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Old 02-05-2008, 05:13   #1
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Can you help me with some sailing terms?

Hello, I'm a fledgling screenwriter and the script I'm working on has sailing scenes. I've not a sailer, so I'd like to ask some help from people that do to cut down my research time (it was easier researching medical terms for my Grey's Anatomy spec. than it is for sailing info.)

So if you don't mind, I'd like to pick a few people's brains to make my script a little more authentic.

Is this the right place to ask?
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Old 02-05-2008, 05:18   #2
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Ask away. You'll get a flood of answers.

In the meantime here are a couple of links to some Glossary entries.

Some terms are old and may be out of common use so the period of your piece may also be important.

Glossary

Wki is usually pretty exhaustive as well.

Glossary of nautical terms - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:16   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razerwire View Post
So if you don't mind, I'd like to pick a few people's brains to make my script a little more authentic.

Is this the right place to ask?
As long as you don't ask "What is the best Anchor?" or "Is a Catamaran better than a Monohull?".......otherwise fire away


"Pirate Girl and Mermaid Lady sail the Seven Seas* on the Flying Dutchman, forever cursed to search for an (only slightly) Middle Aged Jerseyman with the Body of a God, the Face of an Angel and the writing skills of a 1st grader.......in order that they may have their "Wicked Way" with him, several times a night thanks to the magic pills supplied by the Wizard of Gord........"I'm over here" screams DOJ waving frantically as the dozy mares sail straight past for the 27th time......"

My working Title is "Pirates of the Channel Islands - Flogging the Franchise to Death Part XII".....wotcha think?

*Their are about 12 of them and no one has ever agreed which are the Seven.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:09   #4
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Here are a few you might not find on wiki.

Splice the Main brace:- Bust the rum out and give everybody a drink.
Make and Mend:- An afternoon off work.
Banyan:- Beach barbeque, preferably with double beer ration.
Pusser:- Member of one of that sour faced bitch in England's navies.
Dhoby:- The act of washing,ie have a dhoby (shower self), do your dhoby (wash your clothes), go dhoby the .......(go wash and clean the .......).
SCRAN:- food, meal or more precisely, **** Cooked up by the Royal Australian Navy.
Tids:- Non issue tailor made uniform, usually from Hong Kong.
Dit:- Story, book, comic.
Pig:- Commissioned officer.
Grunter:- See above.
Sprog:- Someone who has recently joined up or any kind of newcomer.
Steppers:- Clothes worn when stepping ashore.
Getters:- Usually rubber thongs but footwear in general.
Goffer:- Soft drink.
Makker:- Lollies, choclates etc.
Sculker:- One who avoids duty.
Civvie:- Anybody who is not a member of the armed services.
Dib Dab:- General seaman, he dibs the brush into the paint and dabs it onto the ship.
Buffer:- Person in charge of Dib dabs.
RNer:- Person who does not wash himself, also member of British Royal Navy, from whence the expression comes.
Cox'n:- Cox Swain, usually the most hated person on board, because he has a personality defect that caused him to choose being the onboard policeman as a career.
Bo'son:- Person in charge of boats, ie boat swain.
Taffy:- Welsh person, surname Evans.
Shiner:-Person, surname Wright.
Squizzy:- Person, surname Taylor.
Knobby:- Person, surname Clarke.
Tich:- Person, surname Turner
WRAN:- Woman who joins the Royal Australian Navy because she can't get sex anywhere else.

And finally:-
Tiffie:- Naval Artificer. This is the most valueable person aboard any ship. The prerequisite of selecting a person to be trained as a Naval Artificer is that he be capable of (not necessarily inclined to) achieving a Bachelor's Degree.
Once selected, he is trained how to know every inch of any ship to which he may be posted.
So for a Tiffie, navigation and assumption of command of a vessel are a small part of his capabilities.
If you have not guessed it yet, I am a Tiffie.

So razerwire, if you want some authentic naval jargon for your script, you have it above.

As you say you are "fledgling" in your screen writing and therefore still learning like me, I suggest you get hold of a DVD of the movie "The Sand Pebbles", starring Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Candice Bergen, Richard Crenna and others and directed by Robert Wise (by name and nature).
The novel was written by Richard McKenna and the screenplay by Robert Anderson. Read the novel and watch the movie and you will no doubt learn some thing of value to you.
You might also try "The Day of the Jacal" written by Robert Forsyth if memory serves me well and the original movie with the English actor (memory not serving). The American remake with Bruce Willis was a piece of crap I thought.

Special effecteth maketh not a movie greateth, and Greyeth Anatometh maketh not a great place from which one should take one's medical adviceth.

Nor is the Cruisers's Forum necessarily the best place to get advice on how to advance one's career, but , you did ask the question.

If you have had the patience to get this far and are still reading this post you have my hearty congratulations as you might just have the necessary attributes required to be a CRUISER like us.

Cheers Cisco. It's a different way of thinking!!
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:11   #5
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Perhaps given the wide variety of sailing situations and sailing specific terms it might help if you described a couple of scenes as you imagine them and then people could describe what might be happening in sailing terms?
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:13   #6
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Yeah, Get specific Dude!!
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:15   #7
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I will ask the questions. What credits do you have? Have you been published? Just met a guy with the basic same questions on another forum with a similiar introduction.????????????????
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:17   #8
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cisco, I got some really good laughs out of some of those.
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:25   #9
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Okay, sorry for not getting back. I'll give you a scenario, maybe people can chime in with some appropriate help.

