A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
Re: The shipwreck of Admiral Shovell
From: Gary LaPook
Date: 2007 Aug 30, 14:14 -0700
From: Gary LaPook
Date: 2007 Aug 30, 14:14 -0700
I'm curious about when "Spanish Ladies" was composed too. There are other differences in the songs (not surprisingly with ships crews singing them from memory) and the version I know has the line "let tacks and sheets fly" which makes sense for a ship coming to anchor when the crew would be hauling up on the clew garnets. (Thanks for the whole song.) gl On Aug 30, 1:31 pm, "George Huxtable"
wrote: > Gary LaPook wrote about the old song which states "Twixt Ushant and Scilly > is thirtyfive leagues", to which he added-"we hove our ships to for to > strike soundings fair, in forty five fathoms with a white sandy bottom, we > squared our main yard and up channel we flew." > > he added later- > > | I was also attracted by the line "with a white sandy bottom" which I > | knew was referring to the bottom sample brought up stuck to the "arming" > | of the dipsea lead. I took it from this song that it was common > | knowledge, for a long time, that "a white sandy bottom" was good news, > | indicating that the ship was near the center of the channel, far from > | dangers on either side. Do you know if this is a correct interpretation > | and if the character of the bottom was known in 1707 to the extent that > | Shovel could have known, from the stuff brought up on the lead, that he > | was too close to the Scillies? > > ======================= > > To be honest, that line about 35 leagues was all I knew of the song. But my > wife Joan is made of sterner stuff, and when I mentioned it, she went > straight to the shelf with Stan Hugills's nice book, "Shanties from the > Seven Seas" (1984 edition), and found "Spanish Ladies". Stan was himself a > shantyman under sail, in one of the limejuice Cape Horners. So what can I do > now, but quote you the whole thing? > > Spanish Ladies. > > Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies, > Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain, > For we've received orders to sail for old England > An' hope very shortly to see you again. > > Chorus, repeated after each verse- > > We'll rant an' we'll roar, like true British sailors, > We'll rant an' we'll roar, across the salt seas, > Till we strike soundings in the Channel of Old England, > From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-four leagues. > > We hove our ship to, with the wind at sou'west, boys, > We hove our ship to for to take soundings clear, > In fifty-five fathoms with a fine sandy bottom, > We filled our maintops'l, up Channel did steer. > > The first land we made was a point called the Deadman, > Next Ramshead off Plymouth, Start, Portland and Wight. > We sailed then by Beachie, by Fairlee and Dungeyness, > Then bore straight away for the South Foreland Light. > > Now the signal was made for the Grand Fleet to anchor, > We clew'd up our tops'ls, stuck out tacks and sheets > We stood by our stoppers, we brailed in our spankers > And anchored ahead of the noblest of fleets. > > Let every man here drink up his full bumper, > Let every man here drink up his full bowl, > And let us be jolly and drown melancholy, > Drink a health to each jovial an' true-hearted soul. > > ================ > > Hugill mentions a number of alternative wordings, including 35 leagues (and > even 45 leagues!) for the distance Ushant-Scilly. On a modern chart, I make > it 99 nautical miles, or 33 leagues. There are various alternatives in that > list of Channel headlands, all of which will be familiar to the small-boat > cruising sailor of today. > > The depth he gives for the sounding, 55 fathoms, differs quite a lot from > the 45 figure that Gary quoted. Hugill also mentions a 45-fathom version of > the song. 55 would correspond, roughly, to a line between Ushant and Scilly, > whereas the 45 fathom figure would correspond better to a line between, say, > Lizard and Roscoff, on the North Brittany coast. > > Perhaps, then, in view of those divergences, there should be a disclaimer > attached, saying- "The words of this song should not be used for the > purposes of navigation." > > What's particular interesting to me, though, is just how technically > detailed the words are. It reads almost like a pilot-book. > > The only phrase that seems doubtful to me is "stuck out tacks and sheets". > The tacks and sheets are the lines that lead from the lower corners (clews) > of the courses, tacks leading forward, and sheets aft. I wonder whether > those words should be "struck down", to describe those lines being taken > down at the end of the voyage. > > Hugill also tells us of a Bluenose version, sung by Nova Scotians. > > Gary asked about the phrase "white sandy bottom", which Hugill quotes as > "fine sandy bottom", and asks if this "was good news, indicating that the > ship was near the center of the channel, far from dangers on either side. > > I really couldn't say. That phrase doesn't appear on the Mount & Page chart > of 1702. From the context, clearly that was indeed taken to be good news. It > might have indicated a mid-channel location, as Gary suggests, or perhaps it > indicated simply that the vessel had got East of the dangerous Ushant-Scilly > gap. I doubt if reading the lead, in that way, was anything of an exact > science. > > I wonder what the date of "Spanish Ladies" was? We might get a clue from the > date that the South Foreland became lit. > > George. > > contact George Huxtable at geo...---.u-net.com > or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222) > or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK. --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ To post to this group, send email to NavList@fer3.com To unsubscribe, send email to NavListfirstname.lastname@example.org -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---