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Old 30-12-2015, 15:55   #31
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
belay that! meaning to stop doing whatever it is you are doing. comes from telling a sailor to wrap a piece of cordage (line, sheet, halyard) around a belaying pin thereby stopping it from flying loose.
I think you may find that it is the other way around. Belay came before belaying pin.

Belay means to secure a line around a fixed object.
A belaying pin is called that because it designed specifically to belay a line.
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Old 30-12-2015, 18:10   #32
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
"Shackles" in anchor length.

When around superyachts they say how much chain is out by shackles: "I have 2 shackles out".

Bloody hell! I hope they have a few links too! Can't they just use meters? Or for Americans 'footsies' or whatever they call it?

"Shackles" in anchor length is 15 fathoms. So 1 shackle is 30 meters, or 90 footsies, 2 pinkies and a toe nail.


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The term Shackle is relevant and useful on larger vessels. Their bar link chain is supplied in 15 fathom lengths and joined with shackles or Kenter Links these days. They paint the chain to highlight the Kenter Link and count the "Shackles" when paying out chain. The Captain will order say 5 shackles and everyone is on the same page. If the weather deteriorates they will add a shackle or two. Most of my experience is working and sailing smaller vessels, however, I quickly came to like the system when working as mate on a 42 metre tug.
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Old 30-12-2015, 18:12   #33
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by ryon View Post
"Sweat a line". Here's a phrase we use daily aboard tallships, and neither YouTube nor Wikipedia has any idea what it means.

Imagine a line running aloft that needs to be tightened. You could grab it and pull down with all your weight like Wikipedia says, but that would be a lot of work. And sailors get plenty of work as it is!

Instead you haul against that line horizontally, like an archer pulling back a bowstring. Your force is thus multiplied many times.

How this works in practice is the crew handling the line will call out "I need a tail!". The closest crew not engaged will take the belay. The hauler will then call out "two - SIX!" which is the belay's cue when to hold, and when to take in the slack. Sometimes two or three crew will lay-on to haul together, even if just to get one more inch, leaning forward on two and bouncing back with all their force on six.

Why do I tell you this? Because I don't want you to sweat the small stuff. It's hard on the rig!
Well shiver me timbers, I never knew where "sweating the small stuff" came from. Apparently "shiver me timbers" referred to the days of old when timber ships were struck by huge seas in a storm and the whole boat would tremble under the blows as they fought the seas under sail. It was therefore a moment of trepidation, if it went on for too long something would give, like loosening fastenings that held the ship together, serious breaks of the rig, foundering whatever.
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Old 30-12-2015, 20:56   #34
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
The traditional Navy chant, which I literally learnt at my father's knee is
"2,6 - HEAVE" where the action word is the "heave".
The two - SIX cadence is a cue to the tailer for when to hold the belay and when to take up slack on the halyards. Two is the hauler's surge forward and six is the bounceback and haul. Then there is a silent split-second pause for the tailer to haul in ALL of the slack gained. At this time the haulers are holding all the tension in the line, and the tailer had better be quick about it!

There is a two - six HEAVE variation on this call that is used when there are guests aboard who want to help (very appreciated, by the way!). They will line up behind the tail and take up slack. This can also be used for gaff peak and throat halyards, and any time there is extra crew for the fore-and-aft sail halyards. The haulers can then just pull straight down, and the tailer doesn't have to do much of anything except belay for sweats during the last few heaves.

I think that the difference between the two calls is in the ratio of crew to weight being hauled. Two crew against a heavy weight will be two - six, and larger crew against lighter weight will be two - six - HEAVE for a faster haul. Some of those headsail and gaff halyards are LONG.

The haulers do the work and sing out the chants and give each other high-fives, but the tailer is the one who must have the sure hands and keep control of the line at all times. Haulers can drop out and collapse on the deck from overexertion, the tailers can't!

Now let's clean up the deck. Coil and capsize all these lines, and ballantine the gaff halyards!
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Old 30-12-2015, 21:32   #35
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by morven55 View Post
I hope you run it through the sway hook before sweating it up...
I haven't heard the term "sway hook" before, and don't see it in my Lever, Luce, Dana, or (cough) Wikipedia.

We use hooks for fishing and catting our anchor, and for stopping the anchor chains, but other than modern "come alongs", not many hooks in the rig at all. I'm stumped. A gantline, or yard tackle for handling cargo, maybe?
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Old 30-12-2015, 21:58   #36
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by ryon View Post
I haven't heard the term "sway hook" before, and don't see it in my Lever, Luce, Dana, or (cough) Wikipedia.
Bronze Sway Hook 3 8" Thread Deck Mount FOR Gaff Rigged Sailboat | eBay


For swaying up halyards. Or swigging off. Older names ('sway up' dated to 1743; 'swigging off' dated to 1794) for what the noobies in 1895 called 'sweat up'.


