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The Sailor's Illustrated Dictionary: Full Explanations of more than 8,500 Terms and Phrases Used by Sailors, Boaters, and Seamen Paperback – May 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"A comprehensive dictionary covering terms related to piloting and celestial navigation; winds, weather, tides, and ice; the shipping business; deck equipment and rigging; knots and marlinespike seamanship; small-boat handling; U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ranks; and flags and signaling."
--Book News, Inc.

"Mr. Lenfestey has done a fine job of offering a thoroughly practical and up-to-date guide to nautical usage for today's mariner."
--K.B. Raisch, Chief Warrant Officer, USCG Eagle

From the Back Cover

Have you ever been caught in the doldrums? Can you spot the difference between a ketch and a yawl? Do you know when you are ready to jibe, or whether one "fakes" or "flakes" a line?
Nautical language is a richly diverse blend of terms and idioms that reflect generations of experience and enterprise on the high seas. Some of the oldest phrases still retain their original definitions from long before Shakespeare's day; others have subtly shifted in meaning over the years. Still others, brand-new and freshly coined from laptop computers, are just making their way into the vernacular.
Here, in The Sailor's Illustrated Dictionary, Thompson Lenfestey presents the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate reference of its kind to appear in over forty years. The book gathers more than 8,500 definitions and covers an ocean of information from supertankers to dinghies, from naval warfare to pleasure yachting, and from sail to oar. Written in clear, accessible language, The Sailor's Illustrated Dictionary not only includes definitions, but also parts of speech, cross-references, unusual pronunciations, and - when necessary - examples of appropriate usage. It also includes illustrations showing subjects as wide ranging as knots, cloud formation, navigation lights, and silhouettes of sail and power vessels. It's an essential book for every yachter, naval buff, historian, or anyone who loves the sea, and belongs on every nautical bookshelf.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: The Lyons Press; 1st edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592283675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592283675
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 8 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,665,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. G Watson VINE VOICE on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am writing this primarily because I noticed that as of this date, only one person has posted a review of THE SAILOR'S ILLUSTRATED DICTIONARY and she gave it one star. While I have to say I agree with her criticisms, I don't entirely agree with her rating, so I thought I'd weigh in on this book to give the perspective buyer a little more information to work with.

It is true that the claim of this book being "illustrated" is very weak, almost to the point of being fraudulent. In a book over 500 pages, there are only about 40 illustrations, and they are very simple diagrams, graphs or schematic-type drawings. It is also true that the way the book is organized it is almost useless for landlubbers like yours truly, because it is set up in a catch-22 sort of way, where you have to know the name of the thing you are looking for to get the definition. Obviously, if I knew the name of the thing, I wouldn't be looking it up, and since there are no labeled, fold-out master diagrams of boats and ships to work with, I can't do what I really need to do -- find a drawing of the thing and then identify it by its label. Had Captain Lenfestey thought of this, or had he been allowed to do it by the publisher, this book would have rated five stars instead of a paltry two.

I'm not sure if that entirely makes my point clear, so I'll give you an example. I have a book on airplanes, and for each airplane listed there is a numbered blueprint of the plane which labels every part. Thus, if I want to know what that pointy knob at the center of the propeller is, I can trace my finger down and see that it is called a "boss." Takes 3 seconds and solves the problem.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is good dictionary of nautical terms. It is not a nautical almanac or encyclopedia or for learning the basics of sailing. For learning those things I suggest starting with Chapman's Piolting and Seamanship where the Sailor's Illustrated Dictionary would be a valuable supplement to look up and define unfamiliar terms. This dictionary will come in handy If you take advanced U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary courses in seamanship, navigation, etc. The illustrations are at a minimum and only where they are needed for clarification. This book was just what I expected. The definitions are clear and doesn't get tied up in jargon.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is what it says it is, a concise Sailor's Illustrated Dictionary, explaining with pictures, where applicable, what every Sailor's Term/Word means. Tt is easy to follow, as it is to find what the Reader in looking for.
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