Sailing Through the Course

2 August 2020

By Philip Kuepper

‘Now, class, listen up.
I plan to pop quiz you on this.
So, pay attention.

‘How the word “craft” [Old English craeft]
came to refer to a boat,
does not derive, directly,
from the word itself,
but floated in sideways,
craft having meant skill,
in it taking less skill
to sail a small vessel
than an ocean going ship.

‘As for the word coxswain?
It defines itself.
It is made up of “cox” [mid-19th Century],
small boat, and “swain” [from Middle English],
a young shepherd, which we see, to this day,
shepherding small crafts
each workout, each race.’

(11 May 2020)

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