Be on the verge of doing something illegal or improper, as in She was sailing pretty close to the wind when she called him a liar. This term alludes to the danger incurred when literally sailing too close to (that is, in the direction of) the wind. Its figurative use dates from the first half of the 1800s.
Where does the saying sailing close to the wind come from?
This originated as a nautical expression, meaning ‘sail as nearly against the wind as is possible’. It has been in figurative use since the mid 19th century.
What does sail to the wind mean?
If you sail close to the wind, you take a risk by doing or saying something that may get you into trouble. Max warned her she was sailing dangerously close to the wind and risked prosecution. See full dictionary entry for wind. English. Grammar.
What happens if you sail too close to the wind?
If you sail very, very close to the wind, you’ll lose speed but gain ground. If you fall off from the target direction, you’ll gain speed but lose ground. Depending on what your priority is you can adjust your sails to meet speed or course preferences.
What does it mean to sail before the wind?
Driven ahead, hurried, as in The bikers are moving before the wind, so it’s hard to tell who will come in first. The literal meaning of this term is nautical, referring to a ship sailing in the same direction as the wind and being propelled forward. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1800s.
Which way the wind blows idiom meaning?
If a person tries to discover which way the wind blows/is blowing, they try to discover information about a situation, especially other people’s opinions, before they take action: I think I’ll see which way the wind is blowing before I vote at the board meeting.
What does it mean to sail with the tide?
Taking 1 and 2 together then, “sail with the tide” (and “go with the flow”) means to operate according to the prevailing conditions when they become available. In short, do the right thing when the right conditions are there.
How do sailboats sail against the wind?
On sailboats, the wind that blows at an angle against the boat inflates the sail. It forms a foil shape similar to the airplane. It creates a pressure difference pushing the sail perpendicular to the direction of the wind.
How did pirate ships sail against the wind?
By changing the angle of the sail to the ship – rotating sail around the mast – they could harness the power of the suction to move the ship at right angles to the wind. If the wind is blowing from the north, a ship can sail due east or due west with no trouble.
What is sailing with the wind called?
Turn more into the wind and soon the whole sail will be flapping like a bed sheet hanging out to dry. But keep turning through the wind and soon the sail will fill on the other side of the boat. This is called “tacking.” Modern sailboats can sail up to about a 45-degree angle from the wind.
What does pinch mean in sailing?
Pinching is a term to describe the boat heading too close to the wind. Some one is usually doing this if they are trying to sail to a destination that is too close to where the wind is coming from.
Can old ships sail upwind?
Depending on rig and keel, an old sailing vessel could sail within 60-45 degrees of the wind. So if the wind was out of the Northeast and they were going northeast, they’d sail east for one leg then north for another, or vice-verse.
What ship that could sail into the wind and close to the shore?
The caravel (Portuguese: caravela, IPA: [kɐɾɐˈvɛlɐ]) is a small highly-maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave it speed and the capacity for sailing windward (beating).
How do sails work physics?
Like airplane wings, sails exploit Bernoulli’s principle. An airplane wing is designed to cause the air moving over its top to move faster than the air moving along its undersurface. That results in lower pressure above the wing than below it. The pressure difference generates the lift provided by the wing.