Professional Training Program /// Formation Professionnelle Logbook / Feuille de Route / BLOG

BITACORA comes from an old French naval word - actually Breton - describing the cylindric habitacle, small closet, next to the steering wheel rudder, where the travel maps, official documents, logbooks and compass instruments were kept.

Bitacora-timon 225x210

« Bitacore : livre ou journal de bord, viendrait apparemment du français « bitacle », un mot difficile à trouver à présent dans les dictionnaires. Par contre l’on trouve « habitacle », dérivé du latin impérial (petite maison), une forme d’armoire cylindrique, fixe sur le pont des bateaux, dans laquelle sont rangés l’aiguille du compas nautique qui indique les repères de la quille du bateau par rapport au cap à suivre. »

The French dictionary derives the word from
habitacle, but there is another, obvious and salacious association, that refers equally to a common maritime object: une bitte d'amarrage (a short mooring post or bollard). The word bite (one “t”) translates in English as ‘dick’! (like for a mooring dick). The bitacora was the cylinder object next to the steering wheel / rudder, with all sorts of extensions.

BLOG. "record of observations, readings, etc.," originally "record of a ship's progress," 1842, sailor's shortening of log-book (1670s), the daily record of a ship's speed, progress, etc., which is from log (n.1) "piece of wood." The book so called because it recorded the speed measurements made by means of a weighted chip of a tree log on the end of a reeled log line (typically 150 to 200 fathoms). The log lay dead in the water, and sailors counted the time it took the line to play out. The line was marked by different numbers of knots, or colored rags, tied at regular intervals; hence the nautical measurement sense of knot (n.). General sense "any record of facts entered in order" is by 1913.
It [the log-book] is a journal of all important items happening on shipboard, contains the data from which the navigator determines his position by dead-reckoning ... and is, when properly kept, a complete meteorological journal. On board merchant ships the log is kept by the first officer: on board men-of-war, by the navigator. [Century Dictionary, 1897]

I discovered the word
bitacora in Chile where it is of very common use, probably from shipping European visitors. It is actually the original term for logbook (the ‘trunk’ book), now everywhere on Internet... especially as blog. In Chile it is basically any form of notebook diary.

The most important navigation object of the Bitacora was the compass needle - necessary “to know one’s way around”…)

So, this Bitacora Blog will be our navigation register in which to note, recapitulate and find “our way around”. I will publish, edit and care for it, invite participants and teachers to contribute and share questions and answers. And, as joint first officer, I will act as editor in chief. If I feel a post is confidential, I will ask the person(s) concerned for their permission to publish. EP.

Bitacora-MuseeMarineBicacora Coleccion Rives