A Most Appropriate Malapropism

Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 11:39AM - Comments: (10)

Every once a while, we have a good malapropism wash over the transom and into our Mailport section. After some fairly disastrous misadventures on our own “curses” this summer, this one was too perfect to resist.


Dear Practical Sailor,

What do you think about a J\24 for cursing?

Thank you,

A Loyal Subscriber


Dear Loyal Subscriber,

Thanks for your letter.

In my opinion, a J\24 is a little too small for serious offshore cursing. They are pretty sensitive boats and might not hold up to well to a long, hard curse. Then again, I know plenty of sailors who wouldn’t hesitate to curse a J\24. I should mention that these are mostly racing sailors, and they do a lot of cursing.

Some people will tell you to that cursing any boat under 30 feet is madness. I completely disagree. A friend and I cursed a Balboa 26 during a one-week charter down in the Florida Gulf. It’s only a little bigger than a J\24, and it was fine for cursing—particulary when we ran aground. We would just lift the centerboard and carry on cursing. If you really want to do some intense cursing, try exploring shallow waters in the Gulf some time.

The Balboa 26 is a fine boat for cursing.

I must warn you, however. Once you start cursing, it’s hard to stop. I have this problem myself. My wife blames the rum—says that the more I drink, the more I want to curse. I say that’s crazy, cursing is in my blood. And she says, that’s her point.

She doesn’t curse as much as she used to. Neither do I. But we’re looking forward to the day when our boys are old enough so we can curse together as a family.

Fair winds and happy cursing,

Darrell Nicholson



Comments (10)

I have found I can easily build my cursing skills without a 42 foot boat. All I need is an outboard motor.

Posted by: Sailor Bill | October 12, 2011 10:29 PM    Report this comment

A lot of people ask what is the best boat for cursing? I say - whatever boat you have! Curse away. It is easier to start on a smaller boat, with easier curses, until you get the hang of it. The first few curses may be awkward, and a tad uncomfortable, but in time the cursing will get easier and become more natural, almost second nature. If your wife has a pent up desire to do some cursing too, that can bring a whole new dimension to your relationship! You will discover that some pets also enjoy cursing, cats especially, but results may vary.

With a few curses under your belt, you will find it is very satisfying to sail into a new destination after a long day of cursing, and curse your way up the quiet harbor, right into the peaceful anchorage. You will enjoy the looks you get from other boats as you demonstrate your newly found cursing skills! You can learn from those other cursers too, and hear about their favorite curses, and cursing around the world. In the future you may even start cursing together - a truly enjoyable way to spend a long weekend - cursing the days away with new friends (Be aware; you may loose touch with your existing friends, as they are not as interested in cursing as you).

In time you will feel the need to upgrade to a bigger boat and longer, more complicated curses. Your skills will improve with every curse, but it starts with your first one. So grab the wife, bring her down to the boat at the weekend and spend a day cursing - you will feel refreshed afterward, and will enjoy impressing your coworkers with your curses come Monday.

The size of your boat does not limit your cursing, only your desire can limit your cursing. And for me I did a lot more cursing on our old small boat that I do on my newer, bigger boat - and I think that is true for most sailors.

Posted by: RALPH G | September 19, 2011 9:27 AM    Report this comment

I would recommend my boat, the big brother of the J/24, a J/30. It is the perfect boat for cursing. Wednesday night racing sees about an hour and a half of expletives both within my lifelines and on other boats. At the weekends, the racing sails come off and the old ones and v berth cushions go on. That in itself is grounds for a little under the breath cursing. Once cruising proper, there are lots of cursing opportunities. Although the headroom below is 5'11" in the book, I never fail to bump my head on the door through to the head and v berth. I always like to curse out my neighbours when either anchored or moored and curse myself out for mistiming the tides on the way home. Best cursing comes if we miss the last launch to get back from our mooring on Sunday night. In summary, no boat beats the J/30 in this regard, but I wouldn't swap her for anything.... (Well maybe a J/109 if anyone out there wants to).

Posted by: MICHAEL L | September 8, 2011 8:58 AM    Report this comment

Darrell, now that was funny.

Posted by: MIKE V | September 8, 2011 8:24 AM    Report this comment

I find that a boat's suitability for cursing is often linked more to cabin height than length or sensitivity.

Posted by: cghubbell | September 8, 2011 7:01 AM    Report this comment

My husband spends lots of time cursing on our vintage 57-foot ketch, especially when he's contorted into a small space under the floorboards. He was also particularly vociferous on one Atlantic crossing when a fish flew up his sleeve while he was pondering the stars on night watch duty.

Posted by: CruisingKitty | September 8, 2011 6:23 AM    Report this comment

My wife does not enjoy cursing when I run around. I almost never run around in my home waters, but when we were cursing in the Gulf It was easy to run around in the shallows.

Posted by: ROBERT W | September 7, 2011 4:44 PM    Report this comment

I do PHRF racing in my cruising Catalina 42. J24's try to participate in our group and that has made us curse on a regular basis.

Posted by: Catalina 42 | September 7, 2011 3:41 PM    Report this comment

Thanks Skippa. With 42 feet you can curse with a little more comfort -- and impunity, of course.

Posted by: DARRELL N | September 7, 2011 1:05 PM    Report this comment

I enjoyed this post very much, Darrell. I myself have cursed a 42-foot sailboat with impunity, so there!

Posted by: Skippa | September 7, 2011 12:36 PM    Report this comment

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