Nautucal sayings

When you stop to think about it… sailing is pretty amazing. From a historical perspective, through its role in travel, trade and war, it was the absolute hinge of western civilization for hundreds of years. Through that time, sailors’ slang and terminology became rooted in the English lexicon and still exists profoundly to this day.Here’s a list of 10 everyday phrases that you may not have realized were born in the days when sailing made the world go round… wait… is that a nautical phrase?

#10 “A clean bill of health”
According to dictionary.com this phrase derives from the days when the crew of ocean going ships might be a little less than hygienic, so they needed to present a certificate, carried by a ship, attesting to the presence or absence of infectious diseases among the ship’s crew and at the port from which it has come.

#9 “Feeling Blue”
How often do you hear people talking about feeling blue or have the blues? An entire genre of music comes from this phrase. Who knew that came from the world of sailing? See-the-sea.org explains the popular phrase comes from a custom that was practiced when a ship lost its captain during a voyage. The ship would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her hull when she returned to port.
#8 “Pipe down”
Parents have been screaming “pipe down” to their kids forever, but where does that actually come from? Apparently, Pipe Down was the last signal from the Bosun’s pipe each day, which meant lights-out, quiet down, time to go to bed.
#7 “Over a barrel”
We all know when someone has you “over a barrel” things aren’t going well. This saying is used all the time these days to indicate being severely compromised, but it began in the most literal way. Sailor crew would sometimes be punished for their misgivings and that involved being tied over a cannon barrel and whipped. It’s no wonder that one stuck around. Yikes!
#6 “Toe the line”
Perhaps you’ve been at work and your boss has scowled at you and said, “toe the line, or you’re gone”. If this has happened to you, we are sorry, that sounds like a horrible work environment. But, if you were wondering about the origins of his demand, it’s an old naval expression that refers to a ship’s crew who would be called to gather and form a line with their toes all touching a given seam (or line) of the deck planking.
#5 “By and Large”
Folks say this one all the time to refer to the big picture. “By and large, ASA is the most awesome organization in existence”… something like that. This term got started on a sailboat with the word “by” meaning into the wind and “large” meaning off the wind. So sailors would say: “By and large this ship handles quite nicely.”
#4 Loose cannon”
Everyone has known a few people who are loose cannons – unpredictable and dangerous on some level. Not surprisingly the term comes from when a ship’s cannon would come loose from it’s lashing. The big dangerous thing would be sliding all over the place making for some uncomfortable time on deck trying to get that bad boy back in its spot.
#3 “A square meal”
People often talk about getting three “square meals” a day…what the hell is a square meal? It’s actually quite simple – the wooden plates back in the days of tall ships were square.
#2 “Hand over fist”
These days this phrase usually refers to making a bunch of money, although it can refer to anything happening fast and in abundance. It comes from a more literal origin – sailors would be tugging at lines as fast as they could, hand over fist, to trim sheets and raise sails.
#1 “Son of a gun”
It’s amazing that this phrase has lasted so long. Back in the day, as you might imagine, sailors were often less than virtuous and every once in a while a “lady friend” of a crewman might give birth to a child on the ship. A good spot for this sort of thing was between the guns on the gun deck. Now let’s say this little rascal isn’t claimed by any of the aforementioned sleazy sailors, this little grommet would sometimes be called a “son of a gun”.

boat renaming ceremony

Renaming A Boat
July 14, 2015 By Mike Dickens Leave a Comment

Renaming A Boat

I’ve had a number of new owners choose their boats and never think about her new name until it was time to complete the documentation paperwork; renaming a boat was never considered. I offer some guidance on how to avoid the curse of Neptune. After all, we can’t take any chances; renaming a boat is critical. Some people think renaming a boat isn’t necessary but we feel renaming a boat is very important.

I used the following article’s guidance when renaming a boat, Patricia Ann and thought, if it worked for me, it will work for others.

I was very theatrical standing on her bow, having gathered a large crowd for the event for officially renaming a boat. It was a hoot!

Superstition got you down? John Vigor offers tips for renaming your boat and keeping it lucky.

