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PostSubject: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeTue Oct 23, 2007 7:29 am

In the past there have been several posts either touching on or examining in depth some aspect of maritime terminology of 1720. This thread has been started to provide a focal point for such discussions.

We each have varying degrees of understanding when it comes to naval terms during the age of sail. Put your questions, ideas, speculations and observations here as we prepare to sail the burning sea.

NOTE: For those who may be thinking "Oh, no! These Highlanders are really hard core!"

Well, yes and no!

This thread is for both those dedicated rpers who want to drill down into the terminology we'll all be hearing in the game, and those who want to get just a casual knowledge of a few sea terms.

You will not be tested! Smile
You will not be required to speak in heavily accented sea-talk! Shocked
This is just for fun! Laughing

Jack McBain
Master of the Hornet
Highland Confederacy Recruit


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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeTue Oct 23, 2007 1:08 pm

Moved back for general edification. No secrets to see here people.


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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeTue Oct 23, 2007 1:13 pm

Excellent idea this!

One thing that would help me a lot - and probably some other people around here too - is some kind of compendium with naval terms. Not only will it speed up my understanding of the way the naval part in PotBS works, but it would also make my conversations more authentic.

Of course I could google my way around the naval sites, but terms relevant to our game and gameplay would definitely make life easier.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeTue Oct 23, 2007 4:48 pm

I use this one. All the terms are on one page and they give very quick and simple definitions.

http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~elfox/terms.html
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeTue Oct 23, 2007 11:59 pm

That's a pretty complete list all right. It's contemporary, but nearly all of the terms go back to 1720. One possible exception not listed is the term 'larboard'; which is what they called the side of the boat opposite starboard back in 1720.

Another thing worth finding will be the names of all the sails. On a Brigantine that would be a lot of sails.

I'd like to submit a concept worth adding to our lexicon: A course is set in the direction you wish to go (Set a course of Sou, sou west means set a course to 202 degrees, 30 minutes.) However the wind is referred to by the direction from which it comes. If we were to say "That's a fresh Nor easter" We'd be saying that's a brisk wind is coming from the North East and blowing toward the South West. The prevaling wind is Noreasterly on the Burning Sea.


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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeWed Oct 24, 2007 5:07 am

I like OxBaker's line of thinking. I too had to find a site to help. It is too much like homework again though! I found this one to be useful in that it (supposedly) has terms from the age of sail.

http://phrontistery.info/nautical.html
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeWed Oct 24, 2007 6:57 am

A great phrontistery you've got there, Whiskey. And, with lots of terms for sails as well as cargo related stuff. Good find!

Anchor scope is the length of line paid out when safely anchoring a boat. In normal conditions, a safe minimum anchor scope is a ratio of 5 to 1 (warp or chain length to depth). In heavy weather it can be 7 to 1 or more. The amount of warp is figured to be the depth of water at high tide, plus the height from water line to the bow roller. (On large cargo ships this height from water line to bow is important but not so much so for smaller vessels.) For example, in fair weather if high water is 60ft deep and your bow roller is 5ft above the water, you need to let out 305ft (i.e. 5 times 60 + 5ft) of scope to anchor.

Water depth is most commonly figured in fathoms. In today's world one fathom equals exactly six feet, although back in 1720 it was usually approximated by stretching out one's arms side to side at the shoulders and measuring the line from finger tip to finger tip. The length would very much depend on the stretch of the swab's arms.
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PostSubject: What's a knot? Just how fast is it?   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeThu Oct 25, 2007 10:41 am

The following is an excellent historical description of how the term 'Knot' entered maritime jargon, what it means and just how fast it is. There is much more to the story at: http://www.titanic-nautical.com/Nautical-Facts-Information-Ships-Speed.html. The following is quoted excerpt from this source.

"In the ancient times, the only way to measure ship speed was to throw a wood log into the water and observe how fast it moves away from the ship. This approximate method of ship speed measurement was called 'Heaving the Log' and was used until 1500-1600s when the 'Chip Log' method was invented (both methods probably invented by Dutch sailors.)

