August 4, 2011

The great sea highway

A QUERY FROM A READER who signs himself (or herself) “Interested” says:

“Dear John, If I bought that nice little seagoing yacht you were talking about the other day, where would I be able to sail her to and what are the best things to see?”

Well now, if you’re really interested, let me explain something. When you place a boat in salt water she is on a highway that leads to every continent in the world. The road isn’t as obvious as a freeway, but it’s there all the same and waiting to be used.

Here are just a very few fascinating places the great sea highway leads to, and the most important things to look out for:

England: Villages like Loose Chippings, Cheatem Krooly, and Lesser Badmouth-in-the-Dell; fish-and-chips; and warm Newcastle brown ale.

Scotland: Haggis; bagpipes; men in skirts with hairy knees; and Orkney Blast.

Australia: Beach barbies; fearsome flies; and fine Foster lager.

New Zealand: Sheep; Pardeys; and Steinlager.

South Africa: Wild animals of course; and apart from the national rugby team, other wild animals in game reserves; braaivleis; cold Castle lager.

Holland: Cheese and clogs; botters and boeiers; and Amstel lager.

Germany: Sour krauts; happy Hamburgers; and Becks beer.

Mexico: Refried beans; sombreros; and Dos Equis.

Canada: Rockies; Mounties; and Molson.

Today’s Thought
After nine days ... I’d gotten used to the horizon, to the orderly rhythm of the shop, and all of a sudden the world came flooding back. I found myself looking at Nova Scotia and thinking about my mortgage.
—Sarah Ballard, Sports Illustrated, 1 Oct 84

Boaters’ Rules of Thumb, #231
Ever wanted to write about sailing? Here are the guiding principles, according to W. P. Stephens, boatbuilder and author of Traditions and Memories of American Yachting:

“A yachting writer should possess some sense of honesty and common decency, and he should first of all be a practical yacht sailor, familiar with handling and the rules. He should have a thorough knowledge of yachting history, as the present means nothing unless compared with the past; he should have some knowledge of the principles of yacht design and also of construction.”

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder if you are
(Up above the footlights’ sheen)
Forty-nine or seventeen.

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

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