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Bitts, Bights and Bitter Ends

the Bits on Agnes

Bitts

Hand's up if you know where the bits are on a Tall Ship? If not head to the bowsprit and if the inboard end has two posts sticking up and supporting and guiding the bowsprit, you have found the bits! The bitts can also describe any vertical woodwork that ropes are attached to, excluding belaying pins. 

You can see the bits just beyond Jo's legs
You can see the bits just beyond Jo's legs

Bights

Two nautical meaning that are related by shape-

1. Rope

The thing you never want to find is your foot encircles by a coil of rope on the deck and that rope is fast disappearing, watch out of that bight of rope will tighten around your leg and take you some place you do not want to be!

Hauling ropes on Europa
Hauling ropes on Europa

2. Sea

The Bight of the sea is a huge bay or land that semi encloses an area of sea. Probably the best known and the largest is the Bight of Biafra. The countries bordering the Bight of Biafra from the North West are Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. This area has an unfortunate history of slave trading and fever, not a good combination!

The Bitter End

You are in the Bight of Biafra and trying to find the bitts to tie the inboard end of your anchor cable to, and if you don't you'll come to a bitter end on the shore. The nautical bitter end is the end of a rope or chain that fastens to the ship so you don't lose your anchor. Often just refers to the end of a rope. 

Finding the bitter end
Finding the bitter end

 

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