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Old 03-11-2014, 13:06   #1
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Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

Sailing has a long list of terms and jargon that are confusing to landlubbers and newbies to sailing.

I well remember my early days on boats when I heard terms and commands used that made me pause or made me smile (for humor possibilities). Before I starting sailing, I read many books on sailing and tried to memorize the names of boat parts and such. But, when I started crewing on racing boats, I heard things that made me think: "What did he say?"

Sometimes this was because the skipper's commands were truncated terms or nicknames barked at a high pitch and volume (e.g. he was screaming or using his "command voice"). At other times it was because the skipper was multitasking and sometimes it was simply malapropos.

Of course, with more experience and more time with the skipper or boat or crew, one can learn the lingo and understand. We hope.

Perhaps you know some too, and can add to this discussion with some of the terms or commands you found puzzling, confusing, humorous, or just odd at first.

Please add your own list of the Arcane, funny, or easily misunderstood sailing terms, commands, and usage.

They don't all have to be funny phrases. Some phrases and commands are just darn confusing to newbies and novices while they may make perfect sense to those more salty hands.


For example:

Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

As crew, you may be expected to understand commands (and terms) like:

"Ease the running back!" (This has nothing to do with football.)
"Find the clew!" (This has nothing to do with detectives.)
"Run this through the cheek" (This has nothing to do with a face.)
"Pass this through the lazy!"
"Put a stopper on that sheet!"
"Ease the vang!" (This has nothing to do with vampires.)
"Haul on the lazy #%&#@#!!"
"Put a wrap on that wench!" (This has nothing to do with warming a woman.)
"Put a bight on this rope!" (This has nothing to do with biting a rope.)
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Old 03-11-2014, 13:13   #2
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

"The lazy sheet is fouled!" (nothing to do with your sleeping place)

"The stays'ls sucking up the genoa sheet! Stop furling!."

"No, no, lead the guy outside everything!" (nothing to do with blind man's bluff)

"Turn the wench to see how to wrap her."

And so on.
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Old 03-11-2014, 13:18   #3
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
"The lazy sheet is fouled!" (nothing to do with your sleeping place)

"The stays'ls sucking up the genoa sheet! Stop furling!."

"No, no, lead the guy outside everything!" (nothing to do with blind man's bluff)

"Turn the wench to see how to wrap her."

And so on.
"Turn the wench to see how to wrap her."



Thanks for adding to this discussion, you made me chuckle.
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:34   #4
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

"I can't come up any more!" (where did I put that Viagra?)
(By a woman skipper) "I'm not fetching." (True, but I'm glad I didn't say that)
"Lazy sheet! Lazy sheet!" (Why didn't we splurge on some energetic sheets and solve this problem, once and for all?)
(About a slower boat reaching just ahead) "Just sail over her." (WHAT?)
"No, let's go under her." (Not much more inviting than over her; can't we just go around her?)
"Luff them, hard!" (Oooh, just how I like it)
"Dowse that sail!" (OK, where's the hose?)
"Blow the genny!" (How hard should I blow? Will it make us go faster?)
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:08   #5
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akka View Post
"I can't come up any more!" (where did I put that Viagra?)
(By a woman skipper) "I'm not fetching." (True, but I'm glad I didn't say that)
"Lazy sheet! Lazy sheet!" (Why didn't we splurge on some energetic sheets and solve this problem, once and for all?)
(About a slower boat reaching just ahead) "Just sail over her." (WHAT?)
"No, let's go under her." (Not much more inviting than over her; can't we just go around her?)
"Luff them, hard!" (Oooh, just how I like it)
"Dowse that sail!" (OK, where's the hose?)
"Blow the genny!" (How hard should I blow? Will it make us go faster?)
You made me chuckle with some good ones. Thanks for adding to the "Compendium of Commands As We Hear Them."

Here are a few more:

"Make that fast!" (??? Do you mean speed it up? ???)

"Stop pinching!" (??? What is the helmsman doing to the skipper back in the cockpit?)

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Old 05-11-2014, 11:27   #6
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

Steady Hand, from your avatar ought to appreciate this:

Navigator - "fetch me the pencil"

Crew (silently in head, doesn't want to show lack of knowledge) - "which one is the pens'l? I know the mains'l and the stays'l, but which one is the pens'l?"

"Anchor's Aweigh" - where is it away to?

And my perennial favorite - "blow the guy" - really, here, now?
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Old 05-11-2014, 21:49   #7
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Familiar-word syndrome

This whole thread is funny.

What makes me cringe, though, is what I have come to call 'familiar-word syndrome' --when someone not comfortable or not familiar with proper nautical jargon will use a more familiar, more-often-used term in place of the appropriate one. One look in eBay or YachtTrader ads will show tons of examples, such as, in car ads, the use of 'breaks' for 'brakes'. This isn't just a misspelling, It's a very specific kind of illiteracy.

