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    Re: Lengths
    From: Steven Wepster
    Date: 2001 Jul 13, 6:15 AM

    IMHO 'cable' is quite an informal untit of length; i.e. it is used in an
    informal way. Bowditch defines the cable as "one tenth of a sea mile"
    and I have seen the 100-fathom reference, can't remember where and I
    do not remember if it was meant as a definition or as an estimate.
    Shackles were (and are) used when referring to the length of anchor
    chain paid out. I think it is a length of about 27 metres, will look
    that up. At one shackle from the anchor, a shackle is painted white;
    at two shackles, 2 shackles etc. So when the master says he wants
    "three shackles on the bow" all you have to do is let the anchor and
    chain go until three mud-covered, rust-worn, barely-white shackles
    come whizzing by, and stop the winch just before they enter the chain
    > The use of 'cable' as an expressive length is still quite common in UK;
    > example, "pass that headland a couple of cables off". It is also a more
    > convenient way of saying 'one tenth of a (nautical) mile'
    > A standard shackle is 15 fathom
    > NG

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