Nautical Terms and their Origin

Tuesday, July 18, 2006
To determine Longitude, sailors would use something called the “Log and Line”. The log was a piece of wood to which a rope was attached, with knots tied at intervals to mark out a se4ries of fathom lengths of six feet. The sailor heaved the log overboard, letting it stream behind; measured the distance covered by timing the number of knots with a half-minute hourglass; and then worked out his average speed – which is why nautical speeds are measured in knots to this day, and why the record of the ship’s speed and distance is still called the ship’s log.

Wow, I learned something new today. Cool.


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