"From out on the bowsprit you look down on Martha, the figurehead,
and just a few feet below her, at the cutwater - the Lady has a bone in her teeth."
When a boat
is well underway
and the water being driven by the bow
is pushed to the sides of the boat without spraying over the bow
, the boat is said to have a bone in her teeth
A "bone in her teeth" is a nautical term that can be applied to boats of all kinds, but is most commonly applied to smaller boats where there's the possibility of the craft not
having a bone in her teeth. It seems to be most commonly used to describe the motion of a sailboat
, however I have seen it applied to motor/power boats.
"The wind was just abaft the beam and the 60-foot schooner, Paradigm, flew southward under sail with a bone in her teeth."
Sources of quotes:
I'm not a sailor, but I recently decided that I need to build a boat before I die. It's going well and along the way I've had to do some research on nautical terms. This is one of the most interesting I've come across so far.
Follow-up (19Feb2010): It's been 4 years and I still haven't finished my 11-foot 1-man sailboat. But my intentions are good. One day, I'll get a bone in her teeth.