Chelsea Yacht Club

Click to add text...

Find Us On Facebook


8-22 Front St., PO Box 180

Chelsea-on-Hudson, NY 12512


Latitude  N 041° 33.190
Longitude  W 073° 58.221

Notable Quotes of a Nautical Nature

Notable Quotes of a Nautical Nature

This is a work in progress.  The number and variety of quotes relating to yachting and the sea seem as grains of sand on a beach. So, if you have a favorite quote you would like added, please email it to the Web Editors via the link below.


No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.
Samuel Johnson, from Boswell's Life of Johnson

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats . . . or with boats . . . In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter.
Kenneth Grahame
The Wind in the Willows

"It is as hard to describe the fascination of the sea as to explain the beauty of a woman.
For, to each man, either it is self-evident, or no argument can help him see it."
Claud Worth, 1926
Yacht Cruising, 3rd ed.

"The First Rule For Coastal Cruising:
Start Early, Finish Early."

"Lord, your sea is so big, and my boat is so small"

"I start from the premise that no object created by man is as satisfying to his body and soul as a proper sailing yacht."
Arthur Beiser 1978
The Proper Yacht

"A sailing vesel is alive in a way that no ship with mechanical power will ever be."
Aubrey de Selincourt

"One cannot look at the sea without wishing for the wings of a swallow."
Sir Richard Burton

"For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know.
The day will come when I will die.
So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time.
I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear,
or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze."
Richard Bode
First You Have to Row a Little Boat

"Never go into strange places on a falling tide without a pilot."
Thomas Gibson Bowles

"He is the best sailor who can steer within fewest points of the wind, and exact a motive power out of the greatest obstacles.."
Henry David Thoreau

He was begotten in the galley and born under a gun.
Every hair was a rope yarn,
Every finger a fish-hook,
Every tooth a marline-spike,
And his blood right good Stockholm tar.
Naval Epitaph

Sailing is like standing fully clothed under a cold shower tearing up twenty dollar bills.

"They that go down to the sea in ships; and occupy their business in great waters;
These men see the works of the Lord; and His wonders in the deep"
Book of Common Prayer

"No more beautiful sight can be imagined than a morning at sea, with these magnificent vessels racing in mid-ocean, perhaps two or three of them in sight at once.   The sun rising among golden clouds.   The dark blue sea flecked with glistening white caps.   Long, low black hulls cleaving a pathway of sparkling foam.   Towering masts and yards covered with snowy canvas, which bellies to the crisp morning breeze as if sculptured in marble . . ."
Captain Arthur H. Clark

"The true peace of God begins at any point 1,000 miles from the nearest land."
Joseph Conrad

"The humblest craft that floats makes its appeal to a seaman by the faithfulness of her life."
Joseph Conrad

"It was with a happy heart that the good Odysseus spread his sail to catch the wind and used his seamanship to keep his boat straight with the steering oar."

Here lies the body of Captain O'Day,
Who died maintaining his right of way.
He was dead in the right as he sailed along,
But he's just as dead as if he were wrong.

"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand,
as in what direction we are moving.
To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it --
but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1858
The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on a sea's face and grey dawn breaking

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume and the seagulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover,
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

John Masefield

"The acquisition of the knowledge of navigation has a strange effect on the minds of men."
Jack London

