Sailor Speak of the Week – Hull Down

Definition

Adjective.

  • Said of a vessel at such a distance that part or all of the hull is below the horizon and only the mast is visible.

Origin

15th century.

Comments

Contrary to what some people (the anti-intellectual morons) foolishly cling to, the Earth is actually round. The curvature of the Earth means vessels come and go over the horizon. What’s visible on the horizon depends on the height of the observer (or their elevation) as well as atmospheric conditions at the time.

References

King, D., Hattendorf, J.B, & Estes, J.W. (1997). A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O’Brian’s Seafaring Tales (2nd Ed.). Owl Books.

Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport.

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