John & Phyllis’ 36 Immutable Rules of Seamanship


Seamanship, it's a word that those of us who write about voyaging love to throw around, me especially, but what does it really mean? Can we define it? No, I don't think so, not completely, because what constitutes seamanship can depend on the person, the boat, and the circumstances. And for each of us our seamanship is very much the result of our experience. That's why I have titled the post John and Phyllis' rules. Having said that, there are also fundamental things one must do to be seamanlike that the sea dictates to all of us, hence the word immutable. Also, I think that these days it is more difficult than ever before to stay focused on basic seamanship, with the distraction of all the wiz bang gadgetry on offer, so that regular repetition of the basics is probably a good thing for all of us, me included. So here we go.

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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