"There is a pleasure unknown to the landsman in reading at sea."
William McFee

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    Part I

    It is an ancient Mariner,
    And he stoppeth one of three.
    'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
    Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?
    The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide,
    And I am next of kin;
    The guests are met, the feast is set:
    May'st hear the merry din.'
    He holds him with his skinny hand,
    'There was a ship,' quoth he.
    'Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!'
    Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
    He holds him with his glittering eye--
    The Wedding-Guest stood still,
    And listens like a three years' child:
    The Mariner hath his will.
    The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
    He cannot choose but hear;
    And thus spake on that ancient man,
    The bright-eyed Mariner.
    'The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
    Merrily did we drop
    Below the kirk, below the hill,
    Below the lighthouse top.
    The Sun came up upon the left,
    Out of the sea came he!
    And he shone bright, and on the right
    Went down into the sea.
    Higher and higher every day,
    Till over the mast at noon--'
    The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
    For he heard the loud bassoon.
    The bride hath paced into the hall,
    Red as a rose is she;
    Nodding their heads before her goes
    The merry minstrelsy.
    The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
    Yet he cannot choose but hear;
    And thus spake on that ancient man,
    The bright-eyed Mariner.
    And now the storm-blast came, and he
    Was tyrannous and strong:
    He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
    And chased us south along.
    With sloping masts and dipping prow,
    As who pursued with yell and blow
    Still treads the shadow of his foe,
    And forward bends his head,
    The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
    And southward aye we fled.
    And now there came both mist and snow,
    And it grew wondrous cold:
    And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
    As green as emerald.
    And through the drifts the snowy clifts
    Did send a dismal sheen:
    Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken--
    The ice was all between.
    The ice was here, the ice was there,
    The ice was all around:
    It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
    Like noises in a swound!
    At length did cross an Albatross,
    Thorough the fog it came;
    As if it had been a Christian soul,
    We hailed it in God's name.
    It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
    And round and round it flew.
    The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
    The helmsman steered us through!
    And a good south wind sprung up behind;
    The Albatross did follow,
    And every day, for food or play,
    Came to the mariner's hollo!
    In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
    It perched for vespers nine;
    Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
    Glimmered the white Moon-shine.'
    'God save thee, ancient Mariner!
    From the fiends, that plague thee thus!--
    Why look'st thou so?'--With my cross-bow
    I shot the albatross.
    Part II
    The Sun now rose upon the right:
    Out of the sea came he,
    Still hid in mist, and on the left
    Went down into the sea.
    And the good south wind still blew behind,
    But no sweet bird did follow,
    Nor any day for food or play
    Came to the mariner's hollo!
    And I had done a hellish thing,
    And it would work 'em woe:
    For all averred, I had killed the bird
    That made the breeze to blow.
    Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
    That made the breeze to blow!
    Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,
    The glorious Sun uprist:
    Then all averred, I had killed the bird
    That brought the fog and mist.
    'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
    That bring the fog and mist.
    The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
    The furrow followed free;
    We were the first that ever burst
    Into that silent sea.
    Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
    'Twas sad as sad could be;
    And we did speak only to break
    The silence of the sea!
    All in a hot and copper sky,
    The bloody Sun, at noon,
    Right up above the mast did stand,
    No bigger than the Moon.
    Day after day, day after day,
    We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
