Any French Speaking Sailors here?

Quickstep192

Anarchist
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106
Chesapeake
I’m eager to learn French and my sailing buddy speaks French, so I’m planning to take classes and then speak only French while sailing to re-inforce what I learn. 
 

But, although my friend speaks French, he doesn’t know sailing terms in French. 
 

Is there anyone who knows the French words for sailing terms like Port, starboard, tack trim, jibe, reef, luff, leach, halyard, sheet etc. might as well throw “aground” in there since it will be needed sooner than later.

We appreciate any help. 

 

P_Wop

Super Anarchist
6,290
3,197
Bay Area, CA
There are plenty of resources in the internet, so Google is your friend.

My own advice (which worked very well, thank you) is to find a pretty and capable bilingual French sailor lass (or lad, if that's your preference) and learn the words across a pillow in the V-berth.  

 

nolatom

Super Anarchist
3,487
501
New Orleans
Non. 

Okay, un peu. Un petit peu.

Many sailing words we use are French.  Mayday is M'aidez, "help me".

Radio talk too.  When you need quiet, it's "SeeLonce", silence.

More radio.  You've got something others should know, It's "Saycuritay", accent on last syllable, to get them to listen in.

I can think of others.  Just not now.

 

Boathavn

Gammel Dansk - Skål !
Sailing with the very nice French people in the marina, I learned the hard way about "le Fuck Up". They are kind and still let me sail with them.  Important phrase to know.

 
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Left Shift

Super Anarchist
10,277
3,106
Seattle
Just get the Froggies to tell you why they call the jib "Le foc", the spinnaker "Le spi" and why ocean sailing is call "au large".

 

mckenzie.keith

Aspiring Anarchist
461
141
Santa Cruz
Spelling may be wrong and I don't know how to type all the special letters.  I learned by talking/listening. These people were from Brittany.

voilier = sailboat

bateau = boat
voile = sail
grand-voile = mainsail
foc = jib (pronounced almost like "fuck" in english)
leve la grande-voile (raise the main)
descend la grand-voile (lower the main)
lache = let go or release
attachez = cleat or tie it off
mat = mast

bome = boom

ponton = dock
le vent = the wind
Il y a beaucoup de vent = it's windy

Il n'y a pas beaucoup de vent = it's not very windy
Ca souffle = it's blowing
Ca monte = the wind is increasing (literally it means "it is going up.. if context is lacking you can say "Ca monte, le vent" to make it clear.
Ca descend = the wind is decreasing (literally it means "it is going down")

spi = spinnaker
putain = fuck (literally whore but used like "fuck" in english. It is very vulgar. Don't say it if you wouldn't say "fuck" in english.)
ca me fait chier = this pisses me off (also pretty vulgar.. more or less like saying "this is bullshit").
Calme plan = calm and flat or dead flat calm
Bordel = often used to describe a mess, or could just mean fuck (literally whorehouse). Vulgar.

epave = wreck or really shitty looking boat.
fait gaffe = watch out ( can be shouted when danger is imminent "fait gaffe la bome")
attention = watch out (often used to point out hazards ahead of time)

"I saw the voilier in the slip next to you."
"Voilier, you mean l'epave?"
"Hahah what a bordel!"
"You can laugh but I see it every day. Ca me fait chier."



 

 

PaulK

Super Anarchist
Because there are so many technical terms on boats, vocabulary can be difficult. Backstays are a case in point.  Bastaques are running backstays, while a standing backstay is a pataras: two entirely different words. You need to be careful with the exact meaning of things as well.  'Lacher' is to let go.  'Choquer' is to ease. 'Border' to pull in, 'hisser' to hoist. Letting go the sheet is not the same as easing it.  Hoisting the jib is not the same as trimming it.  There are lots of reasons to be careful. People make mistakes too, interchanging stays and shrouds: étais and haubans, for example.   Regional variations come into play with things like boom vang and kicker. Google is not necessarily your friend. It can tell you a stay is a surcis - which refers to a court stay of judgement, or that a sheet is 'un drap' (a bedsheet) instead of 'une écoute'.   Lists of translated sailing terms are probably the best source, but pronouncing things properly will still call for help from your sailing friend.  

