What are these weird symbols?
August 10, 2016 5:38 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine snapped this picture and was wondering what these symbols were. I have fruitlessly searched Google and TinEye to no avail. Any thoughts?

I just uploaded the images to imgur, it's possible this question will get answered there. Regardless, I have searched through hobo code, hipster code, boating code, etc. to no avail. Someone on Facebook recently chimed in to say the final symbol is associated with the Isle Of Man. This seems to check out, albeit a much more modern take on the Isle's symbol.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what these images are or could mean (when combined)?
posted by mrzer0 to Travel & Transportation (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
This page has the third symbol, a triskele, which is also found in a number of flags.
posted by lollusc at 5:52 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nos. 1 & 2 resemble alchemical symbols for iron & mercury, respectively.
posted by misteraitch at 5:55 AM on August 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


As lollusk says it is a triskelion, used in the flag of the Isle of Man, composed of three armoured legs with golden spurs, upon a red background. It has been the official flag of Mann since 1 December 1932 and is based on the Manx coat of arms, which dates back to the 13th century. The three legs are known in Manx as ny tree cassyn ("the three legs"). The triskelion is an ancient symbol, used by the Mycenaeans and the Lycians. (From Wikipedia).
posted by lungtaworld at 6:39 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Direction, anchoring, speed were the things that came to mind, but no luck on symbol-matching so far...
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:43 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The second one looked like "flight" to me.
posted by cecic at 7:00 AM on August 10, 2016


Can you provide some details about when and where the picture was taken? I've found some stuff that partially work with the symbols. But it seems the most straight forward approach is to ID the boat and go from there. To my eye, it's an ocean racer and it would only be tied up like that at an event or layover and that's an easier search. The answers to the symbols themselves would come from there.
posted by michswiss at 7:10 AM on August 10, 2016


I bet it's a thing you can't remember the name of before coffee but where the symbols when pronounced make a word or sentence. Like ____ ____man.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:21 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


@michswiss - My friend did not say specifically on this Facebook post of his, but he did post other photos last night of boats from Harbor Springs Marina, in Harbor Springs, Michigan. This is in the northern part of Michigan's lower peninsula, on Lake Michigan. I guess in a tributary called Little Traverse Bay.

tl;dr - He took the picture last night in Harbor Springs, Michigan.
posted by mrzer0 at 7:24 AM on August 10, 2016


I bet it's a thing you can't remember the name of before coffee

Rebus. And I agree, it's something-something-man.
posted by Etrigan at 7:26 AM on August 10, 2016


Middle one: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by clone boulevard at 7:27 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would interpret the middle one as a stylized caduceus.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:36 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


They're definitely alchemical symbols. The triskelion (third symbol) is the odd one out, but it appears it was used in some later alchemical works to represent motion or change.

So the basic meaning of the three symbols would be: Iron, Mercury, Change

You'd probably have to talk to the boat owners to ask why they thought that sequence of symbols was meaningful.
posted by 256 at 7:52 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


@Major Matt Mason Dixon: "You kids today with your loud music and your Dan Fogelberg!" *shakes fist* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdUvpgqoe4E
posted by mrzer0 at 7:57 AM on August 10, 2016


They might be sexual orientation symbols. The triskelion is a BDSM community symbol. Mercury is sometimes used to symbolized intersexed individuals. And the Iron symbol is generally a symbol for males. So perhaps it means 2 transgendered male indentifying individuals in a BDSM relationship? Just throwing it out there...
posted by Chrischris at 8:17 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Iron, Mercury, Change

Strength, speed, change?
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:22 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


It appears to be a dual helm racing catamaran -- or a cat that affects to be a racer.

The triskelion (third symbol) is the odd one out

Nah. Means change, conflict -- or competition.



"We're hard, we're swift, we're competitive."
 
posted by Herodios at 8:24 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Or more loosely: the race is to the swift, the battle to the strong?
posted by tel3path at 8:26 AM on August 10, 2016


I disagree with Herodios about it being a catamaran. Wide sterns with two wheels are common in monohulls these days. It does look very much like a racing boat, I would think there is a good chance it participated in the Mackinac Race. Entry list here. I didn't see any names that correlate with the symbols, though.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:37 AM on August 10, 2016


The picture is of a racing boat called "Talisman" -

The symbols are probably an affectation of the owner, they may have private meaning but probably not anything universal. They obviously are appropriate for a boat with this name. Boats can have weird names and can get interesting paint jobs, this is a nice example of that.

Source: I worked on racing sailboats for a long time.
posted by gyusan at 8:58 AM on August 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


lungtaworld: As lollusk says it is a triskelion, used in the flag of the Isle of Man

DarlingBri: I bet... the symbols when pronounced make a word or sentence. Like ____ ____man.

gyusan: The picture is of a racing boat called "Talisman"

Whatever it is, I'm sure it is symbols for words that are pronounced as TAL-IS-MAN.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:09 AM on August 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


Hmm, maybe an email to the Bayview Yacht Club would yield an answer? Another view of the symbols.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:31 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the first symbol is a play on "not equal to" and that the arrow means "taller"

The second symbol is the alchemical symbol for acetic acid, but upside down. Which helps not at all.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:43 AM on August 10, 2016


Interestingly, on the yacht designer's web site, there are pictures of her port side with different symbols. Click to Pic #3.
posted by SemiSalt at 10:48 AM on August 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Wow! I mean, not confirmed, but it seems like @guysan and @DarlingBri for the win!
posted by mrzer0 at 10:49 AM on August 10, 2016


« Older Can the office network dept intercept cellular...   |   Women's fashion in Britain Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.