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Weekly Posts related to: sailing

Week 12 – Crossing the line

1849 sketch of a sailor trying to catch a porpoise while standing on the bowsprit of the ship

As the Duke of York nears the Equator the crew hopes to have a bit of fun. Crossing the Line ceremonies were common on sailing vessels and often involved ‘King Neptune’ coming on board to ‘baptise’ first timers.  Crew members and passengers might be ‘shaved’ with big mock razors and all by-standers were often doused with water. But [...]

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Week 10 – fine weather and sea shanties

image of an emigrant's trunk with leather straps and brass fittings

With good sailing conditions at last, both the Duke of York and the John Pirie were making good progress, both heading south off the coast of Africa.  By 30 April the Duke of York sighted the Island of Brava, the southernmost island in the Cape Verde group, off the coast of present day Senegal, while the John Pirie passed [...]

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Week 05: Ship Shape

We now find three ships at sea; the Duke of York, the John Pirie and the Cygnet.  So how do they measure up? This week we take a look at the ships themselves. What are they made of? How similar are they? How are they designed to keep afloat and what keeps them sailing smoothly? [...]

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