Author Archives: Tony Johnson

Nautical Terminator – Tonnage (Part 2)

            Last time we distinguished three sorts of tonnage applicable to boats: displacement, deadweight tonnage, and gross and net register tonnage. The displacement of your sailboat will be given in the owner’s manual. The deadweight tonnage is not normally a … Continue reading

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Nautical Terminator – Tonnage (Part 1)

          If you like getting frustrated, and who doesn’t, you could do no better than trying to understand the nautical terms associated with tonnage. We have long tons, short tons, avoirdupois tons, imperial tons, gross register tons, gross tons, net … Continue reading

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Nautical Terminator – Hull Down (Part 2)

We promised last time to apply our understanding of the old phrase “hull down” to modern circumstances. The issue arises when making offshore passages. Clearly, single-handers are in violation of Rule 5 of the Colregs because they cannot maintain a … Continue reading

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Nautical Terminator – Hull Down (Part 1)

In a recent column we mentioned the phrase, “hull down.” In the great days of sail, this was the lookout’s way of communicating the distance to a ship he’s sighted, just coming over the horizon. So how far away is … Continue reading

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Nautical Terminator – Points

            Our contemporary way of reading a compass is called the “three-figure” method, referring to the three numerals called out to the helmsperson by the navigator, as in “steer three-two-zero.” Early compass cards, however, were divided not into 360 degrees … Continue reading

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Nautical Terminator – Curse Like a Sailor

The other day at a Tradewinds instructors meeting, the estimable Craig Walker, a true gentleman and our most accomplished teacher, opined that we should not be cursing during class. Now, on the one hand, I completely agree that our instructors … Continue reading

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Nautical Terminator – Nautical Mile

By Tradewinds instructor Tony Johnson As we all learn in our first navigation class, a nautical mile equals one minute of latitude. Therefore, the distance in nautical miles between the equator and the poles is, by definition, 90 degrees times … Continue reading

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Sailors Will Argue About Anything

At a recent instructors’ meeting we had a disagreement or two—nothing serious, but it reminded me of the time a couple of decades ago at a similar such meeting when we spent an hour in heated debate over whether we … Continue reading

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Roger

A fellow Tradewinds instructor asked me the other day why we say “Roger” on the radio to confirm we’ve received a message. Why Roger, and not Reginald, or for that matter, Hermione? If you go cruising you’ll probably want to … Continue reading

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On Your Feet!

You don’t want to be slipping on the deck of a boat. At best, you look the fool. At worst, you’re in the drink. And in between, there’s a bunch of stuff to knock your head or bruise your backside … Continue reading

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