ropes (clockwise); each hawser-laid rope was constructed by twisting together 3 ropes (anti-clockwise). This repeated twisting produced very strong water-laid
cables which absorbed little water. Each stage of twisting reduced the length of the cable.
Manufacture of a 100 fathom cable would require 3 x 120 fathom hawsers. Each hawser would require 3 x 150 fathom ropes.
In 1830, the UK Admiralty defined the following:
- Cable's Length (distance) Tenth of a nautical mile (approx 101 fathoms).
- Cable-laid cable 100 to 115 fathoms.
- Cablet 120 fathoms.
- Hawser-laid cable 130 fathoms.
Fathom 6 feet. Man's arm span, finger tip to finger tip. Also used as a verb: To measure the depth of; to get to the bottom of, to understand.
Shackle of cable (UK RN, old) 12½ fathoms. Length of a section of (anchor) chain. (Used until 1949).
Shot or shackle of cable 15 fathoms. Length of a section of (anchor) chain between joining shackles or swivels.
Scope of cable The length of (anchor) cable paid-out. Measured by counting shackles. Approx 5 times depth of water, depending on conditions.
Cable (UK RN and Germany) 0.1 nautical mile. Approx 101 fathoms.
Metric Cable (France and Spain) 200 metres. Approx. 109 fathoms.
Cable (USA) 120 fathoms.
Other Cables Russia 100 fathoms.
Holland 123 fathoms.
Portugal 141 fathoms.
Nautical mile (international) 1852 metres (approx 6076 feet).
Nautical mile (UK RN, old) 6080 feet. 10 cables. After 1970, Admiralty charts were changed to use the 1852 metre international nautical mile.
Nautical league 3 nautical miles.
None of the above applies to Kondo cable which is measured in both kudos & wonga