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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeWed Dec 05, 2007 8:26 am

Feeling Blue - If you are sad and describe yourself as "feeling blue," you are using a phrase coined from a custom among many old deepwater sailing ships. If the ship lost the captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to home port.

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeWed Dec 05, 2007 12:34 pm

Not sure if anyone has touched on this one yet, but here goes.
Did you know? that when making a log entry a captain never uses the term "going to such and such place" the superstition is that saying you are going to a place implies that you will arrive which is an affront to the gods of the sea.
Instead they use the term "Headed toward" this is still the case in navies today.
I heard this superstition as well but i'm not sure if it's a worldwide thing i heard it from a German sailor so it might be a Deustch thing.
Anyway legend says that you never light a pipe from a candle because when you do a sailor dies.
I know this is for Nautical Terms so if anyone wants the superstition stuff in a differant place let me know


Last edited by on Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:43 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeThu Dec 06, 2007 7:12 am

I've heard of both those superstitions when I was working at sea, Seamus. It is true that sailors by in large are a superstitious lot. A popular and famous one encountered regularly even today is to never leave port on a Friday. While I worked out of the port of Dutch Harbor in the Bering Sea, Norwegian Fishing Captains would look for any reason they could think of not to cast lines on a Friday.

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeFri Dec 07, 2007 12:46 pm

He Knows the Ropes - In the very early days, this phrase was written on a seaman's discharge to indicate that he was still a novice. All he knew about being a sailor was just the names and uses of the principal ropes (lines). Today, this same phrase means the opposite . that the person fully knows and understands the operation (usually of the organization).

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSat Dec 08, 2007 12:51 pm

Galley - The galley is the kitchen of the ship. The best explanation as to its origin is that it is a corruption of "gallery". Ancient sailors cooked their meals on a brick or stone gallery laid amidships.

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSat Dec 08, 2007 2:53 pm

Jack McBain wrote:
I've heard of both those superstitions when I was working at sea, Seamus. It is true that sailors by in large are a superstitious lot. A popular and famous one encountered regularly even today is to never leave port on a Friday. While I worked out of the port of Dutch Harbor in the Bering Sea, Norwegian Fishing Captains would look for any reason they could think of not to cast lines on a Friday.

Jack

it's easy to find a reason not to leave port on a friday, it's friday and the crew wants to go get drunk Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSat Dec 08, 2007 4:04 pm

Yup, Duncan! That's the best reason. Shocked

There is an old seaman's myth that King George wanted to disabuse his Captains of that old superstition so he...

Had a ship's keel laid on a Friday

Had the ship launched on a Friday

Had the ship named The Friday

Had a Captain Friday assigned to the vessel

And of course had her first voyage began on a Friday.

She sailed out of the Harbor and was never heard from again.

The moral of the tale? Don't leave port on Friday! lol!

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSat Dec 08, 2007 4:56 pm

there's another moral, never let a king think he's a sailor Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeMon Dec 10, 2007 7:17 am

I like that perspective, Duncan!

Hunky-Dory - The term meaning everything is O.K. was coined from a street named "Honki-Dori" in Yokohama, Japan. Since the inhabitants of this street catered to the pleasures of sailors, it is easy to understand why the street's name became synonymous for anything that is enjoyable or at least satisfactory. And, the logical follow-on is "Okey-dokey."

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeTue Dec 11, 2007 7:20 am

Pea Coat - Sailors who have to endure pea-soup weather often don their pea coats but the coat's name isn't derived from the weather. The heavy topcoat worn in cold, miserable weather by seafaring men was once tailored from pilot cloth, a heavy, course, stout kind of twilled blue cloth with the nap on one side. The cloth was sometimes called P-cloth for the initial letter of "pilot" and the garment made from it was called a p-jacket, later, a pea coat. The term has been used since 1723 to denote coats made from that cloth.

