Myth, Fact, and Navigators' Secrets: Incredible Tales of the Sea and Sailors

Overview

The sea’s gone dead calm. The sails lie limp and listless. Now’s the time to collect your rum ration, find a dry berth, and get snug with Myth, Fact, and Navigators’ Secrets—an intriguing and witty compilation of true nautical tales fit for any sailing enthusiast, from day sailor to ocean voyager, professional mariner to armchair navigator, or those who have only dreamed of running away to sea. After culling little-known facts from the world’s nautical heritage, author J. Gregory Dill has written an engaging ...
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Overview

The sea’s gone dead calm. The sails lie limp and listless. Now’s the time to collect your rum ration, find a dry berth, and get snug with Myth, Fact, and Navigators’ Secrets—an intriguing and witty compilation of true nautical tales fit for any sailing enthusiast, from day sailor to ocean voyager, professional mariner to armchair navigator, or those who have only dreamed of running away to sea. After culling little-known facts from the world’s nautical heritage, author J. Gregory Dill has written an engaging series of marine stories—like the 1813 account of a short and bloody sea duel between the U.S. frigate Chesapeake and His Britannic Majesty’s Ship Shannon, equally matched in firepower and their captains’ tactical skills, but in the final analysis having absolutely no strategic significance in the war’s outcome. Then there is the bizarre tale of Captain John Paul Jones’s 1779 naval raid on a Scottish coastal estate to kidnap the local VIP, Lord Selkirk, in a bid to win release of American prisoners of war. When Selkirk was found to be away, Jones seized instead his intended victim’s household silverware, including teapots and sugar bowls, after having politely declined Lady Selkirk’s kind invitation to dinner. The tragic and comic, the quirky and curious, the ironic and the blatantly absurd—all await discovery in Myth, Fact, and Navigators’ Secrets, a highly readable and entertaining book that will easily find a place on every sailor’s bookshelf.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Rod E Redman in Sea Classics: “With a tag line that calls this amiable array of oddball sagas 'A Quirky Collection of Little-Known Tales of the Sea,' author Dill could just as easily have dubbed it "A Sailor's Bedside Companion." Indeed, in his whimsical introduction author Dill admits his effort is a "head" book, meaning it is designed for fast reading while one is otherwise engaged in personal functions. And this is this very entertaining compilation's great merit--well-chosen, shamelessly explanative, often ironic and frequently humorous sea tales.” Mary Ellen Snodgrass in KLIATT :“Dill's selection of mariner lore offers history as well as anecdotes about famous sailors, from John Paul Jones and Herman Melville's Captain Ahab to pirate Henry Morgan and Captain William Dampier, who circumnavigated the globe. Adventure stories include the sailing of a U-boat during WW II, a steamboat race, Viking navigators, and legends of mermaids. Interspersed are straightforward commentary, sketches, and photos of such subjects as the Gulf Stream, chronometry, nautical terms, a seagoing grace before meals, extreme weather, parts of a bosun's pipe, and manmade icebergs. Devoid of pedantry, the tone invites young YAs to enjoy and discover as well as to learn."Don Chambers in Good Old Boat: “Here is a little book with an assortment of sixty or so light stories from the nautical world. There is history, both sublime and ridiculous, modern and not; stories of steam and sail, and wonderful nautical silliness. Written with an appealing, tight, light touch, there aren’t many duds. I learned some interesting things from this book, little mysteries such as how a bosun’s pipe actually works; that Port Royal in Jamaica had an earthquake in 1692 that destroyed all the Port buildings and 2000 people. I learned how tillers were developed from oars; and about the seven-masted schooner Lawson , the 'most-masted' ship in history. Perhaps Hemingway fans knew about his nutty plan during World War II to turn his wooden fishing boat, Pilar , into a submarine hunter by mounting hidden .50-caliber machine guns on it, expecting to surprise and gun down the submarine crew when they surfaced to inspect his boat. It will stay with me as the best example of how someone can be brilliant but breathtakingly wrong. This book is worthwhile reading for those interested in sea-oddities that you’re not likely to come across in other places.” Twain Braden in Ocean Navigator magazine: “Readers of these pages will no doubt recognize the author of Myth, Fact, and Navigators’ Secrets as the long-time writer of the quirky nautical history column 'Looking Astern.' Dill’s passion for oddball maritime tales blossoms in this book. He details adventures and misadventures alike in his collection of short stories — sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic. He describes the origins of maritime firsts (submarines, aircraft carriers, flying boats) and notable historical figures such as the debaucherous Samuel Pepys, the honorable-to-the-end naval captains of the War of 1812, the strange story of the original Henry Morgan and innovations in nautical science. Dill’s vast knowledge of maritime history provides a synthesis to the tales, making each story seem as though it were an integral part of an absurdist novel. But each story is true, and that’s the magic.”
KLIATT
Dill's selection of mariner lore offers history as well as anecdotes about famous sailors, from John Paul Jones and Herman Melville's Captain Ahab to pirate Henry Morgan and Captain William Dampier, who circumnavigated the globe. Adventure stories include the sailing of a U-boat during WW II, a steamboat race, Viking navigators, and legends of mermaids. Interspersed are straightforward commentary, sketches, and photos of such subjects as the Gulf Stream, chronometry, nautical terms, a seagoing grace before meals, extreme weather, parts of a bosun's pipe, and manmade icebergs. Devoid of pedantry, the tone invites young YAs to enjoy and discover as well as to learn. KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior high school students. 2006, The Lyons Press, 207p. illus., $15.95.. Ages 12 to 15.
—Mary Ellen Snodgrass
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592288793
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2006
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

