Foul is a word much loved at sea. Most people are familiar with foul weather and any seaman knows both the significance of the fouled anchor as a symbol (as on the place setting above) or it's pure annoyance as an actual happening. No one likes an anchor with her cable wrapped around her and who ever is to blame for that will never hear the end of it.
But there are other kinds of fouling at sea as well. A ship may run foul of another meaning that the rigging of one is entangled with the other. Ships anchored too closely may swing foul of one another with wind or tide. In this case, they are in a foul berth.
Foul air below decks is something to be guarded against and has been blamed for many an epidemic aboard ship. A crewman might receive a foul bill from the ship's surgeon, meaning that he is in some way physically or mentally unfit to serve; his bill of health is foul.
A foul wind blows a ship off her course. A foul coast is full of reefs, corals and ripping tides that can chew an ill-handled ship to shreds.
A foul bottom is a ship's hull encrusted with seaweeds and crustaceans that keep the ship from handling well and moving at top speed. Time for a careening. Foul bottom might also indicate a rocky sea floor which risks fouling the anchor. Another term for either of these is foul ground.
The Gulf Stream, too, can be foul. She is called a foul-weather breeder because of her propensity to cause hurricanes in the Atlantic. Finally, I shall simply mention that the Gulf herself is now unfortunately fouled thanks to exceedingly poor planning. The kind any seaman would deplore.
On another note, if you've an interest in the beautiful place setting above, you can purchase it today at The Pirates Lair here. I would in a heart beat, but it's a little beyond my means just now.
Happy Saturday, Brethren. See you tomorrow for Seafaring Sunday.