Port Royal – Pirate Paradise

port royal

Port Royal – “the wickedest city on earth”

Sailing into the clear blue waters of Jamaica’s Kingston Harbour, Port Royal comes immediately into view. It’s hard to imagine that this quiet Caribbean village was once regarded as one of the largest cities on earth. In the late seventeenth century its alleyways and taverns rang incessantly with the riotous behaviour of some of the most vicious pirates and notorious privateers of the era.


When English warships wrested Jamaica from the Spanish in 1655, a fort was hastily built at Point Cagway. Renamed Port Royal in 1660 in honour of Charles II’s Restoration, the area was so short of troops it was almost impossible to defend against Spanish counterattacks. The solution was to invite hardened pirates and privateers to enjoy the freedom of the port in return for their protection. The large, natural harbour provided safe anchorage for dozens of galleons. Illicit gold and silver flooded into the port and in less than thirty years it had become a huge city.


By 1690, the port was an influential trading centre openly dealing with a vast assortment of smuggled commodities including unfortunate slaves, raw sugar cane and timber. Merchants with a taste for adventure acquired massive fortunes but they didn’t always live long enough to spend it. The local brew known as Kill Devil Rum was so potent it caused hundreds of deaths. There were no restraints on lawless behaviour. The Portuguese pirate, Roche Brasiliano was extremely cruel and violent, impaling his victims and roasting them alive on the streets.

Captain Morgan

By contrast, Captain Henry Morgan was quite a gentleman. He was one of many privateers or mercenaries authorised by England to harass the country’s enemies in the Caribbean. He was so successful at coordinating attacks on Spanish territories he won a knighthood and became the lieutenant governor of the port. When he died in his mid-fifties in 1668, he was incredibly rich and merited a lavish funeral. Some of his silverware can still be seen at St.Peter’s Church and the museum at Fort Charles. However, Morgan was not destined to rest in peace.


In 1692, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.5 devastated the city. Having been built on weak, sandy foundations, much of it simply slipped into the sea taking Captain Morgan’s grave with it. Many of the town’s streets, pillars and archways can still be seen beneath the harbour’s waves and it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nearby Rackham’s Cay commemorates the site where the remains of John Rackham, alias Calico Jack, were left hanging in chains in 1720. He had angered local, wealthy merchants by capturing one of their ships at the port. Several different legends have evolved regarding the fate of his fierce female accomplices, the notorious pirates, Mary Read and Anne Bonny. Further earthquakes, fires and hurricanes hindered the rebuilding of the city and by 1770 its days of infamy were over.

port royal

Map of Port Royal by John Taylor, 1688

Image of the sunken city courtesy of GoUnesco

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Nautical Phrases in Everyday Use

nautical phrases

Nautical Phrases in Everyday Use

There are an inordinate amount of phrases in everyday life that have derived from a nautical origin.  Here are just a few:

Faffing About

One of my favourite expressions, often used whilst waiting for slow children (now in their 20’s but still slow!) to hurry up and leave the house.  This was a term used to describe the wind when it blew in flaws.  A flaw is an unexpected gust of wind.  It was said to faff about and thus faffing about is used to describe aimless behaviour.


Today this means an unexpected gain or advantage.  In the days of sail it was used to describe a wind that would suddenly rush down from a mountainous shore and give the sailor more wind in his sails to steer clear of the shore.  These winds were probably the katabatic winds we know of today.


A term used to describe a person of an upper class.  This was thought to have originated at the beginnings of the 1900’s on the early passenger liners that ran from England to India.  The passengers with a little more money (normally those in the upper classes) would pay to have a shady cabin (on the port side) on the outbound journey and then swap to the starboard side cabins on their inbound return.  Their tickets were supposedly stamped P.O.S.H. (port out, starboard home).  However, there is no supporting evidence that this was indeed the case so the origin remains uncertain.

Pull Your Finger Out

Another one I use frequently when children are being a bit slow in getting ready.  It means to hurry up and put a wiggle on.  On the warships of old before a battle started, it was important to make sure the powder stayed in the loaded cannons before firing.  An easy way to do this would be for a member of the crew to stick their finger in the ignition hole. Rather them than me.  So to pull their finger out meant they could get on with the business in hand.

Swing the Lead

Definition – To feign illness, or shirk work.  Before the advent of depth sounders the only way to check the depth of the waters you were sailing in was to plumb the depths.  A line with a lead weight on the end was lowered into the water.  Once the lead found the sea bed the line would slacken and the depth would be known.  This was a very easy job to have on board a ship so those “swinging the lead” were thought of as slackers because they did not carry out any of the harder duties on a ship.

No Great Shakes

This is a term used to describe something of little value or poor quality.  Wooden barrels were the main vessel used to store food and drink on board a ship.  Once a barrel had been emptied it would be broken down so as to take up less space.  The strips of wood from the barrel were known as shakes and thus had little importance.


This ubiquitous phrase, which is used in many countries and cultures around the world has an uncertain origin.  Firstly it was said to derive from the French “au quai” which meant a ship was in port (at the dock) and safe.  It may also have come from the French “aux cayes”.  Cayes was a Haitian harbour famous for it’s first rate rum.  Haiti, of course, better known as Hispaniola that favourite haunt of pirates and buccaneers.


