William Shakespeare - The Russian Revolution in Colour TV - Allan Cunningham - Charles Dibdin - Samuel Johnson - Paul Foot - James Burke TV - Lura Dekker - David Lloyd George - Robert Louis Stevenson - Deep Water 2006 - Secrets of the Royal Yachts TV - Storyville: The Raft & Maiden TV - Voyages of Discovery TV - Great Britons TV - Untold: The Race of the Century TV -
The master, the swabber, the boatswain and I,
The gunner and the mate,
Loved Mell, and Marian and Margery,
But none of us cared for Kate;
For she had a tongue with a tang,
Would cry to a sailor, ‘Go hang!’
She loved not the savour of tar nor of pitch,
Yet a tailor might scratch her where’re she did itch:
Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang. William Shakespeare, Song: The Master, swabber
The [revolutionary] cause was taken up with a bloody enthusiasm by the sailors of Kronstadt. The Russian Revolution in Colour, 2005
In October the Revolution was also taken up by Lenin’s Bolshevik Party, who with the help of the sailors forced their way to power. Now the Bolsheviks feared their rivals. Determined to keep control, they had begun to build the apparatus of a police state. Slowly a gap is growing between the Party and the people. And the sailors from Kronstadt are caught in the middle. ibid.
A wet sheet and a flowing sea,
A wind that follows fast
And fills the white and rustling sail
And bends the gallant mast. Allan Cunningham, A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea, 1825
But the standing toast that pleased the most
Was – the wind that blows, the ship that goes,
And the lass that loves a sailor! Charles Dibdin, The Lass That Loves a Sailor, 1811
No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned ... A man in a jail has more room, better food and commonly better company. Samuel Johnson
The Sunday Times organised a Round the World Yacht Race in 1969. An unlikely entrant was one Donald Crowhurst, who left late and ill-equipped.
Before he crossed the Atlantic, he realised that he was not going to make it round the world. He had neither the equipment nor the navigational skill. He was reluctant to return to jeering reporters, disappointed family and friends – so he hit on a compromise. He said he was going round the world when he wasn’t.
He did in speech what he could not do in fact. For several weeks his brilliant reports of record-breaking sailing through the South Pacific hoodwinked the Sunday Times and everyone else. But as he realised he could never maintain the hoax once he got home, Crowhurst started to go mad. Eventually he walked off the end of his boat and drowned. Paul Foot, Without a Paddle, 1987
It’s triangular: now that is a lateen sail ... You can sail in any direction right up until you’re almost sailing against the wind ... With it you can leave port pretty well when you wanted to. James Burke: Connections s1e2: Death in the Morning, BBC 1978
I want simply to learn about the world and to live freely. Laura Dekker, 13-year-old schoolgirl taken into care 2009 to stop her bid of becoming youngest person to sail solo around world
What do you want to be a sailor for? There are greater storms in politics than you will ever find at sea. Piracy, broadsides, blood on the decks. You will find them all in politics. David Lloyd George
‘For thirty years,’ he said, ‘I’ve sailed the seas and seen good and bad, better and worse, fair weather and foul, provisions running out, knives going, and what not. Well, now I tell you, I never seen good come o’ goodness yet. Him as strikes first is my fancy; dead men don’t bite; them’s my views – amen, so be it.’ Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
His stories were what frightened people worst of all. Dreadful stories they were – about hanging, and walking the plank, and storms at sea, and the Dry Tortugas, and wild deeds and places on the Spanish Main. By his own account he must have lived his life among some of the wickedest men that God ever allowed upon the sea, and the language in which he told these stories shocked our plain country people almost as much as the crimes that he described. My father was always saying the inn would be ruined, for people would soon cease coming there to be tyrannized over and put down, and sent shivering to their beds; but I really believe his presence did us good. People were frightened at the time, but on looking back they rather liked it; it was a fine excitement in a quiet country life, and there was even a party of the younger men who pretended to admire him, calling him a ‘true sea-dog’ and a ‘real old salt’ and such like names, and saying there was the sort of man that made England terrible at sea. ibid.
In the immediate nearness of the gold, all else had been forgotten ... and I could not doubt that he hoped to seize upon the treasure, find and board the Hispanola under cover of night, cut every honest throat about that island, and sail away as he had at first intended, laden with crimes and riches. ibid.
We are all human beings and we have dreams. This voyage was darkness. For him it was the adventure. There may have been an element he wanted fame and glory. He wasn’t adverse to taking risks … Imagination is the danger … It’s about isolation and the delicate mechanism of the mind. Deep Water, 2006
May 1967: It was this new Elizabethan age.’ ibid. Ted Hynds
Sunday Times came up with the idea of non-stop race around the world. ibid.
Some of the world’s most experienced sailors began to gather in the ports of Britain. ibid.
And then there was the mystery man – Don Crowhurst. ibid.
‘He was almost a weekend sailor.’ ibid. Hynds
‘This bloody boat is just falling to pieces.’ ibid. Crowhurst
A leaking boat he had to bail by hand. ibid.
There was a third option … ‘243 miles in one day’. ibid.
While gradually the cables he sent back to London mapped out the story of a fake journey. ibid.
Robin Knox-Johnston: 312 days. ibid.
‘I am a bit concerned about a change of personality. ibid. wife
‘It is a terrible sin for a cosmic being.’ ibid. Crowhurst gone mad
‘My father’s boat had been found but he wasn’t in it.’ ibid. son
Piece by piece the truth of Donald Crowhurst’s voyage was uncovered. ibid.
Of the nine men who had set out Robin Knox-Johnston was the only one to finish. He donated his £5,000 cash prize to the Crowhurst family. ibid.
A floating palace whose name really did rule the waves. A workplace for 250 sailors. And one extraordinary family’s home from home. Secrets of the Royal Yachts I: Britannia, Channel 5 2017
This is the story of Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia … The world’s most famous motor-yacht. ibid.
Britannia had sailed every ocean … hosting heads of state … Britannia always represented a little piece of home. ibid.
On 4th February 1952 the John Brown shipyard received confirmation to start building this new palace at sea. ibid.
This labyrinth of pipes and gauges is the beating heart of Britannia. The two geared steam turbines developing a total of 12,000 shaft horsepower allowing the yacht to reach speeds of 22.5 knots. ibid.
In the course of three days the Royal Yacht and her crew saved the lives of 1,082 people at Aden. ibid.
The running costs were £10 million a year. ibid.
They’re icons – the absolute last word in style and engineering. In their day they were the biggest, the most powerful and the most complicated machines ever built by man. Secrets of the Royal Yachts II: The Queen Mary: Royals at Sea
She attracted the celebrity A-listers of her day. And became the favourite of our most controversial king. Every detail about this ship was intricate and every feature awesome. Wherever she went she turned heads. ibid.
She was the last word in luxury. ibid.
The engine room is so big it took up most of the space on five lower decks in the 1,000-feet-long royal ship. ibid.
Called into military service, painted grey. ibid.