Boogie Nights

A sweary hyperactive maritime professional, really very keen on laughing a lot, doing their best to avoid all the trappings of societies' expectations by acting on impulse to any adventurous idea that wafts by. Let's go!

bienvenu, hola, ciao!

31 October 2016

Speaking Yachtish

The language used on boats can be befuddling. 

For anyone not familiar with bobbing about on waves, the language of the sea can seem like some sort of impenetrable mire of yah and what-ho, spiffing Tarquin, would you splice me another bifter. Did you see Rupert there? He's already three sheets in the wind and we haven't finished our canapés yet. What a jolly chap. Gybe-ho. What a load of bollocks, is probably what you'd be thinking. 

Here on the Boogie Nights blog, we (that's the Royal we) generally try to keep the yacht-jargon to a minimum, for the reading ease and enjoyment of readers who aren't massively into sailing and to annoy the shit out of those who are. The Jargon can be a major hurdle for some who perceive this odd activity of leaning over a lot, getting soaking wet, frequently hypothermic, feeling bilious, as something that comes with a "posh" tag.

The simple lingo ethos is maintained onboard Boogie Nights as visitors and friends who aren't sailors appreciate the simplistic, all inclusive approach. So we've gathered together some of the common phrases used on Boogie Nights and on other boats that have been guest sailed on. The plain English and the not so plain English will follow.

  • the phrase mentioned is in bold - the real meaning is in italics

Be warned. This will involve a fair bit of sturdy language.

If you are likely to be offended, you're in the wrong place. 

On attempting to leave the pontoon

a handy guide to mooring lines

  • Let's single up shall we - undo all of that knitting and let's have one rope on the front and one on the back. 
  • Can you take those springs off - I said one rope on the front and one on the back you fucking muppet.
  • I'll just warm the engine up - I'm not sure if the engine will start, so I'll just give it a go and see what happens. "start ya bastard"
might need some of this

  • We're going get blown off - we might have to get out of here at full speed.
  • We're going get blown on - we might have to get out of here at full speed.
  • I intend to reverse out and let the wind bring the bow round - I'm going to pretend I know what I'm doing and let the wind of chance and fortune decide for me.

On getting the sails up

  • Point us up - put the wind on your face, no ON THE FRONT OF YOUR FACE, facing forward. Ferfucksake, forward. 
  • We might need a reef in - it's blowing dogs off chains. 
  • Not that one, the other one, no the other one - idiot.
  • Shall we unfurl the jib (or, shall we get that front sail out) - stop faffing about you lazy arsed wanker.
  • Stop, there's a riding turn - pay a-fucking-ttention you woggle eyed cunt, you've got that rope going arseways around that winch.
stack 'em neatly, like this. 

On trimming the sails

Where else can you discuss an 8 or 10 inch Titan and not snigger?

  • A smidge more - a little bit more, but less than a tad.
  • A tad more - a little bit more, which is more than a smidge.
  • A snifter less - think about that dew drop on the end of your nose in cold weather and how much it takes to sniff it away. It's about that much. 
  • Tweak it - I'm fairly certain it's not right, it needs looking at. You do half a fucking job. Don't worry, I'll do it. 
  • Is it on the spreaders - you wound that it in too tight, you're going to fuck up my expensive sails.
oon the spreader.
  • Go on, get your back into it - lily handed sponge arsed wastrel, put some effort in. 
  • Wind on - pay attention, stop dicking about. 
  • Luff me up - asking the person steering to be kind and make winching easier by slightly taking pressure out of the sail, see also : go on, get your back into it. 
  • We appear to have hove to - what the fuck happened to the autopilot? or oops, I fell asleep at the wheel. 

On attempting to fly a spinnaker/gennaker/cruising chute/kite/massive colourful sail

A colourful sail also known as "whoa ya fucker" or "shiiiitt" or "any idea how we get this down?"

  • What's the wind saying - surely it's time to put that kite up? tell me it's time? is it time yet? can we put it up yet? we might be able to make that. or, I'm really not sure about this. I might need to quickly swap into my sturdier underwear. Can we have a little think about this? 
  • Whoops - it might be a bit too windy or it went up sideways.
  • Trim - pull that sheet in fast, we're going to die. we're going to... oh, nice one, well done.
  • Ease - let out that line, faster than that! faster, fuck me that was close, nice work on the winch there. 
  • Big Ease - we're going over...  broach broach broach... fuck it.
  • Dump it - SNAFU, we're on our side going nowhere with a sail, boom and pole in the water. 
SNAFU - this can happen quite quickly
  • Nice hourglass that's a wrap around the forestay and it looks expensive. 