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeWed Dec 12, 2007 7:17 am


Took the wind out of his sails -
Today we often use "took the wind out of his sails" to describe getting the best of an opponent in an argument. Originally it described a battle maneuver of sailing ships. One ship would pass close to its adversary and on its windward side. The ship and sails would block the wind from the second vessel, causing it to lose headway. Losing motion meant losing maneuverability and the ability to carry on a fight.

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSat Dec 15, 2007 7:54 am

Three Sheets to the Wind - Today we use the term "three sheets to the wind" to describe someone who has too much to drink. As such, they are often bedraggled with perhaps shirttails out, clothes a mess. The reference originally refered to a sailing ship in disarray, that is with sheets (lines, not "ropes". that adjust the angle at which a sail is set in relation to the wind ) flapping loosely in the breeze.

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeMon Dec 17, 2007 9:38 am

Splice the Main Brace - A sailing ship's rigging was a favorite target during sea battles since by destroying the opponent's ability to maneuver or get away would put you at obvious advantage. Therefore, the first thing tended to after a battle was to repair broken gear, and repair sheets (lines - not "ropes" - that adjust the angle at which a sail is set in relation to the wind ) and braces (lines passing through blocks and holding up sails). Although no specifics remain, it appears that the main brace was the principal fore-and-aft support of the ship's masts. Splicing this line was the most difficult chores aboard ship, and one on which the ship's safety depended. It was the custom, after the main brace was properly spliced, to serve grog to the entire crew. Thus, today, after a hard day (or, not so hard day), the phrase has become an invitation to have a drink.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeWed Dec 19, 2007 9:54 am

Abaft: A relative term used to describe the location of one object in relation to another, in which the object described is farther aft than the other. Thus, the mainmast is abaft the foremast (in back of).
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeThu Dec 20, 2007 5:39 pm

A very big thank you to Jack McBain and others for my fine education
in nautical terms. I'm going to try to starting using more of these in my RP posts and I apologize ahead of time; I'm bound to get some of them wrong.




Anyway, very educational and greatly appreciated.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeFri Dec 21, 2007 8:55 am

Thank you for your kind words, Benoit! Very Happy It's been a labor of love and has given me the opportunity to reminisce on my own years at sea.

Scuttlebutt - The origin of the word "scuttlebutt," which is nautical parlance for a rumor, comes from a combination of "scuttle", to make a hole in the ship's hull and thereby causing her to sink - and "butt", a cask or hogshead used in the days of wooden ships to hold drinking water. The cask from which the ship's crew took their drinking water, like a water fountain, was the "scuttlebutt". Even in today's Navy a drinking fountain is referred to as such. But, since the crew used to congregate around the "scuttlebutt", that is where the rumors about the ship or voyage would begin. Thus, then and now, rumors are talk from the "scuttlebutt" or just "scuttlebutt".

In potbs may we all just a bit more 'talk like a sailor' tongue

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeFri Dec 21, 2007 10:06 am

MIND YOUR P's AND Q's - Nowadays a term meaning "Be on your best behavior." In old days, sailors serving aboard government ships could always get credit at the waterfront taverns until pay-day. As they would only pay for those drinks which were marked up on the score-board, the tavern-keeper had to be careful that no Pints or Quarts had been omitted from the customers list.

FOULED ANCHOR - The foul anchor as a naval insignia got its start as the seal of the Lord Howard of Effingham. He was the Lord Admiral of England at the time of the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. During this period the personal seal of a great officer of state was adopted as the seal of his office. The fouled anchor still remains the official seal of the Lord High Admiral of Great Britain. When this office became part of the present Board of Admiralty, the seal was retained on buttons, official seals, and cap badges. The Navy's adoption of this symbol and many other customs can be directly attributed to the influence of British Naval tradition. The fouled anchor is among them.

JUMPER FLAPS - The collar originated as a protective cover for the jacket to protect it from the grease or powder normally worn by seamen to hold hair in place.

MEN'S NECKERCHIEF - The black neckerchief or bandanna first appeared as early as the 16th century and was utilized as a sweat band and collar closure. Black was the predominant color as it was practical and did not readily show dirt. There is no truth to the myth that the black neckerchief was designed as a sign of mourning for Admiral Nelson's death.

