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post #13 of Old 07-17-2012
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Re: nautical language rant

Originally Posted by jsnaulty View Post
I just can't stand it any longer! (no, this is not a goodbye thread, sorry- besides no one would care if I left) . I have put up with "births" instead of "berths" for 20 years on various forums and before that , bulletin boards, but I just can't do it any more!. Latest statistics ( I checked ) suggest that very few people have babies on boats, but if by some mischance they did, it would be in a 'berth".

I have "wenches" on my boat, but they are the ones who crank the "winches". It is "should have, or should've" not should of. Can you drive, hike or bike on an "anchor road"? How do you repair a spongy "front deck" or would you rather fix the "foredeck". "Topsides" are part of the hull, not the deck. (If you ask the painter to paint your red boat's (I did envy Treilly's E35-3 's 'cordelia') 'topsides" white, thinking you finally would have a deck without bird + blueberry stains, you might be surprised when you go to see her at the job completion)

These are all examples taken from just the previous day on Sailnet. Am I being too picky, and we should just ignore these 'mistakes'? (which are repeated ad infinitum in these and other such places. Or should we point out proper nautical usage to preserve our beautiful and meaningful words.

I have just co-authored a book on Medical Terms and their meanings. Sort of a dictionary, but with the derivations, literal meaning of the term, and examples of proper usage. Using such a text would not be remiss in the nautical field, and they may well exist. I think I'll look for one when I finish the rant, or you can and add it to the discussion that I hope ensues. In medicine, people's lives depend on all the multiple people involved in modern medical care understand and use proper terminology. I would never suggest to a surgeon to 'remove some of the gut' instead of "I think a partial resection of the distal ileum and re-anastamosis is needed".

I wonder how much nautical 'yelling' and tears involves this lack of understanding the terminology. I don't know how many times I have been peaceably anchored, with a chesapeake squall on the way. Up comes a very large, new looking boat, with the helmsman screaming over the thunderstorm to the crewperson "wrap the rope around the little thingy on the front" , followed by a loud dialog about which thingy, tie what?, where? , fending him off, etc. If he could just say" cleat the anchor rode" and the crew understand him, things would be different. (admittedly, if you thought "road" instead of "rode", the result, in this case, would be the same.

I posit that there would be much less miscommunication, tears, angry silences, and other anger manifestations that you know have to eventually apologize for if you and your spouse or crew could use and understand the proper terms. If you know the proper terminology, use it and explain it to others on your boat. If you don't know it, learn it! I don't think nautical terminology exists to make us elitists or to sound important and nautical to landlubbers, but to facilitate clear discussion and action.

end rant

steve naulty
ericson 35-3 'anodyne'
shadyside MD
I like this guy.
Well said.

It's 5 o'clock somewhere:

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