Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sailor Mouth Saturday: Up

With the season upon us, and a New Year up for grabs, it seems there is no place to go but up. Or so we would like to think. Up is quite the popular word at sea, so let us take a look at it today.

"Up-and-down!" This is a call that would have been familiar on just about any ship of the Golden Age of Sail. They would all have some type of anchor or at least a kedge, after all. Up-and-down indicates the position of the cable when the ship, by the force of drawing in her anchor via a capstan or other like method, is situated directly over that anchor. This is the step before the anchor comes clean of the water and, once that is accomplished, the call of "Clean and dry for weighing!" might be heard.

Up and down can also refer to tackle. In this case it speaks to any combinations of same that will pull sails, anchors or payloads up or down.

Topgallant masts, topmasts and royal masts were sometimes referred to as upper masts. As Admiral Smyth notes, "any spars above these are termed poles." Upper works are the parts of a ship that stand above the water as she goes. The upper counter, or counter, lies between the transom and the railing, and the upper deck is, of course, the highest continuous deck on a ship.

The so called upper transit is spoken of in navigation. From The Sailor's Word Book:

The passage of a circumpolar star over the meridian above the pole...

Up is often part of an order, as one might reasonably imagine. Here is a by no means complete list of what you might hear in such regard aboard any ship from pirate schooner to 74 gun man-of-war:

Up anchor! To weigh the anchor; as Admiral Smyth notes, "every man to his station."

Up boats! Hoist the ship's boats to their davits, most probably in preparation for getting under weigh.

Up courses! Haul up the sails hanging on the lower yards: mainsail, foresail, mizzen et cetera.

Up her helm! Put the bow of the ship to windward. Also sometimes spoken as "Put her a-weather!" In such case it should be remembered that the rudder will need to answer to leeward to accomplish this maneuver.

I hope your mood is up, as is my tankard to honor all the Brethren. Huzzah!

Header: Two Ships at Anchor by Andries van Eertvelt via Under the Black Flag on Facebook


Timmy! said...

It's hard for moods not be up at this time of year, Pauline. Happy holidays to all!

Pauline said...

Hopefully, that buoyancy will carry us into the New Year!