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Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?

DigiTrad:
GOLDEN VANITY
SINKING OF THE GRAF SPEE
THE BOLD TRELLITEE
THE GOLDEN VANITY
THE GOLDEN VANITY (6)
THE GREEN WILLOW TREE
THE LOWDOWN LONESOME LOW
THE LOWLANDS LOW (7)
THE SWEET KUMADEE
THE TURKEY-ROGHER LEE and the YELLOW GOLDEN TREE


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Origins: Golden Vanity Variants (76)
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translating the golden vanity (14)
Lyr Req: The Turkish Reverie (8)
Lyr Req: Lowlands Low (Warde Ford, Child #286) (6)
Lyr Req: Frank Proffitt's Lowland Low (#286) (6)
Lyr Req: johnny doughty's golden vanity (6)
Lyr Req: duncan williamson's golden vanity (5)
Lyr Req: ollie jacobs's golden vanity (bronson) (1)
Looking to ID This Song Lyric (Golden Vanity) (11)
Penguin: The Golden Vanity (3)
The Sweet Kumadee (14)


Rick Fielding 02 Sep 03 - 01:08 PM
Nerd 02 Sep 03 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,Melani 02 Sep 03 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,MMario 02 Sep 03 - 01:22 PM
Rapparee 02 Sep 03 - 01:34 PM
Ironmule 02 Sep 03 - 01:51 PM
Don Firth 02 Sep 03 - 02:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Sep 03 - 02:06 PM
Les from Hull 02 Sep 03 - 02:25 PM
Charley Noble 02 Sep 03 - 02:33 PM
Amos 02 Sep 03 - 02:37 PM
Les from Hull 02 Sep 03 - 02:51 PM
PeteBoom 02 Sep 03 - 02:51 PM
Chief Chaos 02 Sep 03 - 02:59 PM
Rapparee 02 Sep 03 - 03:16 PM
Chief Chaos 02 Sep 03 - 03:35 PM
Peter T. 02 Sep 03 - 03:36 PM
GUEST 02 Sep 03 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,MMario 02 Sep 03 - 03:45 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Sep 03 - 03:49 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Sep 03 - 06:00 PM
Amos 02 Sep 03 - 06:18 PM
greg stephens 02 Sep 03 - 06:19 PM
Jeri 02 Sep 03 - 06:46 PM
Amos 02 Sep 03 - 06:50 PM
Gareth 02 Sep 03 - 07:01 PM
Grab 02 Sep 03 - 07:07 PM
curmudgeon 02 Sep 03 - 07:10 PM
LadyJean 02 Sep 03 - 07:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Sep 03 - 07:58 PM
kendall 02 Sep 03 - 08:52 PM
Schantieman 03 Sep 03 - 06:44 AM
HuwG 03 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM
InOBU 03 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM
Rapparee 03 Sep 03 - 08:43 AM
EBarnacle1 03 Sep 03 - 11:24 AM
M.Ted 03 Sep 03 - 11:32 AM
Reiver 2 03 Sep 03 - 01:56 PM
EBarnacle1 03 Sep 03 - 02:10 PM
GUEST 03 Sep 03 - 02:13 PM
PeteBoom 03 Sep 03 - 02:32 PM
Gareth 03 Sep 03 - 03:06 PM
Deckman 03 Sep 03 - 03:36 PM
EBarnacle1 03 Sep 03 - 05:18 PM
GUEST 03 Sep 03 - 05:51 PM
Jeri 03 Sep 03 - 06:10 PM
kendall 03 Sep 03 - 06:18 PM
Peter T. 03 Sep 03 - 07:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Sep 03 - 07:15 PM
Cattail 03 Sep 03 - 07:32 PM
Cluin 03 Sep 03 - 07:43 PM
kendall 03 Sep 03 - 07:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Sep 03 - 07:57 PM
Gareth 03 Sep 03 - 08:18 PM
Deckman 03 Sep 03 - 10:14 PM
InOBU 03 Sep 03 - 11:16 PM
Dave Bryant 04 Sep 03 - 05:43 AM
Hrothgar 04 Sep 03 - 05:49 AM
Teribus 04 Sep 03 - 06:13 AM
kendall 04 Sep 03 - 08:07 AM
EBarnacle1 04 Sep 03 - 09:20 AM
Teribus 04 Sep 03 - 10:25 AM
Charley Noble 04 Sep 03 - 11:18 AM
Amos 04 Sep 03 - 11:23 AM
InOBU 04 Sep 03 - 11:37 AM
Nerd 04 Sep 03 - 12:22 PM
kendall 04 Sep 03 - 12:37 PM
Amos 04 Sep 03 - 01:05 PM
Jeri 04 Sep 03 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Skip Henderson 04 Sep 03 - 01:42 PM
Chief Chaos 04 Sep 03 - 04:44 PM
Reiver 2 04 Sep 03 - 05:21 PM
Amos 04 Sep 03 - 05:52 PM
Joe_F 04 Sep 03 - 06:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Sep 03 - 06:36 PM
Gareth 04 Sep 03 - 06:56 PM
kendall 04 Sep 03 - 07:08 PM
Amos 04 Sep 03 - 07:11 PM
Cattail 04 Sep 03 - 07:21 PM
LadyJean 05 Sep 03 - 12:55 AM
old moose 05 Sep 03 - 01:39 AM
Teribus 05 Sep 03 - 03:02 AM
EBarnacle1 05 Sep 03 - 09:45 AM
Amos 05 Sep 03 - 09:52 AM
Rick Fielding 05 Sep 03 - 11:50 AM
Jeri 05 Sep 03 - 11:58 AM
Phot 05 Sep 03 - 12:16 PM
Amos 05 Sep 03 - 12:47 PM
HuwG 05 Sep 03 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,MMario 05 Sep 03 - 12:57 PM
Amos 05 Sep 03 - 01:19 PM
Don Firth 05 Sep 03 - 02:12 PM
kendall 05 Sep 03 - 03:18 PM
Nerd 05 Sep 03 - 03:26 PM
Peter T. 05 Sep 03 - 03:40 PM
Amos 05 Sep 03 - 05:41 PM
Phot 05 Sep 03 - 06:17 PM
Nerd 05 Sep 03 - 06:27 PM
Amos 05 Sep 03 - 08:32 PM
Phot 06 Sep 03 - 03:08 AM
HuwG 06 Sep 03 - 07:50 AM
EBarnacle1 06 Sep 03 - 08:40 AM
Peter T. 06 Sep 03 - 10:08 AM
kendall 06 Sep 03 - 10:11 AM
Don Firth 06 Sep 03 - 05:33 PM
Peter T. 06 Sep 03 - 06:12 PM
Deckman 06 Sep 03 - 06:54 PM
Gareth 06 Sep 03 - 07:17 PM
Don Firth 06 Sep 03 - 10:39 PM
Reiver 2 08 Sep 03 - 06:14 PM
Gareth 08 Sep 03 - 07:16 PM
Melani 08 Sep 03 - 10:41 PM
Teribus 09 Sep 03 - 05:03 AM
Phot 09 Sep 03 - 06:46 AM
GUEST 09 Sep 03 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,Hrothgar 09 Sep 03 - 07:42 AM
InOBU 09 Sep 03 - 07:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Sep 03 - 08:10 AM
HuwG 09 Sep 03 - 08:50 AM
Schantieman 09 Sep 03 - 09:19 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Sep 03 - 10:31 AM
Joe_F 09 Sep 03 - 06:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Sep 03 - 07:04 PM
Gareth 09 Sep 03 - 07:14 PM
EBarnacle1 11 Sep 03 - 09:41 AM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Sep 03 - 04:47 AM
Joe_F 17 Sep 03 - 07:36 PM
Peter T. 22 Nov 03 - 06:28 PM
Joybell 23 Nov 03 - 06:25 PM
Joybell 23 Nov 03 - 07:22 PM
The Fooles Troupe 23 Nov 03 - 08:03 PM
Hrothgar 24 Nov 03 - 04:38 AM
Songster Bob 24 Nov 03 - 12:00 PM
Don Firth 24 Nov 03 - 02:33 PM
Joybell 24 Nov 03 - 04:51 PM
Joybell 24 Nov 03 - 05:01 PM
IanC 16 Feb 04 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,Carlos 13 Jul 04 - 01:52 PM
Les from Hull 13 Jul 04 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,GUEST, Stephen 01 Dec 04 - 08:29 PM
EBarnacle 02 Dec 04 - 02:18 AM
GUEST,Jimships 15 Jun 11 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Jun 11 - 02:36 PM
ripov 15 Jun 11 - 04:53 PM
kendall 15 Jun 11 - 07:52 PM
Tootler 15 Jun 11 - 08:03 PM
Phil Edwards 16 Jun 11 - 04:12 AM
GUEST 16 Jun 11 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,BobL 16 Jun 11 - 05:28 AM
jimL 16 Jun 11 - 05:34 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Jun 11 - 06:39 AM
Les from Hull 16 Jun 11 - 07:33 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 16 Jun 11 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Noreen on lunch break 16 Jun 11 - 07:47 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Jun 11 - 08:04 AM
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Subject: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 01:08 PM

On last night's Acoustic Workshop radio show, I played several versions of the grand old ballad "The Golden Vanity", complete with all the strange variations in text (Turkish Revelee, Merry Golden Tree, Spanish Enemy etc.)

In some versions the little cabin boy sinks his OWN ship because of his Captain's perfidy, and in others, he can't bring himself to drown his mess-mates just to wreak vengeance on the Captain.

But in one area they are all pretty much the same....he sinks the enemy by drilling holes (one, three, nine, etc.) into their hull.

So here's the question I got asked by a doubtful listener:

Would it be possible to sink a big ship in the time of Henry V111 to Elizabeth 1 in this manner?

My immediate answer was "of course not, it's just a song", but Heather said: "Let's ask the Mudcat, we may be surprised."

So if there's anyone with good info on this (or even anyone who's BEEN a Cabin boy, and sunk the odd ship with their little auger!!) what do you think.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Nerd
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 01:17 PM

It would be very unlikely to sink a ship. All wooden ships took on water, and had pumps aboard to pump the water out again. In battle, ships would get hulled below the waterline by cannonballs, and the crew could still fother the ship (block the hole with tarred canvas), then repair the hole, all while pumping out the excess water to stay afloat. So a lad with an auger would be unlikely to cause a ship to founder quite that quickly!

