Spearfish Lake Tales
Contemporary Mainstream Books and Serials Online
While many readers will be familiar with some of the terms used in this story, some will not be, so a glossary of nautical, Canadian, and Newfoundland terms has been provided.
Beam: The breadth of a ship at the widest point.
Beam reach: wind coming from more or less alongside the boat.
Berth: a bed for sleeping on a boat.
Broad reach: wind coming from behind the beam of the boat, but not all the way astern.
Bummer: Newfoundland South Shore slang for small schooner
B’y: derived from “boy,” and has several different meanings. Newfoundlanders sometimes use this about like some Canadians use “eh.”
Cabin: Living space inside a boat.
Clamp cleat: a cam-roller device to hold onto a sheet.
Close-hauled: sheets pulled in so sails are nearly on the centerline of the boat.
Coaming: raised vertical surface to prevent wind and water from entering the cockpit.
Cockpit: Open space for sitting to the rear of a boat.
Companionway: main entrance to the cockpit from the cabin. As on virtually all small sailboats, the doorway is slightly wider at the top than the bottom, allowing heavy boards, known as washboards, to easily slide into place in grooves along the side to close off the cabin. The top is closed by a cover known as a hatch, which slides open and closed over the cabin top on rails.
Dead reckoning: navigating on a pre-calculated course, making allowances for factors such as wind and magnetic variations. Matt and Mary navigate the Mary Sue somewhat by dead reckoning, but checked periodically on the GPS and star sights.
Drifter: a large lightweight foresail that reaches back past the mast for use in light wind.
Fiddles: metal straps used to hold a pot on a stove against the motion of the boat.
Foredeck: the deck in front of the mast and cabin.
Forestay: wire leading from near the top of the mast to the bow.
Foul weather gear: a heavy duty rain suit used to keep sailors at least partly dry in rough seas. They were once known as oilskins, as they were made with heavy oilcloth, but are now made of more modern, flexible, and often breathable materials.
Gimbaled: an item, sometimes a stove, mounted on a universal joint hinge so it can swing to stay upright as the boat moves.
Halyards: Lines raising the sails.
Hard-boat Dinghy: Small, non-inflatable row boat, often made from fiberglass and often can be powered with a small outboard motor.
Hatch cover: See companionway.
Headsails: various sails that go in front of the mast. The Mary Sue has a roller-reefing headsail so several different sails are not needed. It does carry a storm jib, also known as a trysail or a spitfire, that is stronger and better shaped than the roller reefing jib, but is only flown in bad conditions.
Heel: the boat leaning to the side under pressure from the wind.
Heel-and-toe watch: a deck watch alternating with an equal period of rest. Also known as “watch and watch.”
Hydro: Canadian term for electric utilities, term derived from hydropower as most electricity there is generated that way. The “hydroline” is the powerline or the main electrical feed running across the country, along the street, or to a house.
Jibe: running downwind, a sail is on the more or less leeward side. When the wind crosses the stern the sail will want to switch sides, or jibe. If this happens accidentally, the swinging of the boom can be dangerous in the cockpit and can damage the rigging. The simplest way to avoid problems is to sheet in the sail to nearly the centerline of the boat, change course slightly to put the wind on the other side, and let the sheets out so the sail is on the new side.
Lazarette: storage locker near or aft of a sailboat’s cockpit.
Leeward: downwind side of the boat.
Loonies: Canadian dollar coins, on account of the loon pictured on the coin.
On the wind: sailing with the wind more or less abeam or ahead of the beam.
Off the wind: sailing with the wind coming more or less from behind.
Outport: Newfoundland term for small seaside villages, mostly devoted to fishing. The smaller ones are often only accessible by sea.
Reefing sails: reducing the sail area to better handle heavy winds. On the Mary Sue, the mainsail has the traditional reef points tied into the sail, which is partially lowered before the lines from the reef points are tied off. The roller-reefing headsail is just rolled up partway onto its stay. Both can be done from the cockpit or the main hatch.
Roller reefing jib: headsail that rolls up around a wire from the bow to the top of the mast.
Schooner: Sailing vessel with two or more masts, each one somewhat taller than the one in front of it.
Self-steering vane: apparatus that uses wind direction to keep a boat on course; usually only used by single-handers and/or on long ocean passages.
Settee berth: one of the berths on either side of the cabin.
Sheets: lines controlling the set of the sails
Sloop: single-masted sailboat
Stays: wires holding the mast upright. They are fore and aft of the mast, and to either side. Also called “shrouds.”
Storm jib: a small, heavy sail used to help keep the boat under control in bad weather. Sometimes known as a spitfire or trysail.
Tickle: A Newfoundland term for a narrow strait.
V-berth: triangular shaped berth that fits in the bow of the boat, wide enough to sleep two in moderate discomfort, but with a rather low ceiling. On the Mary Sue, the only option available for sleeping together.
Watches: Traditionally, a 24-hour day is divided into seven watches. These are:
Midnight to 4 a.m. [0000-0400], the mid-watch 4 to 8 a.m. [0400-0800], morning watch
8 a.m. to noon [0800-1200] forenoon watch
Noon to 4 p.m. [1200-1600] afternoon watch
4 to 6 p.m. [1600-1800], first dog watch
6 to 8 p.m. [1800-2000], second dog watch
8 p.m. to midnight [2000-2400], evening watch.