Category Archives: Culture: songs, stories, photography and art

Traditions and culture relevant to the world of real boating and sailors

Admiral Michiel de Ruyter gets the movie treatment

Michiel de Ruyter (ADMIRAL) – Trailer from Rebel Film on Vimeo.

Just to explain… This is the Admiral de Ruyter who famously led the Dutch Navy’s Raid on the Medway in June 1667 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War.

He should be better known to us Brits – and I gather the new film will be available with subtitles. Check the starry cast by the way…

De Ruyter bombarded and then captured the town of Sheerness, then sailed up up the River Medway to Chatham, where the Dutch burned three capital ships and ten smaller naval vessels, and towed away the Unity and the Royal Charles, then the pride of the English fleet.

It was one of the worst defeats in the Royal Navy’s history, and led to a quick and favourable peace for the Dutch.

De Ruyter, I gather, was later a key figure in Prince William of Orange’s arrival in the UK, leading up to the Glorious Revolution, in which the Dutch Protestant and his wife Mary became king and queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Read about De Ruyter here, and for a more English view of the Raid on the Medway, click here.

How to live afloat in winter, by Claudia Myatt

river-girl

Life on board in winter. The birds keep you company…

‘Summer afloat is a glorious, expansive picnic. The entire river is my living space, into which friends ebb and flow with boats, music and wine. Earning a living still means long hours indoors of course, but apart from that there are light evenings, maintenance sessions on the boat, voyages to plan, dinghies to play around with, all sorts of shippy business going on. Above all else in the summer, there is light – abundant, endless, late and early, helpful daylight.

Winters are a different matter altogether…

How often have you thought of living afloat? No doubt, like me, it was the thought of winter that put you off the idea – the cold, the condensation, the lack of shelter, the likely lack of near neighbours the fear of falling off the gangplank, and anxiety about emergencies with mooring lines on a cold and stormy night are all enough to worry a person.

So I was intrigued to read renowned maritime illustrator Claudia Myatt’s observations and advice on the subject. A lot of it seems to centre around keeping your firewood and your feet dry, and always having a torch. But she also argues for making the most of the situation rather than waiting for conditions to become perfect – which will often seem pretty remote in the depths of a wet, cold,  windy and darki winter.