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Old 09-12-2006, 10:56   #1
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NTOTD (Nautical term of the day): Focs'l / forecastle

What's the focs'l? Archaic, in warships it was the defensive structure at the bow of vessels. In the merchantment of the 19th century it became the crew accomodations at the bow, usually below the main deck. A "focs'l hand" would be any member of the crew who bunked there, usually also a point of pride as the more macho, salty crew bunked in the focs'l while officers, boys, cook and chips were aft.

In modern sailboats the focs'l is that part of the accomodations under the foredeck. So most vee-berths are in the focs'l. (In my boat, however, the entire focs'l is taken up with the head.)

What do you have in your focs'l?

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Old 09-12-2006, 13:24   #2
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I don't have a boat yet(still in the planing stage)but I did see a 38' sloop with a spar bath & head in the focs'l.No good when underway but at anchor what a luxury.Mudnut.
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Old 09-12-2006, 14:49   #3
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What do you have in your focs'l?
The Saloon mostly, but it can convert into a berth. The foredeck farther forward also covers a sail locker and farther yet a chain locker.
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Old 09-12-2006, 14:51   #4
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Just had a look in our focs'l and discovered ............. Yes............
Junk and a bit of water
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Old 09-12-2006, 14:54   #5
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Actually, that's fo'c's'le

Like in fo'c's'le deck, up by the head where we keep the anchor windlass and chain locker. Known as the forecastle in the ship building industry.

I've spent a lot of time up there watching the dolphin's race the ship.

Yours aye!
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Old 09-12-2006, 16:03   #6
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Aloha All,
Forecastle is not an archaic term. Very much used today in Navy ships. On several ships my berth was just aft and below the forecastle. The bulwarks were high and all our ground tackle, windlass was controlled from the forecastle.
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Old 09-12-2006, 16:21   #7
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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn
Forecastle is not an archaic term.
Mate,
I believe the word forecastle came about first. It's just the uneducated swabs of the ole days con't speek good englas and it all run down to fo'c's'le.

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Old 09-12-2006, 21:37   #8
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Mr. Bilge,

Forecastle is just the correct spelling for fo'c's'le.

aarrgh matey!

J
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Old 09-12-2006, 23:45   #9
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Forecastle structure

Yes, on the ship I served on it was still called the forecastle under the foredeck. The Archaic part is that it used to refer to the structure on the foredeck, while now it's the part under the foredeck.

What I remember most about the focs'l on our ship is how, just as we cleared shore and started to feel the swell, all the new crew to the vessel who had never been out in it were called up to the focs'l. There we were given long lectures on procedures, where the defense lockers were, etc. And the hydraulics were run, and various other gear which gave off strong odors in operation. And those of us who weren't seasick by this point were given a pat on the back and sent off to work.

I grimly held off for two days before getting mal de mare. The boat had the worst motion, being a 600'+ long rowboat with sponsons and no keel worth mentioning.
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Old 10-12-2006, 13:40   #10
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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn
Mr. Bilge,

Forecastle is just the correct spelling for fo'c's'le.

aarrgh matey!

J
Don't want to start an arguement, Mate. Thar both pronounced differently. One being correct English, the other broken. And that's wer the line is drawn between the Landlubbers and tru Seaman.

Yours aye!
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Old 10-12-2006, 18:19   #11
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Aloha Bilge,
No arguments here. I've never called a fo'c's'le a forecastle and never will. However, when writing about it I always use forecastl. In my seaman's language forecastle is pronounced fo'c's'le as squaresail is pronouced squ'rs'le.
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:36   #12
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At one time in my life I worked on an off shore Scalloper, she was what was referred to as an Eastern Rig, her wheel house was in the stern. The crew slept and ate in the Fo'c's'le; the hull and deck was steel and everytime they would drop the doors or dredge on the deck it made sleeping in the fo'c's'le very difficult.
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