Friday, January 14, 2022

Four-masted barque rounding Cape Horn

TL;DR -- Captain Johnson filmed his voyage, as a young seaman, rounding Cape Horn in a barque. That was 1928. He narrated the film in 1980. The film has so much to discuss. It's clearly an example of something that could be used to talk sides of several issues. Young people using their muscle and brains? Yes, 'meta' verse as some paragon? Hah. Seafaring has some appeal beyond normal. But, that work of keeping the ship going represents lots and lots of work done prior to now, being done now, and to be done (robots? silly, to the max). Oh yes, phenomenal notions and thoughts of existential aspects are very much to be brought forth. 


Of late, we were in a landlubber mode which can be the natural bent of the soldier. Albeit, the U.S. Army once exulted in having more watercraft than the U.S. Navy and more aircraft than the U.S. Air Force. But, we had a good reason for our focus: the Great Interior of the U.S which was carved for over a century. There have been many posts on this theme where we can use Sam Dunn's look as a basis. 

As said, we would get back to the seafaring mode (say whaling, Gardner Jonah) as that was one way of New England. Salem, MA, like other coastal towns, excelled in shipping (John Lowell Gardner, I) and shipbuilding (Shipwrighting, USS Merrimack). Shipping companies had lots of vessels as the article on John Lowell Gardners shows. Some of these were barques which were highly efficient, in speed and capacity. We looked into that a little while researching the owners of the barque Bostonian that wrecked off the coast of Oregon in 1850. It had left Boston the year before, got to San Francisco, ventured over to New Zealand and was going north from San Francisco to deliver supplies to miners. The owner, Henry D. Gardiner was a descendant of George Gardiner of Rhode Island, however his two wives were descendants of Thomas Gardner of Salem. In our research, we look for those associations, including Gardner, Essex County, Massachusetts or New England. Lots of research still to do. 

There have been many written reports on sailing and ventures thereby as well as problems, such as that of the Essex out of Nantucket. But, film/video is recent. As well, many renditions are fictional, made later. Or, they are something similar. 

Today, we found this which is phenomenally apropos for several reasons. The film was of a voyage of a Four Masted Barque rounding Cape Horn (via Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.) that was filmed by a young sailor in 1928. He later narrated the film in 1980. The file starts in the North Sea. The narrator talks about specifics of the work of managing a large vessel such as this. He talks of the physical labor involved. Notice, not complains, describes. This was before hydraulic assists and other modern conveniences. 

As the old guy says, why sign up for such misery? Well, the thrills and the joys of sailing. We could add doing such over a large ocean with sun rises and sets. Plus, no voyage would ever be the same as another. To, the demanding work had to be satisfying; as the narrator said, you did what you had to do to keep the ship healthy.  

If can this wasn't heard: in bad weather, four on and four off. Too, notice no gloves or safety equipment. One learned to be careful. Also, there are several copies of this film in museums. He gave a talk in London to insurance people. One remark that he heard was that dozens of other vessels would not have made it through the voyage. 

The film is so rich of memes (not stupid computer-based thingees, no real life) that we could talk forever, almost, about how this could be used to bridge the real world and that of the pretend, even if it supposedly augments the world of today's pampered lives. 

Remarks: Modified: 01/15/2022

01/15/2022 -- Add links to the Mystic Seaport Museum and a post on Capt. Edmund Gardner, the Gardner Jonah. 

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