J. Gregory Dill is a former writer and columnist for Ocean Navigator, and has written for American Yacht Review, Professional Mariner, Ocean Voyager, and Cruising Helmsman. He lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, with his wife, Donna.
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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Recycled Privateer2. Fate of the Star of Scotland3. Seventeenth-Century Guinness Record?4. The Accidental Steamboat Race5. Invitation to a Duel at Sea6. Crossing the Line7. Dictionary Gave Sailors a Bad Rap8. Risky Proposition for Propositioning Women9. The American Coast Pilot of 181710. She and Her No Longer Nautical Terms11. Dining at Sea, In Style (1796)12. Nautical Book Tells Two Stories13. Maiden Voyage a Bummer14. Bosun’s Pipe—A Handy Guide15. Duty and Honor a Delicate Balance16. Sea Cloud’s Eclectic Life17. The Unfortunate Brig Phebe Ellen18. An Unlikely U-boat Hunter19. Dr. Jekyll and Captain Hyde20. Tectonic Tremblings That Trashed a Town21. A Nonacademic Look at Helm History22. The World’s Most-Masted Schooner23. Unfortunate Times Before the Mast24. Admiral Yi’s Kobuksun25. A Boat, a Plane, or What?26. Roman Exploration of the New World?27. Piracy28. Wine and Brine29. America30. The Stone Fleet31. One Last Voyage32. Boxer Knocked Out33. Seaman and Samurai34. Aural Amputation Aggravates War35. A Prince of a Navigator36. Spying on the Weather37. Buoyant Iron38. The Frank N. Thayer Mutiny39. Magnetic Compass Attracts Navigators40. Captain Voss and His Dugout Canoe41. Young Teazer Gains Supernatural Status42. Bad Poetry, Barometers, and Reckoning the Weather43. Figurehead Function and Fashion44. What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?45. Who Was Henry Morgan?46. Minor Collision Destroys Port47. Of Mermaids and Mariners48. The Gulf Stream (Part One)49. The Gulf Stream (Part Two)50. Admiral Who?51. Longitude, By Jove!52. The First Lighter-than-Aircraft Carrier53. Strange Marine Chronometers54. Icy Boondoggle55. Lightning Strikes Again56. In the Eye of the Beholder57. Viking Navigation58. A Pitcairn Tale59. Penny-Pinching Purser60. Troop Queen61. Pirates Attack Mexican62. Narrow Escape for Rebel Steamer63. Turtle Snaps at Eagle’s Bottom64. The Silver Plate AffairAbout the Author
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