to drive

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1 A ship drives when its anchor fails to hold the ground it is at the mercy of wind and tide. In the case of a sailing vessel, it drives to leeward when the force of the wind is so great that it cannot be controlled by sails or rudder. In a full gale, too violent for the sails to be hoisted, the ship drives under bare poles before the wind. Similarly, a powered vessel will drive before the wind if its engines are broken down or are not powerful enough to hold it against the wind. She drove in the dark to leeward, She struck, not a reef or a rock, But the combs of a smother of sand. Night drew her Dead to the Kentish Knock. (G. M. Hopkins, ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’)

2 In modern parlance to drive a ship or yacht is to steer her.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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