I’ve often wondered what ‘seamanship’ really is and who, if anyone, has the definitive article in their posession.
It’s not that I don’t understand or approve of the aims of seamanship – it’s about keep lives safe and protecting boats from harm while successfully travelling on the water. But, like the proverbial skinners of cats, boat users all have their own methods, and there seems to be at least as many forms of correct seamanship as there are sailors.
Whatever sea-related activity you care to name, someone somewhere does it differently and will tell you all about it in a very firm and authoritative way – in the club bar, online or, sometimes, even on our own boats.
So I thought it might be fun and informative (and hopefully uncontroversial) to consider what seamanship was thought to be a century or so ago. So here are the cover and first few pages of Tait’s Seamanship, a splendid little document produced by a Glasgow maritime educational establishment whose principals had the good sense to provide courses for masters discreetly in a separate room.
I hope you enjoy the scans – as usual, click on the images for much larger, easily readable images.