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Three Sheets to the Wind

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Where does this expression get its meaning? Has to be nautical correct?

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The old Dutch-style windmill on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, which is still grinding cornmeal for the tourists, has four wooden vanes to which are attached four sails -- or more properly, sheets. If the miller leaves one off, only three are presented to the wind.

The mechanism is then severely out of balance, and in a fresh breeze the entire structure of the mill goes into a violent and potentially destructive shudder, evoking the image of a staggering drunk.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/1994/12/19/opinion/l-what-three-sheets-to-the-wind-means-141275.html

 

 

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Means that the sails are all loose, and no one has a hand on the sheets (Ropes for you land lubbers)

 When you get to the bitter end, you got to hang on, or lose all hope.

 (Another rope analogy)

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Just now, Firefly-DC said:

The old Dutch-style windmill on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, which is still grinding cornmeal for the tourists, has four wooden vanes to which are attached four sails -- or more properly, sheets. If the miller leaves one off, only three are presented to the wind.

The mechanism is then severely out of balance, and in a fresh breeze the entire structure of the mill goes into a violent and potentially destructive shudder, evoking the image of a staggering drunk.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/1994/12/19/opinion/l-what-three-sheets-to-the-wind-means-141275.html

 

 

Wrong

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I'm with the nantucket windmill idea we must have been on the same tour ! To add I think they used four sheets until it was too windy then they would reduce it to two. Obvously at some point in the "reefing" process they would have had three up and it would have been very unbalanced.

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10 minutes ago, V21 said:

I'm with the nantucket windmill idea we must have been on the same tour ! To add I think they used four sheets until it was too windy then they would reduce it to two. Obvously at some point in the "reefing" process they would have had three up and it would have been very unbalanced.

Don't be silly. The term was in use long before there were windmills on Nantucket.

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When square-riggers got caught aback, in a windshift (or by letting a bowman drive), they went head to wind and then fell off on the other tack without letting go of the sheets.  This was not an easy situation to get out of and the the ship was essentially out of control and was, in the parlance, "three sheets to the wind" as it yawed about.   

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https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/three_sheets_to_the_wind

I knew this long before there was a wikitionary, or even computers (home computers).

 If you grew up on the water you knew what it meant.

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33 minutes ago, Firefly-DC said:

and your source is?

My life

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He grew up on the water. The guy lived Seven Years Before The Mast, he’s a legend in his own mind.

Actually, the only explanation for all the careers might be that he’s old enough to have crewed square riggers. It would explain the Jane Fonda love.

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Next up, arguing about the origin of "the whole nine yards"

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7 minutes ago, bmiller said:

Next up, arguing about the origin of "the whole nine yards"

bullette beltes fore WW2 planes?

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Crew served machine guns, WW1. Ask Lefty, he was there.

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14 minutes ago, bmiller said:

Next up, arguing about the origin of "the whole nine yards"

I always thought that was a football analogy about 4th down and 9 to goal and instead of kicking, they were going to go "The whole 9 yards"..... But I never really gave that one much thought until now.....

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1 minute ago, Mrleft8 said:

I always thought that was a football analogy about 4th down and 9 to goal and instead of kicking, they were going to go "The whole 9 yards"..... But I never really gave that one much thought until now.....

One old myth about this had to do with the capacity of a standard, everyday cement truck.

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Just now, atoyot said:

One old myth about this had to do with the capacity of a standard, everyday cement truck.

11 yardes

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4 minutes ago, Mrleft8 said:

I always thought that was a football analogy about 4th down and 9 to goal and instead of kicking, they were going to go "The whole 9 yards"..... But I never really gave that one much thought until now.....

I thought it was standard load for a dump truck. But I'm not very smart.

I see atoyot beat me to that concept.

 

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Apparently it can mean the amount of cloth needed to make a kilt, or a sari.....

 I dunno....

 My dreams of football daring-do are dashed forever!

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Anyone care to discuss the fact that there are only 3 ropes on a boat??    :P

I start...  

1.  Bell rope

2.

3.    

 

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7 minutes ago, Mrleft8 said:

Apparently it can mean the amount of cloth needed to make a kilt, or a sari.....

 I dunno....

