Sailors with a drinking problem or drinkers with a sailing problem? This sounds too bizarre to be true.
From "Oceanographic Ships, Fore and Aft", published by the Oceanographer of the Navy
. It has to do with a cruise
of the 204-foot frigate USS Constitution, commonly known as Old Ironsides, in 1779.
On 23 August 1779, the USS Constitution set sail from Boston loaded with 475 officers and men
, 48,600 gallons of water
, 74,000 cannon shot, 11,500 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum
. Her mission: to destroy and harass English shipping
On 6 October, she made Jamaica
, took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum
. Three weeks later the Constitution reached the Azores
, where she provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 6,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.
On 18 November, the ship set sail for England
where her crew captured and scuttled 12 English
merchant vessels and took aboard their rum.
But the Constitution had run out of shot. Nevertheless, she made her way unarmed up the Firth of Clyde for a night raid. Here her landing party captured a whiskey distillery, transferred 40,000 gallons aboard and headed for home.
On 20 February 1780, the Constitution arrived in Boston with no cannon shot, no food
, no powder, no rum, no whiskey. Just 48,600 gallons of water
-- 2.26 gallons per MAN per day (plus whatever they “rescued” from the 12 English merchant ships).......................And did you notice that they arrived back with exactly the same amount of water as when they left ...............