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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
jack halyard Origins: Disaster's role in Shantys (27) RE: Origins: Disaster's role in Shantys 25 Mar 04

G'day gang,
There are a species of seagoing songs such as pilot chants which list such things as lighthouses and navigational marks. The old British song "farewell and adie to you spanish ladies" contains some classic examples and is shanty-like in form.

I've just come back from a highly exciting trip on the three- master
"James Craig" to Newcastle NSW, and can testify to the power of the shanty in lifting morale and timing the work. As a first time sailor, the big swells off Newcastle came as a serious shock. My response to primal terror was to sing. Half a dozen more pirates joined me and the terror was beaten back to mere anxiety. Once I put a shanty to the work of hoisting the main topgallant with a dozen or so passengers, it became fun.
I'm convinced that shanties must have had a key role in averting disasters by the simple fact of keeping the work flowing against all odds and keeping spirits up. The wicked antics of the ladies around Cape Horn would certainly have encouraged the weary sailor.

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