Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Add Images & Files
    Re: veering and backing, again.
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2003 Mar 12, 08:57 -0800

    On Tuesday, March 4, 2003, at 03:40 AM, George Huxtable wrote:
    > In an attempt to get a definitive answer (in terms of 18th century
    > practice) I have examined the Beaglehole edition of Cook's journal of
    > his first circumnavigation (1768 - 1770) in Endeavour, skimming
    > through for references to backing and veering. Most of that voyage was
    > in Southern latitudes.
    > I have not found a single mention by Cook of "backing" of the wind.
    > However, he used "veering" 13 times, all when he was well into the
    > Southern hemisphere.
     From John Harland's "Seamanship in the age of Sail" (Naval Institute
    Press: 1985) -- an excellent summary of how ships were sailed from
    1600-1860 -- he has written on page 12:
    Veering, hauling and backing of the wind.
    When the wind shifts around, so as to come from further aft, the modern
    convention is to say it has 'veered'.  An older alternative was to say
    the wind 'larges'.  If the wind draws forward, 'scants' as the
    old-timers put it, it is said to 'haul'.  Thus the wind 'hauls
    forward', but 'veers aft'.  I do not know how ancient this rule is, but
    I have seenit as far back as 1878 (Uggla).  To find the principle
    violated, the wind 'hauling aft' is not unusual in the old accounts,
    some preferring 'draw aft', and 'haul forward'.  Along the same lines,
    convention has it that the wind 'veers' when it shifts to the right or
    clockwise, as one looks at the horizon, or with the sun.
    Counter-clockwise movement is called 'backing'.  This is another area
    where some confusion exists, some authorities considering 'haul' as
    synonymous with 'veer' in this particular context.  Furthermore the
    idea underlying 'backing' is that the wind is moving contrary to the
    usual pattern of wind shifts, which in the Northern Hemisphere is
    clockwise.  The exact opposite, however, is true in southern latitudes.
    (Kemp; de Kerchove).  A wind which kept changing direction was said to
    'chop about', and Uggla says that a wind which had shifted about was
    said to have 'checked around'.  In Danish, there were different words
    for a sudden marked change, vinden springer, 'the wind jumps', and a
    gradual change, vinden skager sig, 'the wind checks [itself]'.  The
    Elizabethan expression 'spring a-loof', meaning to turn abruptly to
    windward is using 'spring' in this sense.  Skage literally means
    'shake', but is closely connected with 'check' in its sea-sense.

    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site