Now They Got No Use for a Shanty Man
I’ve just discovered Bob Watson’s modern sea shanty about how much technology has changed a sailor’s life:
“Now modern ships carry mighty funny gear
And away, get away, you shantyman
Ain't seen a halyard in many's a year
An' they got no use for a shantyman.”
In times gone by singing shanties was a way of getting the crew to work together. The daring seamen who sailed for trade, for exploration and war might be surprised that today sailing is considered to be a sport and leisure activity. For thousands of years sail power was the only alternative to rowing power and was therefore the only method of cruising for long distances. While history has seen a plethora of boat designs perhaps the best of the cargo-carrying sailing ships were the clipper ships of the 19th century; they “clipped” short the time it took to make a voyage. The word ‘yacht’ comes from the Dutch word ‘jaghen’; to chase. Then the word jaght was subsequently used to refer to any light and swift ship used for trade, war or pleasure.
Nowadays Bob sings that we’ve got a,
“Floating computer dressed up like a ship
Skippered and crewed by a micro chip”.
He’s probably talking about more industrial vessels, but even at a leisurely level things have changed. We’ve now got buoyancy aids, life jackets, and wet suits. We’ve got complex rigging control systems, electronic charts, navigation software, electronic instruments, fluxgate compasses, electronic logs and electronic depths sounders and calibrating instruments.
We’ve also got GPS, radar, VHF radio and the Global Marine Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). With a Digital Selective Calling VHF set inexperienced crew don’t even have to know how to send a Mayday broadcast. The press of a button sends a distress signal with your precise position. Navtex and Weatherfax radio systems provide weather and safety information and with a satellite communication system you can use your laptop to get satellite weather images.
But when you’ve loaded all of these gadgets on board, remember to also pack your iPod for your sea-faring music! Unless of course, you are taking along a shanty man.
So, from your first dinghy to a luxury yacht; what’s your kind of sailing? What mod cons and gadgets would you like to have on board? If you want to sell a boat have you considered the benefits of Boatshed Essex’s good ole traditional brokerage with modern cutting edge technology?
Image credit: www.history.co.uk
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