 

PaulK

Super Anarchist
Le Lapin. Try it around your french sailor friends.
DON'T!!  Rabbits are horrendously bad omens for French sailors.  Worse than dead albatrosses & Mother Carey's Chickens together. Even the word is NEVER said aloud, and it is bad luck even to bring up the idea of them by talking about long-eared animals. Bananas are not found on board French boats either. 

 
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TBW

Member
377
186
   Lists of translated sailing terms are probably the best source, but pronouncing things properly will still call for help from your sailing friend.  
Canadian French, for example, is very different from Parsian French.

 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
4,976
774
worldwide
I’m eager to learn French and my sailing buddy speaks French, so I’m planning to take classes and then speak only French while sailing to re-inforce what I learn. 
 

But, although my friend speaks French, he doesn’t know sailing terms in French. 
 

Is there anyone who knows the French words for sailing terms like Port, starboard, tack trim, jibe, reef, luff, leach, halyard, sheet etc. might as well throw “aground” in there since it will be needed sooner than later.

We appreciate any help. 
The problem with French crew is that they like food 

double your provisioning budget 

 

Laurent

Super Anarchist
2,218
1,804
Houston
Spelling may be wrong and I don't know how to type all the special letters.  I learned by talking/listening. These people were from Brittany.

voilier = sailboat

bateau = boat
voile = sail
grand-voile = mainsail
foc = jib (pronounced almost like "fuck" in english)
leve  Hisse la grande-voile (raise the main)
descend Affale la grand-voile (lower the main)
lache choque l'écoute = let go or release the sheet
attachez frapper = cleat or tie it off
mat = mast

bome = boom

ponton = dock
le vent = the wind
Il y a beaucoup de vent = it's windy

Il n'y a pas beaucoup de vent = it's not very windy
Ca souffle = it's blowing
Ca monte = the wind is increasing (literally it means "it is going up.. if context is lacking you can say "Ca monte, le vent" to make it clear.
Ca descend = the wind is decreasing (literally it means "it is going down")

spi = spinnaker
putain = fuck (literally whore but used like "fuck" in english. It is very vulgar. Don't say it if you wouldn't say "fuck" in english.)
ca me fait chier = this pisses me off (also pretty vulgar.. more or less like saying "this is bullshit").
Calme plan blanc = calm and flat or dead flat calm
Bordel = often used to describe a mess, or could just mean fuck (literally whorehouse). Vulgar.

epave = wreck or really shitty looking boat.
fait gaffe = watch out ( can be shouted when danger is imminent "fait gaffe la bome")
attention = watch out (often used to point out hazards ahead of time)

"I saw the voilier in the slip next to you."
"Voilier, you mean l'epave?"
"Hahah what a bordel!"
"You can laugh but I see it every day. Ca me fait chier."



 
A good start, but I allowed myself to make a few corrections. See above in bold.

Like in English, words can have double (or triple) meaning. So be careful. And what makes it worse, is that the most common meaning, in "everyday language" has absolutely no link to the "sailing language". A good example in English is "a sheet". In common language, a large piece of cloth on your bed, or a full size piece of paper. In sailing language, a line used to trim in and out a sail. The translation of the sailing language word is "une écoute", but in the common language, "écouter" means to listen. So the name "écoute" is the act of listening...

A tricky word in French sailing is "dérive". The common sense, which is also used in sailing environment, is "drift", in the sense of going sideways.

BUT, in sailing context, it also means... the daggerboard!!! The device used to AVOID drift!!! Don't ask me why...

Another one, just for the heck of it. A delivery sail (bring a sailboat from point A to point B ) is called in French; un convoyage. But it is also related to moving stuff from one place to another, with a .... conveyor belt. 

So I have seen automatic translations, replacing what should have been dagger board,with drift, and delivery trip with conveyor belt... It always cracks me up...

 
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