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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've been reading the book in my spare time. Finding a lot of words and terms I've had to look up. This one is escaping me....

geswarps

The swinging booms were then guyed out, and the boat made fast by geswarps, and everything in harbor style.
Anybody here know the definition?
 

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Guess´ warp´
1. (Naut.) A rope or hawser by which a vessel is towed or warped along; - so called because it is necessary to guess at the length to be carried in the boat making the attachment to a distant object.
 

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Does this help?

From The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia of 1889:
guess-warp, n. 1. Nautical, a hawser coiled in a boat, and carried from a vessel to any distant object for the purpose of warping the vessel toward the object: so called from the necessity of guessing the distance, and consequently the length of the hawser. — 2. Any rope by which a boat is secured astern of or alongside a ship.

The Century dictionary and cyclopedia




EDIT: Doh! jackdale beat me to it.
 

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From the Dictionary of Naval Terms
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
...Or much of the spelling of the time was optional or has been abandoned since.

Makes it hard to do a search from complete ignorance.

Thanks again!
 

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That was quick! Thanks! Ol' Richard does seem to have a little issue with spelling....
That is an alternate spelling. Some boating terms has apostrophes to show where letters are omitted, like foc'sle = forecastle.

Bosun is actually spelled boatswain.
 

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That was quick! Thanks! Ol' Richard does seem to have a little issue with spelling....
I reading a book about Captain James Cook and his voyages in 1769 and 1770.

In the passages where he is quoted at length, it seems he never spells a word the same way twice. I think that is typical of the 18th century anyway.
 

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It wasn't just words, it was names too.

We only have a few examples of Shakespeare writing his own name (mostly in lawsuits, he lived in litigious times), and he spelled it differently every time.
 

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Dictionaries played a role in casting spellings in stone.
 
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I first enjoyed reading Two Years Before the Mast as a kid in New England. Then a second time as an adult living in California. Pretty neat to anchor my boat in the same locales as the Pilgrim.

O.K. bonus points time - We all know that "guesswarps" are the lines that secure the spar that holds out a jolly boat. What is the name of that spar? (Could this be the start of another exciting game of "18-19th century nautical trivia?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I first enjoyed reading Two Years Before the Mast as a kid in New England. Then a second time as an adult living in California. Pretty neat to anchor my boat in the same locales as the Pilgrim.

O.K. bonus points time - We all know that "guesswarps" are the lines that secure the spar that holds out a jolly boat. What is the name of that spar? (Could this be the start of another exciting game of "18-19th century nautical trivia?)
That wasn't the swinging boom?
 

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I've heard it called both an "outrigger" boom and a "Burton" boom. Was it "Swinging" in the book? My dad was a fountain head of archaic nautical terms. (I think he always wanted to be a bosun.)
 

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I rather liked his use of the word steeve (or steve, for the OP). We all know stevedore, for cargo handlers on the docks. But TYBTM shows in excellent detail how stevedores steeved. Or stove. Anyhow. First, you fill the ship up with as many hides as will possibly fit. Then you take twice again that many hides in packets of five or six, fold them in half over what sounds like a big pizza peel, and use muscle, levers, or tackles to insert them into the hide piles, as deep as they will go. Repeat until the very shape of the hull distorts from the pressure. Then steve in a few hundred more.

He doesn't describe how the hides were removed in Boston. Presumably they just dismantled the ship.

Spelling -- or the more exact term, orthography -- was largely a invention of mid-seventeenth to eighteenth century busybodies. In England, that meant Puritans and their ilk. Humorless, systematic, and almost completely devoid of creative juices, they believed everyone should speak and write the same and that English should closely resemble Latin and Greek -- even though it is essentially Danish. These same prescriptivists gave us idiot rules like "Never end a sentence with a preposition". With the singular anomaly of Milton -- who managed to be both Puritan and interesting -- that era of English letters is a miserable desert populated by smug little dorks like Pope and Dryden. Good spelling is not good writing. ;) Dana was (IIRC) High Church Episcopalian, and thus exempt from the orthographic ravings of Noah Webster.
 
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