    As idle as a painted ship
    Upon a painted ocean.
    Water, water, every where,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, every where,
    Nor any drop to drink.
    The very deep did rot: O Christ!
    That ever this should be!
    Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
    Upon the slimy sea.
    About, about, in reel and rout
    The death-fires danced at night;
    The water, like a witch's oils,
    Burnt green, and blue and white.
    And some in dreams assur{'e}d were
    Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
    Nine fathom deep he had followed us
    From the land of mist and snow.
    And every tongue, through utter drought,
    Was withered at the root;
    We could not speak, no more than if
    We had been choked with soot.
    Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
    Had I from old and young!
    Instead of the cross, the Albatross
    About my neck was hung.
    Part III
    There passed a weary time. Each throat
    Was parched, and glazed each eye.
    A weary time! a weary time!
    How glazed each weary eye,
    When looking westward, I beheld
    A something in the sky.
    At first it seemed a little speck,
    And then it seemed a mist;
    It moved and moved, and took at last
    A certain shape, I wist.
    A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
    And still it neared and neared:
    As if it dodged a water-sprite,
    It plunged and tacked and veered.
    With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
    We could nor laugh nor wail;
    Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
    I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
    And cried, A sail! a sail!
    With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
    Agape they heard me call:
    Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
    And all at once their breath drew in.
    As they were drinking all.
    See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!
    Hither to work us weal;
    Without a breeze, without a tide,
    She steadies with upright keel!
    The western wave was all a-flame.
    The day was well nigh done!
    Almost upon the western wave
    Rested the broad bright Sun;
    When that strange shape drove suddenly
    Betwixt us and the Sun.
    And straight the Sun was flecked with bars,
    (Heaven's Mother send us grace!)
    As if through a dungeon-grate he peered
    With broad and burning face.
    Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
    How fast she nears and nears!
    Are those her sails that glance in the Sun,
    Like restless gossameres?
    Are those her ribs through which the Sun
    Did peer, as through a grate?
    And is that Woman all her crew?
    Is that a Death? and are there two?
    Is Death that woman's mate?
    Her lips were red, her looks were free,
    Her locks were yellow as gold:
    Her skin was as white as leprosy,
    The Night-mare Life-in-death was she,
    Who thicks man's blood with cold.
    The naked hulk alongside came,
    And the twain were casting dice;
    'The game is done! I've won! I've won!'
    Quoth she, and whistles thrice.
    The Sun's rim dips; the stars rush out;
    At one stride comes the dark;
    With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea,
    Off shot the spectre-bark.
    We listened and looked sideways up!
    Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
    My life-blood seemed to sip!
    The stars were dim, and thick the night,
    The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white;
    From the sails the dew did drip--
    Till clomb above the eastern bar
    The horn{'e}d Moon, with one bright star
    Within the nether tip.
    One after one, by the star-dogged Moon,
    Too quick for groan or sigh,
    Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
    And cursed me with his eye.
    Four times fifty living men,
    (And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
    With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
    They dropped down one by one.
    The souls did from their bodies fly,--
    They fled to bliss or woe!
    And every soul, it passed me by,
    Like the whizz of my cross-bow!
    Part IV
    'I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
    I fear thy skinny hand!
    And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
    As is the ribbed sea-sand.
    I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
    And thy skinny hand, so brown.'--
    Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding-Guest!
    This body dropt not down.
    Alone, alone, all, all alone,
    Alone on a wide wide sea!
    And never a saint took pity on
    My soul in agony.