You clearly ain't heard everything, Ryon.
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Old 30-12-2015, 23:07   #37
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
Bronze Sway Hook 3 8" Thread Deck Mount FOR Gaff Rigged Sailboat | eBay


For swaying up halyards. Or swigging off. Older names ('sway up' dated to 1743; 'swigging off' dated to 1794) for what the noobies in 1895 called 'sweat up'.


You clearly ain't heard everything, Ryon.
Generally attached to the deck under the pin rails. Halyards are passed under the sway hook before being belayed on a pin. This keeps the pin rail compression toward the deck.

But what would I know about traditional wooden sailing ships?
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Old 31-12-2015, 01:09   #38
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
Bronze Sway Hook 3 8" Thread Deck Mount FOR Gaff Rigged Sailboat | eBay


For swaying up halyards. Or swigging off. Older names ('sway up' dated to 1743; 'swigging off' dated to 1794) for what the noobies in 1895 called 'sweat up'.


You clearly ain't heard everything, Ryon.
Thank you, Mr. Mighty. Now I understand what morven55 was referring to. You can find these hooks on some traditional wooden schooners, but who actually uses them? Their advantage is? A closed, deck level turning block seems a lot more efficient, and a helluva lot safer.

As for "swigging off", you're on your own. I've crewed a late 1700's replica for over ten years and would have noticed the term, had it ever been uttered.

As you say, I ain't heard everything.
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Old 31-12-2015, 01:40   #39
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by ryon View Post
You can find these hooks on some traditional wooden schooners, but who actually uses them? Their advantage is? A closed, deck level turning block seems a lot more efficient, and a helluva lot safer.
In many situations you have more lines coming to a pin rail than are needed to be made fast under load at any one time. With running blocks you either need a dedicated one for each line or you need to reeve lines every time you use different ones. With sway hooks, you just flick the appropriate line under the hook.
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Old 31-12-2015, 02:46   #40
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by ryon View Post
As for "swigging off", you're on your own. I've crewed a late 1700's replica for over ten years and would have noticed the term, had it ever been uttered.
You indicated you have read Luce. I assume you mean his Text-book of Seamanship: The Equipping and Handling of Vessels Under Sail Or Steam. (For the Use of the United States Naval Academy (1884)). Turn to page 79.


Or try a search on Google Books (discounting the many uses associated with consumption of alcohol).


Swigging off and Swaying up are the older terms and they are specific to that particular technique of hardening the last bit of slack out of a halyard. 'Sweat up' is not specific, it's just a general term about labor that causes a sweat.



Or even turn to Webster's International Dictionary, 3rd edition. Read the entries under 'swig'. Do yourself a favor.
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Old 31-12-2015, 03:07   #41
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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As for "swigging off", you're on your own. I've crewed a late 1700's replica for over ten years and would have noticed the term, had it ever been uttered.
Luce, Gower (A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Seamanship), Van Der Veers (The Bluejackets Manual) respectively:
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Old 31-12-2015, 04:32   #42
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
Swigging off and Swaying up are the older terms and they are specific to that particular technique of hardening the last bit of slack out of a halyard. 'Sweat up' is not specific, it's just a general term about labor that causes a sweat.
I'd dispute that bit. Swaying was the standard term for hoisting any sort of yard, mast or spar.

See for instance the "Naval text-book, and dictionary, for the use of the midshipmen of the U.S. Navy" You can get a digitised PDF of the 1892 edition here:

https://books.google.com.pg/books/ab...AJ&redir_esc=y


It is full of instructions to sway such as this:
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Old 31-12-2015, 05:01   #43
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

You guys sure have a bunch of fancy words, but still I think none with the high degree of versatile utility as my wife's most common utterance when onboard -

Thingy : being whatever she is referring to at a given moment. Often conjoined with other words to produce a more descriptive term (usually after I ask her "what thingy?") such as rope-thingy, pole-thingy, or floaty-thingy.
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Old 31-12-2015, 05:54   #44
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

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You guys sure have a bunch of fancy words, but still I think none with the high degree of versatile utility as my wife's most common utterance when onboard -

Thingy : being whatever she is referring to at a given moment. Often conjoined with other words to produce a more descriptive term (usually after I ask her "what thingy?") such as rope-thingy, pole-thingy, or floaty-thingy.
Yes.... And the conjoined descriptive must ALWAYS be asked for...

Here's a helpful chart for the land based sector...
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Old 31-12-2015, 06:17   #45
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Re: Share some Sailing Terms....

Haha, then there's my favorite "no, the other thingy!"
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