Any of a number of heavy, hook-shaped devices that is dropped over the
side of the boat on the end of a length of rope and/or chain, and which is
designed to hold a vessel securely in place until (a) the wind exceeds 2
knots, (b) the owner and crew depart, or (c) 3 a.m.
Long, low-lying navigational hazard, usually awash, found at river mouths
and harbour entrances, where it is composed of sand or mud, and ashore,
where it is made of mahogany or some other dark wood. Sailors can be found
in large numbers around both.
Any horizontal surface whose total area does not exceed one half of the
surface area of an average man at rest, onto which at least one liter of
some liquid seeps during any 12-hour period and above which there are not
less than 10 kilograms of improperly secured objects.
Break Out Another Thousand.
Laterally mounted pole to which a sail is fastened. Often used during
jibing to shift crew members to a fixed, horizontal position.
The boat which, in a collision situation, did not have the right-of-way.
See PRIVILEGED VESSEL.
An abrasive sailcloth used to remove excess skin from knuckles
Any one of a number of substances introduced into the spaces between
planks in the hull and decking of a boat that give a smooth, finished
appearance while still permitting the passage of a significant amount of
Sudden and usually unpleasant surprise suffered by Spanish seaman.
An electromechanical switching unit intended to prevent the flow of
electricity under normal operating conditions and, in the case of a short
circuit, to permit the electrification of all conductive metal fittings
throughout the boat. Available at most novelty shops.
Club, Yacht Club, Racing Association:
Troublesome seasonal accumulation in costal areas of unpleasant marine
organisms with stiff necks and clammy extremities. Often present in large
numbers during summer months when they clog inlets, bays, and coves,
making navigation almost impossible. The infestations are most serious
along the coasts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine. They can be
effectively dislodged with dynamite, but, alas, archaic federal laws rule
out this option.
Heavy, stationary objects used on shipboard to hold down charts, anchor
cushions in place and dampen sudden movements of the boom.
Waterborne pleasure journey embarked on by one or more people. A cruise
may be considered successful if the same number of individuals who set out
on it arrive, in roughly the same condition they set out in, at some piece
of habitable dry land, with or without the boat.
Tidal flow that carries a boat away from its desired destination, or
toward a hazard.
International signals which indicate that a boat is in danger. For
example, in American waters: the sudden appearance of lawyers, the
pointing of fingers, and repression of memories; in Italian waters:
moaning, weeping, and wild gesticulations; in French waters: fistfights,
horn blowing, and screamed accusations; in Spanish waters: boasts, taunts,
and random gunfire; in Irish waters: rhythmic grunting, the sound of
broken glass, and the detonation of small explosive devices; in Japanese
waters: shouted apologies, the exchange of calling cards, and minor
self-inflected wounds; and in English waters: doffed hats, the burning of
toast, and the spilling of tea.
Sailboats are equipped with a variety of engines, but all of them work on
the internal destruction principle, in which highly machined parts are
rapidly converted into low-grade scrap, producing in the process energy in
the form of heat, which is used to boil bilge water; vibration, which
improves the muscle tone of the crew; and a small amount of rotational
force, which drives the average size sailboat at sppeds approaching a
furlong per fortnight.
A line circling the earth at a point equidistant from both poles which
separates the oceans into the North Danger Zone and the South Danger Zone.
Marine custom establishes a code of social behavior and nautical courtesy
for every conceivable occasion. Thus, for example, a boat belonging to
another boatman is always referred to as a "scow", a "tub", or a
"pig-boat". When one skipper goes aboard another's boat, he does not
hesitate to tell him frankly about any drawbacks or disadvantages he finds
in comparison to his own craft. Sailors welcome every opportunity to
improve their vessels, and so he knows that his remarks will be greatly
appreciated. When one sailboat passes another, it is customary for the
captain of the passing boat to make a bladderlike sound with his lips and
tongue, and for the captain of the passed boat to return the courtesy by
offering a smart salute consisting of a quick upward movement of the right
hand with the second digit extended.
Decorative dummy found on sailboats. See CAPTAIN.
Any of an number of signalling pennants or ensigns, designed to be flown
upside down, in the wrong place, in the wrong order, or at an
Sailboats without auxiliary engines do not require fuel as such, but an
adequate supply of a pale yellow carbonated beverage with a 10 percent to
12 percent alcohol content is essential to the operation of all
1. Ancient: Aspect of seafaring associated with slavery
2. Modern: Aspect of seafaring associated with slavery
Movable mountings often found on shipboard lamps, compasses, etc., which
provide dieting passengers an opportunity to observe the true motions of
the ship in relation to them, and thus prevent any recently ingested food
from remaining in their digestive systems long enought to be converted
into unwanted calories.
1. Any boat over 2 feet in length. 2. The skipper of any such craft. 3.
Any body of water. 4. Any body of land within 100 yards of any body of
In maritime use, the ability to keep persons on board ship without
resorting to measures which substantially violate applicable state and
A situation calling for LEADERSHIP
Any personal flotation device that will keep an individual who has fallen
off a vessell above water long enough to be run over by it or another
Commercial dock facility. Among the few places, under admiralty law, where
certain forms of piracy are still permitted, most marinas have up-to-date
facilities for the disposal of excess amounts of U.S. currency that may
have accumulated on board ship, causing a fire hazard.
