sea stories

  • Merci, Monsieur Pitot!

    In 1732, an engineer named Henri Pitot got the job of measuring the flow of the Seine, the famous river that bisects the city of Paris. A late bloomer, Pitot seems to have been an unremarkable student until age 19, when he fell in love with geometry after picking up a book on the subject in a shop. Pitot went on to accomplish many feats of engineering in his career, but it's the contraption he devised to measure the speed of water flow that has made his name famous among boaters.

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  • Blackbeard!

    The most famous pirate of all time, Blackbeard, died three hundred years ago this week. He inspired Robert Louis Stevenson's Long John Silver and J. M. Barrie's Captain Hook, and has been portrayed on film by actors like Ian McShane and Peter Ustinov. As well known as he is, there is much about him that remains mysterious.

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  • Batten Down the Hatches!

    Save 10% on boat deck and floor hatches, escape and ventilation hatches, portlights, and storage boxes through November 25, 2018!

    How many of us have caught wind of trouble and said, "Batten down the hatches"? We know we have. It's something we say and hear often, but have you ever thought of where the expression comes from?

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  • The Burning Ghost Ship of Northumberland Strait

    What's the scariest thing you've ever seen while boating? We're not talking about close encounters with sharks, though those are pretty scary. We want to know your creepy, weird, spooky sea stories.

    Last year, we scared ourselves silly with the tale of Mary Celeste, the most famous ghost ship of all time. This year, we turn from the warm waters of the Sargasso Sea to the windswept Maritime Provinces for a legend as chilling as the Bay of Fundy.

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  • Father's Day: Remembering Dad

    Happy Father's Day, dads! We're celebrating with cookouts, steak dinners, and boat rides, as well as remembering our fathers who have passed away. This is a story from our own Gene W. about a fearless backwoods boy his father knew in the Army, and the happiness Gene feels when he remembers how much his father loved to tell this story.

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  • Rudders and Wheels

    Nowadays, steering a boat doesn't require much thought; the boat goes where you turn the wheel. Those of us who use an outboard motor know that steering with a tiller is not like steering a car. You want the rudder to point the way you want to go, which means pointing the tiller in the opposite direction. After the invention of the ship's wheel about 1703, the transition from rudder orders to wheel orders was not without difficulty, and sometimes resulted in tragedy.

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  • The Luck of the Irish

    Humans have been boating for tens of thousands of years. Spear points found on the Greek island of Naxos suggest that even Neanderthals took to the waves as long as a quarter of a million years ago. The far-flung islands of the vast Pacific Ocean were discovered by ancient seafarers, some of whom built the mysterious moai statues on Easter Island eight hundred years ago.

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  • The Gales of November

    November is a month for unpredictable, dangerous weather on the Great Lakes. The most ferocious winds don't usually roar in until late in the month, as they did in 1905. Over two days near the end of that November, the "Mataafa Storm" damaged or destroyed 29 ships on Lake Superior, including the steamer which gave the storm its name.

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  • Ghost Ships

    Hallowe'en is a few days away, the leaves are falling fast from the trees, and the gales of November are winding up here on the shore of Lake Michigan. On nights like this, the waxing moon glows in a halo of clouds, and the waves seem to sigh mournfully, as if lamenting the summer that is gone. This weather puts us in the mood for a good ghost story, of which the history of boating has no lack. Help yourself to some hot cider (or a pot of grog, if the fancy takes you) and gather round.

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  • 13 Seafaring Superstitions

    When facing something as mighty and unpredictable as the sea, sailors and fishermen have long sought ways to tip the odds in their favor. Since ancient times, superstitions have surrounded boating. In honor of Friday the Thirteenth, we've compiled thirteen spooky boating superstitions and traditions. Do you observe any of these?

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