Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Question: Will someone explain to me navigation. I have never heard of "Sou Sou West" or "Sou East by East."

Chosen answer: There are four major directions (North, South, East and West), four minor (North East, south east, south west and north west) and 16 sub directions. Among these are South South West and South east by East. South South West is between South West and South and South East by East is between south east and east.

SexyIrishLeprechaun

Question: Can anyone tell me about the strange flag (sort of a blue lozenge in a white field) the Surprise flies in her disguise as a whaler?

Ioreth

Chosen answer: The flag is a signal flag, and is probably meant to signal that the ship is a whaler or engaged in fishing operations. Such flags were part of an international code, which, with some modification, is still in use today. (The flag is similar to the modern-day "Foxtrot".)

Question: What is the "flightless cormorant" that the doctor discovers in the Galapagos Islands? (It appears to be a dodo, which had already been extinct for more than 150 years.)

Chosen answer: "The "flightless cormorant" that the doctor discovers in the Galapagos Islands" is a Galapagos Flightless Cormorant (see http://www.rit.edu/~rhrsbi/GalapagosPages/Cormorant.html). In my opinion, it looks nothing at all like a Dodo (see http://www.nature.ca/notebooks/english/dodo.htm).

J I Cohen

Question: When the men are on deck singing the "Spanish ladies" song, they suddenly stop, leaving Hollom singing alone, and then he trails off at the end. Why do the men stop singing? If it's because Hollom was singing, too, I didn't think they hated him so much at this point.

angi

Chosen answer: They stop singing because they hear Hollom joining in. There are very strict ranks in the Navy, and Hollom singing with the lower crew dissipates these ranks, which is undesirable. That Hollom sings with the crew is frowned upon by the captain, as can be seen by his serious/agitated reaction after Stephen mentions that Hollom has such a clear voice.

Question: What happens in the end, is the French captain dead? And why does Jack Aubrey decide not to sail to the Galapagos but follow Acheron?

Chosen answer: The French captain is most likely the man who claimed to be the doctor or any other man. Aubrey realizes that the captain is not dead and could engineer a coup, so he turns his ship to chase the Acheron.

shortdanzr

Question: I don't quite understand the joke that Jack said to the doctor about the lesser of two weevils. Can anyone tell me what it means?

Chosen answer: It's a play on the old saying "the lesser of two evils."

Xofer

Question: In the scene where the Surprise is becalmed, at the very start as the camera zooms out it shows that the ship is flying a line of signal flags. What is the message that they are trying to send? I tried looking it up, but I didn't have any luck.

Chosen answer: The signals that were contemporary to the setting of the film were Sir Admiral Home Popham's "Telegraphic Signals or Marine Vocabulary." However, it appears that there is no clear signal actually being sent. For reference see Nelson's signal of "England expects that every man will do his duty" during the Battle of Trafalgar. By Pope's coding, one is supposed to signal in groups of hoisted flags, beginning with a red/white diagonal signaling the start of a message, and a blue/yellow diagonal signaling the end. Individual flags stand for numerals and the groups of numerals match phrases or letters within Pope's codings. For example a lone "3" signal represents the letter "C" while a set of signals sending "416" stand for variations of "Instruct-ed-ing-ion-s." The best I can make from the film (the yellow colors of the flags appear to be washed out due to post-processing), is that they begin a signal then send "392" ended with a "substitute" flag. Possibly standing for "impossible-ility" while the section on the Main seems to indicate "602" or "part-ed-ing-ition" without a "Finished" flag. For reference here is a link to a scanned original copy of the 1803 Edition of the Codes: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433008120291;view=1up;seq=1 And a link to a PDF that has the 1806 version with drawings of the flags: http://3decks.pbworks.com/f/Admiral%2520Home%2520Popham%2520Telegraph%2520signal%2520book%2520Final%2520edition.pdf.

Question: Could someone please explain to me the different ranks onboard the ship? Like there were the men in uniform, the kids in uniform, then the other guys who had no uniform?