'Staunchions' (based on the more familiar word 'staunch') -- they're 'stanchions'.

'Taunt' -- a tensioned line is referred to as 'taut'.

'Wench' --as given here (and in many 4x4/ATV ads). A 'winch' is something for winding in line. A 'wench' is usually on the receiving end of one.

A good friend of mine insists on calling the 'bootstripe' the 'bootstrap'. He is educated enough to know what a 'boot' is any covering meant to seal or streamline a seam, such as on aircraft, or, on a yacht, where two kinds of paint meet.

'Bulwark' is a vertical wall meant to hold back the sea or earth, not found in a boat. A 'bulkhead' is a crosswise partition in a vessel meant to hold back potentially-loose cargo ('bulk').

Anchor lines are called 'rode'; it is not a slight mispronunciation of the word 'rope', as many assume, but an entirely different word.

Maybe it's singer Mary Blige's name that's given rise to the use of 'billige' for 'bilge'. Also, the sump is called the 'bilge', the pump is not the 'bilge' but the 'bilge pump'.

We can all probably think of dozens more!

Any time I hear someone use these mistakes out loud, such as in a command ('Turn on the bilge!') it gives me shivers like fingernails on a blackboard.
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:12   #8
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Re: Familiar-word syndrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by dianaofburlingt View Post
'Turn on the bilge!
Why? What's it done?

As to intentionally misspelling, perhaps not always, this was from a bout add thus yar. Very likely just 2nd language issue but "ante fowled" gave me a laugh, something to do with gambling stakes and poultry, difficult to connect with a boat.

Quote:
Pimpernel was an ex hire yacht out of Arlie Beach ,built in 1986 very well looked after
it has a reconditioned marst new sale new feller .She was ante fowled last June
well looked after 27 Horse Volvo Penter diesel engine 100 liter fuel tank
Well appointed .There is to much to mention please call
She is moored in Bowen QLD .

May consider swap for smaller diesel bout
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Old 06-11-2014, 14:53   #9
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

As to misspelled words or homonyms placed in a sentence…. (my post above even has "wench" instead of "winch"), I have found that my iPad sometimes inserts a word it thinks I want (auto correcting) and if I do NOT read the sentences or paragraphs for these, it may slip through, inadvertently.

Of course I can also make the common mistake of thinking of one term and typing another.

As for members whose first language is NOT English, I give them allowance and admiration for using English (as their second or third language). No doubt if I were trying to write in French or Spanish, I would make many mistakes, more than I do with English.
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A boat was "ante fowled?"

That is a a good one!

I imagine it to have one of those plastic owls on the mast to ward of the seagulls.
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Old 06-11-2014, 16:57   #10
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

According to my wife our boat has
A kitchen
A living room
two bathrooms
two bedrooms
couches
and even a back porch
drive our Son nuts, me, I'm smart enough not to correct her
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Old 06-11-2014, 17:56   #11
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

The sheets got a A-hole at the foot block clear it.

From my racing days the tack line for the asim is called the "down f*#cker" my wife loves that term its crystal clear as to which line I am calling for.
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Old 06-11-2014, 18:08   #12
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

Weigh Anchor.......
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Old 06-11-2014, 18:23   #13
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

It doesn't either have an A-hole at the footblock, it has a hockle!

I love "down f***r" for downhaul.

Best so far, for me, was, "where's the penn'sl?"

Ponder, how can decks be "a wash?" The wash is in the laundry. And Australian powerboaters are unaware of the term as it applies to their wake, but, see, they're not dead yet, so how could they have a wake?

"Dump the runner"! [I never cared for him that much, anyway.]

"Secure" or "ease" the preventer. You mean "ease" like "soothing someone's brow?"

Ann

on edit:

Then, what Americans call a "reaching strut", is called a "jockey strut" in Oz; the boom vang is called the "kicker", and a block and tackle are called a "Handy Billy." ....ah, well, separated by a common language, as Churchill said.
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Old 06-11-2014, 18:53   #14
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

A few years ago I was told a funny story by a friend who was invited by a newbie boat owner to help that owner with learning the ropes so to speak. So they're motoring to an anchor area with my friend at the wheel and the boat owner at the bow getting ready to do whatever my friend will tell him to do. My friend having picked a good spot to anchor eases the throttle into neutral, waits a few seconds and yells to the guy at the bow to "drop the anchor now!". So the guy drops it but turns out he never shackled the anchor to the chain and rode. Priceless.
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Old 06-11-2014, 19:17   #15
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Re: Sailing Terms and Commands as We Hear Them

Sailing, I tend not to use nautical and sailing terms when these can be substituted with normal language. I still use words like 'sail' or 'shackle' though.

Sure I try to be PC whenever posting at CF.

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