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catamaran trivia

Fun Facts About Key Largo in the Florida Keys

Key Largo is the northernmost island in the Florida Keys archipelago and starts on Mile Marker 107

florida keys map

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Why is a Toilet Called a Head on Boats?

origin of term marine head

The term "head" used for a marine toilet started because of the location of the toilet on the earliest sailing ships. For crewmen, the facilities were located at the head of the ships. The front of ships had a figurehead: a carved wooden figure or bust fitted on the bow of the ship. The toilet was located there set just above the water line with slots cut near the floor level to use wave action to wash the toilet. 

With the wind blowing from the rear to the front as it does for sailing ships, the “head” (or front) of the ship was the best place for everyone for a sailor to relieve himself. So, when the crew went potty, they went to the head of the ship...and the name stuck. 

Note the captain sometimes had a private toilet at the stern of the ship near his quarters and may have used a chamber pot which some unfortunate swabby had to empty..

Read on to learn what sailors used for toilet paper and for more marine term origins like poop deck and scuttlebutt.

 

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Sailing Superstitions: Heed These Warnings At Sea!

Boat christening and sailor superstitionsWe always urge our friends and clients to christen their boats properly and in keeping with tradition - just in case. So, before witnessing yet another boat christening recently of one of our clients, we discussed the superstitions about re-naming and christening a boat with them. That discussion reminded me just how superstitious sailors of old were and how, even today we heed their warnings of bad luck at sea!

While we still have a healthy respect for the power of the sea today, we have a much easier time of it than the ancient mariners. With limited navigational tools and weather forecasting, sailing back then was a dangerous endeavor. Ancient sailors therefor believed in various superstitions to improve their chances of survival at sea. Today, most of these beliefs / superstitions are considered outdated, but many modern sailors continue to observe some of the traditions. 

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Nautical Terms: Where Did They Come From?

Nautical phrasesWhen we do sailing schools, we always do a “Do you recognize this nautical phrase?” session. Not only is it a fun back and forth session, but we learn so much from history! These phrases come from our seagoing ancestors from way back when and we still use them everyday but few people know the origins of these phrases.

For instance, the origination of the word "posh" means “port out, starboard home”, referring to the preferred cabins, overlooking the continent, on the way to India. Who knew?

The meaning of some of the more common phrases, like “rocking the boat” or “on an even keel” are easier to figure out but some of them will leave you confounded! Here are some other nautical terms that we use all the time!

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Americas Cup Trivia

ac11. The America's Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sport, predating The Ashes and Modern Olympics by decades. It's the hardest trophy in sport to win. Since 1851 just four nations have won: Australia (once), New Zealand and Switzerland (twice) and the USA (28 times).

2. For the first time in 132 years in 1983, the America’s Cup left the New York Yacht Club and ended the Americans winning streak. Dennis Conner, 'Mr. America’s Cup' lost to Australian skipper, John Bertrand, on his radically-designed winged keel that gave the 12-Metre Class boat superior speed under most conditions.

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