The sounds of sailing

Yachting Monthly|Summer 2020

The sounds of sailing
Clack, clack, clack. These words describe perfectly the noise sails make when slatting in light airs offshore, and the sound of sails, rig and boat when becalmed in an ocean swell.
JOHN SIMPSON

Hopefully, if your boat has an engine then you won’t hear this sound as much when starting up the ‘iron topsail’. Even though there are plenty of things that rattle around making noise on a yacht, an engine drowns some of them out.

It’s quite easy to understand why some ancient square-rigged sailors could go mad in the Doldrums or when crossing the Horse Latitudes further north; no wonder old sailors had a crossing ceremony for young bloods who hadn’t crossed the line before. On a big sailing ship this noise wouldn’t have been a quiet clack, clack, clack; it would have been 10 times louder.

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Summer 2020