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Old 25-01-2011, 20:50   #1
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Sailors with a Drinking Problem ?

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.

The quote:
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.

Booze consumption -- 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 ...............

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Old 25-01-2011, 20:55   #2
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we recently had a protracted thread about these claims.

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Old 25-01-2011, 23:22   #3
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Bottom line is there's no way they carried this much booze.

70,000 gallons is 1,178 barrels.

Or you can think of it as a cube, 21 feet on each side.

Or you can think of it as 292 tons of extra cargo.

Or you can think of it as 20 rows of barrels going the entire length of the ship.

It's just an absurd notion.
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Old 26-01-2011, 02:34   #4
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Sailors with a drinking problem are obviously sailing in monohulls, and all that leaning over tends to spill the drink

Now if they were in catamarans, they wouldn't spill so much, and would be a lot happier.
"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
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Old 26-01-2011, 05:41   #5
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The USS constitution myth still doing the rounds a little goggling will unearth the real facts

Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! -
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Old 28-01-2011, 09:05   #6
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I fell for that one too. But in my defense, I got from a 30 year US Navy Master Chief Petty Officer.

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