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Two, Six Heave

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on January 28, 2010 at 08:50

In Reply to: Two, Six Heave posted by Kelvin Tonks on January 27, 2010 at 23:38:

: Interesting discussion re the 2-6 Heave. As an ex British matelot, I pulled hawsers and ropes to this many times. I agree that it would be impossible for 2 guys to pull in a heavy pounder alone.
: Here's a thought ...
: Toutes = ALL (all of you/all together)
: Six = Six (ALL six of you)???
: Haler = Haul (French nautical term for haul) (pronounced 'ale)
: So ... Toutes Six Haler = All six together, heave.

People have been puzzling for decades over the origin of this phrase. It doesn't seem to make any sense in terms of Numbers Two and Six of the gun crew, and the idea that *any* command in the Royal Navy would have been given in French is just fantastic. The Royal Navy as we know it today came into being in the 18th century, during which (from 1701 to 1815) Britain was more or less permanently at war with France. (VSD)