Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sailor Mouth Saturday: Land

I hear you Brethren. Land, Pauline? Seriously? Yes indeed; land. There are, in fact, so many ways to use the word land aboard ship that this may very well turn into two posts. (Plus, I'm missing a TCM Errol Flynn marathon right now so I'm not inclined to be "long winded" - another sailor's term!)

Of course first and foremost land is, well, land. Land ho! is honestly the first cry upon sighting land (although I have seen disagreements on that statement, I stand firm in the call's general, over-arching use aboard the majority of sailing ships).

Lay the land means to lose sight of it. This is almost virtually in direct opposition to the very similar lay of the land, used by land when one is out to get a feel of terrain, as in preparation for farming, battle, etc. Land locked means a ship in harbor with, by all appearances, land all around. In fact there will be a channel or pass in and out but when aboard the ship, a first glance would make it seem otherwise. Both Barataria and Galveston Bays fit this description, for instance.

To land on deck means to lower heavy items onto the ship from the wharf, dock or another ship via block and tackle. Set land means to find the nearest land by the compass. A ship lies land to when it is far enough out at sea to barely see the land on the horizon. To make the land is to see it clearly; time to call "Land ho!"

A land breeze is a particular issue in warm and tropical climates. Written of by many freebooting authors, including Alexander Exquemelin who grouses about it's inconvenience (at best), the breeze is a result of land cooling at night faster than a large body of water near it. The heavier air rushes out from land over the sea, often in various directions, playing havoc with ships sailing or anchored off shore. Experienced sailors know to plan for this eventuality in hot weather. Since most if not all of the buccaneers were not much for sailing, it is no wonder that the good Doctor found the land breezes off Panama and Maracaibo vexing.

But that's enough of land for today. I'm off for a date with Robin Hood, followed by Sir Francis Drake. A wonderful rainy Saturday indeed.


Timmy! said...

Ahoy Pauline! One if by land, two if by sea... Happy Saturday to you and enjoy the TCM Errol Flynn marathon... I know I am.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy! Yes indeed; exercising is far easier when one is watching "The Sea Hawk".