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post #1 of 84 Old 07-17-2012 Thread Starter
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nautical language rant

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
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post #2 of 84 Old 07-17-2012
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Re: nautical language rant

I agree that proper terminology goes a long way towards fostering precise understanding, as long the communication is between the initiated. This is from my boat's SOP:

Vocabulary: There is a nautical language and we employ it on Wind Orchid. As you learn the ropes, learn the language and use it. For example, there is no “kitchen” but there is a galley. As a snotty boot lubber, you won’t have the Bos’n’s pipe or the Pilot’s smarts on day one. But not to worry. Just because you can’t tell a can from a nun or a bowline from a sheet bend, we’ll not let the cat out of the bag and show you the Captain’s daughter, at least not on your first cruise. So, your Banyan and the Midshipman’s nuts are safe as long as you progress towards keeping all in Bristol fashion, well and by.

[/B]S/V Wind Orchid
Catalina 350 (hull# 273)
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post #3 of 84 Old 07-17-2012
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Re: nautical language rant

I am in total agreement.

I have told my racing crew that although sailing terminology is arcane, it's still totally functional and will be used.

I told them that after their first couple of races, that I will stop referring to things as "the blue flecked line, the black line, or that line over there".

It's not that I get off on "talking like a pirate", it's that these words still refer to jobs and equipment and there is no modern terminology to replace them.

So, HTFU and learn the terminology!

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post #4 of 84 Old 07-17-2012
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Re: nautical language rant

Quote:
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".
...
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 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.
...
Part of the problem in the forum may be a reliance on spell check, which (to use your example) sees "birth" as a correct spelling. So, if I'm typing as fast as I can to be the next to respond to a particular post, I may not catch it.

I hear you about the spelling, while I'm not perfect, it's obvious that some people either just don't care or spelling is just not their forte. But, *shrug*, I'm not going to lose sleep over it and they probably aren't, either. I had my rant about it last year and I've moved on. In reality, I'm the mathematical equivalent so who am I to throw stones?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnaulty View Post
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.
...
Posit away. "Learn nautical-speak or stay the hell off my boat" probably won't work so well to encourage people to learn it, either.

Donna


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post #5 of 84 Old 07-17-2012
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Re: nautical language rant

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Originally Posted by jsnaulty View Post
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.
Yeah too picky! .. I dunno bout yalls buts I's thinks beesing a word Nazi is suptin dat takes up too much tyme!
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post #6 of 84 Old 07-17-2012
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Re: nautical language rant

Don't have a clew what you are talking about!
We (I) often take out novices who are along for a joy ride, then we (I) ask them to cleat lines or hand them to me etc without any warning or training. That's why my mainsheet is blue, main halyard blue/white my spinnaker halyard and topping lift are green and white.

yes, dock lines run through chocks, not thingys, the boat has a head, there is a mainsail and a jib. If the metal thing hits you in the head, it goes 'boom'.
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post #7 of 84 Old 07-17-2012
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Re: nautical language rant

actually its called salty lingo,my spelling is god awful but if terminoligy bothers you heres a few choice saily terms/pogie bait,man in the barrow,green oil for port side lights,all hands on deck,short rations showers only,st!t on a shingle uh huh huh
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Re: nautical language rant

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Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
Yeah too picky! .. I dunno bout yalls buts I's thinks beesing a word Nazi is suptin dat takes up too much tyme!
huh!denise its too early for rhum
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post #9 of 84 Old 07-17-2012
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Re: nautical language rant

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Originally Posted by jsnaulty View Post
Am I being too picky...
Yes.

Since when have sailors needed to obtain grammatical nirvana to sail and drink? Lighten the hell up!

Hears to bad speling, lotsa booze, and prettie winches!

(PS - Have you ever been on a racing boat with 20+ lines?)


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Re: nautical language rant

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Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
I am in total agreement.

I have told my racing crew that although sailing terminology is arcane, it's still totally functional and will be used.

I told them that after their first couple of races, that I will stop referring to things as "the blue flecked line, the black line, or that line over there".

It's not that I get off on "talking like a pirate", it's that these words still refer to jobs and equipment and there is no modern terminology to replace them.

So, HTFU and learn the terminology!
And trust me, he means it. He'll fire your boot-wearin' butt worldwide if you so much as say the word "rope" on his ride. Heh-heh.
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