By John Vigor

renaming_a_boat
Motor Yachts for Sale

I once knew a man in Florida who told me he’d owned 24 different yachts and renamed every single one of them. “Did it bring you bad luck?” I asked. “Not that I’m aware of,” he said. “You don’t believe in those old superstitions, do you?” Well, yes. Matter of fact, I do. And I’m not alone.

Actually, it’s not so much being superstitious as being v-e-r-y careful. It’s an essential part of good seamanship. Some years ago, when I wanted to change the name of my newly purchased 31-foot sloop from Our Way to Freelance, I searched for a formal “denaming ceremony” to wipe the slate clean in preparation for the renaming. I read all the books, but I couldn’t find one.

What I did learn, though, was that such a ceremony (of renaming a boat) should consist of five parts:

an invocation,
an expression of gratitude,
a supplication,
a re-dedication,
and a libation.
So I wrote my own short ceremony: Vigor’s inter-denominational denaming ceremony. It worked perfectly.

I’ll give you the exact wording of Vigor’s denaming ceremony, but first

you must remove all physical traces of the boat’s old name before renaming a boat. Take the old log book ashore, along with any other papers that bear the old name. Check for offending books and charts with the name inscribed. Be ruthless. Sand away the old name from the lifebuoys, transom, topsides, dinghy, and oars. Yes, sand it away. Painting over is not good enough for renaming a boat. You’re dealing with gods here, you understand, not mere dumb mortals. If the old name is carved or etched, try to remove it or, at the very minimum, fill it with putty and then paint it over.
And don’t place the new name anywhere on the boat before the denaming ceremony is carried out; renaming a boat requires precise actions . That’s just tempting fate.
How you conduct the ceremony depends entirely on you. If you’re the theatrical type, and enjoy appearing in public in your yacht club blazer and skipper’s cap, you can read it with flair on the foredeck before a gathering of distinguished guests. But if you find this whole business faintly silly and embarrassing, and only go along with it because you’re scared to death of what might happen if you don’t, you can skulk down below and mumble it on your own. That’s perfectly OK. The main thing is that you carry it out. The words must be spoken.

There are two things to watch out for here. Don’t use cheap-cheap champagne, and don’t try to keep any for yourself. Buy a second bottle if you want some.
Use a brew that’s reasonably expensive, based on your ability to pay, and pour the whole lot on the boat. One of the things the gods of the sea despise most is meanness, so don’t try to do this bit on the cheap.
What sort of time period should elapse between this denaming ceremony and a new naming ceremony? There’s no fixed time. You can do the renaming right after the denaming, if you want, but I personally would prefer to wait at least 24 hours to give any lingering demons a chance to clear out. Afterwards you can pop the cork, shake the bottle and spray the whole of the contents on the bow.
When that’s done, you can quietly go below and enjoy the other bottle yourself.

Vigor’s Denaming Ceremony

In the name of all who have sailed aboard this ship in the past, and in the name of all who may sail aboard her in the future, we invoke the ancient gods of the wind and the sea to favor us with their blessing today. “Mighty Neptune, king of all that moves in or on the waves; and mighty Aeolus (pronounced EE-oh-lus), guardian of the winds and all that blows before them: “We offer you our thanks for the protection you have afforded this vessel in the past. We voice our gratitude that she has always found shelter from tempest and storm and enjoyed safe passage to port. “Now, wherefore, we submit this supplication, that the name whereby this vessel has hitherto been known _____, be struck and removed from your records. “Further, we ask that when she is again presented for blessing with another name, she shall be recognized and shall be accorded once again the selfsame privileges she previously enjoyed.” In return for which, we rededicate this vessel to your domain in full knowledge that she shall be subject as always to the immutable laws of the gods of the wind and the sea. “In consequence whereof, and in good faith, we seal this pact with a libation offered according to the hallowed ritual of the sea.”

Christening Ceremony

After a boat is denamed, you simply need to rename it using the traditional christening ceremony, preferably with Queen Elizabeth breaking a bottle of champagne on the bow, and saying the words:

“I name this ship ___________, and may she bring fair winds and good fortune to all who sail on her.”

This article was taken from Good Old Boat Magazine, Volume 2, Number 4, July/August 1999 and BOATUS.com

5Share
0Share
2Tweet
0Pin