Three sheets to the wind

What does "Three sheets to the wind" mean?

Today it means: Unsteady on your feet, possibly drunk

A sheet is a line used for controlling a sail and can be used to spill wind by letting out or giving the sail more power by pulling in. Sails have at least two sheets. When turning a ship through the wind you must release the windward sheets (to the wind) to de-power the sail and making it flap and the ship un-steady before pulling on the other sheet to bring it under control again. A drunk sailor could not be steadied even with three sheets


By SailingQuiz September 2019   Category: Nautical Saying              

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