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    Re: Backing & Hauling in Slocum
    From: Trevor Kenchington
    Date: 2003 Dec 18, 11:50 +0000

    George wrote:
    > Thr relevant bit (and perhaps I should have picked it out and discarded the
    > rest) is the section about what "haul" means, from Gershom Bradford, in "A
    > glossary of Sea Terms", as follows-
    > "If the wind is abeam and changes forward, it is said to haul, and if it
    > changes aft it veers. It is, however, often spoken of as "hauling aft."
    > Here is a completly different application of the word "veer", now with
    > respect to the direction of the ship's bow."
    > And that's the sense in which I, too, have used and understood the word
    > "haul" over many years, here in the UK. Usually with something added, such
    > as "haul ahead" or "haul aft", and generally the wind hauling (on its own)
    > would imply hauling ahead, arriving from nearer the bow.
    Smyth ("Sailors Word-Book", 1867) devoted a page to different meanings
    of "haul". For wind direction he wrote:
    "Haul round: Said when the wind is gradually shifting towards any
    particular point of the compass."
    "Hauls aft, or veers aft: Said of the wind when it draws astern."
    I would take the former as Slocum's meaning in the passage in question.
    > As for "draw", it's used in Britain, usually, in "let draw", which means to
    > fill the sails by turning away from the wind, usually from very
    > close-hauled with sails a-shiver, or by filling the jib from hove-to. But
    > it can be used, suitably qualified, to express the opposite, when the wind
    > "draws ahead".
    Smyth manages several meanings for "draw" also (without including the
    "draws astern" that he used in defining "hauls aft"!). He has "A sail
    draws when it is filled by the wind", which seems familiar enough to me.
    However, he wrote: "To let draw a jib is to cease from fattening-in the
    sheet", whereas I would use that expression to cover releasing the
    windward sheet of a backed jib and sheeting it in to leeward. He showed
    no sign of knowing "draw" as meaning to bear off to fill the sails (a
    usage I had not encountered before) but his experience was primarily
    under square rig where no such manoevure would make sense (and likely
    would not be possible).
    > These sea-terms may be defined in dictionaries, but they don't always
    > comply with usage at different places in different eras. On some craft,
    > indeed, there may well be a contrary skipper who sticks to a contrary
    > meaning, as his crew may find to their cost. It could be me...
    Indeed. To get the intended meaning of a term, we have to match time,
    place and trade, then hope to find an authoritative reference source.
    Slocum was learning about the sea at much the time that Smyth was
    compiling his dictionary, but the one was a young Nova
    Scotian-turned-American in merchant ships, the other a retired RN
    Admiral (some of whose definitions were drawn almost verbatim from
    earlier dictionaries dating back about two centuries). I'd not trust
    that Slocum used words as Smyth defined them but the latter would be a
    good starting point for understanding the nuances of the former's writing.
    Trevor Kenchington
    Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus{at}iStar.ca
    Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902) 889-9250
    R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902) 889-9251
    Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902) 889-3555
                         Science Serving the Fisheries

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