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Question of the Day

The ‘Question of the Day’ in yesterday’s Old Farmer’s Almanac newsletter was, “What does ‘neaped’ mean in reference to a ship?”

This ‘ship’ is ‘neaped’ in the shallows just outside the entrance to Benicia Marina in the Carquinez Strait.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The almanac’s answer: “A boat that is neaped has gone aground on a mild tide and needs a spring tide or stormy waters to float it off. The boat is only barely aground, as opposed to being hard aground, where even a very high tide or rough waters might not be enough to set it free. The expression comes from the term ‘neap tide,’ which is a moderate tide. Neap tides occur when the Earth, moon, and sun are in quadrature. In other words, instead of being lined up in a straight line, as at syzygy, they are more nearly at right angles. True quadrature happens at regular intervals, about twice a month, at the first quarter and last quarter moons, but neap tides occur for several days around those dates. High tides are considerably higher around the full moon and new moon than around the first and last quarters.”

Neap tide graphic
Neap tides occur at quadrature…
© 2019 NOAA
Spring Tide graphic
…whereas spring tides occur at syzygy (and not just in the spring!)
© 2019 NOAA

The last quarter moon will happen this Sunday, May 26, at 9:34 a.m. PDT. Check out the Old Farmer’s Almanac moon phases page here.

1 Comment

  1. Milly Biller 5 years ago

    Very nice description of the tide cycle, and great that the BBS is going to have a Classic Division !

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Spectator-Friendly Racing
St. Francis Yacht Club has announced that they will offer a Classics Class in this September's Rolex Big Boat Series. The class is open to any boat built before 1955 and measuring longer than 48 feet on deck.