View Full Version : I need a word...HELP!!!

08-03-2004, 03:48 AM
Okay I admit it!! I have lost my thesaurus!! Actually I think my son borrowed it and it has been eaten by the nasty monsters that live in the mess he calls his room:teeth :lol

Anyway, I need a word for "sail". As in the sentence: He learned to sail in college.

I don't want to say: He leaned how to "drive a boat" in college.

I need a more colorful or demonstrative word or phrase.

Any suggestions???:shrug PLEASE HELP!!:wha I am drawing a blank on this!!!:bang


08-03-2004, 03:54 AM

Try thesaurus.com, here:

thesaurus.reference.com/ (http://thesaurus.reference.com/)

First listing for sail, function verb, definition boat:

captain, cast anchor, cross, cruise, dart, drift, embark, flit, float, fly, leave, make headway, navigate, pilot, scud, set sail, shoot, skim, skipper, skirr, soar, steer, sweep, travel, voyage, weigh anchor, wing

Fourth listing, function verb, definition coast:

cruise, drift, float, freewheel, get by, sail, skate, slide, smooth along, taxi

Since I'm not sure what you meant, I can't be more specific, but you get the idea.

If you lose your book dictionary, rhyming dictionary or thesaurus (or you just don't have them where they are) you can easily find what it is you need by going to google.com and searching for it.

All the best,


Stephenie Hovland
08-03-2004, 03:55 AM
Thesaurus.com says:

captain, cast anchor, cross, cruise, dart, drift, embark, flit, float, fly, leave, make headway, navigate, pilot, scud, set sail, shoot, skim, skipper, skirr, soar, steer, sweep, travel, voyage, weigh anchor, wing

I sometimes Google a word or look through online thesauruses (?) or dictionaries.

08-03-2004, 04:05 AM
Thanks! :hug I never thought of looking online (duh):smack

Let me ask, does this sound right?

He learned to navigate in college and he wanted to take the whole family on a boat trip across the Atlantic Ocean.


08-03-2004, 04:33 AM
What's wrong with "sail"?

Or you can say:

He learned the skills in college and he wanted to sail his whole family across the Atlantic Ocean.

08-03-2004, 04:43 AM
But I don't want to "sail". The boat has no sails on it. It is kind of like a small (very small) yacht or something like that.


08-03-2004, 06:00 AM
The term "sail" has come to mean "moving across (or under) the water in a vessel designed for the purpose."

The Titanic set sail, and it had huge steam engines for motive power, not sails. Maybe if it had been provided with sails . . . nevermind.

Tish Davidson
08-03-2004, 06:02 AM
He learned seamanship in college.
He learned to captain water craft in college

08-03-2004, 06:07 AM
I'm with Pthom here. Sail is really the word you want. Anything else sounds more than a little pretentious, though of the options, navigate is probably second-best.

08-03-2004, 06:38 AM

<Tammy scratches her chin and thinks....>

Warning: Head may explode!:wha :head

Thought: "Think, Tammy Think!!":smack

Thanks guys...


08-03-2004, 06:40 AM
Tammy, when you come to "yacht"...

My husband, a U.S. Navy veteran, one told me that a yacht isn't defined by physical structure; it's simply a privately owned boat (above a certain size, I presume).

American Heritage Dictionary, 1st ed., defines "yacht" as "any of various relatively small sailing or mechanically propelled vessels, generally with smart, graceful lines, used for pleasure cruises or racing."

08-03-2004, 07:50 AM
It is actually not a yacht. It is a boat but no sails. Motor only. Small living quarters down below, engine room on top.
Always referred to as "the boat" in my story. Not a main object and it gets discarded in the first few chapters. Maybe I am doing way too much thinking on this.

Thanks for all the suggestions, though. I did get what I needed.:thumbs


Lori Basiewicz
08-03-2004, 07:55 AM
One can never overthink the details, Tammy. Unless they get too detailed and bog down the story, then someone can accuse you of overthinking, but I would argue you haven't really over thought as much as over used the details. So then the question becomes is it wrong to over think or is it wrong to over use details, because they two really aren't the same thing except when . . . Jeesh. Cleared the room again.


08-03-2004, 08:03 AM
I don't think "sail" is the right word. Despite the definition, "sail" still usually means a ship with sails.

What you may want to say is something like, "He received his pilot's license while in college. Generally speaking, if you're going to captain a yacht, you need a pilot's license.

There are different types of licenses for ships, but if you have a pilot's license (you pilot a ship, just as you do a plane), you can take a yacht anywhere you want to go.

08-03-2004, 08:06 AM

Too much to learn....:head

I need some sleep, before I grow to hate this computer!!!:bang

<Tammy thinks, "My head hurts!">


08-03-2004, 08:06 AM
Tammy, I don't see anything in your description of the craft that would make it not a yacht.

