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Old 31-07-2011, 06:01   #31
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Cool Re: Heads or Head or Bathroom ? What's Correct ?

This seems a small thing but I think it hides a deeper issue. Maybe it's reverse snobbery: modern sailors needn't learn the old ropes, kind of thing. I understand the Bumfuzzles intentionally do this to irritate other, more traditional sailors.

New adventures often have their own vocabulary. Most of us try to use the "correct" term in context for clarity and precision, as Idorakeeper points out.

And consider:

"And there are the yachties who have
been cruising for years and still call a chart
a map, the head the toilet, sheets ropes
and going below downstairs."

I don't think anyone wants to be called a "yachtie" but there's little question that this term is used to describe folks with enough dough to buy a nice boat but not enough time/interest to learn how to sail. Learning to sail means having the boat under control. It means knowing how to anchor effectively. It means spending enough time on your boat to know how it will react when you put your engine in reverse. Practice makes possible.

There's a recent thread about demons and skippers own up to the fact that they either cannot or are terrified of trying to dock their vessel. This ain't easy but it's a very real part of learning to handle your boat. Hell, I know people who can't sail their boat to a mooring, let alone try to put it in a slip under sail or power, yet this is surely part of learning to sail.

Does it matter if you call the galley the kitchen? I guess not but I have to wonder why the reluctance to adapt to or adopt the seamanlike nomenclature.
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Old 31-07-2011, 06:40   #32
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Re: Heads or Head or Bathroom ? What's Correct ?

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Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
terrified of trying to dock their vessel. .... yet this is surely part of learning to sail.
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Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post

Does it matter if you call the galley the kitchen? I guess not but I have to wonder why the reluctance to adapt to or adopt the seamanlike nomenclature.
Good points.

I certainly have no intention to irritate any and I do distance myself from those that do (I think you are probably right about the Bumfizzles. They do it/did it intentionally, but now in another life path they are not doing it as much. To me it starts with the name of their boat. OK its only 'bum' but to me as a casual observer its only done to offend. I get offended at that clothing shop designed to be a mixed up swear word. Ho ho say many people - grow a brain says me.)

The reason why I tend to use bathroom and Kitchen is that Sea Life is my home and so I give her homely names.

However you are correct that proper nomenclature must be learned and used for 'unhomely' stuff: Docking being a prime example. One can't yell: "Grab this line and do it 'round the thingy". By the time that happens the trouble is so great that no wonder the skipper and deckie are terrified!

When we practiced docking we rehearsed each word and phrase we would use so that it would be clear to most people. Simple and clear: "Put this bowline over that cleat" - with eye contact - or "Tie your end off to that cleat" (Note I did not say: "Belay that spring"...).

So imho homely words are fine when:
They don't insult or belittle
Accurately pass information
Give you and your boat the feeling you wish.

Homely words are not fine when:
Docking
Interacting with other people aboard ie crew, or on other boats etc
Navigation is discussed. (I heard one couple use the term Starboard Tack when the wind was coming over the port side because the sail is on the starboard side. Thats stupidly dangerous!)


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Old 31-07-2011, 12:07   #33
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Re: Heads or Head or Bathroom - What's Correct ?

it refers to the cat heads, those protrusions the anchors were suspended from in the bows of the ship to give the anchor a drop clear of the hull. There were davits to lift the anchor up over the bulwarks and the anchor was transferred to a chain or rope dead ended to the cat head and run through the ring of the anchor and up through a slot and then pinned. Once rigged, a tap on the pin allowed the anchor to fall free of the hull. For the common hand sailing before the mast it was the perfect place to climb out on the cat head and dump 'personal ballast'. This practice was described in James Clavel's novel Tai Pan.
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Old 31-07-2011, 12:19   #34
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Re: Heads or Head or Bathroom - What's Correct ?

I call it the bathroom and the toilet so I do not risk getting into some sort of sexual harassment trouble with work. It is also called "person overboard" as well. Were I ever to use the correct nomenclature for many nautical terms I am certain I would be fired.
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Old 01-08-2011, 06:43   #35
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Cool Re: Heads or Head or Bathroom ? What's Correct ?

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... proper nomenclature must be learned and used for 'unhomely' stuff: Docking being a prime example. One can't yell: "Grab this line and do it 'round the thingy". By the time that happens the trouble is so great that no wonder the skipper and deckie are terrified!

When we practiced docking we rehearsed each word and phrase we would use so that it would be clear to most people. ... Mark

Good distinctions.

One of life's small pleasures is watching a savvy couple operate together in a docking operation.
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:00   #36
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Re: Heads or Head or Bathroom ? What's Correct ?

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Good distinctions.

One of life's small pleasures is watching a savvy couple operate together in a docking operation.
David, on every research vessel I ever worked aboard, Moss Landing, EG&G Testing, Scripps', and University of Miami, we used the correct nautical terms for everything, probably because most of us were ex-Navy. The students and scientists mostly used the shoreside terms. On EVERY fishing vessel, if you used nautical terms, the crew would throw you into the drink. On yachts, every mishap and torn sail; every broken piece of gear came about from miscommication. So, at least when I was in charge, I would simply go over the terms and commands we would be using to avoid confusion. Those that resisted would be isolated so that they couldn't be in the way. This may sound pompous, but the thing I was most satisfied with in my 'career' at sea for over 40+ years was the fact that I still had ten fingers and ten toes and two eyes and was still kicking. I've had people killed ten feet from me in an instant. When I watch the series,'Deadliest Catch', I cringe when they have an emergency and 1/2 the crew starts running around the boat in circles totally freaked out without a clue as to what to do. Although, in all fairness, I've observed the same happen on a U.S. Navy Frigate in Panama. Over 40 minutes to put a small craft in the water alongside a dock. Training is the key and getting your signals straight beforehand. No wonder so many of us prefer to single hand our boats. You can't impress a landlubber with the importance of seamanship if they feel it imposes on their rights and individuality.
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