Having said that, if he cut out a large enough hole, he could indeed sink the ship. A saw would be a better tool for this than an auger, and it would take him a long time, during which (if he did not freeze to death) he would be vulnerable to musket fire, so it would not be a useful method in battle.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 01:22 PM

I'm guessing that if you drilled ENOUGH holes (and I don't think nine would do it) and nobody noticed for a while, you might be able to pull it off. It would probably also depend on sea and weather conditions. They should be able to pump faster that the water would come in, while somebody else plugged the holes. I seem to remember about a year ago, the C.A.Thayer (153 feet) was leaking some ridiculous amount, like 2,000 gallons a day, or some such number, and had three pumps going 24 hours. When I expressed horror at the large number, the shipwright in charge said, "She's a big ship. She can take it."


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 01:22 PM

but the versions I know do state specifically of the crew that "some were playing cards, and some were shooting dice" and that "some were in their bunks"

so it *might* be possible that *if undetected long enough* the holes drilled might let in enough that they couldn't get ahead of it with the pumps....


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 01:34 PM

And if the ship's bottom was coppered?

But if there was a place were such drilling would do more damage, such as in an area where damage was already sustained....

It always seemed to me to be a silly way to win a girl anyway. Poor little chap didn't listen to enough songs and stories dealing with the perfidy of those in command.


"Hey, if any of you guys want to jump overboard, swim to that enemy ship, drill a bunch of holes with your little boring tools and sink her, I'll give you my daughter."

"Bugger off, I've SEEN your daughter."


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Ironmule
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 01:51 PM

The augers of the time had a crossbar you twisted like a foursquare tire tool. You couldn't use one in the water. Even deep below the surface the water pressure doesn't force much water through a small hole. The crew would have to play cards for a week or more before the ship would founder.

That said, if he had a small hooked tool called a "reefing iron" he could have "reefed" the caulking from some of the planking seams and started a serious leak. It's a scenario that would be far easier to accomplish in port than on the high seas, and impossible if the vessels were activly sailing along, or there was much tidal flow past an anchored ship.

Jeff Smith

PS, the best "pump" on a leaky vessel is a scared man with a five gallon bucket. Trust me on this ;^) I woke up the fourth morning of our bareboat charter and stepped into an inch of water! A bucket and adrenalin emptied out the belly of the sailboat quickly, and we traced the leak to a poorly tightened stuffing box on the propeller shaft. The Golden Vanitie had many buckets aboard.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 02:03 PM

Unless he had a brace and auger with a bit three feet in diameter. Three holes, or nine holes, depending on whichever version, ought to do the trick, I would think.

A couple of things I've wondered about:--
1) Did he have to swim alongside the enemy ship while it was under full sail while doing the deed? Or was the ship just sitting there like a swan on a smooth pond?   
2) Even if it were just sitting there and all he had to do was tread water, the trick would be to set the auger bit into the wood of the hull and apply enough pressure to screw it through the planking without pushing himself away from the ship.

Tricky piece of work.

Astronauts working in space have to brace themselves against something when using rotary tools (such as an electric drill or screwdriver) or they find they push themselves away from what they're working on when they try to apply the necessary pressure and counter-rotating when they operate the tool. In a medium that doesn't offer very much firm support such as water, it seems the same problem in physics might pertain. Newton strikes again!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 02:06 PM

Maybe this could be an idea to put to that TV show where they try to replicate historical gadgets to see if they could get them to work.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 02:25 PM

Well let's get rid of the coppering first - ships of Henry VIII's time weren't coppered - this only came in around the 1780's (as far as I can remember).

Perhaps the best authority on drilling holes in the bottoms of ships would have been good old Sergeant Ezra Lee (who attacked HMS Eagle in Bushnell's Turtle (early not very good man-powered submersible) during the American Revolution). The story that goes around was that he could not penetrate Eagle's coppering, which was wrong as Eagle wasn't coppered. Perhaps it was the effort of trying to keep the auger against the hull while he drilled, action and reaction being equal and opposite ('damn you Issac Newton, I could've sunk a Royal Navy ship if t'wernt for you!').

So what a big lad like Ezra couldn't manage, would be more difficult for a little cabin boy (most of the versions emphasise his 'littleness'). And Ezra was only fitting a cup hook to the ship's bottom so he could hang a barrel of gunpowder off it - little cabin boy is trying to turn it into a passable imitation of a ships cheese.

In any ship where some were playing cards etc, some should have been on watch. The carpenter sounds the well at regular intervals, and any increase in the inflow should be noted. Perhaps the first job of any ambitious little boys should be to bop the carpenter and his crew on the head.

There's a great cartoon by Bill Tidy (UK 'catters will know him, especially for his 'Cloggies' strip in Private Eye many years ago). The ship's captain in a broadside to broadside action is calling out 'a firkin of rum for the man who brings down her mizzenmast' and there's a man diving off the mizzen chains on his own ship with a saw between his teeth!

Rick - best recorded version I know of this song was the Sweet Kumadee by formerly Hull-based Scottish singer Ian Manual (or Jock as we knew him - sadly he died some years ago) It's on Topic's Scottish Voices CD (TSCD703) with lots of other good stuff from great Scottish singers.

Les


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 02:33 PM

Now really, lads, if that cabinboy had succeeded in drilling a hole beneath the Golden Vanity's waterline, he would have been drown by the bilge water pouring out! Vile stuff, that bilge water.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 02:37 PM

The versions of the song I have heard do not insist on a tight causal coupling between the holes and the sinking; they simply state that both things occurred. For all we know the cabin boy's brother might have been working the Spanish enemy from the inside and surreptitiously opened the sea-cocks! Well, they probably had no seacocks, but whatever the nearest equivalent might be.

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 02:51 PM

Or perhaps it was all a put-up job. There wasn't really a Spanish Galilee at all. It just a cardboard replica, cunningly crafted beforehand by the cabinboy so he could get his evil little mitts on the lovely Captain's daughter. Ha ha, served him right then!

Going back to how feasible. I actually live right next to Hull's Marina. I've got an auger somewhere... Now if only I can attract enough sponsorship...


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: PeteBoom
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 02:51 PM

Let's see... The White Ship sank in the English Chanel in the late 11th/early 12th century, drowning (among others), Henry I's heir. It was (apparently) sent to the bottom by drilling several holes through the hull. This, by the way, set up the civil war that followed Henry's death which lasted some, what, 20 years?

The period the event is set in makes a huge difference. When one considers that naval design of the late 16th century (roughly Hank VIII - Betsie I) was beyond the 11th/12th century model, but no where near whe it would be during the huge leap forward by the end of the 17th century, the answer is "maybe".

A couple of items mentioned above were common later on, but would have been radical innovations in the time that the original question was posed. Yes - fothering could stop serious damage. However, this was still quite new in the late 18th century and rather few ships had this done successfully before, say, 1780 or so. Also, copper sheathing was the great secret weapon against both worms, limpets and weeds on the bottom of ships hulls. Again, this was an 18th century innovation that was not wide-spread except on major capital ships until the later half of the century. (I forget the name of the first-rate that sank in Plymouth Harbour taking most of her crew with her. Seems when they added the sheathing, no one checked to see if the hull was sound to begin with. The whole bottom fell away from worms and rot. Oops.)

Now then, consider that most "war ships" of the time were actually merchant ships that had extra cannon added with reinforced planking an supports. Except for relatively few custom-built ships that were intended to be war-ships, the three-feet of oak plank was more likely 12-18 inches or less.

And so, Rick, given those things, I think the answer is a resounding "Well, depending on the type of ship this thing was, size, time period when she was built, and by whom, a determined cabin boy with a thing for the captain's daughter might possibly be able to sink a ship if he was very lucky."

She'd better be interested in him as well, or he'd be best off not wasting his time. ;-)

Cheers -

Pete


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Chief Chaos
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 02:59 PM

From Garfield's Nine Lives:

Garfield, in one of his nine lives (he's on number eight now)tries using a canoe to get to an island:

"When he saw the water coming in
He gave a little shout
And he quickly drilled another hole
To let the water out!"


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 03:16 PM

Put powder in a waterproof container, float it at the waterline, use a waterproof fuse. WHAMMO! Sort of like a limpet mine. Use your little drilling tool to drill holes to attach the powder container to.

Of course, it would behoove you to swim like hell away.... But this isn't what the cabin by did.

Maybe the captain let him drown because he was stupid enough to answer the challenge.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Chief Chaos
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 03:35 PM

Seems like the military hasn't changed much over the years. Blame the lowest rank possible.
Here's how the song got started:

scene: Office of the Naval Investigator

Okay lets see….
We need to hold somebody accountable for the sinking….
They're starting to doubt the sea monsters since no-one has actually seen one,
It really was the Captain's faulty seamanship, you can only hit the sandbar so many times before something gives way, but since I gave him the job to get him off my staff, It'll be my ass in a sling.
I can't blame the Mate, Mummy would never forgive me for getting cousin Barty in trouble.
Can't blame the carpenter, everybody knows he died last year and hasn't been replaced yet.
The cook? No, I've been trying to shanghai him for my staff, that wouldn't help me get him here.
The crew? Whoa no! Not going there! They're the scurviest bunch of pirates I've ever had the mispleasure to waylay at the pub. They'd probably cut my throat if I blamed them.
The cabin boy? Yeah! That's the ticket. He's harmless, came from an orphanage, nobody will take up for him!
Now, how did he do it and why?
Ah to hell with it! He was mad at the Captain for stealing his girl and he used a ships awl to drill holes in the hull.
There, the reports finished. Now I can get down to the pub early!


