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 Maritime Terms and Descriptions

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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeThu Jan 03, 2008 5:06 pm

[It was a fun ride jack, thank you.]


What was a Letter of Marque?
A Letter of Marque was a license to operate and own a private warship subject to a long and complicated regulation system. To get one you had to post a bond of over a thousand pounds to ensure your good behaviour.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeThu Jan 03, 2008 6:01 pm

Wow! I had no idea that a bond needed to be posted. I always assumed that a percentage of the income (plunder is such a filthy word Razz ) was paid to the authorities who issued the letter.

One learns something new every day. Great thread by the way!
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PostSubject: Navigation   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeFri Jan 04, 2008 10:59 am

A little bit about navigation: In this year A.D. 1720 the mercator projection is commonly used for maps. This type of map will probably be the most common for hundreds of years from now. The locations that share the same longitude on earth are placed on the same value along one axis. Places with the the same latitude share the same value at the other axis. The geographical north is at the upper side of the map (and the magnetical north may differ). That projection is great if you are close to zero latitude - that is the equator. (Like in the burning seas). Mercator projection is extremely bad, if you are close to the north- or southpole (+/- 90 degrees latitude). For example Greenland looks on mercator maps of the whole world as big as Afrika. Afrika is more that 13 times bigger than Greenland.

Ok, so what? The burning seas ARE close to the equator, lets forget about Greenland. How do i find my way allready owning a good map of these waters. First of all there are lighthouses. If you see two of them at the same time you can estimate your location. If you own a compass you can get your bearing toward these lighthouses and pinpoint your location on the map quite acurately. If these lighthouses aren't operated by pirates on the beach, who want you to crush your ship on these rocks over there.

So lets have a look how you can track your own location without lighthouses. As you own a beautiful compass and a almost usefull clock you can use these. You have to know how fast your ship is going though. Here is a great trick: If the waters you are sailing do not have strong currents, you can throw a bucket on a string overboard. If you let it swimm behind your ship for - lets say one minute - and you let the string slip through your fingers, the bucket almost stays in place and you can estimate how far your ship went within this one minute. You can make knots as marks into this line and it is quite usefull to let them have a distance that if your vessel can travel ten miles within one hour, that the line has 10 knots along the distance rolled up by the swimming bucket. One knot for every mile traveled within one hour that is.

Ok, but those waters have strong currents sometimes. Then it is time for something brand new - the sextant. Invented by this wreched natural philosoph Isaac Newton some years ago. I do not trust that thing too much. If you want to use it beware, your poor navigator will have to look direktly into the sun with the naked eye for several seconds each day. He will loose his eyesight pretty fast. You better buy your navigator a fancy eye patch to preserve a little bit of his sight. Ok, here is how it works: The sextant has a lead, that always shows downward. And it has a mirror mounted on a scale showing the angle. The trick is to look at the sun when it is at its highest point at noon through the mirror and bring it into line with the horizont. Then you can see under which angle the sun stands above the horizont. Maybe you or you navigator learned the math behind celestial movements when you were learning for a captains patent. But even if you did not - the royal astronomers tabulated the values needed. You have to have that good exact clock though, which is realy difficult to get. Most of the clocks dont work to well on a ship. Quite similar to the concept of a sextant is the astrolabium, where Newton stole the idea.

By the way - did you recognise that your compass behaves in a strange way sometimes? Last year when we were shipping a cargo of iron ore and nickel this was pretty obviously the case. But it is even stranger: At La Rochelle there is a mark set up to test your compass. This mark should be showing the exact north - only, that it actually does not show exactly northward. Within the last fifty years the north of the compass went away from the marking. Obviously the magnetical north wanders away from the north given by the fixed stars also called the true north. Even as a scolast i do not understand why that is the case. Maybe it is gods will, that in the Burnig Sea there is almost no difference between the true north of the map and the magnetical north of the compass in these days.

If you have any questions concerning the theoretical concepts of navigation feel free to ask me. A am not so much a seadog myself, i am only a humble scolast who is interested in these things.



_____________________ OOC _____________________________

I hope i did not make it to confusing writing it IC. OOC Sailing is a hobby of mine and I am astrophysicist. So if you have questins how these things work feel free to ask. I hope i can answer most of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeFri Jan 04, 2008 11:24 am

About the question of lighting tobacco wares with a candle.

Seamus O'Flynn wrote:
heard it from a German sailor so it might be a Deustch thing.

As i were in the German navy i can verify that for Germany: It is rather a matter of custom than real superstition, but it is considered very impolite.

Traditionaly sailors who did not get a job on a ship, because of age, illness, etc. worked in manufactures for matches. So when you do not use a match and light the pipe or cigarette with a candle a sailor looses the only job that keeeps him alive.

On land the custom is sometimes revived by younger people from a leftist background with the statement: "If you lite a cigarette on a candle either a sailor dies or a (neo-)nazi is born."

Greeting,
Götz


Last edited by on Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeFri Jan 04, 2008 11:35 am

Frederic Géssert wrote:
...
On land the custom is sometimes revived by younger people from a leftist background with the statement: "If you lite a cigarette on a candle either a sailor dies or i (neo-)nazi is born."

Greeting,
Götz

That's funny.
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PostSubject: Traditional uniform parts   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeFri Jan 04, 2008 12:04 pm

Many parts of navy uniforms have traditional meanings. For example the three white stripes on the blue collar that goes on to the upper regions of the back come from the british navy. They stand for the three victorious sea battles of admiral nelson. (Basically unamportant for PotBS - much later)

The two long tails of the sailors cap ribbons dangling from the back of the hats of sailors of some nations are another good example. Sailors could not cut their hair too often, but with all the lines and blocks an a ship long hair is very dangerous. If your hair gets into a block you might lose your scalp in a very nasty accident. The solution was to use the tar that was usefull for waterproofing clothing also to make tails out of your hair. That ruined all clothing not tarred. And that is the reason those dark colored collars on the uniforms were so long and went on to the back. They protected the clothing underneath. As sailors were forced to cut their hair short in the navies, the symbolic tarred tails survived in the dark cap ridbons in german called "Schwalbenschwanz" = dove tail.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeFri Jan 04, 2008 12:09 pm

Frederic, great information about navigation, and presented in a clear and understanding way. Thanks for adding it to this thread. We're all getting a wealth of knowledge from it. You may be "not so much a seadog" but you certainly have the information mariners need to navigate at sea.

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeTue Jan 15, 2008 10:48 pm

I found this Wikipedia page on the word "tack" rather interesting. The bit about "beating" is confirmed by the 30th definition of the second entry on Dictionary.com, here.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeTue Jan 22, 2008 7:05 am

zephyr = A light breeze.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeTue Jan 22, 2008 11:18 am

I highly recommend A Sea of Words by Dean King. Created as a companion to Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, this book serves as a delightful glossary to the age of sail. There is also fascinating information on other contemporary subjects, as well.

Today I shall read from A:

athwart: Across from side to side, transversely; usually, but not necessarily, in an oblique direction. From side to side of a ship.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitimeTue Jan 22, 2008 12:17 pm

akd wrote:
I highly recommend A Sea of Words by Dean King. Created as a companion to Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, this book serves as a delightful glossary to the age of sail. There is also fascinating information on other contemporary subjects, as well.

Today I shall read from A:

athwart: Across from side to side, transversely; usually, but not necessarily, in an oblique direction. From side to side of a ship.

That book is at hand here in my office. Smile

Bog
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 4 Icon_minitime

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