First, my heroine is posing as an expert sailer, world class even (if you can suggest a term for that or ranking. I think I use World Cup experience, but something more authentic would be great.) Yet she's never even stepped foot on a boat before.

Now, if you were to captain a racing sailboat, one of those ridiculously expensive ones in some type of regatta, what would be the first orders you'd give the crew? The captain does bark out the orders, right? Five or six things would be cool.

Second, if someone was to give a lesson -- think a real hard ass -- what might he scream for you to do aboard the ship? And what might be simple mistakes you would make in response on accident? Something that would get you screamed at even more and make you feel like an idiot.

Third, what do you do to make the boom pole (is that what it's called?) come around if you were trying to knock someone off the boat? And is it plausible that your foot might get caught in a rope that would allow you to pull yourself back in?


Fourth, my heroine and her accomplice get the idea that they're going to shoot her off the boat using the spinnaker, hoping to launch her into the tent of a nearby wedding party. How far could you launch someone with a huge spinnaker, and would it launch them? Or would it act as a parachute? It need not be that realistic since it's a movie. Just getting ideas. I want it to be something we haven't seen before.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:40   #10
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how about you do a search for the nearly identical request (gender was swapped) a few months back. The story line business must be short on ideas, either that or two identical plot lines are going to come out at the same time. (sure this hasnt been set by a teacher?)
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:09   #11
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A Creative Writing 1 course would teach that it is best to write from personal experience - the alternative is to end up with precisely the difficulties that you are currently experiencing. Frankly, the idea seems implausible even for a low quality sitcom. NOBODY (not even Sully) would take on crew for a world-class racing event without an interview/recommendations that would have already screened your 'heroine' out.

Indeed, 'world class sailors' are a pretty select group - their identities, the boats they have sailed on, the events, the skippers and other crew would be pretty well known to your new fictional skipper. To have any chance of getting on board as crew in such a boat would be much more difficult than the positions obtained by the Great Imposter; certainly it would require much more research than you seem prepared to put into the entire script. Good luck!

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Old 03-05-2008, 04:19   #12
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Hey, I've got an alternative for you. Why not have your 'heroine' pretend that she is a 'world class racing driver' who was one of the team drivers for Ferrari in Formula 1 last year and is now trying to get a ride in, say Nascar. Just as ridiculous, of course, but I suspect that you at least know something about cars.

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Old 03-05-2008, 06:32   #13
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Still no answer to a simple question??????????????????????????? Makes one wonder!
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Old 03-05-2008, 07:11   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razerwire View Post
First, my heroine is posing as an expert sailer, world class even (if you can suggest a term for that or ranking.


first female Americas Cup Helmsman


Quote:
what would be the first orders you'd give the crew? The captain does bark out the orders, right? Five or six things would be cool.


The sails you will start using:
"Its blowing 20 kts so a reef in the main. I want the No 3 jib and double wool the 2 once spinnaker ready for a starboard pole."


Quote:
Second, if someone was to give a lesson -- think a real hard ass -- what might he scream for you to do aboard the ship?

"Look aloft! Don't look at the bloody winch, look aloft at the bloody sails!"


Quote:
And what might be simple mistakes you would make in response on accident? Something that would get you screamed at even more and make you feel like an idiot.


Its not really possible as someone who hasnt been on a yacht before would not know where anything is or what anything does. It just looks like a jumble of 100 ropes.

Perhaps just the order "Sheet on" this would be basic but your person would be immediately found out as threy stand there not knowing.



Quote:
Third, what do you do to make the boom pole (is that what it's called?) come around if you were trying to knock someone off the boat?


"Sailing by the lee" can cause an accidental gybe that will kill someone with the boom and can look accidental when its really intentional. But the helmsman would have to manoeuvre the victim to be up high enough to be in the way of the boom. Mind you Hollywood can do anything.

Quote:
And is it plausible that your foot might get caught in a rope that would allow you to pull yourself back in?


No, but again Hollywood. Say a leeward lazy sheet (a sheet or brace (guy) not being used say a spinnaker sheet when the kite isnt up) trailing in the water and falling in he/she felt it and caught the "stop knot" in the end of it. To pull yourself up against a boat going 6 or more knots is imposable but Tom Cruise in a Hollywood film could do it and he's a 3 foot 4 pipsqueak. Jackie Chan could have done it in his earlier days.



Quote:
Fourth, my heroine and her accomplice get the idea that they're going to shoot her off the boat using the spinnaker, hoping to launch her into the tent of a nearby wedding party.


As long as realism wasnt in the former parts of the film (ie its a comedy), and perhaps if you look at screen gems like Dukes of Hazzard, then yes there is a way.
When at anchor you can play silly buggers with the spinnaker. Anchored with a kedge so the stern of the boat is upwind you set the spinnaker without a pole nor attached by sheets. Then you attached a rope between the 2 clews with a short fall of rope in the middle to hang on to, or a Bosuns Chair. When a person grabs the centre rope (or bosuns chair) and pushes the rope outwards a bit, the spinnaker fills and the person goes up in the air! Its great fun! And you can get quite high, say 20-30 feet off the water. As the kite gets too high it spills the wind and down you come till it fills. This can get a person quite a way in front of the boat especially is the halyard is let out a bit. Conceivably a person riding a chute like this could have the boat underway heading towards the shore and the tent, jumping off above the tent as the boat either runs ashore or the anchor is chucked out to stop the boat. It would be a grand stunt I havenít seen in film, and, plausibility aside, makes an excellent way a person can arrive late, sailing full bore toward the wedding, and jump into the middle of the ceremony!
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:44   #15
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Sheesh!!!!!
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