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 03:36 PM

After listening to the show, I pulled down the book I am reading, Traditional American Folk Songs (Frank and Anne Warner), and had a tough time finding the song, even though it was everywhere, so varied are the titles. In the intro there is a letter from Lena Bourne Fish (one of the Warners' singers) who asks if they have ever heard "The Weeping Willow Tree" about a ship built in Virginia in the days of Sir Walter Raleigh (same song??). Then, low and behold, under the title of "Lowland Low" (I had thought of every other title, including Turkish Revelry to look under) there is a version by Frank Proffitt. There is reference made in the intro to the song to Child's version "A" from Pepys Ballads (!!!), from a 1682 broadside, which calls the ship the Sweet Trinity (built by Sir Walter Raleigh in the Netherlands).
Anyway, in the Profitt version the "little man" has a "little instrument" just for the use, and cuts "nine gashes" in the "salt water juice". Maybe big gashes?

Yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 03:40 PM

sounds like they aren't talking ships and augers in that version!!!!! Was the captain's daughter spanish?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 03:45 PM

that was me above...

Anyone have the lyrics for the Proffitt version?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 03:49 PM

Despite several snickers above about the cabin boy's letching after the captain's daughter, it seems to me probable that he'd never seen her.

So why was the captain's promise motivating? Because marriage to the captain's daughter--with a dowry, without a doubt--would lift the cabin boy out of his lowly class and change his life. That could be enough to make even a known homely spinster seem attractive.

Reminds me of the Gilbert and Sullivan lyric about the old barrister's daughter, whom he was trying to marry off:

She may very well pass for forty-three....
In the dusk, with the light behind her!


Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 06:00 PM

Thanks for the info folks. Seems to be swinging from a definite "Not on your life" to a resounding "Maybe".

Factors devined from Mudcat opinions:

Attractiveness of Captain's daughter important.
Exact year and type of hull info crucial.
Just what WAS that little device that the cabin boy carried?
Since it's a folk song, is it possible that the cabin boy is really a GIRL...and she used a hat pin....'cuz she had a thing for the Captain's daughter as well.

If the whole crew were standing alongside the edge of the ship on "pee-break" with their sea cocks out, would this have hindered the boy?

Did the Cabin boy have his St John's ambulance badge, 'cuz he sure was a hell of a swimmer.

*************************

I LOVE Rory Block's oddball version of this most-recorded song!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 06:18 PM

Ya know, for whatever reason I always believed the story when I would sing it.

It makes perfect sense that it is unrealistic but, well... I guess I never will get used to being disillusioned! :>)

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 06:19 PM

Folk songs are often very old,and may contain elements which are no longer "relevant" to a newer era(as we are always being told). Now it seems to me that the original song probably dates from an earlier era, when coracles or St Brendan type boats would have been normal. In which case, of course, it would have much easier.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 06:46 PM

I wonder how many captains started their careers as cabin boys in coracles.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 06:50 PM

Cabins in coracles?? That's not earlier in time, it's a parallel universe!! LOL!!

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Gareth
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 07:01 PM

Actually I think it was a dastardly revenge by the Captain, formerly Master of the S/S"Venus"

"Oh the Cabin Boy, the Cabin Boy,
He was a dirty nipper,
He stuffed his arse with broken glass,
And circumsised the Skipper !"

" Frigging on the rigging etc. ....."


Just a thought, you understand, or is it a product of my nasty mind ?

Gareth

"Get yer retaliation in first, boys !" - The late Carwen James.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Grab
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 07:07 PM

Greg, I somehow think even a cabin boy would be unlikely to go unnoticed under a coracle. And the very name "cabin" boy suggests that you have rather larger coracles than the rest of us (don't boast now ;-)

One possibility of course is that the sinking and the cabin boy's actions are coincidence. The Mary Rose sank in the English Channel in fine weather, for no other reason than that it was badly designed.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: curmudgeon
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 07:10 PM

Sadly, not all sea songs were written by seafarers. This was possibly a landsman's fancy -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: LadyJean
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 07:22 PM

With regards to sinking the Golden Vanity, am I the only catter who has seen the Mary Rose, in Portsmouth Harbor?! It was a small ship, without a copper bottom, and it sank because it had too many nice, big cannons on board, and the crew didn't really know what they were doing.
I'm not sure what kind of sailors the Turks were. Or how many guns a Turkish ship carried.
What I do remember is the guide telling us that it was, "About three degrees in there" and hoping we were all wearing something warm. I was, but it wasn't warm enough for three degrees fahrenheit. Of course she was talking celsius, which is a good deal warmer.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 07:58 PM

"The White Ship sank in the English Channel in the late 11th/early 12th century, drowning (among others), Henry I's heir. It was (apparently) sent to the bottom by drilling several holes through the hull."

Apparently they had the same kind of conspiracy theorists back in the 12th century we have today...


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 08:52 PM

In the day of that song, the screw auger had not yet been invented, and it would be impossible to get enough leverage to drill a hole with a "pod auger"under water.

Now, if had had a screw auger (the type with the worm or screw at the tip, plus plenty of time, and he was drilling holes in a ship that was sheathed inside, theoretically, he could do enough damage if he did not penetrate the sheathing. That would let the water in, and it would run into the bilges behind the inner wall and would be very hard to locate the holes.

I believe that "Fothering" was developed in the 18th century, 200 years later.

Opinion, not possible.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Schantieman
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 06:44 AM

Yes, Lady Jean, I've been to the Mary Rose. 'Tis chilly, innit? Summat t'do with preserving it.

Did you know that one version (in the English Book of Singing Penguins) was collected from William Bolton in Southport (home of the Bothy Folk Club)in 1906? Jez Lowe recorded it on the CD of songs from the book (I've lost my copy, malheureusement).

It's a good story, but does sound a tad unlikelyish.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: HuwG
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM

Re. PeteBoom's post above, the First Rate that went down in Plymouth Harbour was the "Royal George". There is still a legend that the ship was being canted to clean the copper on one side, the gunports on the other went under and that was that. However, it is equally possible that, with all the rot and damage from marine creatures, canting the ship caused the deck beams te break away from the ribs and frames, and the effect would be the same.

Re. Grab's post on the "Mary Rose", when built she was quite well designed. Unfortunately, in the thirty years which passed between her launch and loss, the Royal Shipyards, at Henry VIII's behest added lots of cannon, which, with the necessary extra frames, raised her Centre of Gravity. Even this wasn't enough to ensure her doom, until she put to sea with a Vice-Admiral embarked. To maintain the dignity (and safety) of the said Vice-Admiral, she carried two hundred or so extra men-at-arms, bowmen and arquebusiers, all mustered on the upper deck and quarter deck. This tipped the balance between being merely unseaworthy and a menace to all who sailed in her. There was a program about this on BBC2 about a year ago.

However, as more than one poster has mentioned, the one, three or even nine holes a love-lorn cabin-boy could inflict pale into insignificance beside the damage of which a boring (that's "drilling", not "tedious") mollusc named Teredo was capable. Before coppering was introduced, they could turn a ship's timbers into Gruyere cheese over a couple of decades.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: InOBU
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM

As to choice of drills. Rick beat me to the comment that an auger is too heavy to swim with, unless we are speaking of a bow drill, mostly wood and sinue, with a small mettle tip on the drill, easy to use in the water, if you find a nice nitch under the transom wedge yerself in under the rudder, drill between the planks likely butted back then, nice straight lead to drill into to, I like the reefing Iron idea as well, easier to swim with, however, the caulking would not likely be easy to get at with swelled planks, maybe you'd get some but don't forget oakum is being forced in by the presure of the water as the planks swell, better drill between the planks, and my vote is for a bow drill, Cheers, stay dry, Larry


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 08:43 AM

He cut gashes in the "salt water juice"????

I haven't seen or heard that version, but the cabin boy's name HAD to have been Moses!


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 11:24 AM

I was recently reading naval history relating to the first Elizabethan era. Attack by swimmers with augers was a standard means of attack in that era. It was probably carried over from earlier naval systems, when ships had fewer [if any] cannon and firearms. It is unlikely that the system would have been used or considered if it were not effective.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 11:32 AM

For those who don't know understand Kevin's remark above, here is an historical account of the sinking of The White Ship, lifted from a longer article at Britannia.com:


After the successful campaign of 1119 which culminated in King Louis VI of France's defeat and humiliation at the Battle of Brémule, King Henry and his entourage were finally preparing to return to England. Henry was offered a fine vessel, the White Ship, in which to set sail for England, but the King had already made his travelling arrangements and suggested that it would be an excellent choice for his son, William.

As the rising star of the Royal Court, Prince William attracted the cream of society to surround him. He was to be accompanied by some three hundred fellow passengers: 140 knights and 18 noblewomen; his half-brother, Richard; his half-sister, Matilda the Countess of Perche; his cousins, Stephen and Matilda of Blois; the nephew of the German Emperor Henry V; the young Earl of Chester and most of the heirs to the great estates of England and Normandy. There was a mood of celebration in the air and the Prince had wine brought aboard ship by the barrel-load to help the party go with a swing. Both passengers and crew soon became highly intoxicated: shouting abuse at one another and ejecting a group of clerics who had arrived to bless the voyage. Some passengers, including Stephen of Blois, who was ill with diarrhoea, appear to have sensed further trouble and decided to take a later craft.

The onboard revelries had delayed the White Ship's departure and it only finally set out to sea, after night had already fallen. The Prince found that most of the King's forces had already left him far behind yet, as with all young rabble-rousers, he wished to be first back home. He therefore ordered the ship's master to have his oarsmen row full-pelt and overtake the rest of the fleet. Being as drunk as the rest of them, the master complied and the ship soon began to race through the waves.

An excellent vessel though the White Ship was, sea-faring was not as safe as it is today. Many a boat was lost on the most routine of trips and people did not travel over the water unless they really had to. With a drunken crew in charge moreover, it seems that fate had marked out the White Ship for special treatment. It hit a rock in the gloom of the night and the port-side timbers cracked wide-open to reveal a gaping whole.

