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    Re: Easter Island, and boxhauling
    From: Trevor Kenchington
    Date: 2002 Oct 17, 20:13 -0300

    George Huxtable wrote:
    > Hal Mueller's posting from Easter Island included-.
    >>Why is it called "boxhauling"?  There's a Dutch expression "bak
    >>zeil", back sail, which means to renege on a promise; it sounds like
    >>it also has the connotation of reneging surreptitiously or
    >>indirectly, equivocating.  I'm no linguist, but I'm certain that
    >>"boxhauling" is derived from that Dutch expression.
    > Hal's interesting question is answered in d'Arcy Lever's "Young
    > sea-officer's sheet anchor", 1819, and better, perhaps, in John Harland's
    > superb "Seamanship in the age of sail", 1984.
    > As the operation involves using backed sails, might the term box-hauling
    > perhaps just be a corruption of the English words "back-sailing", which
    > have a very similar sound to them?
    > Needless to say, this information is from book-learning and not from
    > personal experience.
    > George Huxtable
    The best way to get a near-definitive judgement would be to ask John
    Harland himself, who will likely quote derivations from a half-dozen
    European languages. However, in his book (p.189) he suggested that
    "boxhauling", like the "box" in boxing the compass, may come from the
    Spanish "boxar" meaning "to sail around". The "hauling" part, of course,
    relates to using physical effort to work the ship around and is also
    seen in "clubhauling" (the method used by those really desperate to tack
    a big ship with very limited searoom) as well as in the key commands
    when tacking ship: "mainsail haul" and "let go and haul".
    "Bak zeil", on the other hand, appears in English quite simply as "back
    sail". Sails are backed in the process of boxhauling but so they are in
    normal tacking, so I'd doubt a derivation of "boxhaul" from that root.
    Trevor Kenchington
    who also has only book-learning where boxhauling is concerned but who
    has hauled on the fall of an upper topgallant brace when tacking ship
    in the normal way.
    Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus@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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