This Almanac of Naughtical Terms has been created over the years, and traditionally passed from hand to hand, its author lost in antiquity, but compulsory reading for those who wish to understand the real fundamentals of sailing:
Compulsory Reading for true understanding
Nautical prefix indicating condition or direction. Thus, a boat that is drifting is adrift and something off a boat is abaft. Some other common examples of this form: abash (toward another boat); awhiff (toward an area of low tide); aglub (sinking); aduff (seated); adaft (mentally unbalanced); asludge (in an oil slick); abarf (under the weather); and amuck (caught in mud)
1. Wild state in which a sailor acquires a boat.
2. Wild state in which a sailor relinquishes a boat.
Convoluted body of law, which regulates behavior at sea. For example, under admiralty law, captains may perform marriages at sea, but not divorces, bar mitzvahs, or most forms of brain surgery; the eating of one individual on a lifeboat to sustain the lives of others is permissible under some circumstances, but certain recipes, such as casseroles and all but a few cold dishes, are forbidden; and although it is considered improper for a captain to maroon his passengers on some godforsaken island inhabited by unpleasant natives, this stricture does not apply to Ireland or Bermuda.
Compact stove used in small-boat galleys to bring liquids to body temperature and solid foods to cabin temperature, usually within one hour. Preferred over propane stoves by many boat owners since, in a pinch, its propellant may be served as a cocktail. Alcohol stoves are also used sometimes by boat owners, together with a valid insurance policy, to convert their craft into a liquid asset.
Any of a number of heavy, hook-shaped devices that is dropped over the side of the boat on the end of a length of rope and/or chain, and which is designed to hold a vessel securely in place until (a) the wind exceeds 2 knots, (b) the owner and crew depart, or (c) 3 a.m.
Anchorage: 1) Destination at day's end. Always found at the junction of two charts, in the gutter of a chart book, or on a chart not aboard.
2. Any location on the water where at least twenty boats may be accommodated in sufficient proximity to one another so that a sound of 10 decibels (roughly equal to the noise produced by folding a paper towel in half) made by a member of the crew of any one boat may be heard clearly by a person of average hearing on any one of the other boats.
Meteorological instrument which sailors use to confirm the onset of bad weather. its readings, together with heavy rain, severe rolling, high winds, dark skies, and a deep cloud cover, indicate the presence of a storm.
A method of chart-labeling adopted by the Cartographers as a means of producing significant cost savings in the printing of charts by eliminating all vowels and every third consonant from descriptive terms
Any object, animate or inanimate, which is in the way when it is not needed and missing or broken when it is.
Long, low-lying navigational hazard, usually awash, found at river mouths and harbor entrances, where it is composed of sand or mud, and ashore, where it is made of mahogany or some other dark wood. Sailors can be found in
large numbers around both.
Basic or Stripped Boat:
A term commonly used by boat builders and salesmen to describe what is specifically covered in the advertised price of a boat. The basic boat normally consists of several hundred gallons of fiberglass resins and glue, a hundred or so sheets of marine plywood, a ton or more of lead and steel, a sewing kit, and an instruction book. By contrast, the basic boat with options and in 'sailaway condition' a somewhat more expensive proposition boasts a host of convenient extras, such as a deck, a cabin, an engine, a galley, an anchor, a tiller or wheel, a rudder, and a cockpit; and sails, spars, rigging, fittings, and portholes.
Electrochemical storage device capable of lighting an incandescent lamp of a wattage about equal to a refrigerator bulb for a period of 15 minutes after having been charged for 2 hours.>
A situation in which waves strike a boat from the side, causing it to roll unpleasantly. This is one of the four directions from which wave action tends to produce extreme physical discomfort. The other three are bow sea (waves striking from in front), following sea (waves striking from the rear), and quarter sea (waves striking from any other direction).
Any horizontal surface whose total area does not exceed one half of the surface area of an average man at rest, onto which at least one litre of some liquid seeps during any 12-hour period and above which there are not less than 10 kilograms of improperly secured objects.
Strictly speaking, the lowest spaces inside the hull where poorly understood chemical reactions among the liquids which collect there create a slow moving, viscous substance which some scientists believe is a primitive form of life; but now, more commonly, the substance itself.
Entertaining shipboard kaleidoscope which when held up to the light reveals interesting patterns and designs caused by salt spray, thumb prints and scratches. Uncapped, its lenses may also be employed to collect small amounts of salt from seawater through evaporation.
The knowledgeable sailor does not 'get on' a boat or 'climb in' a boat - he 'boards' a boat. And the prudent individual does not 'stay behind,' 'keep off,' or 'say the hell with that' he 'remains ashore'.
An annual procedure during which a boat owner's collection of marine specimens is removed from his hull, Electronic gadgets, binoculars, radios, and other costly bric-a-brac which have gradually encrusted cabin spaces over the year are
removed as well, and at most boatyards, as part of the operation, the boat owner is also thoroughly cleaned out by professionals.
Boom: 1. Laterally mounted pole to which a sail is fastened. Often used during jibing to shift crew members to a fixed, horizontal position. 2. The sound produced when an alcohol stove (q.v.) is used to convert a boat into a liquid asset.
The land under the water. Its characteristics are indicated on nautical charts to assist sailors in anchoring. Some common types of bottom which boatmen are likely to encounter are: ick, ycch, ugh, crddy, crppy, ftd, rttn, nsty, awfl, hrrbl, dsgstng, and unblvbl.
Bulkhead: Discomfort suffered by sailors who drink too much.
Navigational aid. There are several types and colors of buoys of which the most numerous are: the black can (seen as a fuzzy black spot on the horizon); the yellow special mark (seen as a fuzzy black spot on the horizon); the red or green day beacon (seen as a fuzzy black spot on the horizon); and the striped black-and-red isolated danger mark (seen as a fuzzy black spot on the horizon).
A cramped, closet like compartment below deck where crew members may be stored - on their sides if large or on end if small - until needed.
Sea condition characterized by the simultaneous disappearance of the wind and the last cold beverage.
An abrasive sailcloth used to remove excess skin from knuckles.
The interior diameter of any piece of headgear, usually expressed in inches.
A list provided by manufacturers of items that are currently unavailable, or that have been dropped from production entirely.
A boat design involving the use of two joined hulls. Its chief features are that it is twice as likely to hit something or develop a hole or leak, but will generally take double t