This is a term used on river barges which usually only had two crew; not enough to run the barge and take a sounding for the depth. Barges had to sail a certain angle to the wind so couldn't always follow the middle of the river. Instead, they would sail towards the bank until it touched the bottom and then quickly turn to sail in the other direction. The forward momentum of the barge usually kept them going, but not always.
By SailingQuiz September 2019 Category: Nautical Saying
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What does Touch and go mean?
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Definition of the nautical phrase "Touch and go".