A relativistic measure of surface distance over water - in theory, 6076.1
feet. In practice, a number of different values for the nautical mile have
been observed while under sail, for example: after 4 p.m., approximately
40,000 feet; in winds of less than 5 knots, about 70,000 feet; and during
periods of threatening weather in harbor approaches, around 100,000 feet.
The act of bringing a boat to a complete stop in a relatively protected
coastal area in such a fashion that it can be sailed away again in less
than one week's time by the same number of people who moored it without
heavy equipment and no more than $100 in repairs.
A form of movable internal ballast which tends to accumulate on the
leeward side of sailboats once sea motions commence.
Traditional units of angular measurement from the viewpoint of someone on
board a vessel. They are: Straight ahead of you, right up there; Just a
little to the right of the front; Right next to that thing up there;
Between those two things; Right back there, look; Over that round
doohickey; Off the right corner; Back over there; and Right behind us.
A glass-covered opening in the hull designed in such a way that when
closed (while at sea) it admits light and water, and when open (while at
anchor) it admits, light, air, and insects (except in Canadian waters,
where most species are too large to gain entry in this manner).
Technical maritime term for customs procedure on entering foreign waters.
When passing through customs, particularly in the tropics - the most
common foreign destination for American pleasure craft - it is customary
to display a small amount of that country's official currency in a
conspicuous place and to transfer it to the officer who examines the
boat's documents during the parting handshake. A nice sharp slap on the
back as the captain effects the transfer shows he cares about appearances.
And it is by no means out of place for the skipper to add a friendly word
or two, such as "Here, Sparky, this is for you. Why don't you go out and
buy yourself some joy juice and get stupid?" incidentally, these
inspectors are justly proud of their educational attainments, and the
savvy boat owner can win some fast friends by remarking with surprise and
admiration on their ability to read and write.
The vessel which in a collision was "in the right". If there were
witnesses, the owner could bring an admiralty court case - know as a "wet
suit" or a "leisure suit" - against the owner of the other boat, and if he
proves "shiplash", he could collect a tidy sum.
Underwater winch designed to wind up at high speed any lines or painters
left hanging over the stern.
Affectionate slang term for ship's captain
Popular nautical contact sport
Rapture of the Deep:
Also known as nautical narcosis. Its symptoms include an inability to use
common words, such as up, down, left, right, front, and back, and their
substitution with a variety of gibberish which the sufferer believes to
make sense; a love of small, dark, wet places; an obsessive desire to be
surrounded by possessions of a nautical nature, such as lamps made from
running lights and tiny ship's wheels; and a conviction that objects are
moving when they are in fact standing still. This condition is incurable.
A large, heavy, vertically mounted, hydrodynamically contoured steel plate
with which, through the action of a tiller or wheel, it is possible,
during brief intervals, to point a sailing vessel in a direction which,
due to a combination of effects caused by tide, current, the force and
direction of the wind, the size and angle of the waves, and the shape of
the hull, it does not wish to go.
An entertaining, albeit expensive, device, which, together with a good
atlas, is of use in introducing the boatman to many interesting areas of
the earth's surface which he and his craft are not within 1,000 nautical
A boat is said to be shipshape when every object that is likely to
contribute to the easy handling of the vessel or the comfort of the crew
has been put in a place from which it cannot be retrieved in less than 30
Due to restricted space, limited water supplies, and the difficulty of
generating hot water, showers on board ship are quite different from those
taken ashore. Although there is no substitute for direct experience, a
rough idea of a shipboard shower can be obtained by standing naked for two
minutes in a closet with a large, wet dog.
One of the most useful tools for engine repair; in come cases, the only
suitable tool. Not currently manufactured.
An extremely large, lightweight, balloon-shaped piece of sailcloth
frequently trailed in the water off the bow in a big bundle to slow the
Method of joining two ropes by weaving together the individual strands of
which they are composed. The resulting connection is stronger than any
knot. Splicing is something of an art and takes a while to master. You can
work on perfecting your technique at home by practicing knitting a pair of
socks or a stocking cap out of a pound or so of well-cooked noodles.
To shift the course of a sailboat from a direction far to the right, say,
of the direction in which one wishes to go, to a direction far to the left
Stub your "toe"? Well then, it's time to brush up on your nomenclature! In
nautical terms, a toe is a catchcleat or snagtackle. A few others: head -
boomstop; leg - bruisefast; and hand - blistermitten.
As worn by yacht club members and other shore hazards, a distinctive form
of dress intended to be visible at a distance of at least 50 meters which
serves to warn persons in the vicinity of the long winds and dense masses
of hot air associated with these tidal bores.
Name of German sea dog.
High-fiction coating applied as a gloss over minor details in personal
nautical recollections to improve their audience-holding capacity over
Marked tendency of a sailboat to turn into the wind, even when the rudder
is centered. This is easily countered by wedging a heavy object against
the tiller. See CREW.
Sound made by Vang when he wishes to be fed.
Sound made by Vang to show that he doesn't like that dry, lumpy dog food
you put in his dish.
Useful accessory if that dry, lumpy dog food is all you happen to have on
Form of coastal marine life found in many harbours in the Northern
Hemisphere generally thought to occupy a position on the evolutionalry
scale above algae, but somewhat below the cherrystone clam.
Southern version of ahoy.
A warm, pleasant breeze named after the mythical Greek god of wishful
thinking, false hopes, and unreliable forecasts.