Prince William's quick-thinking bodyguard immediately rushed him on deck and bundled him into a small dinghy. They were away to safety even before the crew had begun to make their abortive attempts to hook the vessel off the rocks. However, back aboard ship, the Prince could hear his half-sister calling to him, begging him not to leave her to the ravages of the merciless sea. He ordered his little boat to turn round, but the situation was hopeless. As William grew nearer once more, the White Ship began to descend beneath the waves. More and more people were in the water now and they fought desperately for the safety of the Royal dinghy. The turmoil and the weight were too much. The Prince's little boat was capsized and sank without trace.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 01:56 PM

A really fascinating discussion. I've learned a lot. Thanks to everyone. I do have a few questions: Where is the evidence that the time of the event was during the period of Hank VIII or Betty I? My version says nothing about the time period other than it refers to "the Spanish enemy." (The same goes for any assumptions about how "big" that ship was?) Does the phrase "lowland sea" refer to the coast of Holland, or ?? Finally, Les from Hull makes a reference to "...the lovely Captain's daughter." How do you know the captain was so lovely? :-)

As I say, I've learned a lot, but as for the original question, I'm still satisfied with Rick's original reply (thanks, though, to Heather for suggesting a referral to the Mudcat or we'd have missed a fascinating discussion).

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 02:10 PM

One of the alternate names of the song is: "Sir Walter Raleigh in the Lowlands of..." Whether or not it is based upon an actual incident, I do not know. I do know that the song was much bruited about and did damage to his reputation and popularity, at least for a while.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 02:13 PM

as I understand it tradition dates the song to Elizabeth I....suppossedly it is about Sir Walter Raliegh.

the Ballad Index dates it back to 1685


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: PeteBoom
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 02:32 PM

Indeed, Ted & Kevin. A half-remembered bit from a course longer ago than I care to think about. Could have sworn I read somewhere that it was an intentional sinking... ah well. Senility strikes once again.

HuwG - Royal George was indeed the one I was thinking of. I'll have to dig out which dusty old book I read about her in.

As for the Mary Rose, that was an "oops". I think the Vasa is a better example of "Hmmmm, maybe we should not do it this way." Lovely state of the art ship - huge, massive, impressive to look at and nearly as sea-worthy as a brick. The original plan was modified after her construction was well under way, to make her longer and taller. Added more cannon to the taller hull, and voila! A disaster waiting to happen!

Her first excursion out, banners flying, ports all open displaying her nice shiny new cannons, band playing and a slight gust gave her a slight heel - and she kept right on going... the too-tall upperworks (for her narrow beam) in conjunction with too tall of masts (ditto, but she sure did look good), meant that the couple of degrees pitch from the wind increased by a gust to several degrees, set the lower gun-deck awash and that was that. Kind of put a damper on the King's party that night.

I figure the captain should have stuck to polishing the handles on the big front door.

Pete


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Gareth
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 03:06 PM

Getting back to Music - There was a Ballad on the subject of the "Royal George" Click 'Ere

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 03:36 PM

I dunno Rick ... I'm going to vote that YES indeed, I think it was very possible! As proof positive, I'll relate a very embarrasing event in my life. Some years ago, a friend and I were launching my 20' plastic boat into the river. He was quite sure that I had put the thermos bottle sized cork into the drain hole. And I was equally sure that he had. Suffice it to say that neither of us had. Within five minutes, that silly little boat was submerged. It simply amazing how much water can come through a three quarter inch hole in no time. I've been able to keep this misshap a complete secret all these years, so please don't tell anyone! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 05:18 PM

It reminds me of the time I launched my first boat, an old Star class. I had neglected to allow the planks to swell before putting her in. The boat went directly to the bottom of the slip which, fortunately, was not too deep. The slings didn't even get off her before she filled.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 05:51 PM

I'm happy to report that the "Golden Vanity" is still safe if not exactly sound in the cellar of our old barn in Maine. She's a 12-foot skiff that my parents commissioned back in the 1950's. She shows evidence of rot here and there but I'm sure some intripid soul could restore her, and learn something in the process.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 06:10 PM

One also wonders how big a tool a cabin boy must have to drill a hole that size, and how he managed to swim with it.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 06:18 PM

I still insist that it couldn't be done for the reasons listed.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 07:07 PM

Ran across another version called "The Merry Golden Tree" by Jean Ritchie on her newly rereleased Ballads album. The boy goes for nine holes here, but the song is cut off before we learn of his fate (don't know why). You have to work hard to figure out that it is the same song from all the different titles (the other ship is called The Turkish Robbery!).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 07:15 PM

Sounds like a job for the Reenactment enthusiasts. Does the Sealed Knot have a naval section?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Cattail
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 07:32 PM

Hi all,

Having read Deckman's account of his 20' boat, it got me
thinking about the relative sizes of these vessels.

The Mary Rose had a waterline length of 125', with a 38' beam, not
a small boat, but fairly small by todays standards, and only approx'
five times bigger than Deckmans craft.

If Deckman's boat went down in roughly five minutes, then the larger
vessel may only have taken half an hour to an hour to do the same.
Given that Deckman had only one three quarter inch hole to deal with
and the Vanity supposedly had a minimum of three.

So, yes it may have been possible, also taking into account the extra
weight differences between GRP and wood, and that the Vanity would
have been fitted out to a good standard and carrying cannon etc,
all making for an extremely heavy vessel with a lot of displacement.

I didn't note the draught of the Mary Rose, but the dimensions are
on the web site.

Incidentally on http://www.divernet.com I came across the headline
that said another part (the bowcastle) of the Mary Rose had been
found in the Solent, I didn't bother reading the article as I have
been getting slow connection problems lately, (it won't even let
me submit this, I've tried three times now) but a very interesting
bit of news, especially if they can raise it and match it to the
original hull they have already.

Enough of my ramblings.

Cheers to all

Cattail !


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Cluin
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 07:43 PM

I doubt it very much. I can't even imagine anybody being able to work an auger while swimming (what do you brace (as in brace & bit) against) through what was likely oak or some other hardwood, in a moving boat's hull, in the midst of a battle, enough to do some actual structural damage or a big enough leak to sink a ship which was designed to function with a hull partly full of water as ballast anyway.

But what the fuck do I know?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 07:44 PM

IF there were three holes in the hull, AND they were in a place that couldn't be patched, a ship could be sunk. However, the problem was MAKING the holes in the first place. That would be impossible with the auger of that era.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 07:57 PM

Well, if EBarnacle's referance to a "naval history relating to the first Elizabethan era. Attack by swimmers with augers was a standard means of attack in that era" stands up, it would appear to settle that, at least in principle, drilling holes in a ship is possible.

Mind, the fact that a book says something like that doesn't necessarily mean it's true. But could we have the reference EBarnacle?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Gareth
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 08:18 PM

Mmmm ! Historical note - Didn't the late Comander Crabbe have some success in this fashion, ( OK he used explosives, not an auger !)

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 10:14 PM

Geeze Rick! I told you not to tell anyone. Here is one of my more embarassing moments being used as an historical benchmark! Oh ... the shame of it all! Bob


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: InOBU
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 11:16 PM

I can give you a reference to EBarnicle, Kev... we have had Christmas dinner (not quite on Christmas) for decades at the home of great friends, and frankly, he, as the inventor of a bottom paint for boats may be responcible for the loss of as many vessels as swimmers with augers.... (only kidding ya, Eric...) But than again his Barnacle begone (now renamed)... was the sourse of my ad... beluga begone, barracuda begone, barrier reefs begone... black sea begone, baltic sea begone, and a wake of begone destrucitons.... again only kidding Eric ol' chum... but when ya get to New York (kev), we'll hook you guys up for a sing (and a free can of boat begone... geeze Eric I can't help it... stop me please!!!! )
Larry


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 05:43 AM

Jeri - perhaps the cabin boy's tool was not so big when he was swimming - it only attained it's maximum size when he reached the enemy ship and started thinking about the captain's daughter !


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 05:49 AM

Now, if the auger holes caused the ship to list, and she was unstable already - for any or all of the reasons above ....

Captain James Cook used fothering to save the "Endeavour" when she struck the Great Barrier Reef off the site of what is now Cooktown in 1770.

After all this - I'm bored with augers.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Teribus
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 06:13 AM

The nine holes the lad drilled with whatever could have been drilled to start or spring the hull planking. If that was done at the for'd end of the planks, the flow of water over the hull would assist in tearing the hull open. The ship would founder and founder quickly, if she was at action stations, the Captain of the ship would have to take men away from sailing the ship, and manning her armament to man the pumps.

Charley: "...if that cabinboy had succeeded in drilling a hole beneath the Golden Vanity's waterline, he would have been drown by the bilge water pouring out! Vile stuff, that bilge water."

If that were the case the "Golden Vanity" was already in major trouble. For the bilge water to flow out of the hull the head of water inside the hull would have to be greater than the head of water outside.

The "Royal George" sank off Portsmouth (Spithead Naval Anchorage in the Solent), not Plymouth, in 1782. She was heeled over to make repairs to hull damage, this was done by moving cannon from the starboard side to the port side of the vessel. Structural failure in severely rotten framing due to the additional weight caused the vessel to sink. She was partially salvaged in 1840 by divers using early versions of the Seibe deep diving dress and helment (the forerunner of Standard Diving Gear)


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 08:07 AM

You are jumping to the holes, and going from there. I still say, the augers of that era were so made that they required a lot of pressure to start them into the wood. Underwater, he could not apply any pressure at all. The whole idea is silly.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 09:20 AM

I have foolishly loaned the book out and don't recall the title. NO, NO, not the cat...ANYTHING but the cat!!!


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Teribus
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 10:25 AM

Kendall,

Fair point about the augers of the period - what about the "little tool just made for the use" as the line runs in one of the versions?

The nine holes made all at once sounds more than a bit far-fetched, but the question asked was could you sink a ship by drilling nine holes in the hull - the answer to that question is yes if you drill the holes to destroy the dowling holding the planks to the frames and ribs of the hull. Lots of variables come into the equation, actual state of the vessel's hull, marine growth, pressure points along the hull, too silly for words, it might be, but impossible, it is not.

As to what can be achieved by a free swimmer on the hull of a ship at sea. I can remember reading a book about the China Clippers and some of the jury rigged repairs they managed to carry-out to hulls and rudders were quite amazing, in most cases way could not be taken off the ship as they had to maintain some sort of heading into sea.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 11:18 AM

Teribus would appear to be correct in his critique of my remarks above, as supported by this verse below:

A Sailor's Yarn

(By J. J Roche, Circa 1890
From A Nonesense Anthology)

As narrated by the second mate to one of the marines


They bored a hole beneath her line
To let the water out,
But more and more with an awful roar,
The water in did spout...