The 'Chip Log' apparatus consisted of a small weighted wood panel that was attached to the reel of rope, and a time measuring device: a half-minute sand glass. Chip Log Rope had knots tied at equal distances along the reel. Sailors would throw the wood panel into the sea, behind the ship, and the rope would start unwinding from the reel. The faster the ship was moving forward the faster the rope would unwind. By counting the number of knots that went overboard in a given time interval, measured by the sand glass, they could tell the ship's speed. In fact that is the origin of the nautical speed unit: the knot.

So, how fast is a 'knot'?

Well, first we should know that for distance sailors used (and still use) the so called 'nautical mile'. If you slice Earth into two equal halves right through its center along equator for example, then divide the perimeter (the circumference) into 360 degrees, then each degree into 60 arc minutes, the length you get is approximately 1 nautical mile. So, to recap, one nautical mile is the arc distance of about 1 minute of a degree (or 1/60th of a degree) of Earth. We say approximate because if you choose to slice Earth along the line that goes through the North and South poles you would get a slightly different result due to the fact that Earth is not a perfect sphere - it is slightly flattened at the poles. Difference between the polar and equatorial diameter being about 23.4 nautical miles out of 6880 nautical miles. Exact value for the nautical mile is taken to be the average of the two (polar and equatorial) and is:

1 nautical mile = 1.15 miles = 1852 meters = 6067 feet

Naturally, sailors wanted to have their ship's speed in units of nautical miles per hour (just like American car drivers like their car speed in miles per hour - my apologies to the rest of the world. However, don't fuss too much since the meter was also defined quite arbitrary around 17th century as one part in 10 million of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator along the meridian of Paris.)

To avoid ropes that were miles and miles in length, they usually had ropes that had knots every 50 feet and a sand glass that measured half a minute. If you work out the math you will convince yourself that the number of knots that went overboard in half a minute is exactly the number of nautical miles per hour the ship was cruising at. For example, if 10 knots went overboard in half a minute, then the ship was moving forward at the speed of 10 knots or 10 nautical miles per hour (which would be about 11.5 standard miles per hour.)"
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PostSubject: Windward and Leeward   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeFri Oct 26, 2007 9:28 am

Windward and leeward, two important terms concerning the wind.

If you've ever been on a cruise or even just been on a ferry traveling from one place to another and taken a stroll out on deck completely around the vessel, you've experienced Windward and Leeward (usually pronounced Looward). On one side of the vessel you'll feel the wind blowing from the side (that's the windward side of the vessel) while on the other side of the vessel there will be no wind at all (that's the leeward side of the vessel).

Windward and leeward are terms used all the time at sea. Every vessel and island has a windward side and a leeward side. In naval warfare under sail the English preferred being on the windward side of an enemy while the French preferred being leeward of the enemy. If you find yourself in heavy weather look for calmer waters on the leeward side of an island.

Jack


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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeSat Oct 27, 2007 7:16 am

Here's a word - Fetch - oft used and heard at sea, though personnaly I have used the term only in context of the first definition.

1. Fetch: An area where ocean waves are being generated by the wind; the length of such an area.

2. Fetch: to reach; arrive at: to fetch port

3. Fetch about: to come onto a new tack.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeMon Oct 29, 2007 12:43 pm

To tack or to wear

If you are turning your ship and that turn takes the bow of your ship through the direction in which the wind is blowing then you are executing a tack.

If you are turning your ship and that turn takes the stern of your ship through the direction in which the wind is blowing then you are executing a wear also commonly called wearing.

These two terms are used when signaling turning directions to ships formed up in a line and engaged in battle.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeTue Oct 30, 2007 6:12 pm

Its wharf not dock

Ever since I joined HC I've been calling a wharf by the wrong name; it's not a dock. This term wasn't used for at least a hundred years execpt in the following context: "Hornet docked smartly to the wharf at Martinique. Dock is an action verb, wharf is a noun.

One other small point; nearly all vessels anchored in a bay and used a small boat to get ashore. The only time a vessel docked (or moored) longside a wharf was when she had cargo to offload and made room for the next vessel as soon as it was completed. (That last part is as true today as in 1720.)
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeWed Oct 31, 2007 9:47 am

Jack McBain wrote:
Its wharf not dock

Ever since I joined HC I've been calling a wharf by the wrong name; it's not a dock. This term wasn't used for at least a hundred years execpt in the following context: "Hornet docked smartly to the wharf at Martinique. Dock is an action verb, wharf is a noun.

