sailors superstitions


Have you heard that sailors are super superstitious? Before I was sailing myself, when I watched movies or read books about pirates, I noticed that there are some things they always believe in, for example, woman on board brings bad luck.. How funny, of course in current circumstances, when more and more women set sail and are wonderful sailors. 

So, when I started my sailing journey, I met more and more captains who had their beliefs of what might happen if you do a certain thing and I noticed that a lot of them have some beliefs in common, so I started to read more about sailors superstitions and I would like to show you some and how they have interfered with my life up to this point. 

  • Re-naming a boat - it is bad luck to change the name of the boat. If you do, you must have a de-naming ceremony and officially christen the boat again. So, I did that. Previous name for the boat was Tofla which basically means a shoe. She is a magnificent ship, so I wanted to grant her worthy name for explorations and basically she was like the 'God's Gift' to me - Dorothea hence the first name Dora. At first she was not too happy and I think that she might still be mad at me, but slowly we both get used to the name.
  • Tattoos - when tattooing became popular at sea a rooster and a pig were often tattooed onto sailors' feet. It was believed these animals would prevent the sailors from drowning by showing them the way to shore. Tattoos really is a thing among sailors and now I have 2, one is directly connected to the sailing the other - Little Prince, but I have looked through the various meanings and endless possibilities of compas, anchor and waves, so I am considering them, but definitely not the rooster, sorry.. 
  • Women - were bad luck on board because they distracted the crew, which would anger the sea, causing treacherous conditions as revenge. However, conveniently for the male crew, naked women calmed the sea, which is why so many figureheads were women with bare breasts. How good I am a woman and have been through many sea states. Though I know personally few people that still wouldn't take women on board because of belief that it brings a bad luck or they can't sail.
  • Pouring drink to sea before drinking - before drinking alcoholic drink you must pour some for the sea and the "old one" so it let's you pass safe. I have seen and experienced it so many times. Even when I watched Vendee Globe (Solo sailing races round the Globe) they poured it in the sea to bring good luck. I have no clue how this started, but I might find out one day.
  • The last, most ridiculous but the one I now believe myself! BANANAS 
    No bananas on board. They were believed to be so unlucky they would cause the ship to be lost. Whole cargoes of bananas were especially frightening for sailors. There are few times when bananas and me met on board and all those times did not go so well, so I came to this absurd conclusion bananas = trouble. The first time was when Dora the Explorer made her first attempted voyage from Stockholm to Riga. Why attempted? First few hours were amazing, we were going through narrow canals, ging underneath bridges we weren't too sure about and when the captain went to sleep and we went out in the open sea, just outside of Swedish archipelago, captain came outside with question- do you know that there is water coming in, and it is coming in quite fast. Half of the motor was underneath water, bilge pumps weren't working, there was loud beeping noise from the alarm that we had no clue how to turn off. The magical day soon was real disaster. I mean, now everything is fine and boat is still going, but that was the first time with bananas! I have few other stories with this and other boats and bananas that I might never forget, but that I'll leave for another day. 

So, overall we are bunch of people that believe in certain things and certain ways and I really do wonder, with new generation coming in, will all this be lost to some old tales and stories?

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