Category Archives: Language

Bon Voyage to Captain Stanley Paris and the Kiwi Spirit

A few hours ago, Stanley Paris, 76, at the helm of the 63′ custom yacht, Kiwi Spirit, sailed from the sea-buoy at St. Augustine, Florida, bound out on a solo, non-stop un-assisted voyage around the globe.  Paris will be attempting … Continue reading

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On May Day, a Look at Mayday

Happy May Day! May 1st is a traditional day of celebration of the coming of spring with May poles and dancing and general carrying on. In Europe it is also a day of solidarity with labor, similar o the US … Continue reading

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OMG ! Admiral Jacky Fischer was Ahead of His Time!

Admiral of the Fleet John Arbuthnot “Jacky” Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher of Kilverstone, is considered by some to be the second most important figure in British naval history, after Lord Nelson.  An innovator and a strategist who played a key role … Continue reading

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Was Shakespeare a Sailor?

Charles Spencer, writing for the Telegraph, had a hunch. After reviewing the Royal Shakespeare Company’s trilogy of Shakespeare’s “shipwreck” plays last month,  he  found himself wondering whether the Bard spent his so-called “lost years” before his arrival in London, as … Continue reading

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Of Painting Forth Bridge, Paddles and Creeks, Sand and Tides

I recently learned a new figure of speech – “like painting the Forth Bridge,” which refers to a job which is never completed. Or at least it used to mean that. The Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge over … Continue reading

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Do They Serve Canned Meat on the USCG Harriet Lane?

I will admit to doing a double take when I saw the USCG press release announcing “Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane returns home after 9-week patrol.”   I wondered, who would name a ship the Harriet Lane?  For the record, the … Continue reading

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An Historic Hull on Hallowed Ground: a Brigantine, a Brig, A Snow, a Schooner – ah Fuggedaboutit!

There was an amusing bit of bantering and ballyhooing about ship jargon in the New York Times yesterday.   In an article about the remains of ship found in the excavation near the new World Trade Center (see our previous posts here) … Continue reading

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“A Collision at Sea…” the Most Famous Thing Thucydides Never Said

Thucydides is often said to have first written, “A collision at sea can ruin your entire day, ”  in his epic history, The Peloponnesian War. While the statement is unquestionably true, Thucydides never wrote it.   Today the New York Times’ Fred Shapiro … Continue reading

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Sailors’ and Fishermans’ Superstitions

Martin Evans on the Marine History List posted a collection of  sailors’ superstitions from the current issue of “Fishing Boats”.

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The Holy Ground – Songs, Sailors, and Women of Easy Virtue

I am every fond of the Irish sea song “Holy Ground”.  The song is about a sailor bound for sea, leaving his lady love and hoping to return. “And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more..” … Continue reading

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Sailor Talk – “Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter” and “Sucking the Monkey”

One of my particular frustrations with the “Talk-Like a Pirate Day” folks is that even if one ignores the very nasty nature of pirates, historical and modern alike, a second and perhaps even great problem remains. The Talk-Like-a-Piraters do such … Continue reading

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Thank You for Not Talking Like A Pirate

If by good fortune you missed the “International Talk Like a Pirate Day”, just as well. If you managed to pass the day without a single “Aargh” or “Shiver Me Timbers” congratulations. I have a rather good sense of humor … Continue reading

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