 My dreams of football daring-do are dashed forever!

Daring do. From the grammar and spelling Nazi.

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3 minutes ago, shaggy said:

Anyone care to discuss the fact that there are only 3 ropes on a boat??    :P

I start...  

1.  Bell rope

2.

3.    

 

Bolt rope?

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Yup..  Need 1 more... 

 

(the one we were stuck on for a while) ;)

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So I cheated...Google says...

Foot rope-under the yards to stand on, also the bottom edge of a sail. Bolt rope: sewn around a sailing, or lowering a top-mast or a topgallant and royal mast Man rope - the hand rope at the sea ladders and gangways. Mast rope is used in hoisting, or lowering a top mast, or a topgallant and royal mast. Buoy rope- rope attached to a buoy. Yard rope-the rope used in sending up and down yards. Wheel ropes are lead from the drum of an old fashioned hand wheel to the tiller purchase.

 

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not for too long -  - the foot rope was the piece of line strung under yards that you stood on to loose and reef square sails.

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33 minutes ago, Firefly-DC said:

But was it in use before there were windmills in Holland?

Nantucket

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the headsail , the mainsail, and the mizen all had sheets. there are other configurations that get you to the same number

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When I served aboard a destroyer in the early 70’s, the Bosun was pretty adamant....all rope was wire. Everything else was a “line”. Mooring lines, heaving lines etc. I made my own heaving line out of line I salvaged from fishing nets we ran over in the Tonkin Gulf. When handling lines going alongside it was always a contest to get the first heaving line over, usually between the bow and stern handlers. The handlers on the bow had an advantage because the bow was so high you were throwing down as well as across. As line captain on the sternmost or #6 line I was tired of losing. When I made up my own heaving line the line from the old nets was some kind of wax impregnated small diameter stuff, smaller, lighter and stronger than the standard issue. I made my own monkey fist core out of nuts, bolts and washers and covered it with the same line. I never lost again unless we were using a tug and the bow got pushed closer first. I loved that thing. 

Never heard the term bell rope...the line attached to a bell changer or the pipes was a lanyard as was anything braided out of “small stuff” (the term for small diameter line/cordage). The decorative work on various items like some of the ladder rails between decks etc was simply called fancy work.

The only exception I can recall to that nomenclature were “lifelines” and “weatherlines”. Those were wire but not called rope.

Go figure.

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34 minutes ago, Mrleft8 said:

the headsail , the mainsail, and the mizen all had sheets. there are other configurations that get you to the same number

So this could be 96 sheets to the wind.

royal-clipper-the-largest-full-rigged-sa

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34 minutes ago, Ishmael said:

So this could be 96 sheets to the wind.

royal-clipper-the-largest-full-rigged-sa

32 really. (By my count, but my glasses are off at this hour.)

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Thanks for the input. 

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12 hours ago, Left Shift said:

When square-riggers got caught aback, in a windshift (or by letting a bowman drive), they went head to wind and then fell off on the other tack without letting go of the sheets.  This was not an easy situation to get out of and the the ship was essentially out of control and was, in the parlance, "three sheets to the wind" as it yawed about.   

there are two general rules that govern the universe.... never get off the boat, and never let the fucking bowman drive. Unless it's me. But those other bowman suck. 

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11 hours ago, chum said:

So I cheated...Google says...

Foot rope-under the yards to stand on, also the bottom edge of a sail. Bolt rope: sewn around a sailing, or lowering a top-mast or a topgallant and royal mast Man rope - the hand rope at the sea ladders and gangways. Mast rope is used in hoisting, or lowering a top mast, or a topgallant and royal mast. Buoy rope- rope attached to a buoy. Yard rope-the rope used in sending up and down yards. Wheel ropes are lead from the drum of an old fashioned hand wheel to the tiller purchase.

 

Well, I was looking for bucket rope, but you enlightened me.  Good stuff.  I gotta find another go to piece of trivia... ;)

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Just so I am clear, I am pretty sure that on a square sail there is one rope at each corner of the sail to control it.  

Are all those ropes properly called 'sheets'?  

