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Old 02-11-2014, 18:03   #16
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Re: Seeking advice on 19th century sailboat handling

If you want to write poetry about sailing in any age you need to put down the books (some excellent suggestions here) and get onto a boat. You can read about the ocean but you can't understand until you have felt it move under you. Go sailing!

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Old 02-11-2014, 19:14   #17
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Re: Seeking advice on 19th century sailboat handling

A lot of what you are looking for depends on the country of origin of the vessel.

Warships differed from merchantmen, whalers were their own class. At any given time, there were older deigns of ship being used at the same time as the latest designs, often depending on service and the owner's purse.

For instance, sailing a Dhow would be very different from sailing a Clipper ship, and a ship hauling coal would differ from a fast passenger ship, long haul from short, protected water from transoceanic.

A specific time place, and service would help for precise terminology.

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Old 02-11-2014, 23:08   #18
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Re: Seeking advice on 19th century sailboat handling

Thanks for the explanation, roverhi! "Two Years Before the Mast" sounds indeed like a very good choice to start with as the experience helped Henry Dana "learn the ropes" (literally!), so it should help me as well

"Moby Dick" definitely is also a classic in that regard... But as has been pointed out, the experience depends on the kind of ship, so a whaling ship, merchant or battle ship will all give you something different... I remember for example Michael Palin's travel documentary where he goes around the world in 80 days, and he uses all kinds of vessels, Dhow included, and while the sea is constant, the experience is definitely not always the same...

As for my purposes a regular merchant ship might just do the job, after all the text I'm writing is about life and the sea is the metaphor. This is also in reply to Tayana42: Yep, sure nothing beats to be on a boat and get it all firsthand, then again as a poet I'm coming from life and its experiences, after all its not about sailing as such. Sometimes it also helps to have a bit of imagination, as who would like to be at high sea in a major storm?

Anyway, to give you a rough idea what the text looks like (as I said it's more existential reflection), here's a short excerpt of a more melancholic passage. Themes change throughout, though, so this is just one perspective in a moment of time. Note that this is also written like prose, but is actually in verse:

Smell the breeze of what's becoming, new things are on the verge. Be brave, I hear myself talking, face the change. A world's ahead, a shore wants to be reached! Onwards then, traveler, towards and with the teachings of the sea. Fear not, just listen, look and learn: On and on, arrived then gone – a wave is but the wind's next pawn. Far out there in midst the deep blue sea, forlorn, reborn, and still, oh wave: I harken thee. Thou, fleeting soldier among soldiers, ordered around and around, on the move from here to there. Nowhere you've really been, but yet you wish to be everywhere.

Ah yes, some say you're always on the run, your will is not your own. A moving spot is your existence, a spot you confuse with home. Lacking ground, how could you ever be profound? But trust me – in me you've got a friend, my comrade: I'm the one to rejoice in your mumbling and your grumbling, whether you're quietly gurgling or rushing aloud, merely drifting along under glistening sun, get enraged by the odd stormy cloud. May a gale pick you up to dance and twirl, make you sink back, let you rise, toss and whirl, may you be a maelstrom's pet, aye, even split by a ship, on and on, arrived and gone, ever on, just a pawn – on that endless, endless, endless trip. Ah, how I feel with you, how I live and breathe your swaying, I, sailor in deed, sailor in heart. We might be close, we might be apart, wherever we are, whatever we see, whenever we are out there, admit it, my sibling, we both do agree: 'cause we share more than a pulse, but a notion, a need, fear, longing, a hope and a dream – that's us, a wave on its way and that sailor, that's me. Be my companion and I'll be yours: Horizons far, horizons wide, weren't we all chosen to be in for the eternal ride? Bleak and dreary or gurgling, cheery, the command is given by the tide.

I am but a wave. A wave I've been, a wave I'll be, a wave that rocks on open sea.


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