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Old 27-09-2007, 05:58   #1
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MARITIME SUPERSTITIONS

Superstition at Sea: Superstition at Sea
”Since the first rudimentary vessel was placed on the ocean’s surface, seafarers have developed and observed a stringent set of myths and superstitions ...”

A voyage begun on a Friday is sure to be an unfortunate one
Superstition still maintains a firm hold on those who go down to the sea in ships and, even in this age of satellites and nuclear power, there are sailors who will not set sail on a Friday. This feeling is so strong that there is still today an apocryphal tale with wide currency among boating people about the British navy’s attempts to quell sailors’ fears.

The H.M.S. Friday Myth:
One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell once and for all the widespread superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned, named "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday, and was never seen or heard from again.

The Truth ?
The story of HMS Friday was a joke told by Irish comedian Dave Allen on his BBC show “Dave Allen at Large”, first broadcast in the 1970’s.
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Old 27-09-2007, 06:21   #2
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The Friday thing was a religious superstition, as Friday was the day Christ was crucified on - so 52 days not to go to sea! On the subject of superstitions of a biblical nature, it is said you should never start a voyage on the first Monday in April, as this is the day that Cain slew Able. Avoid people with red hair when going to the ship to begin a journey, because red heads bring bad luck to a ship, but this can be averted if you manage to speak to the red-head before they speak to you! Disaster will follow if you step onto a boat with your left foot first and you shouldn’t look back once your ship has left port as this too can bring bad luck. In fact there definitely seems to be more bad luck nautical superstitions than good; such as: Throwing stones into the sea will cause great waves and storms. A stone thrown over a vessel that is putting out to sea ensures she will never return. Flowers are unlucky onboard a ship, they could later be used to make a wreath for the dead. Handing a flag through the rungs of a ladder is bad luck, as is cutting your hair or nails at sea. Whilst Church Bells heard at sea mean someone on the ship will die. And when the clothes of a dead sailor are worn by another sailor during the same voyage, misfortune will befall the entire ship. Women on board a ship make the sea angry, however, a naked woman on board will calm the sea - this is the reason for naked figureheads. However, swallows seen at sea are a good sign, as are dolphins swimming with the ship, but killing one will bring bad luck. It is also unlucky to kill an albatross or a gull. On a positive note, another of the nautical superstitions suggests that pouring wine on the deck will bring good luck on a long voyage. Not on my teak baby!!
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Old 27-09-2007, 07:34   #3
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Yea, and there is enough evidence out there that many of these so called 'superstisions' are true...
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Old 27-09-2007, 08:16   #4
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Superstition at Sea: Superstition at Sea
”Since the first rudimentary vessel was placed on the ocean’s surface, seafarers have developed and observed a stringent set of myths and superstitions ...”

A voyage begun on a Friday is sure to be an unfortunate one
Superstition still maintains a firm hold on those who go down to the sea in ships and, even in this age of satellites and nuclear power, there are sailors who will not set sail on a Friday. This feeling is so strong that there is still today an apocryphal tale with wide currency among boating people about the British navy’s attempts to quell sailors’ fears.

The H.M.S. Friday Myth:
One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell once and for all the widespread superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned, named "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday, and was never seen or heard from again.

The Truth ?
The story of HMS Friday was a joke told by Irish comedian Dave Allen on his BBC show “Dave Allen at Large”, first broadcast in the 1970’s.
Hi Gord May. I have a friend that went crazy when a friend began whisteling on board. he returned to the Marina, and put the poor fellow ashore...telling him never to come again. ! He also tosses a grane-of-salt over his shoulder every time he goes on a long trip... this is 2007!
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Old 27-09-2007, 09:11   #5
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I am still waiting for my bad luck. I have cut my nails and hair at sea, my wife goes to sea with me (unfortunately not usually naked) and most of the time when we go out for a week or so we bring flowers in a vase for the saloon and cockpit table.

Steve B.
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Old 27-09-2007, 09:21   #6
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Steve
Sounds like you are lucky!
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Old 27-09-2007, 11:14   #7
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In the Philippines it is said if you see a mermaid, and it likes you it will take you away, as explained by my wife. So far I have found no one around who can confirm that.

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Old 27-09-2007, 11:17   #8
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My son has red hair and often comes sailing with me. It can't be bad luck b/c him and my daughter bring me more joy than I had ever anticipated.
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Old 27-09-2007, 12:09   #9
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Bananas are not allowed on many boats here in Hawaii because you'll never catch fish if there are any aboard.
In the early 60s as we were leaving Japan I was told not to look back at Mt Fuji or I would return. I really didn't want to go back to Japan and thought I never would because I was going to get out of the Navy so I tried not to look back. It was just too hard to look away from the beautiful view. I snuck a glance. I went back at least four times.
Many of the other superstitions I've never heard of. Pretty obscure. Whistling or scratching the mast brings the wind and killing an albatross (Albert Ross) is definitely bad luck. Placing a coin under the mast when you step it. Those are understandable.
Kind Regards,
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Old 27-09-2007, 15:03   #10
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My son has red hair and often comes sailing with me. It can't be bad luck b/c him and my daughter bring me more joy than I had ever anticipated.
Oh, I forgot to add I have red hair (or what's left of it!)

Steve B.
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Old 27-09-2007, 19:18   #11
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Good Night...

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The story of HMS Friday was a joke told by Irish comedian Dave Allen on his BBC show “Dave Allen at Large”, first broadcast in the 1970’s.
One that Dava Allen would appreciate: Never let a Clergyman on you boat.


Remember Dave's sign off line?

"Good night and may your ___ __ ____ ___"
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Old 28-09-2007, 00:26   #12
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i my Marina : Never whistle, ever say aythig against the weather forecast, one fellow tosses a grain-of-salt when he sails out, another keeps a dead bird under his bed...crazy. above all, I saw a fellow in Turkey arrive after bad weather on a yacht...left to the airport saying, I shall NEVER do sailing again...I saw him a year later, and he told me that whenever he sees the sea, he gets sick...
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Old 28-09-2007, 00:41   #13
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I tend to knock on a lot of wood, and wear a saint elmo medal (not the laughing one, partron saint of sailors) when offshore. When things are bad it gives you something to focus on. Im not religious, but Clares mom gave it to me. I figgure if somone beleives it it cant hurt.
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Old 28-09-2007, 01:40   #14
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however, a naked woman on board will calm the sea -
I can see the point. Better safe than sorry, and have two on board that can be put in a watch schedule
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Old 28-09-2007, 03:33   #15
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One that Dave Allen would appreciate: Never let a Clergyman on you boat.
Remember Dave's sign off line?
"Good night and may your ___ __ ____ ___"
"... may your* god go with you."
*Allen was an atheist.
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