Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Three Sheets to the Wind and the Slush Fund was Running Low!

For those of you who are new to sailing or for those who occasionally like to learn a little from a good read, I thought it would be interesting to learn where some of the common sayings used in everyday life originate from. Of course the sayings listed below all have a nautical origin behind them. 

Hope you enjoy your reading. 

To Know the Ropes 
There is miles of rope in the rigging of a square rigged ship. The only way to keep track of all the functions was to memorize where they were located. It took an experienced seaman to know the ropes.

Dressing Down
Thin and worn sails were often treated with oil or wax to renew their effectiveness. This was called dressing down. An officer or sailor who was reprimanded or scolded received a dressing down. 

The bottom portion of a sail is called the foot. If it is not secured, it is footloose and dances randomly in the wind.  

First Rate 
From the sixteenth century until steam powered ships took over; British naval ships were rated as to the number of heavy cannon they carried. A ship of 100 or more guns was a First Rate line-of-battle ship. Second rates carried 90 to 98 guns; Third Rates, 64 to 89 guns; Fourth Rates, 50 to 60 guns. Frigates carrying 20 to 48 guns were fifth and sixth rated. 

Pipe Down 
The Pipe Down was the last signal from the Boson's pipe each day which meant lights out and silence. 

Meaning something is filled to capacity or over loaded. If two blocks of rigging tackle were so hard together they couldn't be tightened further, it was said they were Chock-a-Block. 

The weather side of a ship is the side from which the wind is blowing. The Lee side is the side of the ship sheltered from the wind. A lee shore is a shore that is downwind of a ship. If a ship does not have enough leeway it is in danger of being driven onto the shore. 

Feeling blue 
When a ship’s captain died during a voyage, his ship would return to port flying a blue flag and bearing a blue stripe on its hull. The term “feeling blue” signifies depression or sadness today.

Three Sheets to the Wind 
A sheet is a rope line which controls the tension on the corners of a square sail. If, on a three masted ship, the sheets of the three lower course sails are loose, the sails will flap and flutter and are said to be in the wind. A ship in this condition would stagger and wander aimlessly downwind acting much like a drunken sailor. 

Slush Fund 
Slush was the slurry of fat obtained by boiling salted meat and was often sold ashore by the ships cook. The money he received was then called the slush fund. 

Under the Weather 
If a crewman is standing watch on the weather side of the bow, he will be subject to the constant beating of the sea and the ocean spray. He will be under the weather. 

Keel Over 
        To capsize.  Also a sailor’s term for death.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea 
The devil seam was the curved seam in the deck planking closest to the side of the ship and next to the scupper gutters. If a sailor were hanging off the side in a boatswains chair you would be between the devil and the deep blue sea.

The Devil to Pay
To pay the deck seams meant to seal them with tar. The devil seam was the most difficult to pay because it was curved and intersected with the straight deck planking.  Paying the Devil was considered to be a most difficult and unpleasant task, sometimes used as mild punishment.

Let the Cat Out of the Bag 
Aboard ship the punishment prescribed for most serious crimes was flogging. This was administered by the Boson's Mate using a whip called a cat o' nine tails. The cat was kept in a red dyed bag. It was considered bad news indeed when the cat was let out of the bag. 

No Room to Swing a Cat
The entire ship's company was required to witness flogging at close hand. If the ship was crowded the Boatswain might not have enough room to swing his cat o' nine tails. 

Give (someone) a Wide Berth
To anchor a ship far enough away from another ship so that they did not hit each other when they swung with the wind or tide.

 Batten Down the Hatches
Prepare for trouble. The securing of property, especially the covering with protective sheeting (tarpaulin), is called 'battening down'. A batten is a strip of wood used to secure the sheeting. It has a nautical origin and 'battening down' was done on ships when bad weather was expected.

Blind Eye
In 1801, during the Battle of Copenhagen, Admiral Nelson deliberately held his telescope to his blind eye, in order not to see the flag signal from the commander to stop the bombardment. He won. Turning a blind eye means to ignore intentionally.

