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10 June 2006

Learning about boats

*note: this blog post is going to use the word "boat" instead of the word "ship", just to piss off any people who actually know about boats, who may be reading. sorry guys, i just think it's funny.

So. I need to learn about boats. Because of the Book. The main character spends about 2/3 of the book on a boat. I have written lots of the stuff on the boat, leaving out big holes. Like this:

Hannah climbed up the ladder to the ?? deck. She leaned against the ??, and stared up at the ??. The wind whistled through the ?? and made the ??s flap against the ??.

I need to learn about boats. And I've watched many episodes of Hornblower (mmm...sailory men...) and gone on a couple of replica boats, and taken photos, and watched Master & Commander (mmm... paul bettany with a cello...). But I still don't know my ?? from my ??.

I have bought a book called The 50-Gun Ship: A Complete History, by Rif Winfield. I would have rathered something designed for 12 year old boys with lots of clear labels, easy-to-understand language and cross-sections, but this will do.

And to ensure that I actually LEARN something from this book, and don't just leave it on my bookshelf looking Impressive, I am going to issue myself a challenge:

This time next week, I will tell all of my faithful readers what the following are:

scantlings (sounds like a nice title for a novel...)
tumblehome (so does that)

I encourage you, in the meantime, to come up with your own creative definitions. (no cheating and looking it up in the dictionary!)


snaz said...

You know I'm one of those people who gets funny about the word 'boat'. If you don't watch yourself, you'll end up saying your prayers with Davy Jones, young missy.

Also, it is bleeding obvious that your mystery words are defined as follows:

beakhead - a particulary nosy or overly inquisitive crew member. Alternatively, someone with a very large schnoz.

knightheads* - the select couple of blokes who have to stay awake all night SOBER in case of anchor drag or enemy attack.

scantlings - any unappetising dish of food cobbled together from the scraps and leftovers of other meals.

tumblehome - any place on the ship one can safely curl up and sleep after drinking too much rum and not making it back to one's cabin.

bulwark - an impudent crew member (usually young or of low status) who makes a habit of starting fights he can't possibly win.

*NB. I do actually know what knightheads are... I think. They're support beams on the underside of the back (?) of the ship, that are often decorated with the carving of a head. But I like my definition too.

lili said...

snaz, that's awesome.

as a prize, i dedicate tomorrow's Nautical Term to you. i have a special one up my sleeve...

Anonymous said...

What you need is the *Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea*. It's in paperback and heavily illustrated. Most useful for the nautical needs of authors.