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Old 05-05-2010, 14:18   #1
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Question Admirals

I'm trying to get a sense of what the term "Admiral" means to those in the cruising community -- not the actual naval definition of the term, but how it is used and applied by people who cruise. Fair warning - I'm trying to pin this down for a piece I'm writing.

Based on how you hear people using it, what does the term "the Admiral" mean?

Is there an Admiral on your boat?

((I thought Women Afloat was an appropriate place to put this but I would love opinions from everyone))
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Old 05-05-2010, 14:28   #2
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Well yes, the man may be the captain but the wife or female partner is the admiral. May be spoken somewhat tongue in cheek but it does illustrate that for most cruising couples there is a division of duties and one partner will have more input in some areas of responsibility.

Although I know of notable exceptions, usually the man is in charge of oil changes, the woman in charge of supplies and stowing. Extrapolate from there.

Another way to look at it, the captain may be in charge of the day to day operation of the ship but at the end of the day, the captain does have to answer to the admiral.
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Old 05-05-2010, 14:36   #3
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Skipmac pretty much nailed it. Alternatively:

She who shall be obeyed.
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Old 05-05-2010, 14:47   #4
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It's a reminder that although the Captain may be in charge of the vessel and gets to make the immediate decisions he nonetheless still has a boss to ultimately answer to............

But it is nonetheless a team

BTW never heard it used in a derogatory manner. Unilike adding "Bligh", "Know it all" (or worse ) to the term "Captain"
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Old 05-05-2010, 15:53   #5
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Glad to hear that it's not meant derogatorily. It always seemed so condescending to me - like giving your 6-year-old the road atlas and calling him "Navigator". Even though the route has already been determined, and no input is actually wanted or needed from him.
(Coming from the woman herself, it somehow sounds a bit like over-compensating for her perceived less-importance.)
But then, most of my experience with the term is from reading our boating magazines, many of which use it to describe someone who's primary interest in the boat is the color of the cushions, and who never seems to do much actual work.
J has more experience than I do, and more knowledge - therefore he is "Captain". If I must have a title (seems unnecessary with just 2), it would be "First Mate," and any good captain will listen to his FM and takes their input seriously.
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Old 05-05-2010, 16:08   #6
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I agree with you, Mariness. I've always thought it was used a bit condescendingly - an award with no meaning, like a crown from Burger King. I never liked the whole "she who must be obeyed" thing. Always seemed too much like a complaint about a nagging wife.

I would much rather have the title you propose, first mate. That is if I had a captain. But I don't, 'cause I have my own boat to sail!
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Old 05-05-2010, 16:19   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
BTW never heard it used in a derogatory manner. Unilike adding "Bligh", "Know it all" (or worse) to the term "Captain"
I've occasionally heard it used in a manner that may not be derogatory, but isn't necessarily affectionate, either. More along the lines of how Captain Aubrey felt about so many of the Admirals he dealt with (and for many of the same reasons, I'd wager).
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Old 05-05-2010, 16:37   #8
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As with so many things, there are both good and bad admirals and both good and bad captains. These attributes are not unrelated. A good admiral issues few orders in part because her captain is experienced and well trained.
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Old 05-05-2010, 17:33   #9
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Personally I find the term used by cruisers as silly, confusing and sometimes a bit condescending.

An Admiral is in command of a Fleet (or Armada) of boats, but hey if someone wants to role play with the necessary epaulettes ….. whatever swashes their buckle!

My partner is simply my “mate”… meant lovingly in the Nautical, Australian and Sexual sense and ironically on the latter... I am the one doing the saluting...
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Old 05-05-2010, 17:36   #10
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ROTFL! That's perfect, Pelagic.

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Old 05-05-2010, 17:55   #11
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My partner is simply my “mate”… meant lovingly in the Nautical, Australian and Sexual sense and ironically on the latter... I am the one doing the saluting...
Well, despite the difference in labels, I fail to see a meaningful difference between this and:

"A good admiral issues few orders in part because her captain is experienced and well trained."
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Old 05-05-2010, 18:01   #12
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In my mind Captain is in charge of day to day operations, technical aspects, sailing, mooring, weather decisions etc.
Admiral is responsible for overall strategy of the cruise (boat or fleet), where and when, not necessarily how.
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Old 05-05-2010, 18:58   #13
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Not in most dictionaries...

I found a definition at Dictionary.com.

ad·mi·ral
–noun
1.the commander in chief of a fleet.
2.a naval officer of the highest rank.
3.a naval officer of a high rank: the grades in the U.S. Navy are fleet admiral, admiral, vice-admiral, and rear admiral.
4.Obsolete. the flagship of an admiral.
5.British. a master who directs a fishing fleet.
6.any of several often brightly colored butterflies of the family Nymphalidae, as Vanessa atalanta (red admiral).

I don't think that #1, #3, #4 and #5 apply here but the understanding that (informally) the partner of the Captain has the right to override any non operational decision appears sound.

Speaking for myself #6 has some relevance.
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Old 05-05-2010, 19:56   #14
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I think the manner in which it is used in the cruising community is not entirely positive as in, "The 'Admiral' told me to turn here so I did, and we ended up on the rocks."
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Old 05-05-2010, 21:48   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flysci View Post
I agree with you, Mariness. I've always thought it was used a bit condescendingly - an award with no meaning, like a crown from Burger King. I never liked the whole "she who must be obeyed" thing. Always seemed too much like a complaint about a nagging wife.

I would much rather have the title you propose, first mate. That is if I had a captain. But I don't, 'cause I have my own boat to sail!
Admiral is a better honorific as the First Mate is subordinate to the Captain. I really don't think most modern/feminist women of the 2000's think of themselves as subordinate to their men.

Whereas the Captain while master of the ship and in charge of the operation of the ship he must answer to the Admiral when something goes wrong. And the Admiral sets the tone and parameters of operation that the Captain executes.
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