Saturday, August 18

Nautical Terms

For our non-sailing friends and followers, I thought it would be fun to share some of the meanings to nautical terms we use on a sailboat.

Galley:  Kitchen.  We have a 3 burner propane stove and oven, a double sink, top loading refrigerator and freezer and a microwave (which we can only use if the engine or generator is running or if we are plugged into shore power).

Head:  Toilet.  They have a hand pump and use sea water to flush.  We have 2 bathrooms on board.

Salon:  Main living space that consists of the table and settee for eating.  This is not a spacious living room with a lazy boy recliner!

Starboard:  The right side of the boat, signaled with a green light at the bow at night.

Port:  The left side of the boat, signaled with a red light at the bow at night.

Locker:  Any storage space on the boat.  This can be a closet for hanging clothes, under seats in the cockpit, or compartments in the front of the boat.

On the hard:  This is when the boat is lifted out of the water via a "travel lift" and placed on blocks in a marina shipyard.  Our boat was on the hard in St. Augustine Florida to get a new coat of bottom paint and have the rudder repaired.

EPIRB:  "Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon" is used to alert search and rescue services in the event of an emergency.  This is done by transmitting a coded message via satellite to the nearest rescue center.  We actually have 2 of these on board - one is by the cockpit door and one is in our ditch bag.

Ditch Bag:  This is a survival kit in the unlikely event we need to abandon ship.  Our ditch bag is located on the locker right by the cockpit door for easy access.  It contains everything we would need to survive in our life raft for 3 days (the standard time it takes to be rescued).  It includes things like (but not limited to) a knife, handheld VHF radio, EPIRB, first aid kit, water, food, flashlight, flares, sewing kit, fishing supplies etc. etc.

Weigh anchor:  Raising the anchor in preparation to get underway.  We have at least 5 on board.  Some are for the dinghy and some are extras for the big boat.  Our primary anchor is attached to the front of the bow by 175 feet of stainless steel chain.  We have an electric windlass that pulls the anchor up for us with the push of a button, which is a real back breaking feat do by hand.  We also have an anchor wash down that keeps things clean going back into the locker.

Nautical Mile:  Wikipedia says "The nautical mile (symbol M, NM or nmi) is a unit of length that is one minute of arc or latitude measured along any meridian"  Basically 1 mile on land is equal to 1.15 nautical miles.

Mooring Ball:  This is a big round buoy that is attached to a heavy duty anchor, like this one attached to a 4000 lb block of concrete.  They are strategically placed in a harbor by a marina and there is a fee to use them.   The advantage to using a mooring ball is they are in a prime location.  Their rental fee includes the use of amenities such as showers, laundry, wifi and launch service.

Launch:  The style of boat is actually called a launch and is used to ferry people to and from their boat and the shore.  The services are provided by a marina or yacht club and they usually charge a per person fee each way.  

Passage:  Sailing from point A to point B that requires you to sail overnight.  A passage can be 1 day or 26 days, it just depends on where you are going.  It requires sailing 24/7 with no stops and most often with no land in sight.  However, a passage can still be done along the coast like what we will do from Gloucester to Nantucket.

Watch:  When sailing for longer than daylight hours, someone has to be awake at all times throughout the night to keep an eye out for passing ships, boats, wind changes, and to stay on course.  Typically the watch person scans the horizon 360 degrees every 10-15 minutes.  A watch schedule can vary, so you have to find what works for you and your partner.  When we had Dan on board, we switched watch every 3 hours.  This was ideal because the off watch person could get 6 hours of sleep and in a 24 hour period, no one was stuck with the same awful 3-6 am shift.  When it was just me and Craig, we still did the 3 hour watches, but we were exhausted.  On our next passage we are going to try our friends on Escape Velocity's Swedish watch schedule.

Water Maker:  This is a device used to make drinking water by reverse osmosis of seawater.  This is definitely nice to have on board and was a must have on our boat buying list.  We only hold 100 gallons of water in our tank, which only lasts about 3 days if we skimp on showers.  Our water maker can make approximately 12 gallons of fresh water an hour.  The water maker allows us to be self sufficient so we don't have to go into marinas to get water.  The water along the east coast, while not polluted per say, is not clean.  So we prefer not to run it all the time because it clogs the filters something awful.

Sailing Dinghy:  A small sailboat.  Our sailing dinghy is 8.5 ft Puffin and can double as a rowing dinghy as well.  This feature was important in case the girls were out and the wind died or if something happened to our inflatable dinghy.  We tow it behind or stow it up on deck if we are on passage.  We have had tons of fun already!

Pump out:  I'm warning you, this is not pretty nor does it smell good.  Our boat has 2 heads that can either discharge overboard (yep, into the ocean, but only if we are at least 3 miles offshore) or go into a holding tank.  Our holding tanks are 20 gallons each.  When they get full, we have to pump out at a marina (or some marinas have pump out boats that come to your boat).   We attach a hose to the fitting on the deck of the boat, press the green go button and it sucks everything out of the hold tank like a giant vacuum.  It is funny how the girls scrunch their noses in disgust but can't stop watching stop the poop whiz by in the hose!  

Knots:  There are a plethora of knots used on a boat and each one has a specific use.  During our trip from Florida to Rhode Island, Dan taught the girls how to do several of the most commonly used knots.  And our friend Garrett taught Olivia how to do a daisy chain, which she in turn has taught everyone that comes on board!   They have practiced their knots and can tie the infamous bowline know with their eyes closed and behind their back.  Not bad for a 13, 10 and a 6 year old!

For your viewing pleasure, below is a video of Olivia demonstrating some of the knots that the girls learned.

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