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Side Reads Post Captain > Nautical Terms -- NO SPOILERS

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm sure there will be more new terms for rope and sail! Ask your questions here! :)


message 2: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) When the men refer to the "x bell" are they just referring to the time? (Eg. "At two bells in the middle watch" on page 479 in my Norton paperback). Some times it seems to make sense that the "bells" would refer to the time, but other times it seems as if the bells appear more often than every hour.

Also, on page 475 Jack say to Stephen, "But I twig it now", which seems to implies that he now understands what Stephen is saying, but does anyone know the origin of this saying?


message 3: by P. (new)

P. Joy,

I love and am terribly confused by the 'nautical' esp when it's not only naval but historical. I found 'A Sea of Words' which is 'a lexicon and companion to the complete seafaring tales of Patrick O'Brian' a wonderful aid [and just one of the books I used to on the journey thru this wonderful series:] by Dean King. Ships bells [briefly system of keeping time on a ship:] pg 399 and twig - to notice pg 452. I would have been lost without this handy tome.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Joy wrote: "When the men refer to the "x bell" are they just referring to the time? (Eg. "At two bells in the middle watch" on page 479 in my Norton paperback). Some times it seems to make sense that the "bell..."

Joy, I am sure that you've sorted this out already, but there are 'eight bells' to every four-hour watch cycle. Therefore, a bell is added each half-hour. So, for example, if a sailor was standing watch, and the bell chimed six times, he/she would know that they only have one-hour of watch-standing left; in other words, that they had completed three hours of watch-standing. Hopefully this makes sense.


message 5: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) P wrote: "Joy,

I love and am terribly confused by the 'nautical' esp when it's not only naval but historical. I found 'A Sea of Words' which is 'a lexicon and companion to the complete seafaring tales of P..."


Thanks P! I picked up at the library what I thought was going to be an aid with the nautical terms, but it just turned out to be more of an encyclopedia of the characters, ships, and places in the entire series. In fact, when I looked up one ship name (I was curious about the history of the name) it went on to give spoilers as to what happens with the ship, and thus to the protagonists! Needless to say, I didn't look anything else up for fear that it would spoil the story :)


message 6: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) Thanks, Chris! That makes much more sense, now. There is a specific scene when they are in pursuit of a ship, and it just did not make sense that the hours were flying by so quickly, but 1/2 hour increments work. But if the bells are ringing every 1/2 hour (since there would constantly be a watch going on) it seems like it would be difficult for anyone who wasn't the person on watch to keep track. Or, maybe it was only important to keep track of if it was your watch.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Joy wrote: "Thanks, Chris! That makes much more sense, now. There is a specific scene when they are in pursuit of a ship, and it just did not make sense that the hours were flying by so quickly, but 1/2 hour i..."

Typically, every person of the crew of the ship stands an eight hour watch (broken into 2 four-hour sections) in every 24-hour period. "Mid-watch" = midnite to 0400, and from Noon until 1600; "Four to Eights" = 0400 to 0800, and again from 1600 to 2000; and then "Eight to Twelves" = 0800 to 1200, and again from 2000 to 2400. If you stand the 'midwatch' you don't have to work in the a.m.; but all other watch-standers will stand their scheduled watches and also do their regularly assigned duties that day. So, at any given moment one-third of the ship is standing watch, and the other two-thirds are either sleeping, or doing their day duties. All in all, it actually just hums right along in a very predictable routine. This type of process has been used by navies of the world for about 250+ years.


message 8: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
What was a tartar ship? And is "ship of line" the same as "line of battle ship"?

And a "yellow admiral" who had not yet "hoisted his flag"? (Admiral Haddock, one of the neighbors)

And this interested me -- the ship Indefatigable was mentioned. That ship was in Horatio Hornblower too (the miniseries) -- captained first by Robt. Lindsay (the actor's name) and later by Horatio I think. Would it have been a real ship or would O'Brian have picked it up from the Hornblower stories?


message 9: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Jack and Stephen discuss the grog problem and bring up "three sheets in the wind." I always wondered about this one. I found it here:

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/th...


message 10: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 52 comments Haven't read O'Brian for awhile, but does he ever talk about "boxing the compass"? As a laddie, I was fascinated by sailing (first from reading the Swallows and Amazons series, then from having a small sailboat myself and spending hours and hours alone out on the water), and decided that I needed to learn to box the compass.