    The many men, so beautiful!
    And they all dead did lie:
    And a thousand thousand slimy things
    Lived on; and so did I.
    I looked upon the rotting sea,
    And drew my eyes away;
    I looked upon the rotting deck,
    And there the dead men lay.
    I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
    But or ever a prayer had gusht,
    A wicked whisper came, and made
    My heart as dry as dust.
    I closed my lids, and kept them close,
    And the balls like pulses beat;
    For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
    Lay dead like a load on my weary eye,
    And the dead were at my feet.
    The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
    Nor rot nor reek did they:
    The look with which they looked on me
    Had never passed away.
    An orphan's curse would drag to hell
    A spirit from on high;
    But oh! more horrible than that
    Is the curse in a dead man's eye!
    Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse--
    And yet I could not die.
    The moving moon went up the sky,
    And no where did abide:
    Softly she was going up,
    And a star or two beside.
    Her beams benocked the sultry main,
    Like April hoar-frost spread;
    But where the ship's huge shadow lay,
    The charm-ed water burnt alway
    A still and awful red.
    Beyond the shadow of the ship,
    I watched the water-snakes:
    They moved in tracks of shining white,
    And when they reared, the elfish light
    Fell off in hoary flakes.
    Within the shadow of the ship
    I watched their rich attire:
    Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
    They coiled and swam; and every track
    Was a flash of golden fire.
    And I bless-ed them unaware:
    Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
    And I blessed them unaware.
    The self-same moment I could pray;
    And from my neck so free
    The Albatross fell off, and sank
    Like lead into the sea.
    Part V
    Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
    Beloved from pole to pole!
    To Mary Queen the praise be given!
    She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven,
    That slid into my soul.
    The silly buckets on the deck,
    That had so long remained,
    I dreamt that they were filled with dew;
    And when I awoke, it rained.
    My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
    My garments all were dank;
    Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
    And still my body drank.
    I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
    I was so light--almost
    I thought that I had died in sleep,
    And was a blessed ghost.
    And soon I heard a roaring wind:
    It did not come anear;
    But with its sound it shook the sails,
    That were so thin and sere.
    The upper air burst into life!
    And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
    To and fro they were hurried about!
    And to and fro, and in and out,
    The wan stars danced between.
    And the coming wind did roar more loud,
    And the sails did sigh like sedge,
    And the rain poured down from one black cloud;
    The Moon was at its edge.
    The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
    The Moon was at its side:
    Like waters shot from some high crag,
    The lightning fell with never a jag,
    A river steep and wide.
    The loud wind never reached the ship,
    Yet now the ship moved on!
    Beneath the lightning and the Moon
    The dead men gave a groan.
    They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
    Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
    It had been strange, even in a dream,
    To have seen those dead men rise.
    The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
    Yet never a breeze up-blew;
    The mariners all 'gan work the ropes,
    Where they were wont to do;
    They raised their limbs like lifeless tools--
    We were a ghastly crew.
    The body of my brother's son
    Stood by me, knee to knee:
    The body and I pulled at one rope,
    But he said nought to me.
    'I fear thee, ancient Mariner!'
    Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!
    'Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
    Which to their corses came again,
    But a troop of spirits blest:
    For when it dawned--they dropped their arms,
    And clustered round the mast;
    Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
    And from their bodies passed.
    Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
    Then darted to the Sun;
    Slowly the sounds came back again,
    Now mixed, now one by one.
    Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
    I heard the sky-lark sing;
    Sometimes all little birds that are,
    How they seemed to fill the sea and air
    With their sweet jargoning!
    And now 'twas like all instruments,
    Now like a lonely flute;
    And now it is an angel's song,
    That makes the heavens be mute.
    It ceased; yet still the sails made on
    A pleasant noise till noon,
    A noise like of a hidden brook
    In the leafy month of June,
    That to the sleeping woods all night
    Singeth a quiet tune.
    Till noon we quietly sailed on,
    Yet never a breeze did breathe:
    Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
    Moved onward from beneath.
    Under the keel nine fathom deep,
    From the land of mist and snow,
    The spirit slid: and it was he
    That made the ship to go.
    The sails at noon left off their tune,
    And the ship stood still also.
    The Sun, right up above the mast,
    Had fixed her to the ocean:
    But in a minute she 'gan stir,
    With a short uneasy motion--
    Backwards and forwards half her length
    With a short uneasy motion.
    Then like a pawing horse let go,
    She made a sudden bound:
    It flung the blood into my head,
    And I fell down in a swound.
    How long in that same fit I lay,
    I have not to declare;
    But ere my living life returned,
    I heard and in my soul discerned
    Two voices in the air.
    'Is it he?' quoth one, 'Is this the man?
    By him who died on cross,
    With his cruel bow he laid full low
    The harmless Albatross.
    The spirit who bideth by himself
    In the land of mist and snow,
    He loved the bird that loved the man
    Who shot him with his bow.'
    The other was a softer voice,
    As soft as honey-dew:
    Quoth he, 'The man hath penance done,
    And penance more will do.'
    Part VI

