before the mast

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Richard Henry Dana (1815—1882) American adventurer, lawyer, and writer


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Literally, the position of men during the days of sail whose living quarters on board were in the forecastle, but a term more generally used to describe seamen, as opposed to officers, in phrases such as ‘he sailed before the mast’. The phrase is enshrined in Richard Dana's classic of marine literature Two Years Before the Mast.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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