Friday, November 27, 2009

Beached and becalmed

It was a perfect day for sailing at the reservoir except for two things: all of the boats had been pulled ashore (see above) and there was no breeze. The stillness of the air was demonstrated when a father fired off a model rocket to entertain his young children. The rocket went up a hundred feet, popped its parachute, and then gently descended, landing within five feet of the launching pad.

I walked past the Yacht Club. The word "yacht" has always bothered me. Derived from the Dutch "jacht" and its earlier form "jaghte" from a root related to hunt or pursuit, "yacht" has a pronunciation that has clearly been garbled somehow. It seems to me that the word should be pronounced "yockt". As far as I can determine, "yacht" is the only widely used English word with the silent "ch". (I don't count the word "chtonic", which is rarely used outside of literary or theological circles.)