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15 hours ago, bmiller said:

Next up, arguing about the origin of "the whole nine yards"

Has to do with the length of bolts of cloth and the size of cutting tables, IIRC

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1 hour ago, bugger said:

Just so I am clear, I am pretty sure that on a square sail there is one rope at each corner of the sail to control it.  

Are all those ropes properly called 'sheets'?  

I understand the two on the yard are braces.   The bottom two on the clews are sheets, same as a fore and aft sail.  Patrick O’Brien  wrote of the nautical origin,  which fits sailors’ drinking habits.    Sailing has a very long and multinational history.   It is not geographicaly isolated. Terminology does change over time and certainly rigging changed from cogs to clippers.  If both sheets flying in the wind is bad, it stands to reason a third wouldn’t make things better.

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16 hours ago, Left Shift said:

When square-riggers got caught aback, in a windshift (or by letting a bowman drive), they went head to wind and then fell off on the other tack without letting go of the sheets.  This was not an easy situation to get out of and the the ship was essentially out of control and was, in the parlance, "three sheets to the wind" as it yawed about.   

This

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"Wolf replenished his glass at the request of Mr. Blust, who, instead of being one sheet in the wind, was likely to get to three before he took his departure."

 

The Fisher’s Daughter, some book from 1824.    https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/three-sheets-to-the-wind.html

"Maybe you think we were all a sheet in the wind's eye. But I'll tell you I was sober; ".  Robert Lewis Stevenson,   1883 

Seems there was a sliding scale, and not limited by the number of sheets on a single sail.    (It’s raining, so I’m wasting time).   

 

Note “in the wind’s eye”.   Sounds like the taken aback theory is correct, not flopping lose in the wind like the jib of a little boat overpowered.  

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From my time on a ship with squares, it essentially meant in irons.

You don't tack or come about with squares, you ware the ship, i.e. gybe.

As for bowmen on the helm. Far better than a non-bowman on the wheel. Non-bowmen always turn too fast in gybes and then blame the bowman when it all goes pear shaped.

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On ‎10‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 9:55 PM, shaggy said:

Anyone care to discuss the fact that there are only 3 ropes on a boat??    :P

I start...  

1.  Bell rope

2.  Soape onna rope

3.    

 

Juste misseng the thirdes oune!                                  :)

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flag for the Mt Sinai yacht club , 

Three sheets to  the wind

 

 

 

MSYC%20Burgee.jpg

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Seems to me there's a bar someplace in NYC called "The bitter end"....

 And most people don't know what that means either....

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Hurricane Maria almost brought Bitter End Yacht Club to a truly bitter end.

Image result for bitter end yacht club

Image result for bitter end yacht club

 

However they were very well represented at the Newport Boat Show and assured everyone that they will be back ASAP.

I've had more fun there in the past than should be allowed!

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5 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

I've had more fun there in the past than should be allowed!

It wassentte allowede, juste wentte unrepotted.                              

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That is so true Snaggs! I've gotten potted and re-potted at Bitter End mostly unreported usually in the dark so you must be right. 

Image result for making love in a hammock

Image result for making love in a hammock

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5 hours ago, Mrleft8 said:

Seems to me there's a bar someplace in NYC called "The bitter end"....

 And most people don't know what that means either....

The bitter end is obviously the end of the rope that isn't attached to something important doing work, like a sail or an anchor, but is there, on the deck, ready to be made fast to the bitt.  If you are right at the end of the line, you better, for sure, get it onto the bitt or the whole damn thing gets loose.

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When you'r down to the bitter end there's nothing left to do.

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On 10/27/2018 at 5:07 PM, Snaggletooth said:

Juste misseng the thirdes oune!                                  :)

The rope tied to a bucket???

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So this started with

There once was a mill in Nantucket      and then some bs sheets talk?  this place is going soft.  fwiw I was some sheets to the wind in PT A this weekend.  more drift - Dalmore 12 now my fav single malt.

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7000 servicemen were in Iceland for military training,   They took it very seriously, drinking Reykjavik dry.   Iceland responded to the military emergency with true valor, making emergency runs to warehouses and surrounding villages for more booze.  

https://www.stripes.com/news/iceland-bars-run-out-of-beer-supplying-thirsty-us-sailors-marines-1.554176

 

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