Last week I was racing around securing anything that could blow away outside and referred to it mentally as battening down the hatches. Because I'm a major dork, I immediately wanted to know where that came from, even though there was a funnel cloud heading my direction.
I knew it was from sailing (and man do we get a LOT of stuff from them) but I didn't know specifically how it applied. A hatch I've got covered because I watched Swiss Family Robinson a lot as a kid. For those of you who aren't so blessed, a hatch is basically those little wood gratings that flip up, leading down into the underbelly of the ship where the men sleep. It's grated instead of having a solid cover because... well, because men smell bad.
The battening part comes in when a storm is expected. Everyone goes below deck and the grated hatches are covered with a tarp to prevent the water from coming in, and the edges of the tarp were weighted down with wooden strips called battens.
After reading all this, my next question is... if everyone is below deck, who does the battening???