When it comes to yachting, how well do you know your port from your starboard, your galley from your keel, your head from your bulkhead?
Little guy: “Mom! I want to be a sailor when I grow up!”
Mom: “You’re eventually going to have to make a choice, my boy. It’s either one or the other.”
Us: “Sorry Mom, you’re wrong! Because we love sailing: it’s like we’re playing our favourite game all the time. But we’ll allow that it does have its jargon – so here’s our brief intro to some of the terms we use (with translations into the original Pirate where clarity requires).
The port’s the left hand side of the boat, the starboard’s the right. The port is marked with a red light, the starboard with a green light. If the captain’s turning the boat towards the port side, he or she will blast two beats on the horn; to the right, it’s one.
All of which is easy to remember if you remember it in Pirate:
‘Look! The captain left two glasses of port wine for us.’
That’s port made from red grapes, of course…
Drawing by Pater McFly
Just a few notes about the things inside the boat:
For an extensive and authoritative glossary of sailing terms, please go to nauticed.org
Beware! You’ll cause terrible confusion if you don’t know what you’re talkin’ about – as you can see from the instructional video below from Clarke and Dawe, courtesy of mrjohnclarke.com
“A sailboat is a fickle mistress. You’ve got to buy her things. You’ve got to understand everything about her. What you don’t know she’ll use against you.” – Captain Larry
A sailor met a pirate in a bar – the pirate wearing peg-leg, hook, and eye patch, of course.
Sailor: “So, how did you end up with the peg-leg?”
Pirate: “Caught in a monster of a storm off The Cape an’ swept overboard by a giant wave. Managed to catch onto one o’ the sheets, but just as me crew were pullin’ me back aboard, a shark come along an’ bit me leg off!”
S: “Blimey! And the hook”?
P: “Ahhhh… Weeeelll … we was raidin’ a trader ship and I got me hand cut off in the fracas.”
S: “That’s terrible. But how did you come by the eye patch?”
P: “Caught a seagull droppin’ in me eye.”
Sailor: “That’s amazing. Are seagull droppings poisonous then?”
Pirate: “Nah. It was me first day with the hook.”