Monday, July 24, 2017

Silly Sailing Superstitions!

July 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Ever since the first sailors stepped aboard a ship’s deck (always on the right foot), they have thought of the sea as a thing over which they had little control and even less understanding. To bolster their confidence, these seafarers built up a series of myths and superstitions over the centuries. They thought they were explaining the unexplainable and getting ahead of the sea’s spirits. Now we can smile at their delusions — but don’t laugh out loud, “just in case” those spirits are listening.

kids waterways

Legend has it that in the 19th century the British Navy decided to prove old salts’ superstitions were nonsense by launching HMS Friday on a Friday with James Friday as the captain. While history books say the story is claptrap, maybe making it a myth is a cover-up for why the HMS Friday was never heard from again. What do you think?

 

By William C. Winslow

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is Division 5 – Staff Officer Public Affairs, First District Southern Region, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and a freelance writer for marine publications. His work has appeared in Sailing, Wooden Boat, and Good Old Boat; he is also the author of Cat Boat Tales.

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