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Thread: The demise of boat language

  1. #71
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    To be fair, Jesus would have undoubtedly said it that way had he been aboard a boat.



    Tom
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  2. #72
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    When I was fishing commercially, it was "the back deck" or the "ass end." Anyone using the term "after deck" would have been hooted at as "a goddamn yacht boy."
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  3. #73
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    I used to race against a fellow who had an "STP" (oil additive) sticker plastered on the deck of his Sunfish. When asked, he would explain it helped him remember which side was "S"tarboard and which side was "P"ort. Someone asked him what the "T" was for. "Oh", he said, "when I turn turtle in the boat I know which side is the TOP".

  4. #74
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Don has kindly attempted more than once to explain Tomfi's rigging to me in nautical rigging language. It's a beautiful language, like Italian, but I can't speak Italian either.
    Pity...

    TOMFI RIGGING 1.jpg

  5. #75
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Usually when my two-year-old grandson comes for a visit he wants to see the boat and get in it and ask about it. I'm the one to take him out there and we have our boat time together. The other day when I wasn't around he asked my wife to take him out. He started asking her to name the parts of the boat. He pointed out a familiar item and asked what it was. The reply came that it was a 'pulley'. He said 'no, it's a block'. Done me proud.

  6. #76
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Had a read through the comments here--amusing. No era has been free of those bemoaning "the decline of the language" and what-not. And yet we keep on talking to each other, and mostly understanding each other. Even if someone aboard a boat says "behind" instead of "abaft."

    Time to lighten up a touch, perhaps? Take a deep breath, calm down, and realize that language does not stop evolving until no one speaks it anymore.



    Tom
    You're right, but on the other hand sometimes we've got to open the door and yell "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore".

    I s'pose I don't mind drift in common expressions, but I do mind it when marketing BS and hype changes the meaning of a term.
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  7. #77
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    I shudder each time I hear the term "Boater" used! To me that is a form of straw hat! Anyone who is aboard a boat, no matter what size or of what material, that is used for pleasure is a "Yachtsman"!
    I guess it's a good thing I sail on a sailtraining vessel then, so I can object to being called "Yachtsman". To me, that conjures up the rich, preppy assholes with boat shoes and too much varnish for their own good.

    Among us tallship sailors, nautical language is still going strong. And on my ship in particular, even in multiple languages. English for the Summer and Spanish for the winter.

  8. #78
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    snort
    Bell rope, man rope, foot rope, bolt rope, . . .
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  9. #79
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Amen. The best argument for retaining the terminology is safety. This weekend, I helped warp a Hunter 36 into her berth with five or six other sailors with whom I had never previously worked. She had lost battery power, so no auxiliary. We did the job quickly, with good humor, and before our drinks got warm because we all knew the same or similar terms. "Belay to the starboard midships cleat, and give her a lot of spring" is a whole easier to say than "grab this rope and put it on that thing ... no no, not that one-- THAT ONE!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    I think it's important to properly name a sail control line, the location of a leak, a needed repair, etc. And, though I personally use the terms, it's less important for terms such as port/ starboard, or bow/stern or athwartships, IMO.

    Sure there's a safety aspect --a.k.a, " my left versus your left,"--but, should gull guano hit the bilge blower I doubt anyone I just taught port and starboard at the beginning of an outing is going to react without confusion sometime later in the day. Those who already know, know. So, as in any communication, I tailor my delivery to the audience at hand.

    Kevin

  10. #80
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    "Make fast" is another way to say "Belay".

    What came up with the first high performance sleds for the Trans Pac that always jolted my gut was and still does is ..... "Do you wanna drive?" How about this one, "Should we play a little puff card?" or "Lets play a puff card!" Banal Blather!
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 09-09-2018 at 02:13 PM.

  11. #81
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Long as we're on "nautical language", now that we have a boat that has one, my wife is curious about the etymology of "snotter". Anybody?

  12. #82
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Most dictionaries say that the term dates from the 18th century, origin unknown.

  13. #83
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Thanks Ian, that's all we'd been able to come up with, too. Our imaginations, of course, took us to menial tasks assigned to a 5 year old "boat boy" with a sinus condition....

  14. #84
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    "Make fast" is another way to say "Belay".

    What came up with the first high performance sleds for the Trans Pac that always jolted my gut was and still does is ..... "Do you wanna drive?" How about this one, "Should we play a little puff card?" or "Lets play a puff card!" Banal Blather!
    Jay
    Is it banal? What does it mean? Lots of other neologisms are there for the same reasons of simplicity and safety as some of the ancient terms. What makes the term "sled" fine, but "puff card" and "drive" banal? When you wrote "sled" I instantly understood what you meant, although it's not an ancient and time-honoured word. Couldn't "puff card" be just as useful and informative?

