History Lesson

Seafaring 101

Can't tell a topsail from a poop deck? Neither can we. ''Master and Commander'' got us thinking about life in ''Lucky'' Jack's Royal Navy.

1. Young boys called powder monkeys ran gunpowder to the cannons.

2. Sailors had hefty weekly rations: six pounds of meat, seven gallons of beer, and seven pounds of crackers (or sea biscuits).

3. Horatio Lord Nelson, the fictional Jack's mentor, joined up at age 12. He lost an arm and sight in one eye.

Originally posted Nov 28, 2003 Published in issue #739 Nov 28, 2003 Order article reprints