BOATSWAIN'S PIPE - No self-respecting boatswain's mate would dare admit he couldn't blow his pipe in a manner above reproach. This pipe, which is the emblem of the boatswain and his mates, has an ancient and interesting history. On the ancient row-galleys, the boatswain used his pipe to call the stroke. Later because its shrill tune could be heard above most of the activity on board, it was used to signal various happenings such as knock-off and the boarding of officials. So essential was this signaling device to the well-being of the ship, that it became a badge of office and honor in the British and American Navy of the sailing ships.

COCKED HAT - A hat worn by officers with ceremonial uniforms commonly refereed to as a "fore and aft" hat. During the 1700's the hat was worn parallel to the shoulders, but in the 1800's was modified to be worn with the points to the front and back.

TATTOOS - A tattoo of a pig on one leg of a sailor and a rooster (cock) on the other is a charm against drowning.

SHOW A LEG - In the British Navy of King George III many sailor's wives accompanied them on long voyages. To avoid dragging the wrong "mate" out of the rack at reveille, the bosun asked all to "show a leg". If the leg wore silk, it's owner was allowed to sleep in. If the leg was hairy and tattooed, the owner was forced to "turn to."

SKYLARKING - Originally, skylarking described the antics of young Navymen who climbed and slid down the backstays for fun. Since the ancient word "lac" means "to play" and the games started high in the masts, the term was "skylacing." Later, corruption of the word changed it to "skylarking".

TAR - was given to sailors because in the old days they used to tar their clothing to make it waterproof.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeFri Dec 21, 2007 10:37 am

[Terms I came across; I can't confirm the times any of these were or were not used]

ALL HANDS - Entire ship's company.

AYE, AYE, SIR - Used by subordinates to seniors in acknowledging an order or command signifying that it is understood and will be carried out.

BATTEN DOWN - To close or make watertight, usually referring to hatches.

BEAR A HAND - Speed up work, or lend a hand.

BREAK OUT - To unstow, or prepare for use.

CARRY ON - An order to resume work or duties.

CHARLEY NOBLE - Gally smoke-pipe.

CROSSING THE LINE - Crossing the Equator, at which time there is usually a ceremony during which the pollywog (landlubber) becomes a "shellback."
(This may have started up after PotBS times)

CUT OF THE JIB - General appearance of a vessel or a person.

ENSIGN - The national flag; a junior commissioned officer in the Navy.

FIELD DAY - A day for general ship cleaning.

FLOTSAM - Floating wreckage or goods thrown overboard.

GALLEY - The ship's kitchen.

GRAVEYARD WATCH - The middle (mid) watch from 2400 to 0400.

HAND - A member of the ship's crew.

HEAD - A ship's toilet.

HIGH SEAS - The entire ocean beyond the three-mile limit where no nation has special privileges or jurisdiction. (note: nations now claim 10-mile, 12-mile, or more limits)

HIT THE DECK - A phrase used in rousing men from bunks at Reveille.

IRISH PENNANT - Untidy loose end of a line, [or loose threads on a uniform.]

JETSOM - Goods which sink when thrown overboard at sea.

JURY RIG - A makeshift rig of mast and sail or other gear.

KNOCK OFF - To stop; to stop work.

LANDLUBBER - Seaman's term for one who has never been to sea.

LADDER - A metal, wooden or rope stairway.

LIBERTY - Permission to be absent from a ship or station for a period up to 48 hours. [72 hours on three-day weekends.] Anything longer than this is not liberty, but is leave charged to an individual's leave balance.
(Not sure of the time period this term started to be used)

LUCKY BAG - A locker for the stowage of loose articles of clothing and personal gear found aboard the ship [or station].

MAN - To put the proper number of men on a detail so that the work can be done.

MAST - A vertical spar supporting the booms, gaffs and sails on a sailing vessel; a spar supporting signal yard and antennae on a fighting ship; the term applied to the hearing of cases of offense against discipline, or for requests or commendations.