    Whilst on the subject of proper and delicate language, may I also beseech thee to foreswear the use of terms such as "jolt my gut". Peradventure I am being too bold here, but it may perhaps be said, with respect, that in polite company (and we of the yachting classes are of course to be counted amongst their number) one should not speak of the internal organs; it excites the masses, disturbs those of low moral character, offends those who are pure, and oft causes the servants to feel restive. Perhaps "it vexes me, dear reader" or "causes some grave concerns, m'lord" would be more appropriate.

    I remain, dear sir, your most humble and obedient etc
    Last edited by Chris249; 09-06-2018 at 08:05 PM.
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  15. #85
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    What the deuce is a "puff card"? I have never heard that before now. I can't even pick it up from context.

    Alex

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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Man, y'all talk like a bunch of folks who have never popped a chute on a reach. I've also rigged a lugsail off the mainyard jackstay after we swayed it aloft on a gantline. That involved bending sheets onto the clew and tack . Both those statements are correct in nautical terms.

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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelirrojo View Post
    Man, y'all talk like a bunch of folks who have never popped a chute on a reach.
    You mean a three daughters, a flanker, a fractional, a masthead, a floater, a whomper, a flattie, a chicken, or an assy? And which assy? The VMG? Are you sure we shouldn't use the Code Zero, Screecher, jib top or blast reacher instead? :-)

    All such words may be anathema to some, but they have concise meanings that can be vital. Although to be honest I haven't heard "flanker" used for many years, and the whomper is normally only used in fun.
    Last edited by Chris249; 09-06-2018 at 11:15 PM.
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  18. #88
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    In general I'll use nautical terms for describing stuff to do with boats and ships. I like it, the words roll off the tongue easily. As ACB mentions, I am perfectly capable of intentionally using a land based word for fun or to make myself understood by a lands person. I'l probably continue to use archaic nautical terms just to keep the words alive.

  19. #89
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    You mean a three daughters, a flanker, a fractional, a masthead, a floater, a whomper, a flattie, a chicken, or an assy? And which assy? The VMG? Are you sure we shouldn't use the Code Zero, Screecher, jib top or blast reacher instead? :-)

    All such words may be anathema to some, but they have concise meanings that can be vital. Although to be honest I haven't heard "flanker" used for many years, and the whomper is normally only used in fun.
    Jib top, is that like a yankee?

    I had to tie down a tarp over my boat yesterday, its on the hard.
    No bowlines through the eyelets, I made up eye splices, using a fid, because i like doing such things. I didn't get to back splice the ends, but probably will over the weekend.
    Terminology is like that for me; its fun to practice it. Its part of the craft and the otherness, the difference, of it.

    Avast, I've always felt 'Belay' was the temporary form of the more definitive 'make fast'.
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  20. #90
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    the whomper is normally only used in fun.
    I'm guessing at the etymology--is "whomper" derived from the Matthew Modine sailing movie "Wind?" Or did it come from somewhere else?

    Tom
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  21. #91
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    What the deuce is a "puff card"? I have never heard that before now. I can't even pick it up from context.

    Alex
    I'm guessing something with having seen a puff coming to his boat, he wants to take advantage of it?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  22. #92
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Puff card? It sounds like something one might need on mail buoy watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I'm guessing something with having seen a puff coming to his boat, he wants to take advantage of it?

  23. #93

    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    I'm late to the party, and I like to learn and use the correct and precise language.

    But to me it seems that the problem is that too many people use the language as a hazing ritual.

    They "... sometimes we've got to open the door and yell "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"."

    It's fine to teach people precise language, but don't be mean about it.

  24. #94
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    I can vaguely remember sailing board games, probably from the late 1960's or early 1970's that had a puff card you could play when you wanted a little extra wind during the game. I'll bet that is the genesis of that term.

  25. #95
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    "Make fast" is another way to say "Belay".
    With respect, sir, is it quite the same thing?

    I learned "Belay" as "Stop". Make fast then "keeps" the belay (think of the hitch after the figure eights on a cleat hitch. The figure eights belay, the hitch makes fast: "Ease the anchor rode out to three fathoms, and belay. Ease out some more scope. Belay. Ok, the anchor is holding now, Make Fast."

    Is that not correct?
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  26. #96
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Long as we're on "nautical language", now that we have a boat that has one, my wife is curious about the etymology of "snotter". Anybody?
    Taking a stab...