Craig Bryant

Chosen answer: Traditionally aboard any type of Royal Navy sailing vessel you would have a heirarchy of officers. Beginning with the Captain (technincally not a real rank, Post Captain was the real rank. Post Captain meaning you had commanded a vessel three years or more and had shown yourself of distinction worthy of promotion), then going down through Lieutenants 1st through 5th. The younger boys were juinior officers, or non-commissioned officers, and thus had the lowest rank of any officer, Midshipman, meaning they had command authority in the event of the death of another officer or if it was bestowed upon them in the absence of a higher ranked officer. The non-officers seem to be a mix of ensigns and hired hands. There were also Marines aboard (guys in red and white uniforms), with their ranks usually including either a Lieutenant or Sergeant Major, his subordinates, and a number of infantry units, usually corporals or privates. The Marines were ususally at platoon strength or higher, meaning about 12-20 Marines. There were also what appeared to be Corpsmen (military doctors), but I couldn't really tell if the doctors on board were all civilians, or a mix of Corpsmen and civilians.

Question: At the end of the movie, Jack receives a message. Who sent the message to Jack's ship and what did it say?

Chosen answer: The message said that the Frenchman that they kept on board was in reality the captain, and not the ship's doctor as they had believed. The person who sent Jack the message was one of his officers (although I can't think of his name right now.).

Question: Does anyone know the calls of a bosun's whistle? Does it mean "get on it" or are there certain tunes for certain calls, etc.

Chosen answer: The boatswain's calls are to tell the crew what time it is, or what to do. So, there are different calls for different things. Two good pages to check out are http://www.btinternet.com/~fourthgill.seascouts/bosuncall.htm and http://home.usaa.net/~crowmax/bosun.htm

Question: Does anyone know how to build these type of ships, using traditional techniques? And any recommended books to read (i.e. rigging, boat building, etc.)?

Chosen answer: Go to http://www.barkendeavour.com.au/endfox/page1.html and read how a full sized replica of Capt. Cook's ship was built from the original plans in Australia (and see this ship's connection with the movie). There are many such ships sailing the world's oceans. I spent 6 fantastic weeks in (crew sail "in" not "on") HM Barque Endeavour. We left Halifax, Nova Scotia in November, and sailed south to Barbados. So, yes, those people know how to build, and maintain a wooden ship that meets historic museum standards. They even do a certain rope whipping "wrong" because that's the way it was done on the original ship. I was reading the log of one crewmember while lying in his bunk. He described a hand hold he had affixed to the beam above his bunk to help in getting out of the bunk. I reached up, and there it was! Now THAT's attention to detail! Also check out Mystic Seaport to get you started.

Question: What's the name of the theme in the trailer? I seem to have heard it somewhere.

Chosen answer: It's taken from the soundtrack of Children of Dune.

Tailkinker

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Quotes

Capt. Jack Aubrey: England is under threat of invasion, and though we be on the far side of the world, this ship is our home. This ship *is* England.

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Mistakes

The position of the needle and thread lying on Peter's body differ in the wide shot and following close-up.

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Trivia

When Captain Aubrey makes the toast 'To wives and sweethearts - may they never meet' he is following a custom in the Royal Navy called the toast of the day. There was a special toast for every day of the week. This one in particular was usually for Saturdays. There is a minor mistake, however: tradition dictated that the proposer (in this case, the captain) would say the first part 'to wives and sweethearts', to which the most junior officer present would reply 'may they never meet'. Here is the list that seems to be most commonly followed dates from before Trafalgar, courtesy of the Canadian Navy website: Monday - our ships at sea, Tuesday - our men, Wednesday - ourselves, because no one else is likely to both, Thursday - a bloody war or a sickly season (to ensure quicker promotion), Friday - a willing foe and sea room (The two preceding seem to be of historical interest only), Saturday - wives and sweethearts - may they never meet (reply is made by the youngest officer present) Sunday - absent friends.

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