The Disappeared | Top 10 nautical terms used while shooting The Disappeared
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Top 10 nautical terms used while shooting The Disappeared

Mike Tompkins photo

13 Oct Top 10 nautical terms used while shooting The Disappeared

10. Fluke – Lucky. The wedge-shaped part of an anchor’s arms that digs into the bottom. Mother Nature treated us well. Being on the ocean off Nova Scotia in September and October, it was a fluke we did not lose days due to hurricanes or storms.

9. Know the Ropes
– All the ropes on a sailing ship have a reason. You had to learn them all. The cast had two or more days to go out and row the dories and learn the ropes before shooting began. No easy feat.

8. The Bitter End
– The end of an anchor cable is fastened to the bits at the ship’s bow. If all of the anchor cable has been paid out you have come to the bitter end. Also a popular watering hole for crew and cast when in Halifax.

7. Anchor – A mechanical device that is supposed to keep the boat in one place. Sometimes used to submerge expensive anchor lines and chain when used without proper termination at both ends of the anchor line. We lost four anchors, now decorations on the ocean floor.

6. Over a Barrel
– In big trouble now. Seamen were punished, whipped or beaten over a barrel. Lunch was late getting out to the crew one day. Someone was over the barrel for that.

5. Pipe Down – Means to be quiet. The Pipe Down was the last signal from the Boson’s pipe each day which meant lights out and silence.
When our 1st AD walkied that they were rolling sound, everyone had to pipe down so Zan could gather clean dialogue, even if you were in a boat 100 feet away.

4.Son of a Gun – When in port, for any extended period of time, wives and ladies of easy virtue were often allowed to visit or even live aboard. Not uncommonly, children were born aboard, and a convenient place for this was between guns on the gun deck. If the child’s father was unknown, they were entered in the ship’s log as son of a gun. No guns on our boats, thank goodness.

3. Three Sheets to the Wind
– A sheet is a rope line which controls the tension on corners of a square sail. If, on a three masted ship, the sheets of the three lower course sails are loose, the sails will flap and flutter and are said to be in the wind. A ship in this condition would stagger and wander aimlessly downwind acting much like a drunken sailor
If you were passing the Knot (the crew’s favourite Lunenburg pub) at 11pm, you would see a few folks wondering home for the 7am crew call, three sheets to the wind.

2. First Rate
– Excellent. Over 100 cannons on a ship meant it was first rate. Those dailies that the courier lost finally made it to the lab and the report came back that they were first rate.

And the number one nautical term used during production on The Disappeared:

Mike Tompkins photo

1. No Room to Swing a Cat – The entire ship’s company was required to witness flogging at close hand. The crew would crowd around so that the Bosun’s Mate might not have enough room to swing his cat o’ nine tails, the weapon used to punish.Our shooting platform had barely enough room for cast and crew, let alone any equipment. There was no room to swing a cat. And one step in the wrong direction meant you were swimming.

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