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Sailing Terms

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: Sailing Terms
Post by Sharp Claw   » Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:50 pm

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isaac_newton wrote:
Joat42 wrote:BTW just out of interest - was the steering oar always on one specific side... if yes, any particular reason.

Most people are right-handed which makes it easier (better leverage) to steer from the starboard (right) side of a ship.

Other reasons why this became the standard is that ships can pass each other (ie keep to the right) without risk of tangling/damaging the steering oars when passing each other plus you could standardize harbors and loading to some extent.



makes sense - thanks :-)[/quote]
Hmm not so much. A lot of landlubbers confuse Port (Larboard) and Starboard with left and right. They are quite different and confusing the two terms could actually be dangerous in a ship under sail. For example, if the skipper said quick untangle that rope on the right, your right? my right? what rope? But if someone said the port jib sheet is fouled on the starboard side stay a sailor would know exactly what the problem is. Port is left and Starboard right ONLY IF you are facing the bow (front) of the boat. If you are facing the stern (back) of the boat, port would be on your right and starboard on your left. Port and Starboard don’t change no matter which way you are facing.

Also, if you are steering with a tiller while on a starboard tack, you are most likely sitting on the high (starboard) side and steering with your left hand. This allows better visibility of the sails and leaves your right hand free for such things as trimming the jib.
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Re: Sailing Terms
Post by Joat42   » Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:02 am

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Sharp Claw wrote:Hmm not so much. A lot of landlubbers confuse Port (Larboard) and Starboard with left and right.

Yes, which why I used left and right in my description. If someone asks for an explanation of the meaning of a word and it's etymology you use common terms and not the jargon.

Sharp Claw wrote:They are quite different and confusing the two terms could actually be dangerous in a ship under sail. For example, if the skipper said quick untangle that rope on the right, your right? my right? what rope? But if someone said the port jib sheet is fouled on the starboard side stay a sailor would know exactly what the problem is.

And anyone not being a sailor would go "huh?", which is why we need to start with common terms describing the jargon and it's context.

Sharp Claw wrote:Port is left and Starboard right ONLY IF you are facing the bow (front) of the boat. If you are facing the stern (back) of the boat, port would be on your right and starboard on your left. Port and Starboard don’t change no matter which way you are facing.

And neither does right and left when you are passing someone, because otherwise you are going backwards while overtaking.

Sharp Claw wrote:Also, if you are steering with a tiller while on a starboard tack, you are most likely sitting on the high (starboard) side and steering with your left hand. This allows better visibility of the sails and leaves your right hand free for such things as trimming the jib.

A tiller is a very late invention in comparison to the terms starboard/larboard. If you have a ship with a steering-oar you always stand behind it to get leverage, there's very little lateral movement possible but you can move further port while keeping your right hand on the oar which is beneficial since a majority of people are right-handed.

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: Sailing Terms
Post by Sharp Claw   » Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:05 am

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If by very late invention you mean the last few hundred years, then yes.

Whether it is controlled by a tiller or wheel, we are really talking about a rudder which replaced the steering oar.

Anyone who ventures offshore in a sailboat beyond swimming range had better be a sailor, unless they have a death wish. In fact, if you fall overboard in cold water, you won’t swim far. As cold as San Francisco Bay, much less the North Atlantic. Water is many times greater as a heat sink than air, which is why internal combustion engines are water cooled. In cold water hypothermia quickly sets in and you won’t be able to move your arms or legs.

What you deride as jargon are precise technical terms. The more critical the situation the more important quick, clear communication.

If David Weber is not a sailor, he has definitely done his research. Probably both as the Safehold series, the Apocalypse Troll and some comments about Honor Harrington demonstrate.

All I am really trying to do here is instill some respect for the killing power of the ocean.
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Re: Sailing Terms
Post by Joat42   » Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:11 pm

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Sharp Claw wrote:What you deride as jargon are precise technical terms. The more critical the situation the more important quick, clear communication.

When I said jargon I had "the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group" in mind.

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: Sailing Terms
Post by Randomiser   » Fri Jun 12, 2020 5:40 pm

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Sounds to me like jgnfld and Sharp Claw are describing small, maybe even one-handed pleasure sailing craft whereas the 'starboard' terminology is much wider and would have been applied also to much larger ships designed for commerce. (As it is now, of course)

I'm totally with Joat42 about explaining the *ahem* 'specialised terminology'. If someone doesn't understand your particular branch of geek speak, you use more general terms to help them get the meaning rather than hoping they will somehow guess what you are on about.
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Re: Sailing Terms
Post by Sharp Claw   » Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:08 pm

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Randomiser wrote:Sounds to me like jgnfld and Sharp Claw are describing small, maybe even one-handed pleasure sailing craft whereas the 'starboard' terminology is much wider and would have been applied also to much larger ships designed for commerce. (As it is now, of course)

I'm totally with Joat42 about explaining the *ahem* 'specialised terminology'. If someone doesn't understand your particular branch of geek speak, you use more general terms to help them get the meaning rather than hoping they will somehow guess what you are on about.


