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Heading Bug – Words If by Sea, Words If by Air

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February 2012

Every human endeavor, whether blacksmithing, computer science, boating or aviation, has its unique nomenclature. The anthropologists will tell you—with a nervous glance at the higher apes and aquatic mammals—that it is the invention and use of words that defines us as human.

Disagreeing over the use of words, where they come from and how we use them, is also essentially human and has enlivened many a hangar flying session over the years. Just bring up “deduced,” abbreviated as “ded.,” versus “dead reckoning” in any group of pilots who learned to fly before the advent of GPS and you’ll see what I mean.

In addition to the use of words, it may be the collecting and use of stuff that defines us as Homo sapiens. I am moved to these thoughts upon having recently become the proud owner of a maritime conveyance named by its manufacturer back in 1974 as a Laguna Windrose 24.

She is not an aircraft, but a trailerable sailboat, sloop-rigged, with a retractable keel, which makes her of shoal draft, meaning with said board winched up into its trunk or well, she can travel in shallow waters. Her single mast can be folded on deck to facilitate the aforementioned trailering. I have owned sailboats before, even lived aboard my first wooden sloop in Sausalito in a pre-wife-and-children era, but never messed about with trailerable sailboats before, so these variations are a mystery.

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