A nautical measure equal to six feet, used to measure the depth of water at sea. The word was also used to describe taking the measure or “to fathom” something. Today when one is trying to figure something out, they are trying to fathom it or get to the bottom of it.

If you have some common sayings that originate from nautical terms please let us know so we can add them to our list. You can email them to us at 

Phrases courtesy of Dauntless Privateers 

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Thursday, 8 September 2011

Winter Experience at Thornham Marina, Chichester Harbour

It is almost that time of the year again where the team at Thornham Marina are busy preparing the yard for the arrival of old and new friends & for us to look after you and your boat during the winter months. We love it when you arrive and tell us your stories of your interesting sailing season, and for those of you who took part in RTIR this year, I suspect there will be a tale or two to tell. 

If you already winter with us and you like what we do - tell your friends. If you don’t like what we do please tell us so we can make sure that your stay with us is truly memorable. 

If you have never wintered with us before, below is some information to help you decide, but please call (01243375335), pop in (Thornham Marina, Emsworth, PO10 8DD) or email ( to see what we are about. 

When you arrive you will be shown into our deep water pool by ‘the boys’ Cliff & Dave. We advise that on your arrival into the entry channel, fenders should be positioned port and starboard as you may be held on the outer waiting pontoon for a short period of time (you will come alongside Port Side Too). On entry in our deep water pool, you will be berthed Starboard Side Too. Our unique deep water pool has been a fantastic investment for our tidal marina as it allows you to take time to relax, offload your boat ready for her to be lifted out. 

When you are ready, you will be lifted using our state of the art fully submersible lift (sub lift) operated by Cliff and Dave - our highly skilled, knowledgeable and friendly yard team. The sub lift gives owners peace of mind that their prize possession is not going to be suspended high in the air, but a mere 2-3 feet from the bottom of the keel to the ground. The boys also carry out a visual check of your boat for any damage prior to lifting. 

You will then receive a super barnacle busting bottom wash to ensure those little critters do not join us on your winter experience. 

Once she has been cleaned, the boys will then find her a home for the winter in the yard. She will be shored, blocked or cradled to suit your requirements. There will be ample space for you to work around your boat. You won’t be packed in like a sardine! What happens after this you may think? 

At this point you may want to have your engine winterised. Our on-site tenant, Cutler Engineering will be able to do this for you. You should also think about emptying your water tanks to avoid them freezing and causing the tank to rupture (someone once men-tioned, that if you do not empty your water tanks, then top off with Vodka which will act as an antifreeze) - be careful when you launch and get thirsty though!! You should also re-move your sails and perhaps give then a clean, Covercare can sort that out for you. 

After putting your boat to bed for the winter, its time to think about the Christmas festivities and not your boat. Have no fear, this is what we are here for. From the time your boat is set down to her re-launch, checks are carried out constantly by the boys to make sure there has been no movement during those windy periods. 

Once your winter maintenance is complete and prior to your re-launch, there is just one task left, Antifouling! What paint to use? When to apply? It doesn't even bear thinking about. For those enthusiasts, you can get stuck right in and do it yourself, for those who don’t have time you may want to think about our great seasonal antifoul offers. Don’t worry about the patches left by the shores/ cradle, just before the boys are due to launch her, they touch up those areas so you can show a nice clean bottom when you are out on the water. 

Launching dates can sometimes be nerve racking, especially if you have had major works completed during the winter. A couple of tips for going back in the water. Prior to re-launch, check your log is in securely - this is the main cause of problems on re-launch. We always recommend that you launch into our deep water pool 1 or 2 days before your intended departure, this allows you time to put your sails back on, run up the engine and check there are no leaks. Once all of this is done, the only thing left for us to do is wish you Bon Voyage, a great sailing season and look forward to seeing you later in the year . 

If you want to experience a winter at Thornham Marina please call Courtney or Jeanette in the office to get your quote and find out more about our special winter storage deals for 2011/12! 

Contact us on 01243 375 335 or for those who prefer email us at 

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