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Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs

RTim 17 Aug 12 - 07:52 PM
Tug the Cox 17 Aug 12 - 08:07 PM
EBarnacle 17 Aug 12 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,999 17 Aug 12 - 10:12 PM
Charley Noble 17 Aug 12 - 10:30 PM
GUEST,999 17 Aug 12 - 10:42 PM
Gibb Sahib 17 Aug 12 - 11:10 PM
GUEST 18 Aug 12 - 04:43 AM
Henry Krinkle 18 Aug 12 - 06:12 AM
MartinRyan 18 Aug 12 - 06:20 AM
GUEST,999 18 Aug 12 - 07:06 AM
RTim 18 Aug 12 - 07:44 AM
GUEST 18 Aug 12 - 08:25 AM
Charley Noble 18 Aug 12 - 10:40 AM
Les from Hull 18 Aug 12 - 03:13 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Aug 12 - 03:00 AM
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Subject: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: RTim
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 07:52 PM

Can anything be drawn by the use of either Captain or Master in Sea Songs.
ie - Does Master always mean Merchant Marine or does Captain mean a Naval song?
Could you have a Master and a Captain on the same vessel?
I have a song that uses BOTH in the same song - but they end up at Spithead, which was a British Naval anchorage??

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 08:07 PM

In the film 'Billy Budd' Peter Ustinov plays the captain...Vere, while Robert Ryan plays the Master ( at arms) decribed by wikipedia as 'The master-at-arms is a ship's senior rating, comparable in many respects to the regimental sergeant major in the Army' later a Petty officer, the Royal navy equivalent of the merchant Navy's Bosun.


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: EBarnacle
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 08:34 PM

Then, of course, there's the sailing master, who must hold a Trinity House certification of examination in the Royal Navy. He's the senior rating even though he's not necessarily an officer and a gentleman. Read Woodman's [Douglass Reeman] Nathaniel Drinkwater series.


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:12 PM

I know nothing about the sea in relation to sailors, navy, merchant marine, etc. But I checked the Lloyd's of London site and they seem to treat the terms the same. (Likely my misunderstanding.)


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:30 PM

EBarnacle has got it right. In the 18th and 19th century Royal Navy most of the larger ships had both a sailing master and a captain. In civilian ships the term "master mariner" was a title that implied command or at least qualified for command.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:42 PM

Charley, what was the difference between the two?


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 11:10 PM

FWIW in my focus on shanties, in which I have seen the vast majority of available texts, I don't recall any memorable uses of "master." And that's a merchant ship environment.


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 04:43 AM

"Master Mariner" means qualified for command but ( probably ) not currently holding any specific post.

"Master" formerly meant "Sailing Master" - ie the Warrant ( as opposed to Commissioned ) Officer in charge of the actual sailing of the vessel, at least on sailing ships.

"Captain" in naval terms may be a rank held by a Commissioned Officer, or it may be THE Captain, the Commissioned Officer in actual charge of a naval vessel and so addressed as a courtesy, regardless of his actual rank; in civilian vessels, the senior Officer in overall command.

A retired naval captain may continue to use the title with the suffix "retired". A retired Warrant Officer doesn't as his Warrant lapses on retirement.

Civilian vessels don't normally have "Masters" as such and the expressions "Master" and "Captain" are used interchangeably, depending on custom on that vessel and individual preference. A civilian captain may or may not be so addressed; Ahab is so referred to in Moby Dick, for example, but this is not automatic ( as, for example, Doctor or in European countries, Engineer )

that help?


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 06:12 AM

Don't Masters own slaves?
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 06:20 AM

RTim

What was the particular song usage you came across? I'm finding it hard to think of examples where "master" is used in an unambiguously maritime sense - but it may just be too early in the morning...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 07:06 AM

Guest, yes it does help, thank you.


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: RTim
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 07:44 AM

Here is the song where Master & Captain appear.

Tim Radford

Come, Come My Brave Boys - from Frederick Fennemore (Portsmouth 1908 - H867
Collected by Dr. G. Gardiner - Roud 17782

Come, come, my brave boys, the wind's right abaft,
We'll clap on our stun' sails both low and aloft,
While steady cries our master, it blows a sweet gale,
We shall soon see the English land, my boys,
We shall soon see the English land, my boys,
If the breezes don't fail, if the breezes don't fail,
We shall soon see the English land, my boys,
If the breezes don't fail.

Come, come my brave boys, never mind how she rolls,
For as soon as the gale is over we will sling a fresh bowl.
While straight across our masthead it blows a sweet gale,
We shall soon see the Isle of Wight, my boys,
We shall soon see the Isle of Wight, my boys,
If we clap on more sail, if we clap on more sail,
We shall soon see the Isle of Wight, my boys,
If we clap on more sail.

