In honor of the windjammer Peking, on her way home to Hamburg to be restored and refurbished — here is a fine old sea shanty — “Rolling Home to Dear Old Hamborg.” We can only hope that the 106 year old windjammer has many fine years ahead of her.
“Rolling Home” is a capstan shanty. A favorite among 19th century sailors, it has survived in many versions. The shantyman Stan Hugill called “Rolling Home” “the most famous homeward-bound shanty of all.”
Some have claimed that the shanty was inspired by a poem written by Charles Mackay, written on board ship in 1858. Hugill suggests, however, that Mackay based the poem on a shanty that he heard sung by sailors aboard the ship. Whatever its origins,various versions of the shanty include choruses of “rolling home to dear old England”, “dear old Ireland”, “dear old Scotland” and “dear New England.” The rendition below is the Plattdeutsch version “rolling home to dear old Hamborg” sung by the Shanty Chor Bremerhaven.