    " Snot," is ( possibly, according to a dictionary) from Old Dutch for snout. It could be said that the heel of a sprit is a snout, projecting forward of/ from the mast. Some time and corruption and mayhap, "snotter," is born.

    Just a guess.

    Kevin
    Last edited by Breakaway; 09-07-2018 at 04:47 PM.
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  27. #97
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    The usages of "belay" as a noun and verb have evolved from the specifics of securing a line, mostly to stop it from running, to "belay ----" as in "stop ----"

    You can set up a belay by "making fast" a line, but to "make fast" involves a joining together of pretty much anything - two vessels meeting on a very calm sea might make fast to each other for a gam.

  28. #98
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Years ago I had a girlfriend who reported the following on a sea Scout boat. One member of the crew said to another, "take that line and make it fast.".
    A passenger turned to my girlfriend and said, "boy, he's impatient."
    Last edited by Bobcat; 09-08-2018 at 12:25 AM.
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  29. #99
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by zydecotoad View Post
    I'm late to the party, and I like to learn and use the correct and precise language.

    But to me it seems that the problem is that too many people use the language as a hazing ritual.

    They "... sometimes we've got to open the door and yell "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"."

    It's fine to teach people precise language, but don't be mean about it.
    It's not mean, nor a hazing ritual, to politely discuss etymology.
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  30. #100
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I'm guessing at the etymology--is "whomper" derived from the Matthew Modine sailing movie "Wind?" Or did it come from somewhere else?

    Tom
    Yep, it came from Wind. Whenever I've heard it used, or used it, it's tongue in cheek and not a serious or semi-serious noun like "Code Zero".
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  31. #101
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsie View Post
    Jib top, is that like a yankee?

    I had to tie down a tarp over my boat yesterday, its on the hard.
    No bowlines through the eyelets, I made up eye splices, using a fid, because i like doing such things. I didn't get to back splice the ends, but probably will over the weekend.
    Terminology is like that for me; its fun to practice it. Its part of the craft and the otherness, the difference, of it.

    Avast, I've always felt 'Belay' was the temporary form of the more definitive 'make fast'.
    I like your analogy with splicing. I can't find a really good definition of yankee compared to jib top. I notice that John Illingworth referred to yankees as an upwind sail with a high clew, used in cutters. A modern jib top is a reaching sail for sloops.
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  32. #102
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    According to L. Francis Herreshoff, there are thirty nine ropes on a ship. They can be found in his book "An L Francis Herreshoff Reader'. They are are posted on this forum in another similar thread that was done about a year ago. In nautical terminology my books that date back to the mid 1800s no mention of the derivation of "Snotter" is listed, just the explanations that Ian and others have already posted.
    Jay

  33. #103
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Yep, it came from Wind. Whenever I've heard it used, or used it, it's tongue in cheek and not a serious or semi-serious noun like "Code Zero".
    Well, what do you know--me, too! I've actually been using real boat language correctly!

    Whomper... check.

    Now I just have to work on integrating "puff card" into my lexicon.

    Tom
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  34. #104
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    As a Commercial Mariner and avid boater/yachtsman, I have encountered endless options for nautical nomenclature.
    Different crews use different terms from Coast Guard, to Navy, to fishing boats, etc.
    My Marine Emergency Duty courses had some of the oldest terms like "avast".
    Then there was the archaic phraseology in my Transport Canada exams which must date back to Moses.

    Half-staff and half-mast, I recently discovered, are now delegated more to American vs Canadian terminology.

    At times I have encountered so many names for the same thing it's mind boggling and fascinating at the same time.
    Such deep history in most every word.

    As you were.

  35. #105
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    Default Re: The demise of boat language

    Tom, our navy insists on using the term a-cockbill with reference to the anchor being payed out a few links. In my upbringing, an anchor a-cockbill meant that the anchor was hung off and turned in such a way that it cannot seat in the anchor pocket but since we use self stowing anchors in our frigates, they can't possibly be a-cockbill in my mind. Just one of those things I can't get past. And the pronunciation of the word tackle. It's pronounced "tayckle" and I've pointed that out to our chief bosn's mate on several occasions but they insist on saying tackle. References used to point it out include the admiralty manual of seamanship, our Canadian manual of seamanship, Smith's Marlinspike (not marlingspike) Sailor and House's Seamanship Techniques. Yet the continue to say Tackle..... I'm a stickler for correct terminology (as are most naval warfare officers in our navy) and I can't get these' bosn's to speak nautically.
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