We have arriv'ed at The Spithead, and we are at our ease,
We'll pipe hands to skylark and do as we please,
While no more cries our captain, it blows a sweet gale,
And we shall soon take our whack*, my boys,
And we shall soon take our whack*, my boys,
If the bank it don't fail, if the bank it don't fail,
And we shall soon take our whack*, my boys,
If the bank it don't fail.

* whack - is "pay"


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 08:25 AM

exactly - the Master is in charge of the sails and related matters while the Captain is in overall command.


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 10:40 AM

Of course the Patrick O'Brian series began with Master and Commander.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: Les from Hull
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 03:13 PM

Master was originally 'sailing master', a warrant officer in charge of ship handling and navigation. Captains were 'gentlemen' who didn't need to know about such things. This would be in the 17th century, but gradually captains who were fully competent in ship handling and navigation became the norm.

Smaller vessels (between 14 and 18 guns, normally referred to as sloops) were commanded by a Master and Commander (Master Commandant in the US Navy) who was expected to act as his own sailing master. By about 1770 sailing masters were appointed to these vessels also, and gradually Masters and Commanders were just referred to as Commander, the present rank.

Masters were 'warrant officers of wardroom rank' and so messed with the lieutenants but were junior in rank. The other 'warrant officers of wardroom rank' were the surgeon, purser and chaplain. The master would also have a number of 'master's mates' who messed in the gunroom with the midshipmen but were senior to them.

The above refers to national navies. Mercantile practice was different, but, for instance, East Indiamen would have a Captain and a Sailing Master, and the man in charge of a much smaller vessel would be more likely to be referred to as the Master of such-a-vessel than the Captain. This again changed over time. Captain was a jealously guarded title and the master of of a very small vessel who called himself 'Captain' would have been considered to be putting on airs.

The above refers to Navies


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Subject: RE: Use of Master or Captain in Sea Songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 03:00 AM

From Admiral W.H.Smyth's The Sailor's Word-Book - A classic source for 14,000 nautical and naval terms 1865 (Conway Maritime Press reprint 2005)
Jim Carroll

MASTER. An epithet for the captain of a merchant vessel. When England first became a maritime power, ships with sailors, and a master to navigate, were furnished by the Cinque Ports, &c., and the fighting part of the men was composed of soldiers sent on board, commanded by generals, &c. Among the early voyagers there was a distinction between master and maister, the latter being the office; as, "we spoke the Dragon, whereof Master Ivie was maister," in Welsh's Voyage to Benin, A.D. 1590. In most applications, master denotes chief; as master boat-builder, master caulker, master sailmaker, &co

MASTER OF A SHIP-OF-WAR. An officer appointed by the commissioners of the navy to attend to the navigating a ship under the direction of the captain, the working of a ship into her station in the order of battle, and in other circumstances of danger, but he reports to the first lieutenant, who carries out any necessary evolution. It is likewise his duty, in concert with lieutenants on surveys, to examine and report on the provisions. He is moreover charged with their stowage. For the performance of these services he is allowed several assistants, who are termed second-masters, master's assistants, &c. This officer's station has been termed the meridional altitude of the lower order of midshipmen, but it is requisite that he be both a good officer and a seaman. He ranks after lieutenants according to date, but is subordinate in command to all lieutenants,

MASTER AND COMMANDER. A title which, in 1814, was simplified to commander, the next degree above lieutenant; he ranks with, but after, a. lieutenant-colonel.

MASTER-AT-ARMS. In former times was an officer appointed to command the police-duty of a ship, to teach the crew the exercise of small arms, to confine by order of superiors any prisoners, and to superintend their confinement. Also, to take care that fires and lights were put out at the proper hour, and no spirituous liquors brought on board. He was assisted by ship's corporals, who also attended the gangway with the sen¬tinels. Until 1816, the junior lieutenant was nominally lieutenant-at-arms, and drilled the seamen, assisted by the Serjeant of marines.

MASTER-ATTENDANT. An officer in the royal dockyards appointed to assist in the fitting or dismantling, removing or securing vessels of war, &c., at the port where he resides; to inspect the moorings in the harbour, to visit all the ships in ordinary, and to attend at the general musters in the dockyard, taking care that all the individuals registered in the navy-book are present at their duty.

MASTER MARINER.    Shipmaster or captain of a merchant vessel.

MASTER OF MISRULE. An officer of an hour or two, when the hands were piped "to mischief." The lord or abbot of misrule on shore has immemorially been a person selected to superintend the diversions of Christ¬mas. In these larks, however, malicious mischief was unknown.

MASTER OF THE FLEET. A master on board the commander-in-chiefs ship, who has a general superintendence of the stores issued to the fleet, and reports to the flag-captain any deviations from rule which he may observe.


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Mudcat time: 17 October 2:39 PM EDT

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