    'But tell me, tell me! speak again,
    Thy soft response renewing--
    What makes that ship drive on so fast?
    What is the ocean doing?'
    'Still as a slave before his lord,
    The ocean hath no blast;
    His great bright eye most silently
    Up to the Moon is cast--
    If he may know which way to go;
    For she guides him smooth or grim.
    See, brother, see! how graciously
    She looketh down on him.'
    'But why drives on that ship so fast,
    Without or wave or wind?'
    'The air is cut away before,
    And closes from behind.
    Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
    Or we shall be belated:
    For slow and slow that ship will go,
    When the Mariner's trance is abated.'
    I woke, and we were sailing on
    As in a gentle weather:
    'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
    The dead men stood together.
    All stood together on the deck,
    For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
    All fixed on me their stony eyes,
    That in the Moon did glitter.
    The pang, the curse, with which they died,
    Had never passed away:
    I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
    Nor turn them up to pray.
    And now this spell was snapt: once more
    I viewed the ocean green,
    And looked far forth, yet little saw
    Of what had else been seen--
    Like one, that on a lonesome road
    Doth walk in fear and dread,
    And having once turned round walks on,
    And turns no more his head;
    Because he knows, a frightful fiend
    Doth close behind him tread.
    But soon there breathed a wind on me,
    Nor sound nor motion made:
    Its path was not upon the sea,
    In ripple or in shade.
    It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
    Like a meadow-gale of spring--
    It mingled strangely with my fears,
    Yet it felt like a welcoming.
    Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
    Yet she sailed softly too:
    Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze--
    On me alone it blew.
    Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
    The light-house top I see?
    Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
    Is this mine own countree?
    We drifted o'er the harbour-bar,
    And I with sobs did pray--
    O let me be awake, my God!
    Or let me sleep alway.
    The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
    So smoothly it was strewn!
    And on the bay the moonlight lay,
    And the shadow of the Moon.
    The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
    That stands above the rock:
    The moonlight steeped in silentness
    The steady weathercock.
    And the bay was white with silent light,
    Till rising from the same,
    THe moonlight steeped in silentness
    The steady weathercock.
    A little distance from the prow
    Those crimson shadows were:
    I turned my eyes upon the deck--
    Oh, Christ! what saw I there!
    Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
    And, by the holy rood!
    A man all light, a seraph-man,
    On every corse there stood.
    This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
    It was a heavenly sight!
    They stood as signals to the land,
    Each one a lovely light;
    This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
    No voice did they impart--
    No voice; but oh! the silence sank
    Like music on my heart.
    But soon I heard the dash of oars,
    I heard the Pilot's cheer;
    My head was turned perforce away
    And I saw a boat appear.
    The Pilot and the Pilot's boy,
    I heard them coming fast:
    Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
    The dead men could not blast.
    I saw a third--I heard his voice:
    It is the Hermit good!
    He singeth loud his godly hymns
    That he makes in the wood.
    He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
    The Albatross's blood.
    Part VII
    This Hermit good lives in that wood
    Which slopes down to the sea.
    How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
    He loves to talk with marineres
    That come from a far countree.
    He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve--
    He hath a cushion plump:
    It is the moss that wholly hides
    The rotted old oak-stump.
    The skiff-boat neared: I heard them talk,
    'Why, this is strange, I trow!
    Where are those lights so many and fair,
    That signal made but now?'
    'Strange, by my faith!' the Hermit said--
    'And they answered not our cheer!
    The planks looked warped! and see those sails,
    How thin they are and sere!
    I never saw aught like to them,
    Unless perchance it were
    Brown skeletons of leaves that lag
    My forest-brook along;
    When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
    And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,
    That eats the she-wolf's young.'
    'Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look--
    (The Pilot made reply)
    I am a-feared'--'Push on, push on!'
    Said the Hermit cheerily.
    The boat came closer to the ship,
    But I nor spake nor stirred;
    The boat came close beneath the ship,
    And straight a sound was heard.
    Under the water it rumbled on,
    Still louder and more dread:
    It reached the ship, it split the bay;
    The ship went down like lead.
    Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
    Which sky and ocean smote,
    Like one that hath been seven days drowned
    My body lay afloat;
    But swift as dreams, myself I found
    Within the Pilot's boat.
    Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,
    The boat spun round and round;
    And all was still, save that the hill
    Was telling of the sound.
    I moved my lips--the Pilot shrieked
    And fell down in a fit;
    The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
    And prayed where he did sit.
    I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
    Who now doth crazy go,
    Laughed loud and long, and all the while
    His eyes went to and fro.
    'Ha! ha!' quoth he, 'full plain I see,
    The Devil knows how to row.'
    And now, all in my own countree,
    I stood on the firm land!
    The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
    And scarcely he could stand.
    'O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!'
    The Hermit crossed his brow.
    'Say quick,' quoth he, 'I bid thee say--
    What manner of man art thou?'
    Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
    With a woful agony,
    Which forced me to begin my tale;
    And then it left me free.
    Since then, at an uncertain hour,
    That agony returns:
    And till my ghastly tale is told,
    This heart within me burns.
    I pass, like night, from land to land;
    I have strange power of speech;
    That moment that his face I see,
    I know the man that must hear me:
    To him my tale I teach.
    What loud uproar bursts from that door!
    The wedding-guests are there:
    But in the garden-bower the bride
    And bride-maids singing are:
    And hark the little vesper bell,
    Which biddeth me to prayer!
    O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been
    Alone on a wide wide sea:
    So lonely 'twas, that God himself
    Scarce seemed there to be.
    O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
    'Tis sweeter far to me,
    To walk together to the kirk
    With a goodly company!--
    To walk together to the kirk,
    And all together pray,
    While each to his great Father bends,
    Old men, and babes, and loving friends
    And youths and maidens gay!
    Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
    To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
    He prayeth well, who loveth well
    Both man and bird and beast.
    He prayeth best, who loveth best
    All things both great and small;
    For the dear God who loveth us,
    He made and loveth all.
    The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
    Whose beard with age is hoar,
    Is gone: and now the Wedding-Guest
    Turned from the bridegroom's door.
    He went like one that hath been stunned,
    And is of sense forlorn:
    A sadder and a wiser man,
    He rose the morrow morn.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"To insure safety at sea, the best that science can devise, and that naval organization can provide, must be regarded only as an aid, and never as a substitute for good seamanship, self-reliance, and sense of ultimate responsibility, which are the first requisites in a seaman and naval officer."
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

