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An anchor is a forged piece of iron, admirably adapted to its end, and technical language is an instrument wrought into perfection by ages of experience, a flawless thing for its purpose. An anchor of yesterday (because nowadays there are contrivances like mushrooms and things like claws, of no particular expression or shape - just hooks) - an anchor of yesterday is in its way a most efficient instrument.
Part 1: Landfalls and Departures I2015-05-22
And shippes by the brinke comen and gon,And in swich forme endure a day or two. The Frankeleyns Tale. Landfall and Departure mark the rhythmical swing of a seamans life and of a ships career. From land to land is the most concise definition of a ships earthly
Part 1 Chapter II2015-05-21
Some commanders of ships take their Departure from the home coast sadly, in a spirit of grief and discontent. They have a wife, children perhaps, some affection at any rate, or perhaps only some pet vice, that must be left behind for a year or more. I remember only one man who walked his deck with a
Part 1 Chapter III2015-05-21
Quite another case, and having nothing to do with drink, was that of poor Captain B--. He used to suffer from sick headaches, in his young days, every time he was approaching a coast. Well over fifty years of age when I knew him, short, stout, dignified, perhaps a little pompous, he was
Part 2: Emblems of Hope IV2015-05-20
Before an anchor can ever be raised, it must be let go; and this perfectly obvious truism brings me at once to the subject of the degradation of the sea language in the daily press of this country. Your journalist, whether he takes charge of a ship or a fleet, almost invariably casts hi
Part 2 Chapter V2015-05-20
From first to last the seamans thoughts are very much concerned with his anchors. It is not so much that the anchor is a symbol of hope as that it is the heaviest object that he has to handle on board his ship at sea in the usual routine of his duties. The beginning and the end of every passa
Part 2 Chapter VI2015-05-19
It is difficult to disconnect the idea of ships anchors from the idea of the ships chief mate - the man who sees them go down clear and come up sometimes foul; because not even the most unremitting care can always prevent a ship, swinging to winds and tide, from taking an awkward
Part 3: The Fine Art VII2015-05-19
The other year, looking through a newspaper of sound principles, but whose staff WILL persist in casting anchors and going to sea on a ship (ough!), I came across an article upon the seasons yachting. And, behold! it was a good article. To a man who had but little
Part 3: The Fine Art VIII2015-05-18
The sailing and racing of yachts has developed a class of fore-and-aft sailors, men born and bred to the sea, fishing in winter and yachting in summer; men to whom the handling of that particular rig presents no mystery. It is their striving for victory that has elevated the sailing of pleasure craf
Part 3: The Fine Art Chapter IX2015-05-18
Every passage of a ship of yesterday, whose yards were braced round eagerly the very moment the pilot, with his pockets full of letters, had got over the side, was like a race - a race against time, against an ideal standard of achievement outstripping the expectations of common men. Like all
Part 4: Cobwebs and Gossamer Chapter X2015-05-17
From the main truck of the average tall ship the horizon describes a circle of many miles, in which you can see another ship right down to her water-line; and these very eyes which follow this writing have counted in their time over a hundred sail becalmed, as if within a magic ring, not very far fr
Part 4: Cobwebs and Gossamer Chapter XI2015-05-17
Indeed, it is less than nothing, and I have seen, when the great soul of the world turned over with a heavy sigh, a perfectly new, extra-stout foresail vanish like a bit of some airy stuff much lighter than gossamer. Then was the time for the tall spars to stand fast in the great uproar. The machine
Part 4: Cobwebs and Gossamer Chapter XII2015-05-16
So sail did get shortened more or less in time even in that ship, and her tall spars never went overboard while I served in her. However, all the time I was with them, Captain S-- and Mr. P-- did not get on very well together. If P-- carried on like the ver
Part 5: The Weight of the Burden XIII2015-05-16
There has been a time when a ships chief mate, pocket-book in hand and pencil behind his ear, kept one eye aloft upon his riggers and the other down the hatchway on the stevedores, and watched the disposition of his ships cargo, knowing that even before she started he was already doing
Part 5: The Weight of the Burden XIV2015-05-15
The sailing-ship, when I knew her in her days of perfection, was a sensible creature. When I say her days of perfection, I mean perfection of build, gear, seaworthy qualities and case of handling, not the perfection of speed. That quality has departed with the change of building material. No iron sh
Part 5: The Weight of the Burden XV2015-05-15
So seemed to think the new captain, who arrived the day after we had finished loading, on the very eve of the day of sailing. I first beheld him on the quay, a complete stranger to me, obviously not a Hollander, in a black bowler and a short drab overcoat, ridiculously out of tone with the winter as
Part 6: Overdue and Missing XVI2015-05-14
Often I turn with melancholy eagerness to the space reserved in the newspapers under the general heading of Shipping Intelligence. I meet there the names of ships I have known. Every year some of these names disappear - the names of old friends. Tempi passati!The di
Part 6: Overdue and Missing XVII2015-05-14
The unholy fascination of dread dwells in the thought of the last moments of a ship reported as missing in the columns of the SHIPPING GAZETTE. Nothing of her ever comes to light - no grating, no lifebuoy, no piece of boat or branded oar - to give a hint of the place and da
Part 6: Overdue and Missing XVIII2015-05-13
But if the word missing brings all hope to an end and settles the loss of the underwriters, the word overdue confirms the fears already born in many homes ashore, and opens the door of speculation in the market of risks. Maritime risks, be it understood. There is a class o
Part 6: Overdue and Missing XIX2015-05-13
The efficiency of a steamship consists not so much in her courage as in the power she carries within herself. It beats and throbs like a pulsating heart within her iron ribs, and when it stops, the steamer, whose life is not so much a contest as the disdainful ignoring of the sea, sickens and dies u
Part 7: The Grip of the Land XX2015-05-12
It is difficult for a seaman to believe that his stranded ship does not feel as unhappy at the unnatural predicament of having no water under her keel as he is himself at feeling her stranded. Stranding is, indeed, the reverse of sinking. The sea does not close upon the water-logged hull with a sunny
Part 7: The Grip of the Land XXI2015-05-12
That is why your strandings are for the most part so unexpected. In fact, they are all unexpected, except those heralded by some short glimpse of the danger, full of agitation and excitement, like an awakening from a dream of incredible folly. The land suddenly at night looms up right o
Part 8: The Character of the Foe XXII2015-05-11
It seems to me that no man born and truthful to himself could declare that he ever saw the sea looking young as the earth looks young in spring. But some of us, regarding the ocean with understanding and affection, have seen it looking old, as if the immemorial ages had been stirred up from the undi
Part 8: The Character of the Foe XXIII2015-05-11
And so much depends upon the craft which, made by man, is one with man, that the sea shall wear for him another aspect. I remember once seeing the commander - officially the master, by courtesy the captain - of a fine iron ship of the old wool fleet shaking his head at a very pretty brig
Part 8: The Character of the Foe XXIV2015-05-10
For, after all, a gale of wind, the thing of mighty sound, is inarticulate. It is man who, in a chance phrase, interprets the elemental passion of his enemy. Thus there is another gale in my memory, a thing of endless, deep, humming roar, moonlight, and a spoken sentence. It was off that other cape w
Part 9: Rules of East and West XXV2015-05-10
There is no part of the world of coasts, continents, oceans, seas, straits, capes, and islands which is not under the sway of a reigning wind, the sovereign of its typical weather. The wind rules the aspects of the sky and the action of the sea. But no wind rules unchallenged his realm of land and w

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