Still, I remain concerned that if this wholistic theory for the sinking of the "Golden Vanity" holds water, it does not augur well for our naval fleet in the Persian Gulf. Perhaps, someone should warn a responsible authority. Calling Admiral Poindextor!

However, the "Golden Vanity" I'm most familar with is still safe, if not exactly sound, stored in the cellar of our barn in Maine. My parents commissioned this 12-foot skiff for myself and my brother back in the early 1950's. She did noble service as we cleared the cove of pirates, summer vacationers, and short lobsters.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 11:23 AM

You can use bouyancy to come up into the hull from below. I have worked cleaning hulls from below, and although it is not fun or easy, it is possible; but that is not the same amopunt of pressure needed to torque a brace into English oak. You could start the tip (if the augur had such) but then when you needed to "put your back into it" there would be nothing to lean against and you'd be slopping all over. Easy to imagine, but it would not be easy to do, at all.

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: InOBU
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 11:37 AM

Hi Tiberius.... problem that stikes me about springing planking, is that the water pressure holds the planks in, how many times have we all seen planks fall out of a wooden boat as soon as it is hauled, when the water pressure was the only thing holding the plank in place once the fastenings rot out? Seems that a hole is thing... Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Nerd
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 12:22 PM

Cattail,

the problem with your analysis is that if a boat is five times "as big as" (i.e. five times as long, and five times as wide, and five times as high as) another ship, then its volume is about 125 times as great. Thus, a ship 5 times larger in each dimension would require 125 times as much water to fill it up. So if it took a little boat five minutes it would take the larger one roughly 625 minutes, or ten and a half hours...

Add to this the fact that the shape of a ship's hull is different from that of a small boat, exactly because the ship is made for carrying large amounts of stuff around. (The ship needs to be mostly filled with heavy stuff and still have enough buoyancy to float, which requires a greater volume). So it would almost certainly be of greater volume than simply an expanded version of a 20' boat.

This of course adds another wrinkle to the tale. Another factor on which this sinkage might depend: how much heavy stuff was in the Turkish Robbery? If she was sailing high, she would have longer to go before foundering...

BTW, I still vote no on whether this is likely, but as Teribus says (and as I said in the very first response), yes on whether it is, strictly speaking, possible. IF the boy could swim there without being detected, AND he used not an augur but some other tool like a saw, AND he was extremely skillful or lucky, so that his holes had a much greater effect together than they would have had individually (eg. Teribus' "if you drill the holes to destroy the dowling holding the planks to the frames and ribs of the hull") AND he remained undetected and unfrozen and unshot (not to say undead) during this time, AND the crew was for some reason unable to pump out the water or patch the hole, THEN he might have a hope of sinking a ship in this manner.

I do not think this was a method of sinking ships in the Elizabethan era, though as Ebarnacle says, it may have been "a standard method of attack." Remember, the goal in fighting a ship is often not to sink it but to force its crew to surrender so that you can take the ship for yourself. By drilling holes you could divert the crew from fighting, and toward pumping and patching, giving yourself an easier job. Once you had subdued the crew, you could then repair the ship. But whether it was used to SINK ships? Of that I remain skeptical!


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 12:37 PM

...It's not a matter of where it grips it!!!

Look, it would be impossible to get the leverage needed to START the auger as has been pointed out, there is nothing to brace yourself, no way to apply the necessary pressure. It's one of those things that look good on paper, but fall through in practice.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 01:05 PM

Well, Kendall, some of those old vessels had low strakes along the hull, eh? Mebbe he could tuck up under one of those and leverage his position enough to bore holes three, or however many. But it isn't bloody likely.

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 01:35 PM

There is one MAJOR assumption which may be unfounded: the cabin boy bored the holes from the outside of the ship.

There is some indication that he might have done it from the inside.
"While some of them were playing cards and some were shaking dice
He saw their dark eyes glitter as the water it rolled in," from one version. I've also seen versions that seem to indicate he got BACK into the water to swim back ("then down upon his breast").


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Skip Henderson
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 01:42 PM

Yes Aloysis, you can really sink a ship or boat "with a brace and auger" as one version of the Golden Vanity goes; particularly if you were to drill holes at or below the waterline behind the interior lining of the hull of a wooden ship called longitudinal stringer,or the ceiling or foot planking. Said lining would make it nearly impossible to get at the leak from inside the hull and after a certain time the inside water level would preclude any other course than to abandon ship. I have also personal knowledge of a cabin cruiser sunk by a disgruntled partner with a .45 cal. automatic, but that's another yarn.
Cheers,
Skip


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Chief Chaos
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 04:44 PM

I know it's thread creep, but I've sunk a few fishing vessels by merely looking at them cross eyed. There are some boat owners who purchase and then use boats 'til they sink.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 05:21 PM

One bit of clarification: I keep seeing references to the sinking of the Golden Vanity. In the version I'm familiar with (I haven't taken the time to look at all the others) the Golden Vanity is the ship of the "lovely Captain" and the luckless cabin boy. The ship that he sinks (even though I think the sinking as described wouldn't have been possible) is identified only as "the Spanish enemy" -- a ship that is not given a name. (Oh, yes, it could have had the name "Spanish Enemy", but that hardly seems a likely name for a ship -- especially if the Golden Vanity is an English ship -- the song is English, right? -- and if the event was around the time of the Spanish Armada, eh?) BTW in the version I have, there is no mention of a battle going on -- only that they "feared she might be taken". I always envisioned that the event in the song took place at night, or in a dense fog with the ships becalmed -- the "lovely Captain" aware of the nearness of the enemy ship, which was not aware of the Golden Vanity's presence, but would notice the becalmed ship and "take her" when daylight returned or the fog lifted. Always fun to open a few new cans of worms.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 05:52 PM

The two vessels would be about the same general scheme, anyway. Skip, how do you address the leverage problem to make the holes in the first place?

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joe_F
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 06:24 PM

In many of the versions it is explicitly stated that the auger was a special tool -- it was fitted for the use, it bored three or nine holes at once, etc. This suggests that at least some of the contributors to this song were aware that no ordinary auger would do the job. That a cabin boy would happen to have such a specialized weapon (presumably invented by himself) is implausible, but so is a lot of this story. I envision a sort of box with however many auger bits geared together, fastened to the hull with lag screws, driven with a large crank, and provided with a handle to hold on to while cranking it. All this, of course, while holding one's breath.

As a couple of people way back in this thread pointed out, many modern auger bits (and so, perhaps, this one, if the cabin boy was that clever) have a tapered screw on the front, which, if it holds, will drive the auger forward if you can just manage to rotate it.

I, too, had always imagined that the holes were somewhere that was hard to get at from the inside -- even once the crew were distracted from their games.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 06:36 PM

Even if the alleged Elizabethan swimmers were not expecting to actually sink the ships, they'd still have had to be able to drill the holes, so if it's true they existed, it must be possible to do that much.

And once the first hole is even partially drilled, that provides somewhere to insert a pivot you could use to enable you to turn the auger in the next hole.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Gareth
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 06:56 PM

Hmmm ! - refer to C S Forester - "Hornblower in the West Indies"

The capture of the Slaver "Estrela de Sud" (SP) was effected by the fastening of a drough (Sea Anchor) to the rudder by a swimmer whilst moored in a Spanish Harbour on the Main. An Auger was involved in the planning.

Fiction follows Folk, or Folk follows Fiction ???

BTW Forester was recognised as a reasonably accurate Naval Historian.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 07:08 PM

Sigh. I give up.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 07:11 PM

I hear ya, Capn. Maybe these guys never scrubbed a hull from underneath?

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Cattail
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 07:21 PM

Hi all!

What a good thread, really makes one think doesn't it?

Hows about if he drilled several small holes in a circle, and then
levered the resultant circle out? This would get us away from the
argument of amount of work, leverage, torque etc required to do the
job as it would be much easier to turn a small auger than a large
one and could result in a rather large hole in a ships side.

Also, using a standard type of carpenters brace with a large nail
hammered into the hull *might* give enough leverage, if you held
the nail with one hand, and turned the brace with the other whilst
it was being held between your side or chest and the hull.

Incidentally I work at a place where they are still making 10' gates,
window frames etc, out of oak. the timber used in the gates usually
has some quite good cracks in it (or cracks later) which could make
a good start for an auger.

Another thought, these ships were quite high out of the water, and
were also round hulled (as against hard chine), so that even a small amount of water in them could possibly cause a capsize, given that it all went to one side of the vessel.

All supposition of course but.......

cheers for now.

Cattail !


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: LadyJean
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 12:55 AM

I don't know about the Sealed Knot, but I've beento reenactments at St. Marye's Citye, where The Maryland Dove sails out into the bay. There's one next month. It's worth seeing.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: old moose
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 01:39 AM

I would say,dammned unlikely. When I was a lad of ten and eleven my dad was building us a log cabin down in the woods in Oregon. He was doing it in a first class style using two sided cants and pinning all the corners. doors and window with trenails--wooden pins an inch or so in diameter. My brother and I using my grand dad's brace, couldn't have weighed more than three pounds or so, and an auger one and a sixteenth in size drilled all those holes, admittedly in in fir and hemlock, semi-seasoned, not seasoned oak, or teak or some other ship building timber, but from direct experience, (I could swim in those days too, and cabin boys in the suixteenth century were often ten to twelve years of age, hell, right up into the twentieth century they were often that old,) (not that I ever tried to carry an auger,but I used to try to carry two large rocks and bang 'em together to make peoples' ears pop) it ain't gonna be did. Heck git yer graddad's brace and a half inch auger and a scrap pi8ece of olg oak three or four inches thick and lean on the auger. Nope, wouldn't work. Wouldn't work. Put it all down to poetic license el moose p.s. ASk the deckman about this business of drilling with a brace and auger, in his line of work I'll bet he knows. which is no doubt why he uses power tools.My dad switched as soon as the firsr hand held electric drill motor came out.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Teribus
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 03:02 AM

Very good point Jeri.

On the subject of assumptions, Amos - 04 Sep 03 - 07:11 PM

"I hear ya, Capn. Maybe these guys never scrubbed a hull from underneath?"