"No matter how important a man at sea may consider himself, unless he is fundamentally worthy the sea will someday find him out."
Felix Riesenberg

"Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made,
for somewhere deep in their oaken hearts the soul of a song is laid."
Robert N. Rose

"...Yet still, even more now, my spirit within me
Drives me seaward to sail the deep,
To ride the long swell of the salt sea waves.
Never a day but my heart's desire
Would launch me forth on the long sea path..."

"The Seafarer",
circa 900's

"And a sailor you must be if you're going to try ocean voyaging.
You'll need a modicum of sailing aptitude, some grasp of mechanical concepts, and a willingness to pitch in and work.
Most veteran world sailors fall into the classification of restless adventurers who are always looking at distant horizons."
Hal Roth
After 50,000 Miles

"Today, yachtsmen all over the world are perpetuating the traditional skills of the romantic era of sail that are their rightful heritage."
Hervey Garrett Smith

"In splicing, practice makes perfect, and in the doing you will learn more than from reading any ten books on the subject."
Hervey Garrett Smith

"I will go back to the great sweet mother,
Mother and lover of men, the Sea"

"...Every Master and Pilot prided himself on knowing exactly how much way his ship was making.
He knew the ship, he considered the wind, he watched the sails, he watched the water.
In fact, it was a matter which just could not be explained to the landsman.  A good sailor knew his ship, and that was all."
E.G.R. Taylor

"The first lesson a yachtsman should learn is to join the ropes together, sailor fashion."

