Skysail Training


Nautical Humour, Quotations, Philosophy



Boat Maintenance:



Outboard Law

The probability of an outboard motor starting is inversely proportional to:

a) the distance to shore.

b) the number of people watching.


The time is 0300
The tide turns
The wind speed exceeds Force 2
The skipper goes ashore

Some navigation quotes

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth.
St John  3:8

“I am told there are people who do not care for maps, and I find it hard to believe.” 
Robert Louis Stevenson

“An incorrectly identified mark is a hazard, not an aid, to navigation.”   Alton B. Moody

“Even with the best charts, we are cautious about fixing our position, for it is so easy to goof.  And the easiest way of all is by taking a mark, assuming it is the right one, and ignoring any others that may be in sight. 
Patrick Ellam (who crossed the Atlantic with Colin Mudie in the 20ft Sopranino)

“The sound navigator never trusts entirely to the obvious.  The price of good navigation is constant vigilance.  The unusual is always to be guarded against and when the expected has not eventualised, a doubtful situation always arises which must be guarded against by every precaution known to navigators….It is always the captain who is sure in his own mind, without the tangible evidence of safety in his possession, who loses his ship.”
Report of Court of Inquiry investigating the Point Honda disaster in 1923.  (7 US Navy warships lost by running aground in poor visibility)

"It would appear that on some of the Marshal Islands these charts were considered so precious that they might not be taken to sea. This was partly because they might be damaged in the canoes and partly, perhaps, because the people might never come back, in which case the tribe's precious property would be lost for ever." Collinder

“What can be more difficult than to guyde a ship engulfed, when only water and heaven may be seen?”  Martin Cortes, 1551

“The position and extent of any shoal or danger discovered, especially of one upon which a vessel has struck or grounded, should be determined, if practicable, by five horizontal sextant angles between well selected objects.”        Admiralty Manual of Navigation

“It is established for a custom of the sea that if a ship is lost by default of the lodesman, the mariners may if they please, bring the lodesman to the windlass and cut off his head without the mariners being bound to answer before any judge, because the lodesman had committed high treason against undertaking of the pilotage, and this is the judgment.”  23rd Article of the Laws of Oléron 12th C

“Sight is a faculty, but seeing is an art.”  Anonymous

“The consequences of poor cartography could be dire.  During the Napoleonic Wars, British losses by shipwreck, caused by bad charts as well as bad weather, were eight times as great as those inflicted by the enemy.    Wilford

Exhortation to Apprentices in the Art of Navigation:
“When so ever any Shipmaster or mariner shall set forth from land out of any river or haven, diligently to mark what buildings, castles, towers, churches, hills, downes, windmills and other marks are standing upon the land…..all of which, or many of them, let him portray with his pen, how they bear and how far distant.     A. Ashley, 1583

“A collision at sea can ruin your entire day.”    Attrib Thucydides, 5th Century BC

“The greatest hazard to navigation is a bored navigator.”  Anon

Or in French ( after François Lonchamp)

Torche électrique : un cylindre métallique pour stocker des batteries vides
Destination : la direction d'où vient le vent
Ancre : un dispositif qui  retient votre bateau, sauf
     - vers 3 h du matin
     - quand vous avez quitté le bord
     - le vent dépasse force 2
     - la marée n'est pas étale

Posted 5th May 2010