PADRE - Affectionate slang for the chaplain.

PASS THE WORD - To repeat an order or information to the crew.

PIPE THE SIDE - The ceremony at the gangway in which side boys are drawn up and the boatswain's pipe blown when a high-ranking officer or distinguished visitor comes aboard.

POLLYWOG - One who has never crossed the Equator.
(PotBS may predate this term)

RATLINE - A short length of small stuff running horizontally across shrouds.

ROCKS AND SHOALS - Slang for the Articles for the Government of the Navy. [Precursor of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).]

SCUTTLE BUTT - A container of fresh water for drinking; a rumor.

SHELLBACK - One who has crossed the Equator and been initiated.
(PotBS may predate this term)

SHIPSHAPE - Seamanlike and neat.

SHOVE OFF - Slang for leaving.

SKIPPER - Slang for the Captain.

SKIVVIES - Slang for underwear.

SQUARE AWAY - To get things settled down or in order; to complete a job.

STAND BY - A preparatory order meaning "get ready."

STOW - To put gear in its proper place.

SWAB - A rope mop.

TRICE - To haul up. [Shipboard bunks used to be "triced" up]

TURN TO - An order to begin work. ["Turn to" starts the working day; "Knock off" ends the working day.]

VERY WELL - Reply of an officer to a subordinate to indicate that the information given is understood.

WEIGH - To lift the anchor off the bottom.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSat Dec 22, 2007 4:24 pm

Bulwark(s) - A railing around the deck of a boat to keep things from going overboard and the seas from coming aboard; the strake of shell plating above a weather or shelter deck; the part of a ship's side that extends above the main deck to protect it against heavy weather
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSat Dec 22, 2007 10:21 pm

I know on some Naval vessels they hold "pollywog ceremonies" where the highest ranking NCO (I believe) plays the role of Posiden.
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSun Dec 23, 2007 8:15 am

kedge (n) A small anchor used to move a ship.

kedge (v) To move a ship using an anchor and winch. To kedge off, or to wind. The small anchor is rowed out in the desired direction and let go. The crew on board ship then hauls in the rode drawing the ship toward the anchor.

kedging (v) Moving a vessel by using an anchor.

Kedge away, Captian!

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeWed Dec 26, 2007 8:08 am

Log Book - In the early days of sailing ships, the ship's records were written on shingles cut from logs. These shingles were hinged and opened like a book. The record was called the "log book." Later on, when paper was readily available and bound into books, the record maintained it name.

When I was in the merchant marines we had a saying, "If it's not in the log, it didn't happen!"

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeWed Dec 26, 2007 10:40 am

Jack McBain wrote:
Log Book - In the early days of sailing ships, the ship's records were written on shingles cut from logs. These shingles were hinged and opened like a book. The record was called the "log book." Later on, when paper was readily available and bound into books, the record maintained it name.

When I was in the merchant marines we had a saying, "If it's not in the log, it didn't happen!"

Jack

True of the U.S. Navy as well. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeFri Dec 28, 2007 5:16 pm


Holystone -
The last Navy ships with teak decks are long since decommissioned. But when they were the standard, teak and other wooden decks were scrubbed with a piece of sandstone, nicknamed at one time by an anonymous witty sailor as the "holystone." It was so named because since its use always brought a man to his knees, it must be holy!

Jack
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PostSubject: Re: Maritime Terms and Descriptions   Maritime Terms and Descriptions - Page 3 Icon_minitimeWed Jan 02, 2008 1:48 pm

Above board (adj): Without trickery or deceit, from the days when a pirate ship would approach its prey with most of the crew hiding below, giving the impression of a casual meeting at sea.

This will probably be my last post on this thread. It's been a lot of fun and I was hoping we could get the view count to 1000, but its pre-release time and potbs is about to go live. Besides, I'm running out of terms to share. If anyone wants to keep it going, please do.

Thanks,

Jack
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