One other small point; nearly all vessels anchored in a bay and used a small boat to get ashore. The only time a vessel docked (or moored) longside a wharf was when she had cargo to offload and made room for the next vessel as soon as it was completed. (That last part is as true today as in 1720.)

Good to know, I've been making the same mistake. Thank you.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeWed Oct 31, 2007 3:34 pm

Title changed at Jack's bidding. And good discussion everyone! I'm learning a lot too.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeThu Nov 01, 2007 6:58 am

Thanks for the title change, Wilhelm. Its a more apt description than the old one. The discussion on Naval Tactics will come later.

In Irons - to head into the wind and refuse to fall off.

"As Commandant Bontecou edged his vessel ever closer to the wind, Luron de mer lost headway [forward speed] until she was put in irons".

Bringing your ship up into the wind is how you slow vessel speed. Once a ship is pointing directly into the wind all forward motion stops and she's "put in irons".

Why would you want to do something like that, you ask? That's a discussion for battle tactics.

Tomorrow we'll look at the difference between making way and under way.

You are aways welcomed to add your own understandings of nautical terms or ask any questions you may have. This thread is for all of us to get more comfortable with the terminology we'll want to use and are sure to hear in potbs. I can't wait until we go live!

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeFri Nov 02, 2007 9:02 am

The two terms, under way and making way sound similar, and are but for one significant difference.

Under way: Not at dock, or anchored or aground. With the anchor free of the bottom.

Makingway: In motion. Moving through the water.

Defining the two terms this way make the difference fairly obvious. A vessel, not tied to the dock (wharf in 1720), neither anchored nor aground is not necessarily a vessel in forward motion. A boat bobbing up and down in the water not going anywhere is under way. Now put up the sails, set a course and begin moving through the water - presto! you're now making way*.

As readers let out a collective grown and start looking for things to throw, Jack hurriedly adds: Yup, it gets that subtle. Here's yet another great URL for sea terms: http://www.seatalk.info/. Check out their "Word for the day" on their home page! I've added this link to my favorites along side the ones provided in earlier posts to this thread by Ox and Whiskey.

Here's a great image loaded with gobs of sailing concepts and terms related to making way. Check it out!


Maritime Terms and Descriptions Quad

**EDIT** BTW, if youre underway at sea bobbing up and down in the water you're adrift

Jack


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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeFri Nov 02, 2007 10:39 am

I think these forums allow you to just paste them in; no code needed.


EDIT::: OK, tnen try to either copy it to your desktop and then paste it in... or using PhotoBucket. Probably Photobucket is going to be your best bet.

Not sure why it's forcing the code in there like that; maybe somethign has changed.


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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeFri Nov 02, 2007 11:22 am

Benoit_Bontecou wrote:
I think these forums allow you to just paste them in; no code needed.

Here's what I get when I copy and paste, Benoit...

[url=javascript:void(0);]Maritime Terms and Descriptions Quad[/url]

GOT IT! cheers See above. Thanks for the help, Benoit!
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeSat Nov 03, 2007 2:56 pm

While surfing some of the other RP focused potbs societies I came across the British Naval group named 'The Windward Squadron', (http://www.windwardsquadron.co.uk/forums). Of course, in the spirit of a Scottish spy I couldn’t resist a bit of reconnaissance and took a look around. My impressions; they are a well organized squadron of the British Navy, knowledgeable about strategy and tactics of Naval warfare, and intent on gaining control of the Greater Antilles. My conclusion is they will be a force to reckon with.

While there I did come by the site, Broadside. It is a link which naturally belongs in “Maritime Terms and Descriptions”. Broadside is a collection of pages describing life in the Royal Navy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century; it is well presented and, in the adage of “know thy enemy”, full of stuff worth reading. http://www.nelsonsnavy.co.uk/broadside.html

Jack


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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeSun Nov 04, 2007 10:38 am

In an earlier post on this thread I spoke of ship’s heading using the term “south by south west”. (In 1720 maritime speak it would be said as “sou, sou west.”)

In today’s maritime environment heading is usually given in degrees. For example the Captain could give a course heading something like this; “change heading to 202 degrees, 30 minutes”.

