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Watt's Pic of the Week

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I love Watt's photo of sunrise over this mast. The lines look like spiderwebs.

It started me thinking about masts and general sailing terminology. People make jokes about the mizzen mast on Talk Like a Pirate Day. It is the most poetic-sounding mast. These are the actual names for the masts:

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Fore-mast - the first mast, or the mast fore of the main-mast. Main-mast - the tallest mast, usually located near the centre of the ship.

Mizzen-mast - the third mast, or the mast immediately aft of the main-mast. Typically shorter than the fore-mast. -Wikipedia

Sometimes on a fore and aft rigged sail you will notice a pole that is perpendicular to the mast and attached to the bottom of the sail. It is called the "boom". When you want to tack, or change direction, you undo the lines on one side while simultaneously tightening them up on the other side, causing the boom to swing sideways to change the sail and boat's direction. That is why you always see sailors running around turning winches.On a smaller boat, tacking can be very dangerous because the boom is so low. I remember one particular expedition on my brother's small boat. Everything was fine as they prepared to tack. The next thing I knew, I was waking up on the deck. My brother was leaning over me, staring in my face. When he saw me open my eyes, he laughed and yelled, "That's why they call it the BOOM!"

Photo by Mike Watt