"Of all the things that man has made, none is so full of interest and charm, none possesses so distinct a life and character of its own, as a ship."
Henry Van Dyke

"How calm!     How still!     The only sound the dripping of the oar suspended."
William Wordsworth

Men in a ship are always looking up, and men ashore generally looking down.
John Masefield

Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea, But such a tide as moving seems asleep, Too full for sound and foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home. Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For though from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Any fool can carry on but a wise man knows how to shorten sail in time.
Joseph Conrad

The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.
Edward Gibbon

I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Isaac Newton

Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade.
Whoever commands the trade of the world, commands the riches of the world,
And, consequently, the world itself.
Sir Walter Raleigh

The sea, washing the equator and the poles, offers its perilous aid, and the power and empire that follow it. . . .
"Beware of me," it says, "but if you can hold me, I am the key to all the lands."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant ship.   He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs.

Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy.   These doubts preyed upon his mind, and made him unhappy.   He thought that perhaps he ought to have her thoroughly overhauled and refitted, even though this should put him to great expense.   Before the ship sailed, however, he succeeded in overcoming these melancholy reflections.   He said to himself that she had gone safely through so many voyages and weathered so many storms, that it was idle to suppose that she would not come safely home from this trip also.  He would put his trust in providence, which could hardly fail to protect all these unhappy families that were leaving their fatherland to seek for better times elsewhere.   He would dismiss from his mind all ungenerous suspicions about the honesty of builders and contractors.

In such ways he acquired a sincere and comfortable conviction that his vessel was thoroughly safe and seaworthy.

He watched her departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and he got his insurance money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales.

What shall we say of him?

Surely this,   That he was verily guilty of the death of those men.   It is admitted that he did sincerely believe in the soundness of his ship.   But the sincerity of his conviction can in nowise help him, because he had no right to believe on such evidence as was before him.   He had acquired his belief not by honestly earning it in patient investigation, but by stifling his doubts...
William K. Clifford
The Ethics of Belief 1874

"There never was a great man yet who spent all his life inland."
Herman Melville

"The charm of singlehanded cruising is not solitude, but independence."
Claud Worth

Sextant: an entertaining, albeit expensive, device, which, together with a good atlas, is of use in introducing the boatman to many interesting areas on the earth's surface, which he and his craft are not within 1,000 nautical miles of.
Beard and McKie,
Sailing: The Fine Art of Getting Wet and Becoming Ill
While Slowly Going Nowhere at Great Expense

With the sextant he made obeisance to the sun-god.   He consulted ancient tomes and tables of magic characters.   Muttered prayers in a strange tongue that sounded like indexerrorparallaxrefraction.   Made cabalistic signs on paper, added and carried one, and then, on a piece of holy script called the Grail - I mean, the Chart - he placed his finger on a certain space conspicuous for its blankness and said, "Here we are."   When we looked at the blank space and asked, "And where is that?",   he answered in the cipher-code of the higher priesthood, "31 -15 - 47 north, 133 - 5 - 30 west."  And we said, "Oh," and felt mighty small.
Jack London,
The Cruise of the Snark

Why electronics will never be enough....

The new ship here is fitted according to the reported increase of knowledge among mankind. Namely, she is cumbered, end to end, with bells and trumpets and clock and wires, it has been told to me, can call voices out of the air of the waters to con the ship while her crew sleep.  But sleep thou lightly.  It has not yet been told to me that the Sea has ceased to be the Sea.
Rudyard Kipling

" This has been a wonderful day!" said he, as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. "Do you know, I've never been in a boat before in all my life."

"What?" cried the Rat, open-mouthed. "Never been in a -- you never -- well I -- what have you been doing, then?"
Kenneth Grahame asks the pertinent question:
The Wind in the Willows




column 1

column 2

column 3

© 2021 Chelsea Yacht Club



8-22 Front St., PO Box 180

Chelsea-on-Hudson, NY 12512


Latitude  N 041° 33.190
Longitude  W 073° 58.221

Chartered in 1881 as the Carthage Ice Yacht Club


Hudson River Boat and Yacht Club Association

Hudson River Yacht Racing Association

United States Sailing Association