Stopover in Sète 2024: vocabulary and sailor know-how, the boatswains of Shtandart will guide you

Stopover in Sète 2024: vocabulary and sailor know-how, the boatswains of Shtandart will guide you

Eliott et Nolwenn, matelots du Shtandart, savent à peu près tout réparer sur leur navire. Hélène Amiraux

Eliott et Nolwenn, qui officient comme boscos sur le "Shtandart" pendant la compétition de matelotage d'Escale à Sète, nous ouvrent leur boîte à outils de matelot. 

He is the most important man or woman on the ship, after the captain. It is called the "bosco". A term which comes from the English "bossman" and designates the boatswain who commands men and women to operate the deck and rigging on sailing ships. He sets the tone within a crew. You may have seen them on the quays of Escale in Sète, sitting on benches, busy tinkering with a sail or a piece of wood. Eliott and Nolwenn, young sailors by trade (sailors specializing in sail maneuvers) play this role during the festival within the frigate Le Shtandart, replica of an 18th century warship, moored for the weekend at the Quai de la Marine. They agreed to explain to us some very specific vocabulary terms on board.

The bowline knot

This is the most common knot made on board. "Very simple, it allows you to create a loop to hang something or create an additional mooring line, if one is missing, it’is the most versatile knot", describes Eliott, who assures that a cabin boy can master it perfectly in one week of practice. "The advantage of this knot is that it can be undone in a quick movement". Often, sailors prepare it in advance so that it is ready for use.

The constrictor knot

"It’is a rarer knot that the boatswain generally makes to be able to attach the rabbans (braided ends) which tighten the sail when it is furled (the go up to attach it to a yard, beam perpendicular to the mast) ", explains Eliott. This is a knot whose turns cross several times in different directions, particularly strong and quick to execute.

The mooring maneuver (landing)

This Friday, the Shtandart left the Quai de la République on the new basin to land on the Quai de la Marine, on the canal side. An operation which lasted around twenty minutes in total, including a U-turn in the canal. It is the captain who manages this maneuver carried out using a tender which pushes the front of the boat to make it turn and face the wind. It is among the most delicate for a sailboat of this size (34m). It takes ten people to ensure it. "The landing is when we send the first hawser (moor). We call it the "bowline" in English. The mooring line will pull us towards the dock without pushing us back. If we mess up, we can hit another boat, indicates Eliott.

The art of patching a sail

"There are always repairs to be made on a boat like the Shtandart, it never stops", Elliott smiled. Nolwenn, a young sailor, has mastered the art of "patching" a sail. "The older the sail, the more it is impacted by friction when it is loaded (raised). And tear when it clings". The sails must then be repaired by adding a patch. "We do not use a new sail to do this because the canvas must have the same tension as the original." The polyester sail is cut with a hot knife then the patch is attached with zigzag stitching made with a Speedy Stitcher, a manual sewing machine. "We carry out this operation approximately every two or three months", assures Nolwenn.< /p>

Put in a shroud

The task is particularly long and tedious. Eliott got stuck there after an old hemp guy wire gave way. “It was 3.5 m long. I recreated a length with a piece of polyester which I then made the filling to make it more rigid. You also have to think about the flow of water". The end is first coated with tar (Norwegian tar) then wrapped in a sail sheath. The actual stuffing can begin: the end thus obtained is rolled up with a garchette, a small braided rope, using a stuffing mallet to maintain uniform tension in the work . "It must be the same everywhere so that the stay is as rigid as possible given that it will be exposed to the wind",< /em> adds Nolwenn.

What is a fiery yard?

"We broke the topgallant yard last summer at Granville", remembers Eliott , trained marine carpenter. A piece of wood which edges and extends a sail. The one that broke up at sea on the Shtandart measured 12 meters. The crew urgently returned to the dock to repair the part. "In three days, with the captain and the carpenter who had made the ship, we lowered, rebuilt and raised the mast. In theory, we can even do it on the ship at sea, concludes Eliott.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(function(d,s){d.getElementById("licnt2061").src= ";r"+escape(d.referrer)+ ((typeof(s)=="undefined")?"":";s"+s.width+"*"+s.height+"*"+ (s.colorDepth?s.colorDepth:s.pixelDepth))+";u"+escape(d.URL)+ ";h"+escape(d.title.substring(0,150))+";"+Math.random()}) (document,screen)