Hey! Craft! Will that work?

08-03-2004, 11:39 AM
"Small living quarters down below, engine room on top.

The engine room shouldn't be on top. An engine room is where the engines are, and unless you have outboards, the engines are below deck. A small boat doesn't usually have an engine room, it has an engine compartment. Either way, it won't be above.

Are you sure you don't mean pilot house or bridge is on top?

James D Macdonald
08-03-2004, 02:08 PM
As described, that sounds a lot like a cabin cruiser (http://images.google.com/images?q=%22cabin%20cruiser%22&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&c2coff=1&safe=off&sa=N&tab=wi). Maybe with a flybridge on top of the cabin.

I'm not sure that the vessel as described could carry enough fuel to make it all the way across the Atlantic.

Piloting suggests navigation in sight of land, in restricted maneuvering situations. You might say he learned "boat handling" in college.

And the verb is 'to sail.' Even on a steam ship.

08-03-2004, 07:41 PM
Sail is correct. "Pilot" seems stuffy and vague. Piloting what? A plane?

Use the right word, not try to be clever. Make every word count.

James D Macdonald
08-03-2004, 07:49 PM
Piloting, in regards to ships, is a specific thing. When you're in a "piloting situation" and even more so when you have a pilot (who came aboard from a pilot boat) on the bridge.

(You use pilots in harbors, usually. They have recent local knowledge.)

08-03-2004, 09:18 PM
try 'a 'round the world cruise' or 'transatlantic cruise' or 'cruise the seven seas' or whatever fits...

08-03-2004, 11:16 PM
Thanks for pointing out my error about the engine room. I did mean bridge but hadn't realized my mistake.

I know that the vessel I described could not hold enough fuel to go across the whole ocean I was just giving a for instance, that part wasn't in my manuscript that way. But, thanks, anyway.


08-04-2004, 05:05 AM
You pilot a boat. Even the captain of a boat pilots it. You dont just take on a pilot in port or around tugs. The process of operating a boat is piloting it, just as with a plane. To do so you must have a pilot's license of some sort. They come in many flavors, from a steerage license to a master's license, but you'll need one that allows you to pilot a boat in controlled waters., meaning any water that isn't beyond international boundaries.

The place where you pilot the boat from is sometimes called a bridge, but most of the time this is a mistake. It's most often a "pilothouse." And when you're in a pilothouse, you pilot.

Those used to small boats on lakes often don't know you need a license of some sort to pilot a boat above a certain size, unless you intend to keep that boat in international waters at all times (and sometimes even then). There are tons of differences between freshwater and open water boats, ranging from terms used to license requirements. (Even whether you drive or pilot the thing is usually different.)

Whether it's a mate's license, a master's license, a pilot or captain's license, someone on your boat will have to have one. There's a good chance there will be two licenses aboard, and that the lesser of them will be a steerage license.

The last two boats I spent much time on both had multiple licenses aboard. One of the boats was a forty-two foot Hunter, and the other was a forty-six foot Wilbur that had been rigged as a research ship, but was being refitted as a private yacht.

The Wilbur had one of the prettiest pilothouses I've ever seen, but it's lines looked more like a Russian trawler than a typical modern yacht such as a Hunter. But of all the boats I've seen, it's the Wilbur I'd love to own.

08-04-2004, 06:34 AM

Do you have a pic of the wilbur you could email me?



08-04-2004, 06:37 AM
Tammy, this is getting so complex. Maybe just put your characters on a raft instead.

08-04-2004, 06:42 AM
Would the raft sail, then?


James D Macdonald
08-04-2004, 07:27 AM
You only pilot a boat when you're in a piloting situation. Else you steer it.

You're aware of the distinction between a boat and a ship, yes?

Lori Basiewicz
08-04-2004, 07:33 AM
A boat is anything which can be lifted onto and carried upon a ship.

08-04-2004, 09:18 AM

To be honest the characters do end up on a raft:rofl

But this really did get alot bigger than I expected. It's my fault... I lost the dumb thesaurus and was not smart enough to know about thesaurus.com.

Boat... Sail... Navigate... Maybe I should just drown the characters and start over.:lol


08-04-2004, 09:20 AM
Maybe I should just drown the characters and start over.

I like that idea... :jump

Jules Hall
08-07-2004, 02:21 AM
James> Are you sure about needing a pilot's license? I thought that kind of requirement was only for commercial craft, and the only regulation on private craft is that they be signed up on the small ships register. Or is this just my Britishness (? Briticity? There must be an appropriate word, but I can't think of it) showing up, and the American situation is entirely different?