Certainly in my own case, you might be on very shakey ground on that one. Others related to a couple of well known "folk" songs:

- The assumption by many that the Pte William McBride of "No Mans Land" fame was Irish - odds are more likely that he was not.

- The assumption that the song Arthur McBride, is Irish and was written by someone who had successfully evaded enlistment. That song sounds like classic barrack-room black humour and wishfull thinking. Earliest recollection of the song was in the South West of England in the 1820's (1826 seems to ring a bell from a thread on the subject).


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 09:45 AM


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 09:52 AM

I did say "maybe", T, but I am glad to hear another Catter has worked bottoms.

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 11:50 AM

I heard ya Kendall.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 11:58 AM

The odds are that Pvt William McBride simply wasn't.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Phot
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 12:16 PM

The arguments about torque reaction seem to be ranting on and on, just remember that water is eight times denser than air, which, giving the drag factor of the human body would enable said cabin boy quite a bit of leverage.

Ah sod it! 250Lbs of Torpex should do the trick!!

Wassail Chris


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 12:47 PM

Phot:

When you work an augur on land, you are NOT pushing against the air for your leverage. You are pushing through your back and legs against the earth.

Try doing work while floating sometime and you'll see what I mean...

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: HuwG
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 12:55 PM

I have been reading (all right, skimming) every source I can lay my hands on, and the following possibilities present themselves:

1. In < href="http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=62576&messages=87#1012367">Gareth's post above re. Horblower's capture of the "Estrella del Sur". Apparently, the swimmers detailed for the job of knobbling the "Estrella" used knives to pry the copper off one of the rudder braces below the waterline, then used an auger to drill a hole large enough to pass a stout line through, to which the drogue was attached. Since this was underneath the ship's counter, I suppose it possible that they could find rudder pintles and other projections from the ship's hull to brace themselves against while they pried and drilled.

2. In the case of the "Golden Vanity", we may all have overlooked one possibility; that the Spanish or whatever enemy vessel sunk by the cabin boy was grounded at low tide (happens a lot in the Low Countries). This would explain why her crew had leisure to play snap, or snakes and ladders, or whatever. The cabin boy could stand on a solid bottom and work against a similarly immovable ship's hull. After a few hours, the tide comes in, glug, glug, glub, bubble.

3. The ship's crew in life belts ? When were these introduced ? It could give us a "not-before" date for this song, unless the dreaded "folk process" added this little touch over the course of time.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 12:57 PM

the version I know best has the Spanish enemy "lay"-ing along the Lowland sea just before sunk rather then "sailing"


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 01:19 PM

HuwG:

Your "grounded on a Dutch bar" hypothesis is the first one I've heard that sounds even feasible; but I am sorry to say it seems to me such a dramatic component of the story would not have been dropped out of the story even by the most ruthless Folk Process.

(The most ruthless folk process is the one that says, "Folk you and the horse you came in on!")


A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 02:12 PM

Only one problem with that: if the Spanish enemy was grounded, why couldn't the Golden Vanity, Sweet Trinity, Merry Golden Tree, Turkey Revelry, or whatever, 1) if feeling bloody-minded, just lob a cartload of cannon balls at it in the usual manner, thus rendering it unable to sail anywhere when the tide rose; or 2) simple raise a middle digit and sail blithely off while letting a chorus of Bronx cheers waft across the water on the breeze?

'Course it wouldn't be much of a story then. . . .

But then again, if both ships were grounded, that would change things. But that's reading quite a bit into it, and one would think that anything that important would have been mentioned in the ballad.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 03:18 PM

a one ounce swallow could not carry a coconut...


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Nerd
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 03:26 PM

An African or a European swallow?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Peter T.
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 03:40 PM

I think the intriguing thing is to name your ship "the Golden Vanity". Is this not asking for trouble?

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 05:41 PM

Peter:

There is something to your question and something even more to the choosing of such a nonsensical name. Do you know if it has a birthright in English literature or some obscure religous or moral essay? What, indeed, is a golden vanity? Is it one that stands out from other vanities, as one of the deadly sins might? Whence does such a phrase grow?

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Phot
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 06:17 PM

Get real Amos, it was supposed to be funny!

Chris


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Nerd
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 06:27 PM

Is a golden vanity a bathroom fixture? If so, how about "The Silver Bidet" or "the platinum crapper"? Now THOSE are bad names for a ship...


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Amos
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 08:32 PM

Phot:

Apologies for confusing your jest with density! :>) Would you believe I have met people who could deliver it with no humor at all intended??

A


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Phot
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 03:08 AM

No worries Amos!...........I still think the Torpex is the best soloution though! ;)

Wassail!
Chris


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: HuwG
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 07:50 AM

Some further thoughts on the possibility that the enemy of the "Golden Vanity" (and the "Vanity" herself) were grounded at the time of the incident.

1. It would explain why the cabin boy was in extremis after swimming back to the "Vanity". He had been swimming over dry land. You could argue, why then was he drowning ? Well, it is possible to drown in a puddle if too exhausted to stand or get up. Or, that the tide was coming in.

2. It might explain why the captain was so ungracious. He realised that some superhuman feat, for which he had promised in advance a sum of gold and his daughter's hand, was in fact a deed which anyone could have accomplished. So, as he watched his foe simply fail to float, he would no doubt have smote his forehead and cried, "Doh!". And taken measures to avoid paying out.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 08:40 AM

There was at least one incident, I am not sure in which war, in which several opposing vessels were grounded and their crews attacked each other with the intent of damaging the enemy vessel. One side succeeded and sailed off with the rising tide, leaving the other to sink in the lowland sea.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 10:08 AM

I think EBarnacle is on to something here. If both ships were temporarily grounded in shallow water (the lowland sea), waiting for the tide to come back in, wouldn't that give a likely lad the idea to paddle over to the other ship, bore a few holes in it, and swim back with the rising tide (the song does mention the drifting tide)? Course it doesn't deal with the other technical issues, but I like the images.

yours,

Peter T.

P.S. I assume the name "The Golden Vanity" is a tipoff that the ensuing story wasn't going to go well. The other ship name it echoes is "The Golden Hind". All the many names of ships attached to this song have to have "eee" on the end!


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 10:11 AM

The battle between the Monitor and the Virginia ended in a draw, The Virginia went aground, and the Monitor left to sink another day.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 05:33 PM

Some decades ago, a friend of mine had a somewhat different slant on the matter of the cabin boy. His argument (augerment?) went as follows:

"Okay. Here they are, sailing in the Lowland Sea, and they fear they will be taken by the Spanish enemy. Then this kid has an idea of how he can save the ship, save the captain, save his mess mates, and save his own sorry ass. So instead of just doing it, he jumps on the opportunity to blackmail the captain for gold and silver and the captain's fair young daughter his bonny bride to be. What would he have done if the captain had told him, 'Stick it, you little twerp! We'll take our chances and shoot it out!' Would he have just sat there sulking and let them fight it out, see a lot of his mess mates get killed, and maybe get killed himself? Why are his mess mates so broken up about this kid when he actually does die? He was using their lives as bargaining chips! The kid's an opportunistic little roach! I have no sympathy!"

Well . . . he does seem to have a point.

Also, I was thinking of the people (some folk singers I know, both here on Mudcat and face to face) who rail on about how stupid the plots of operas are! When it comes to stupid plots, there are a few ballads that can easily match the dumbest of opera scenarios.

But wotthehell! It's still a good song.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 06:12 PM

I think your friend is full of it. Here is a chance to drown the other ship, no loss of life on your ship, as opposed to big explosions, swords up your wazoo, and if you are lucky, the rest of your life in a galley ship in North Africa. The cabin boy takes some initiative, so if it goes wrong, no great loss, one cabin boy. Kid who plays the harmonica, probably, sense of adventure, while the rest of us sit around moaning about how we are going to die. Boy playing hero, so captain says, what the hell, I'll give you the moon. Could the captain have stopped at gold and silver, probably, but he was probably amused by the whole thing, hey I'll throw in my daughter, and make you Archbishop of Canterbury -- watch the looney kid drown, interesting story to talk about tomorrow, let's watch, and I'll put a pound on the kid to drown, 100-1 on the side with the first mate.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Deckman
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 06:54 PM

GEEZE ... You guys are brutal! Where's the romance? No wonder there's no wimmen posting anymore! Bob


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Gareth
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 07:17 PM

(See an earlier post of mine) I still maintain that the Skipper recognised that the cabin boy had served on the "Good Ship Venus" and was still SORE about that.

On the other hand, revenge may not have been his motive, rather a desire to protect his daughter from the sexual proclivities of the cabin boy ---- ????

BTW

As one who has walked/struggled/slithered over the mud in the Medway/Swale/London River/Whitstable Bay at times I would cast a doubt about the enemy being attacked at low water by a deshipped cabin boy. Particullay if weighted down with an auger, or scuttling charges, fuses etc.

But if it had been winter, perchance the cabin boy could have walked over the ice ???

ALSO BTW - Ta ! Huw. for your corrections to my synposis of the "Hornblower" story.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 10:39 PM

I'm with Bob the Deckman on this one.

That was Bob Clark, by the way. Not the Bob Clark who owned the Place Next Door, but the Bob Clark who played left-handed guitar and sang.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 06:14 PM

-- As for the theory of the ships having run aground in the "lowland sea": (BTW, we haven't decided if this is actually a reference to the coast of the "low countries", or not. I asked about that earlier, but there've been no other comments. I'm sure there are other lowland seas in the world -- or are there?) At first thought, I saw it as a similar but alternate vision to the ships being becalmed. However, if only the Spanish enemy was aground, there would be no need for the Golden Vanity to be worried -- she could have just sailed away. If both were aground, then how could the enemy ship "sink"? On the other hand, holing its bottom and flooding her hold would allow for the possibility of making sure the enemy stayed aground while the GV sailed off with the high tide. (I like my becalmed in the fog scenario better, I think.)

-- Someone asked about the GV just lobbing a "cartload of cannonballs" into the Sp. enemy, and another talked of the possibility of "shooting it out." There's nothing in the versions I've seen (admittedly not all of them) that the GV was a warship, or even armed at all. Only by inference is the Sp. enemy a warship (the assertion that the GV "feared she might be taken"). They might have been unarmed, but if the two countries were at war, the GV crew still feared that they could be "taken" especially if the enemy was a larger ship with a more numerous crew.

