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post #1 of 15 Old 01-26-2010 Thread Starter
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Sailing Jargon

Hello all,

I have searched for a related thread, but have can't seem to find one. As a beginner sailor, I have discovered that everything on a sailboat has at least two names, if not more. And just when you think you know every term, ten more are discovered on your next trip out. Nothing has seemed more embarrassing (or more dangerous) than being instructed commands from the skipper and having no idea what he is talking about.

"Do what with the what?"

I am sure this seafaring language has many dialects, but can someone point me in the direction of some good ol' basic sailing terminology / jargon? Books? Threads? Websites?

I have been picking up a lot in the Salt's Corner Table thread. Very helpful. Perhaps there is another thread with a rundown of old salt lingo.

Thanks for the help. peace.

"True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing at all." -Socrates

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post #2 of 15 Old 01-26-2010
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This isn't an answer to your question, but one thing that I've read is that among etymologists and other people who study the history of words and phrases there is a running joke that no matter what the word or phrase is, someone is going to claim that it has nautical origins.

What are you pretending not to know ?

Please support my
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-26-2010
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Try here:

Glossary
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-26-2010
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A simple glossary will help but sailing language is very old and each region has it's own terms. It is impossible to learn all of them and hard to change once you do learn. I still call the little boat that goes with the big boat a tender and while sailing will bark out Prepare to Comeabout, or Helms A Lee even after the crew says WTF?

Then there are pronunciation differences. Such as Bo-Lin or Bo-Line and to make matters even more difficult each will insist the other is wrong.

Sometimes I try to use the term Map as often as I can and mix in as many car driving words as I can. Like passenger side rather than starboard, or old terms like larboard rather than port.

It can all be very funny so I would suggest just going with what you pick up and in the meantime use what ever discriptive term works. We need to make sailing more inclusive and the language is a good place to start.

You might think the radio is one area where proper terms are important but that is not always the case. Always start by using the proper terms but I've found myself having to replace the terms Hotel Alpha Echo Foxtrot...with H as in Harry, A as in *******....OK I didn't use that term but did use common words as the bridge operator had no idea wtf I was talking about when I tried to use what I thought was the proper alphabet.

Just remember that communication is more important than using the "proper" words.

Have faith that the oceans are going to rise and flood the world, that plague and pestilence brought on by Climate Change is going to punish us for not believing. Please do as they say it is our only hope. :P
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-26-2010
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Here are a couple of sources I've found helpful:
Sailors Choice Nautical Terms Index
m-i-link.com Maritime Dictionary
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-26-2010 Thread Starter
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nice, thank you.

I've been keeping these links open in a separate window for quick access when reading threads.

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post #7 of 15 Old 01-26-2010
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If you want to keep a bone in her teeth and stay on the rhumb line a lubber's going to need to spend less time splicing the main brace! You'll need to stand fast as the loblolly boy or it's time to cut your painter!
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soulofmine View Post
I have discovered that everything on a sailboat has at least two names, if not more. And just when you think you know every term, ten more are discovered on your next trip out.
That's an interesting observation.

I have always believed that sailing jargon names everything for what it is and stops all the confusion. I often defend it by saying that it is very specific and once learned, simple to follow.

I've never thought that I may be confusing newbies on the boat. I can't actually think of a single thing on my boat that has two names.

Perhaps a few examples of the duplication you have experienced may be interesting.


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post #9 of 15 Old 01-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
That's an interesting observation.

I have always believed that sailing jargon names everything for what it is and stops all the confusion. I often defend it by saying that it is very specific and once learned, simple to follow.

I've never thought that I may be confusing newbies on the boat. I can't actually think of a single thing on my boat that has two names.

Perhaps a few examples of the duplication you have experienced may be interesting.
Absolutely. There is only one correct name for the item or system. It is purposely not confusing, has a rationale and location. A little like a language, think in the correct terms and you will learn the nautical language.

Then, you wont be scuppered unless taken aback with 3 sheets to the wind on a lee shore.


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post #10 of 15 Old 01-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
That's an interesting observation.

I have always believed that sailing jargon names everything for what it is and stops all the confusion. I often defend it by saying that it is very specific and once learned, simple to follow.

I've never thought that I may be confusing newbies on the boat. I can't actually think of a single thing on my boat that has two names.

Perhaps a few examples of the duplication you have experienced may be interesting.
I agree.....for the most part...however.
Granny bars...fanny bars...mast pulpit....?

James S
S/V Arctic Lady
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