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"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.

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