There is a closed group on a social media platform to which I’m pleased to belong. Many of the members are older than I and almost all more experienced in things maritime and nautical than I could ever pretend to be. Most often, I lurk, commenting when discussion ranges into an area I know well. It’s not a group that tolerates foolishness.
How I came to be accepted, I can only guess. In any case, I carefully watch, read, and learn from my seniors, which is what we are supposed to do onboard.
So what is the primary area of interest for old sailors who have “swallowed the anchor” – ships, of course.
A photo of a Union Steamship Liner will get posted. And a chorus will follow of when they served aboard, what the passage was like. Then comes the discussion of how this vessel compares with another. Yup. Sooner or later, it does come down to the curvaceous nature of the ship. Over and over again, and being a carver who does portraits of vessels, I take the critique they offer seriously.
We indeed form attachments to the vessels we serve. But, it’s not just the coin a seaman gets paid for a cruise or passage. They discuss how comfortable the ship was in a blow, who was steward, cook, and the gang they went ashore with. And then they get back to the lines of the vessel.
So, I know a family that’s been building boats and vessels for centuries. But, unfortunately, the family split around 1792 because of a fight between the two brothers, both boatbuilders. The two camps within the family rarely speak. No one knows the cause of the argument, but as one family member told me, “being boatbuilders, it was over either the lines of a boat or a woman.” From everything I’ve learned, it was the boat.

Not to curtail this post unnecessarily, but I think you get the picture.

Sammi Cox

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