So. Every body knows, I hope, that a compass has four main points: Going clockwise, North, East, South, and West. Most people probably know that there are also points further sub-dividing these: Halfway between North and East comes Northeast, then Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest. With me so far?

Now, these are still further subdivided. Between North and Northeast comes North-Northeast, and between Northeast and East comes East-Northeast.

Finally, there is one more subdivision -- the "by" subdivision. This ends the process. It gives us 32 points, and if you look at an old style sailing compass (the rose) you will see it indeed has 32 points sticking out from the center. That is about as accurate a direction setting as you could expect a steersman to hold a course

To box the compass is to name all 32 points, in order, starting with north and going clockwise. Any midshipman or steersman had to know the compass points by heart. So, of course, at the age of about eight, did I.

I won't box the whole compass for you -- as the math books say, the proof is left to the reader -- but to start:

North, North-Northeast by North, North-Northeast, North-Northeast by East, Northeast, East Northeast by North, East NorthEast, East NorthEast by East, East. That's the first quadrant. A good boxer can rattle the whole compass off without even thinking.

So if someone should say to you "set a course East SouthEast by South, Mr. Mate" you now know exactly where to point the ship!


message 11: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) How interesting! I don't remember coming across this term in the first two books, but I'm sure it would definitely be something that Aubrey and his sailors would know. Thanks for the tutorial Everyman!


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Sarah wrote: "What was a tartar ship? And is "ship of line" the same as "line of battle ship"?

And a "yellow admiral" who had not yet "hoisted his flag"? (Admiral Haddock, one of the neighbors)

And this inter..."


Oh, H.M.S. Indefatigable was the real deal; just as most, if not all, of the ships in the O'Brian canon are too.


message 13: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Haven't read O'Brian for awhile, but does he ever talk about "boxing the compass"? As a laddie, I was fascinated by sailing (first from reading the Swallows and Amazons series, then from having a ..."

I think that is interesting too. And they talk about how much the midshipmen had to learn. I can only imagine all the other details too.


message 14: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "Sarah wrote: "What was a tartar ship? And is "ship of line" the same as "line of battle ship"?

And a "yellow admiral" who had not yet "hoisted his flag"? (Admiral Haddock, one of the neighbors)

..."


I guess that goes on to make the fiction stories even more interesting too. I didn't know these were real vessels.


message 15: by P. (new)

P. I’m not reading the series again, alas. No time for that kind of commitment at the moment but while I was cueing up some music for this lovely foggy morn, the first tune I heard was Luigi Boccherini’s Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid, played in M&C so wonderously. Well, I just heard the creak of the sheets, and I wonder how my love of the Italian baroque has colored my affection for this jumble of a movie. Coming up [soon I hope:] will be Corelli’s Christmas Concerto. And Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello. I wonder if anyone else enjoyed the music as much as the movie?

P.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) P wrote: "I’m not reading the series again, alas. No time for that kind of commitment at the moment but while I was cueing up some music for this lovely foggy morn, the first tune I heard was Luigi Boccherin..."

I did, but then I pretty much listen to classical music most of the time.

Additionally, while I liked the movie, I would agree that it was a "jumble." Bits and pieces from several novels, but cobbled together fairly well to make an entertaining movie.


message 17: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Yes, I love the music in the movie. That was one of the main things that pleased me about how the movie was put together. That tied in the love of music the main men both have. Nice thought, P.


message 18: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Hey, Christopher, I haven't seen you in the Persuasion discussions, but I want to tell you that when Captain Benwick was mentioned as "only a commander", I knew what they meant, thanks to your comments (and talking me into reading Master & Commander!).


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