Here’s an image that should help us all understand directions of sail both in contemporary degrees and 1720 speak.

Maritime Terms and Descriptions 300px-CompassRose16a

Jack


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PostSubject: SHIP SAILS   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeMon Nov 05, 2007 8:08 am

Always seemed to me that on a sailing ship there are a hundred sails and a thousand lines. Only the beta testers amongst us know if we need to know sail names and they're not even telling us who they are no less what they know. Here are the sails!

Maritime Terms and Descriptions Saildiag

A. Fore royal
B. Fore topgallant
C. Fore Topsail
D. Fore mainsail
E. Main royal
F. Main topgallant
G. Main topsail
H. Mizen royal
J. Mizen topsail
K. Driver or Spanker
M. Flying jib
N. Outer jib
O. Inner Jib
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeTue Nov 06, 2007 8:15 am

The term waypoint is used when setting or plotting a course along a set route. For example, to both prey upon fat merchant ships and protect our own trading interest HC privateers may regularly patrol a course made up of three waypoints in the area south of Martinique; the first waypoint being the south tip of Martinique, the second waypoint the north tip of St. Lucia, and the third waypoint the north west of tip of Barbados.

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeTue Nov 06, 2007 9:29 pm

For those who are fans of the Patrick O'Brian novels, there is a really good companion book (sort of) to the series called Patrick O'Brian's Navy. It is packed with illustrations concerning all aspects of naval life, ship design, sails, terminology, weapons, etc. Obviously it is later than our time period, but there are many aspects of the British and French navies (it focuses on those) that had not changed much.

I think you can still get it through Amazon, and it's really worth it, a lot of good visual aids that can help you visualize some of the complexities of sailing and fighting.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeWed Nov 07, 2007 9:51 am

I'm studying hard. study Keep it coming ... really interesting!

PS: sorry for the periods of inactivity at the Albatross. Busy times at work ... if only I could play PotBS to relax late at night!

- Erasmus
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions Icon_minitimeWed Nov 07, 2007 7:25 pm

Deoiridh, Got my copy on order; thanks for the recommendation! Smile

The following is almost entirely quoted from wisegeek at http://www.wisegeek.com/. For members who might find a bit of scatological reference unacceptable I recommend you drop down to the bit at the bottom of this post. For ta’ rest o’ ye…read on!


The poop: affraid

“Okay, let's all get it out of our systems right now. The poop deck of a sailing ship has absolutely no connection with a certain bodily function. That sort of business is generally handled in the area below the ship's bow adjacent to the figurehead called the head."

Maritime Terms and Descriptions Head1



"Performing that act on an actual poop deck, or even in the poop cabin below it, is likely to result in extended galley duty for the offending sailor."

Maritime Terms and Descriptions 250px-Grand_Turk02

"A poop deck is actually the roof of a poop cabin located in the rear (aft) section of a sailing ship's main deck. “The word poop for our purposes comes from the Latin puppis, meaning "stern".

"Shipbuilders often designed a cabin space in the very rear of the ship called a poop cabin. This poop cabin extends a few feet above the level of the main deck, and is finished off with a flat roof. The flat roof of a poop cabin also serves as an observation platform called the poop deck. Officers and high-ranking sailors often used the poop deck as an ideal position for observing the crew at work.

“The poop cabin on a sailing ship generally served the same purpose as the raised bridge area does on a modern ship. The poop cabin could be used as an officer's mess hall during meals, as well as a storage area for maps, journals and official logs. The poop deck itself was a good vantage point from which to assess the condition of the ship's sails, since the poop deck was usually positioned behind the shorter third mast, or mizzenmast. If the captain was not at the helm himself, he could generally be found on the poop deck issuing orders to the helmsman.”


Poop deck: An exposed partial deck on the stern superstructure of a ship

In naval architecture, a poop deck is a deck that constitutes the roof of a cabin built in the aft (rear) part of the superstructure of a ship. The name originates from the French word (la poupe) for stern, so the poop deck is the stern deck, which in sailing ships was usually elevated as the roof of the stern (or 'after') cabin. In sailing ships, with the helmsman at the stern, an elevated position was ideal for both navigation and observation of the crew and sails.

All for now, obviously I'm getting to the bottom of the barrel on these terms. Next one; bilge

Jack


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