Everyone can decide for themselves how much they want to learn about and how much they want to know about any given topic and and how much time they want to spend on research. For example, DW uses the term kilt without much definition of the term, leaving it to his readers if they want to learn about clan tartans or the history of Scotland.

I thought I did a fairly good job explaining the difference between right and left and port and starboard and why that is important. I know quite a lot about sailing but don’t know much about galleons or square riggers and am not much interested in learning more beyond what is in David Weber’s books as I have no desire to sail on a square-rigged vessel.

You are right that most general nautical terms can be applied to any sized sailboat or power boat, though sailing is a specialized skill set.
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Re: Sailing Terms
Post by jtg452   » Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:42 pm

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RFC has been rather restrained with the nautical terminology in the Safehold series in all but a few instances.

Read some Forrester or O'Brian if you want to get a full dose of Age of Sail nautical terms. Port (or Larboard) and Starboard are the least of what's in store. I don't remember any orders in the Safehold series to the man at the wheel to steer South, Southwest, Half-West followed by 4 paragraphs describing- using period terms- the full of wearing a 3 mast ship rigged vessel onto the course including the adjustments to the sails to conform to weather. It will, of course, be followed a few pages later by the same sort of explanation of tacking. Heaven forbid there's action and we get into repairs or fothering until they could careen (which is also described in detail).
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Re: Sailing Terms
Post by Brigade XO   » Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:15 pm

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Jargon is use of terms within a given field- any field. It could be it sailing, fishing commercial shipping in the 21st century and generaly overlap multiple centieries. No so oddly, a number of nautucal terms carry over into aeronautical and space flight. Direction- always from a common frame of reference.

It could be working with bricks & mortar or graduating to stonecutting and related fields. Same with carpentry.

Computers or electronics or plumbing or driving a car. Medicine, tennis, football, soccer. Pidgion Racing and horse racing.

Specialized words added to language to meet really specific needs and provide working descriptions or identification for something you are talking about or need done.

If you want to work (or play) in an of these fields, you need to learn the language to participate and understand what is going on.
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Re: Sailing Terms
Post by Daryl   » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:12 am

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In some cases though, jargon is used to impress others and produce a hidden club.
Management speak is classical, using multi syllable words and phrases to describe simple actions.
Medicine also, using lengthy Latin words for everyday items.

Brigade XO wrote:Jargon is use of terms within a given field- any field. It could be it sailing, fishing commercial shipping in the 21st century and generaly overlap multiple centieries. No so oddly, a number of nautucal terms carry over into aeronautical and space flight. Direction- always from a common frame of reference.

It could be working with bricks & mortar or graduating to stonecutting and related fields. Same with carpentry.

Computers or electronics or plumbing or driving a car. Medicine, tennis, football, soccer. Pidgion Racing and horse racing.

Specialized words added to language to meet really specific needs and provide working descriptions or identification for something you are talking about or need done.

If you want to work (or play) in an of these fields, you need to learn the language to participate and understand what is going on.
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Re: Sailing Terms
Post by isaac_newton   » Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:51 am

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Daryl wrote:In some cases though, jargon is used to impress others and produce a hidden club.
Management speak is classical, using multi syllable words and phrases to describe simple actions.
Medicine also, using lengthy Latin words for everyday items.

Brigade XO wrote:Jargon is use of terms within a given field- any field. It could be it sailing, fishing commercial shipping in the 21st century and generaly overlap multiple centieries. No so oddly, a number of nautucal terms carry over into aeronautical and space flight. Direction- always from a common frame of reference.

It could be working with bricks & mortar or graduating to stonecutting and related fields. Same with carpentry.

Computers or electronics or plumbing or driving a car. Medicine, tennis, football, soccer. Pidgion Racing and horse racing.

Specialized words added to language to meet really specific needs and provide working descriptions or identification for something you are talking about or need done.

If you want to work (or play) in an of these fields, you need to learn the language to participate and understand what is going on.


Medical terms in latin went back to medieval times when that was the lingua franca of learned men - so not originally jargon but an aid to communication. IIRC there was a lot of movement of doctors & students from one university to another [Paris, Padua etc etc]
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