-- According to the song the cabin boy "swam" (not waded or slithered through the mud) both TO the enemy and also back. Even if the ships were aground they wouldn't have been "on dry land" as someone suggested... only in water shallow enough for the ship(s) not to be able to float freely (and shallow enough for the cabin boy to be able to stand on the bottom to get the leverage to drill his holes, as someone else suggested). How tall were 12 year old boys in those days? (Even those who might have reached puberty in order
to be lusting after the "lovely captain's daughter" who he had probably never seen?)

-- This HAS been a fascinating thread, and I marvel at some of the powers of imagination that have been exhibited... but I'm about at the end of mine. Let's face it: it's a song about an imaginary incident of derring-do by a young boy who suceeds in an impossible feat only to be done in by the perfidy of an unscrupulous adult. Still, as someone commented, it's a great song, and the very impossibility of the tale only increases the fun of singing it. Don't all peoples of all times in all countries enjoy telling "tall tales?" (And try to pass them off as true to "outland" sassenachs (read gullible) listeners? Let's just enjoy THIS tall tale. I don't like being a wet blanket, but I think we've milked this one for about all we can get out of it.

-- Some earlier posts here referred to the McBride twins... Willie and Arthur, and whether or not they were Irish. I think I'll go hunt for threads about them. (And the "twins" bit is a joke for the literal minded here.)

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Gareth
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 07:16 PM

Hmmm ! Well they do say a Swordfish could sink a ship, now if the cabin boy had had This at his command ????

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Melani
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 10:41 PM

Deckman--our Sea Scouts managed to sink both a Cal 20 and a sailing whaleboat exactly the way you described, by leaving the cork out--fortunately both in shallow water.

Skip--don't tease us like that--with a .45?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Teribus
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 05:03 AM

Hi Gareth,

A week last Sunday saw your Swordfish flying at about 800 - 1000ft over the Solent - absolutely magnificent.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Phot
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 06:46 AM

Teribus, wait til next season, both Stringbags will be back, if you want I'll try and keep all vintage AC enthusiasts up to date with whats going on at work, I'll see what I can come up with.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:36 AM

EBarnacle, you might be thinking of the Basque Roads during the Napoleonic Wars.

Briefly, Cochrane came up with an idea to destroy the French fleet which was anchored in the Basque Roads. He sailed a ship filled with explosives, supported by nineteen fireships, towards the French. The explosion itself did not do a lot of damage, but it panicked many of the French into cutting their cables. By morning all but two were aground. Cochrane, by now back in his own ship, the frigate Imperieuse, signalled to Admiral Gambier to come and finish off the enemy.

Gambier, who had his nose out of joint because a junior captain had been sent to carry out this major mission, and who also thought that the use of explosion ships was diabolical, did not move. Cochrane with his frigate finished off one stranded battleship, and eventually Gambier sent in three line-of-battle ships which finished off three more. Gambier then ordered all ships to return.

After this disastrous waste of opportunity Gambier was cleared by a very political court-martial.

Cochrane was an amazing man - read any biography of him you can get. Some of his exploits turn up in the Hornblower books, as well as others.


Now - back to the thread - if the cabin boy held on to the rudder post with one hand to prevent counter-rotation while he drilled his little holes ........


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Hrothgar
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:42 AM

That last post was me. What the hell happened to my cookie?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: InOBU
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:55 AM

I think this thread could sink a ship!!!!!!!!!!!!! Larry


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 08:10 AM

All this speculation about what would or what would not have been possible to do in the way of drilling holes in ships is a bit beside the point. If it is true, as has been stated, that warships did in fact in Elizabethan times employ swimmers with augers, they must have been capable of carrying out some useful function. So isn't anybody who knows something about naval history going to do a bit of research into what that was, and cast light on the whole subject?

Perhaps the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich could come up with the goods?

It appears that the 1635 version featuring Walter Raleigh as the heavy has the ship called The Sweet Trinity. Perhaps "Golden Vanity" was an adjustment with biblical overtones - "Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity..." Which would be very fitting in relation to Water Raleigh's life story. (Even down to the double meaning of vanity, since he was something of a peacock - though I'm not sure if the word could carry the current meaning at that time.)


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: HuwG
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 08:50 AM

From Purser Calderon's [1] account of the Spanish Armada (1588), referring to the Spanish Flagship, the "San Martin" :


"... the holes made in the hull between wind and water caused so great a leakage that two divers had as much as they could do to stop them up with tow and lead plates, working all day".

Evidently, it was possible for divers to use mallets and other tools under water, even while the ship was under way. On the other hand, I would assume that they were being helped by the crew, and were attached by lifelines. But at any rate, it seems that professional divers existed, and were skilled and resourceful craftsmen. If asked to scuttle rather than save a ship, they would probably have obliged.





[1] Calderon's account is used by most Armada historians, but this name has to be a joke, right ? It is the Spanish word for "cauldron" or "cooking-pot".


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Schantieman
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 09:19 AM

To creep back to unsuitable names for vessels, the RN has four yachts at Jupiter Point (W of Plymouth) called Headstrong, Heads I Win, Hedonist and (wait for it).... Head Over Heels!

It hasn't yet.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 10:31 AM

this name has to be a joke, right

Why should it be? After all, "Kettle" is not an uncommon English surname. (For example - journalist Marin Kettle, here writing about drink.)


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joe_F
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 06:54 PM

HuwG: According to the OED, "between wind and water" means "on the load-line of a ship, which, as the vessel tosses, is alternately above and below the water's surface". This makes the mention of divers rather puzzling.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:04 PM

Those wouldn't be deep sea divers with helmets and all that. They weren't invented for hundreds of years. They'd be blokes swimming in the water, who would themseleves be "alternately above and below the water's surface"


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Gareth
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:14 PM

Schantieman - And if she 'pitchpoled' - Would it be "Head over keel" ?????

Gareth - Ducking and Weaving.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 09:41 AM

Head over keel is the normal mode.

SEA SONGS AND BALLADS, ed. by Christopher Stone includes "Sir Walter Raleigh Sailing in the Low-lands." In this version, the cabin boy uses a breast drill and Sir Walter takes him back aboard then gives him everything except the daughter. Even using a breast drill, there would have had to have been some sort of hooks to keep the driller from rotating as he drilled. The other possibility is that, as the song says "The which will bore fifteen good holes at once, sailing in the Low-lands," the multiplicity of holes anchored the person doing the drilling against rotation.

Although it is not the incident mentioned earlier, THE SEA WARRIORS, Richard Woodman, p.53, [author of the Nathaniel Drinkwater series] cites an event in 1794, when the French cavalry captured the Netherlands' fleet by attacking over ice on the Zuider Zee.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 04:47 AM

20000 Folk Songs Site
lists a song

"A Boy He Had an Auger"

but currently no words, sorry...

:-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joe_F
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 07:36 PM

Robin: I think that may be a version of

Peeping thru the knothole in grandpa's wooden leg,
Who'll wind the clock when I am gone, etc.

But I can't find a copy of it to check. I could have sworn it was in _The New Song Fest_.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 06:28 PM

Listening to the album of "Family Songs and Stories from the North Carolina Mountains" (Smithsonian Folkwayswith Doug and Jack Wallin, Doug sings yet another version of the "Golden Vanity" -- in this one the boy has "an instrument made for the use" and "cut ninety-nine gashes in the Turkish Robberree" (the name of the opponent in this one). That sounds more like it!!!!

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 06:25 PM

Well here's how it REALLY happened.
There was this little cabin boy (hereafter LCB) who fell in love with his captain's daughter. Captain was offering all kinds of incentives to anyone able to sink the enemy ship. Sooo - LCB invented a cunning device, he being Cornish and technologicaly adept.   On the evening that his gaget was finished he stood alone on the deck, the watch was dozing, and couldn't help but cry out into the night wind, "I have a magic tool!" Unbeknowst to him a Mermaid combing her hair on a nearby rock heard the brave boast. (Mermaid = expert underwater swimmer. Able to perform magic for a price.) She was very, very interested. Human male tools are usually completely inadequate to satisfy a Mermaid. They made this deal. "I'll help you sink the enemy ship but when I call you away, you must come to me!" said the Mermaid. LCB was sure he could avoid the Mermaid's payment (it never works but humans always think it will). The deed was done by the Mermaid. LCB only had to wait in the water beside his ship. Of course the Mermaid arranged for LCB to be thrown overboard into her arms. She was a little puzzled by LCB's claims about the "Magic Tool" but he satisfied her quite well anyway and they lived happily ever after.

How do I know all this? Well Folks that Little Cabin Boy was my great, great, great grandfather - Sailor Jack Semmens from Cornwall.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 07:22 PM

And as to the gadget Sailor Jack invented. Well it never would have worked would it? The Mermaid knew that. She would have thrown it away except that Jack was so proud of it. It got passed down as a family heirloom. It's somewhere in the bottm drawer of the kitchen cupboard. Never found a domestic use for a drillin' tool that bored nine holes at once.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 08:03 PM

Ahhh... Now I understand...


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 04:38 AM

You wouldn't lie to us, would you, Joybell?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 12:00 PM

Thing I've always wondered about in the GV story. Here the captain had a crewmember who could outswim a ship in full sail, AND operate tools whilst keeping up with the enemy ship. Now, it seems to me that that kind of swimming isn't found every day, and, though the times were different, having a super swimmer to take on exhibition would pay lots better than running a ship, and they wouldn't even be mutually exclusive! Set up the exhibitions at the ports of call of the GV, and rake in the yokels' shekels. As for the daughter and the gold, you can always make allowances -- the girl should have SOME say in whom she marries, so the poor cabin-boy gets the cold mutton there, and, yes, I've put the gold in an account till you reach your majority. It's invested, my boy! Plastics!