  • Going trawling - the act of dropping a sail in the water, still attached to the boat and dragging it partially or fully submerged. 
  • Pole up/down/back/forward - what a fiddly fucking wanker that pole is.
  • Ah yes we might bring that down now - there's a massive vertical rip marching through the middle of the sail, it's going to explode, any time...
  • Have you got it - I haven't got it.
  • Blow it - I've got it.
  • That was a fast hoist - you can come sailing again.
totally in control

On night watch changeover

searching for the last minstrel chocolate
  • I'm a bit tired - I fell asleep.
  • Anything to see? - I can't see yet, I'm still waking up.
  • Can you just give me a hand identifying this fishing boat? - I'm so tired I can't tell which way round this supertanker is facing or how to avoid ramming it. 
it's always good to have a ready reckoner like this handy for moments of extreme fatigue
  • I can't tell what this one is doing - it's a fishing boat.
  • It's been a quiet watch - I fell asleep. 
  • It's been a busy watch - I've been at the caffeine again - I ate all the wine gums/ginger biscuits/chocolate - I ate everything.
  • The devil rode over the horizon - I mistook the moon rising for a spinnaker again. At least I didn't try to radio them this time.
ships that pass in the night

On describing the weather/sea state

A child painted this sea
  • It's a bit breezy - near gale 7 to gale 8.
  • Yeah, it's not our best point of sail - wind on the nose/arse,  autopilot likely to start acting like a petulant lover, we'll be hand steering.
  • Wind against tide - it's going to be choppy. 
  • We might see a few overfalls - it's going to be massively fucking choppy, we'll need to hand steer.
  • I'm just going to put my legs on - it's going to be a wet one, I'm putting every bit of foul weather gear on that I can find.
letterboxing, the act of being completely foulied up to the eyeballs. 
  • A child painted this - it's massively fucking choppy.
  • It's too calm for the autopilot - no wind, the sea is flatter than a witches tits.
  • Shall we go to the pub - no wind.
no wind, slowly drifting. There's far worse places to be. :-) 
  • Shall we go to the pub - too much wind.
  • It's sporty - this is about as much fun as you can have with clothes on.

the other jargon

tack - I'm turning left or right, be ready on that jib sheet, official phrase used "coming about" which is used rarely or sparingly on Boogie Nights, and is replaced with a small nod or inflection of the eyes in the direction of the jib sheet.
gybe - don't fucking turn that thing either way until I've got this main sheet centralised, whoa slow down, I'm not ready, ok I'm ready, nice one. official phrase used "Gybe ho"which is never used on Boogie Nights, and is replaced with a modest announcement: "Gybing" if being polite to others on the boat down below, otherwise, a very quiet, "shall we gybe" to crew or co-skipper followed by a short Bee-Gees dance while someone sings "gybe talking"

hove to -  parking the boat at sea by stopping it moving forward, ie, stalling the sails in a way that holds the boat pointing safely at the prevailing waves/wind. Considered a basic essential manoeuvre if you have a delicate crew on board who needs to use the throne room or if one likes to dress for dinner. 
beam - the side of the boat at it's fattest bit
bow - the pointy end or front
stern - the blunt end, back end or arse
aft - somewhere near the back
focsle - fore-castle, fore peak, the front bedroom. Small triangular bed with low headroom. Not ideal for passionate encounters or sleeping in during rough weather at sea. Unless you like levitating.   
autopilot - an invisible and slightly petulant lover. Fails when we need it the most, cracks up under pressure, can't handle anything up the bum. turning the response rate up helps but very often we have to resort to doing it by hand.

autopilot - sometimes needs a helping hand. 

halyard - up fucker, pull this and things generally go in an upwards direction.
reef line - down fucker, pull this and things might go in a downwards direction. They Might. 
clutch labels for the un-initiated. 

jib sheet - something to keep crew from getting bored
main sheet - scream if you want to go faster. it's like an accelerator but with the ability to kill or maim you. Beware the mainsheet.
rope - halyard, sheet, rode, springs or line. The moment a rope arrives on a boat it's given a name. It's no longer a rope. 

mooring line


reef line

anchor rode
jib sheet

disciplining line - for stowaways and ner do wells. 

jack stay - a line on the deck that crew clip to. Ideally stops them falling overboard. Ideally never test it. 
lazy jacks - a set of lines that keep the sail within the confines of the boom area
epirb - sounds a bit like some sort of Yorkshire saying, but it's a safety beacon. Hopefully never have to use it. 
the bitter end - the bit at the end of the anchor chain or rode that stops it flying off the boat and being lost overboard. 
between the devil and deep blue sea - when ships had to be maintained at sea years ago, sailors would have to paint/scrape the sides of the boat by canting the boat over, the devil is the waterline of the boat and the sailors would be working between that and the sea.
baggy wrinkles - fuzzy brushes that fit on the cables that hold the mast up to stop the sails getting chafed. 
ahoy there -  wanker
are you a yachtie - wanker
salmon/brick coloured trousers - wanker

Any further suggestions or additions, fire them at us.

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