In days of yore, the great ships were propelled only by the wind in their squaresails. The sails were attached to spars called ‘yards’, and the lines to trim the sails were called ‘braces’. These ran from the end of each yard to the deck. The ‘Main Brace’ was the largest and heaviest of all the running rigging, and to splice it (when required) was one the most difficult tasks aboard ship. And so it was that to those who ‘Spliced the Main Brace went a double issue of rum.
In time the expression became synonymous with a double issue of PUSSER’S RUM. Before the year 1800, the order to ‘Splice the Main Brace’ was always given for a Fleet Review, a Royal birth, or under difficult conditions of cold and fatigue – and usually just before battle. In more recent times, this old expression is sometimes used by sailors as an invitation to board a vessel or enter private quarters for drink and hospitality; and to say to a friend, “Let’s Splice the Main Brace!” is synonymous with “Let’s have a drink!”