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Old 18-07-2018, 19:40   #1
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What is the proper nautical meaning of "Three Sheets to the Wind"?

X sheets to the wind means drunk, obviously, and the prevalent opinion is that it refers to a sheet ie line coming loose of its cleat or winch thus allowing the sail to flap about (as a drunk might)... but there is an alternate explanation having to do with heaving to, specifically that the harder the wind blows, the more sails you want to backfill i.e. sheet to the wind to stay in hove-to, and the more vulnerable to knockdown on account of all the sail up. What do you think?
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Old 18-07-2018, 19:45   #2
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Re: What is the proper nautical meaning of "Three Sheets to the Wind"?

The saying comes from the time the ships sailed hard on the wind, hard for them anyways. The jibs were loaded up and a single sheet was not enough for the loads so at times they used up to 3 sheets to take the load. During those conditions the ship was heeled like a drunk walking sideways.
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Old 18-07-2018, 19:47   #3
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Re: What is the proper nautical meaning of "Three Sheets to the Wind"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by weazardofinance View Post
X sheets to the wind means drunk, obviously, and the prevalent opinion is that it refers to a sheet ie line coming loose of its cleat or winch thus allowing the sail to flap about (as a drunk might)... but there is an alternate explanation having to do with heaving to, specifically that the harder the wind blows, the more sails you want to backfill i.e. sheet to the wind to stay in hove-to, and the more vulnerable to knockdown on account of all the sail up. What do you think?
Seems rather close to the wiktionary entry.
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