Anyway, my tuppence on the subject.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 02:33 PM

Joybell, you could always use it for big parties. A corkscrew for nine bottles at a time!!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 04:51 PM

Yes! Of course! Thanks Don. My family never threw anything out. I knew we'd find a use for it sooner or later. Come along Christmas parties.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 05:01 PM

Would I lie? Of course not! I'm the great-great-great granddaughter of a Mermaid why would I lie about that? It's an honour not bestowed on just anyone. I'm very proud of my heritage.
PS. I have a secret sea-name but I'm not telling for fear of being taken by Water Spirit.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: IanC
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 08:30 AM

I was just re-reading Demond Seward's "The Hundred Years War" and thought of this thread.

Seward's account of The Battle of Sluys (1340) says (p43):

"... there were even divers who tried to sink the enemy ships by boring holes in their hulls below water ..."

Oddly enough, Sluys is in the Netherlands (Lowlands) and the battle was essentially between English Cogs (converted merchant ships) and Galleys, and other vessels, belonging to the French, their allies the Castillians (Spanish) and a Genoese mercenary fleet under Barbanera (Barbenoire, or "Blackbeard" to the French).

Sewards sources are a number of contemporary chronicles, but mainly Froissart and Geoffrey le Baker for accounts of Sluys. The information doesn't appear to be in Froissart, though, and I don't currently have access to a full version of de Baker or any of the other contemporary chronicles:

The Chroniques de London depuis L'An 44 Henri III jusque d L'An 17 Edward III
Chronicon Monasterii de Melsa
Adam Murimuth, Continuatio Chronicarum
Chronicon de Lanercost


:-)


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Carlos
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 01:52 PM

The date of H the 8 to E the 1 (around 1600) suggests a Spanish enemy; that is the period of the armada. The versions of the song that refer to a Turkish enemy may be later, when England's enemy was the Turkish empire, including the Barbary pirates in north Africa. The Lowland Sea is specifically off the Netherlands (Nether means "Low").
    I have read that in the late 1700's the Turkish galleys would catch an English ship becalmed and get on its quarter where it cannot bring a cannon to bear and pound it all day with a bow gun. A galley is moved by oars, usually by slaves, rather than by sails. A ship in this position is in a dire strait and facing a slow death; there would be time for a boy to swim the distance and drill holes, and the desparation to try anything. Also, the galley would not be moving.
    The usual counter was for the ship to launch a boat and pull or push the bow around so that its broadside would bear on the galley. The galley would try to sink the boat, and if they succeeded, the ship was back in the frying pan.
    In any era, as long as there are cannon so that the galley can stand off, a galley has this advantage over a ship when the wind is calm.
    This doesn't address the basic question of whether it is possible to drill a hole or if the hole can let in enough water; but it has been my concept of how the battle took place.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 06:47 PM

Carlos - the practice you describe lasted until the middle 1800s, rowed gunboats were part of the coast defence of most nations (at least, those with a coast). If a ship anchored with two anchors, or with what was called a spring on the anchor (basically another rope attached to a different part of the ship) the ship could turn a bit to bring guns to bear. Of course, you have to be able to anchor!


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,GUEST, Stephen
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 08:29 PM

Interesting thread. I have assumed that the cabin boy also carried a wire saw, drilled two holes above the waterline and one below, in a sort of inverted triangle two or three feet across, and threaded the wire saw through each pair of holes and cut through. When the last cut was mostly done, water pressure would push the triangle of wood in, and a gaping hole would appear, sufficient to sink even a large galleon in little time if the hole wasn't found and plugged almost immediately. Of course, the cabin boy would have to be ready to swim away as soon as the wood gave way, or he'd be sucked into the sinking ship along with the rest of the water.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 02 Dec 04 - 02:18 AM

Oh, some were playing cards and some were playing dice
And some were doing Turkish [or pirate, etc.] things which weren't very nice.

The crew were obviously distracted, which allowed the HCB to sneak up on them whilst becalmed and use his miraculous tool to enhance the natural ability of planked vessels to leak into the bilges.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Jimships
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 06:21 AM

It is a matter for physics. If the water weight gain into the hull from the hole/s exceeded the submerged and displaced volume of water of the immersed ship, than she would sink. Anything less than no and a floating condition. Slightly positive buoyancy would be normal for wooden ships. What sunk "ships of the line" was the ballast and cargo below. Usually ballast was stone or iron in some later ships and the cargo was dry or wet goods in barrels. Most of which floated. The guns were heavy and the guns generally fell about on the gin decks or out of the ship if she rolled hard for any reason. Most other ships were fishing vessels and the hold of fish would be slightly negative buoyancy and salt was typically in abundance.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 02:36 PM

1. I'm pretty sure that in those far-off days nobody knew how to swim. Not in a quiet pond, let alone in a cold, heaving sea.

2. This ballad is a nautical version of the usual theme of the old ballads, namely, "The upper classes are no good and cannot be trusted."


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: ripov
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 04:53 PM

Might this be an allegorical galleon? Perhaps a "spanish lady" that the captain fancied, but the "cabin boy" got in first? That would explain the lad using his drill 9 times. And the captains crossness.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 07:52 PM

The song The Golden Vanity is poetic license on steroids.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 08:03 PM

However implausible, it makes a good story and that's what matters, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 04:12 AM

Just spotted this old thread.

I have assumed that the cabin boy also carried a wire saw, drilled two holes above the waterline and one below, in a sort of inverted triangle two or three feet across, and threaded the wire saw through each pair of holes and cut through.

As it says in what's surely my favourite version of the ballad:

"He took his little auger and he bored it once or twice
Then he bored for a third time with that little neat device
He made an inverted triangle, which you might have said looked nice
And he sank them in the lowlands low.

"Yes, he made an inverted triangle of holes that were so deep
One in air, two in the water, on the hull that was so steep
And through and through those little holes the water began to seep
And he sank them in the lowlands low.

"Then he sawed with his wire saw, the best that he could do
He ran his saw right through the holes and sawed the hull all through
It only took that boy an hour, or maybe it was two
To sink them in the lowlands low.

"O some were playing card games all of their own invention
And some were in their hammocks doing things I will not mention
But whatever they were doing, it took up their full attention
While he sank them in the lowlands low."


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 05:16 AM

leeneia said: I'm pretty sure that in those far-off days nobody knew how to swim

What a stupid thing to say. Of course they could. You are very dim.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 05:28 AM

Why "of course"? They didn't have swimming pools in those days, you know.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: jimL
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 05:34 AM

No


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 06:39 AM

I expect it has already been said, but the main objection would be that when he tried to turn his auger, it would stand still while the cabin boy rotated.
Action and reaction.
He has nothing to stand or hold on to.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 07:33 AM

c/f Bushnell's 'Turtle'


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 07:38 AM

There was a reference somewhere higher up this thread to a ship being captured when grounded. This ocurred during the Enlish Civil war when a ship was capured by a cavalry troop at Blue Anchor in the Bristol Channel, between Watchet and Minehead.

I would sugest that the cabin boy's best course of action would be to try to board the enemy ship unnoticed, creep down to the bilges and bore holes from the inside. Drilling several holes in a circle, each most of the way through and then break the whole area out and run!


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Noreen on lunch break
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 07:47 AM

Leenia, are you serious??

Swimming has been recorded since prehistoric times; the earliest recording of swimming dates back to Stone Age paintings from around 7,000 years ago. Written references date from 2000 BC. Some of the earliest references to swimming include the Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Bible, Beowulf, and other sagas. In 1578, Nikolaus Wynmann, a German professor of languages, wrote the first swimming book...

from History of swimming on wikipedia

Interesting thread :)


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 08:04 AM

A lad resourceful enough to own and use an auger, would surely be able to make use of a rubber ring, or some such aid to buoyancy.

I still think reaction was his greatest problem.
Of course the law on action and reaction did not come into force until 1687.
Do we have a date for the song?
It could conceivably have come into force between him diving in and attempting to drill.
That would explain why he was unprepared.
If we could find a missing verse that mentions whether the ship recoiled when he dived....


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 08:07 AM

On a dead man's door, you can knock forever.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 09:19 AM

Pip Radish (16 Jun 11 - 04:12 AM), LOL. If you are the poet, well done! Which makes me long for the legendary CHALLENGES. Why not have a folk song for topic, and the challenge would be: add or replace verses to reveal how it really happened. (Not just an alternative ending, we had that before.)

ripov (15 Jun 11 - 04:53 PM) pronounced what every seasoned scholar always thinks of first.

And may I defend leeneia: although in all history most ordinary country dwellers certainly could swim, many educated persons are known who could not - they thought it beneath them. This included ship captains.

Keith A of Hertford (16 Jun 11 - 06:39 AM): Conservation of angular momentum was proclaimed later still, but even if the boy was malnourished, half of his effort would go to the drilling, the other half make him revolve round the auger. Same (more or less) with the "American Turtle". Modern systems have two drills revolving in opposite directions.

One version in the DT has the dead boy shouting from Heaven and sinking the GV for revenge - certainly not a patriotic ending, but matching the rest of the ballad in terms of realism.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 09:27 AM

I read somewhere that some sailors chose not to learn how to swim because they thought it would prolong their death if they fell overboard.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Kendall
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 01:03 PM

Most commercial fishermen to this day don't swim for that very reason.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 03:23 PM

"Leenia, are you serious??"

Of course I'm serious. How could one sister off the other sister in all the Two Sisters ballads if the other sister could swim?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 03:43 PM

the main objection would be that when he tried to turn his auger, it would stand still while the cabin boy rotated

"So he bored his little auger in the pirate ship so hated,
But the auger it stuck fast, while the cabin boy rotated.
Says he, if things go on like this I'll be bloody well belated
Ere I sink them in the lowlands low..."

Something else struck me about the song today. These pirates -

Some were playing cards and some were playing dice
And some were in their hammocks a-sporting with their wives


Not sure how to put this, but is it even possible to... er... sport with one's loved one in a hammock? I know I wouldn't like to try it.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 08:29 PM

I have personally witnessed a little tool sink a folk club. I expect sinking a ship is roughly the same.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 11:15 AM

I asked the DH, a great lover of history books and all things nautical, and he has a scheme involving sheep intestines loaded with black powder. The cabin boy would drill the holes, push in the lethal links, light the fuse, and whammo!

But the plan hit a snag when I asked him how a fuse could burn underwater.

He himself pointed out that the timbers of the ship could be 6 to 12 inches thick. That's arduous argering.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 11:17 AM

oops spelled that wrong

arduous augering


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