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He-Said-She-Said, Sailing Hard On | Train Running

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HE Said vs SHE Said

HE Said vs SHE Said

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Sailing Hard On – He Said

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” Matthew 14:28 NIV

“I don’t know who named them swells,” said Hugo Vihlen, skipper of April Fool, a 6-foot sailboat which Vihlen sailed across the Atlantic for reasons even he can’t explain. “There’s nothing swell about them. They should have named them awfuls.”

If you’ve ever sailed a boat on a body of water larger than a duck pond then you understand what a volatile cocktail wind and water can be. The trick is learning to harness both for your benefit. On a sailboat this requires a sturdy winch.

Note: A wench is a female taken aboard a ship as cargo—oftentimes to service the captain in ways a mere cabin boy cannot. A winch is a drum used to control the sheet. A sheet is a rope. If you’re confused, then what I’m about to say next won’t help.

When a sailor wraps a sheet around a winch and pulls really, really hard, the boat sails into the wind. This is called sailing hard on.

In the old days, like say when the term social networking actually meant you met people face-to-face in places like pubs, churches, and public hangings, sailors spent months, sometimes years, cruising the Caribbean islands, sunning on the foredeck, and coming up with unusual ways to say things like: “Hey, Dink. Your yardarm is swinging free. Might want to fix that.” Translation: “Hey, Dinglehoffer. That skinny pole above your head isn’t attached to the mast and it’s about to go BOOM!”

Boom, by the way, is a laterally-mounted pole (spar) to which the sail is fastened. It’s also sometimes used to jettison careless crewmembers.

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