Related Articles: Nautical Slang in Everyday Use; Nautical Sayings and their Origins; Nautical Terms

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Crewing Events May 2019

crewing events may 2019

Crewing Events May 2019

There has been a bit of a flurry of new crewing events and opportunities posted over the last week, so here is a run down of just a few that the Lovesail members have added.  For more opportunities then log into your Lovesail account and visit the crewing section:

Looking for crew for sailing Halifax – Boston – Cape Cod – Nantucket – Martha’s Vineyard – New York – Halifax

Member dmyers905 is looking for crew for a 3.5 week trip to Halifax stopping in Boston, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, New York and finally back to Halifax.

crewing events May 2019

Aruba Regatta August 2019

Liza996 is looking to travel to Aruba for the Regatta – “Looking for anyone planning to be in the area as a sight seer or a participant. Currently in Houston but willing to travel to a location to join up to sail “to” Aruba ahead of the regatta (totally free travel time wise beginning August) Have family that will be in Aruba for a few days that I’ll spend some time with, but would really like to get some more hands on sail time and would put the sailing ahead of other plans!”

crewing events may 2019

Croatia Crew for 57ft Gulet

Seafarer000 is looking for crew for a 57ft Gulet in Croatia but hurry it’s about to start – “Unpaid crew needed, sharing food expenses needed on Gulet cruising Croatia and over to Italy. USA owner and UK crew. Preferably experienced but inexperienced can apply”.

crewing events may 2019

Sailing the unknown on the East Greenlandic Coast

Starting in July sgiud has a few places left on his Greenland trip – “The Green Land, as described by the Icelandic Vikings who reached the SW Coast around 1000 AC, is only fertile in this area. The East Coast we will explore is instead mostly covered by Ice, and the Icecap and its Glaciers reach the shore in between huge and deep fjords, generating huge and magnificent icebergs…..We will live two to three weeks in complete autonomy, enjoying the fabulous landscapes, the drifting icebergs, surrounded by whales, seals………This is a place of total wilderness, kingdom of walruses, polar bear and many species or marine mammals, feeding into the rich waters, before the long winter……Time schedule is as follows…..”.  Take a look at the posting on the site for a more detailed description and dates.

crewing events May 2019

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Galley Recipe – Red Flannel Hash

galley recipe red flannel hash

Galley Recipe – Red Flannel Hash

This recipe originates from New England and the name refers to the red and white plaid cloth that is popular in that part of the world.  It was traditionally a breakfast using up the leftovers from the previous evening’s meal and has many variations. The main ingredients are corned beef, potatoes and beetroot, yes beetroot.  An unusual addition I hear you cry, but it works surprising well.  The potatoes and corned beef will be a cheap staple on any provisioning list and because this is a left-overs recipe then you could add anything that needs using up in the galley.  With the added bonus of being quick to make this is one of those one-pot recipes that will be used again and again.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 x 340g tin of corned beef
  • 500g of potatoes (waxy, peeled and diced) can be cooked or not
  • 250g cooked beetroot (diced)
  • 1 x onion (diced)
  • oil for frying
  • 4 x eggs optional (some recipes include eggs but this was not a traditional ingredient)
  • Any additional leftovers (diced)
  • salt and pepper


  • Large skillet/frying pan
  • hob/gas ring

Preparation and Cooking Time:

20 minutes


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the onions until translucent.
  2. Add the potatoes, beetroot, corned beef and any other ingredients you want to use up, stir round to combine and then cook for a few minutes until turning brown, then turn over to lightly brown the other side.
  3. If adding eggs these can either be cooked separately or small indentations can be made in the mixture and then the eggs cracked into these indents.  Cover and then cook the eggs to individual tastes.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

This is great on its own or served with some crusty bread or French baguette.


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Sea Quotes

sea quotes

Here are some quotes relating to the sea and sailing.  Be inspired to throw off those bowlines, sail away from that safe harbour and Explore.  Dream.  Discover.


“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” – An old Norwegian adage.

“The days pass happily with me wherever my ship sails” – Joshua Slocum first man to sail single-handed around the world.

“I hate storms, but calms undermine my spirits” – Bernard Moitessier, French sailor and author.

“Men in a ship are always looking up, and men ashore are usually looking down”
– John Masefield, English poet and writer.

“One hand for the ship and one hand for you” – Jim Jensen

“Bad cooking is responsible for more trouble at sea than all other things put together” – Thomas Fleming Day, yacht designer.

“The sea drives truth into a man like salt” – Hilaire Belloc, writer and historian.

“The cure for anything is saltwater – sweat, tears, or the sea” – Isak Dinesen, Danish author.

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm” –  Syrus Publilius, latin writer.

“There is nothing like lying flat on your back on the deck, alone except for the helmsman aft at the wheel, silence except for the lapping of the sea against the side of the ship. At that time you can be equal to Ulysses and brother to him” – Errol Flynn, actor.

“The wind and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigator” – Edmund Gibbon, English historian and writer.

“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds” – Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate.

Related Articles: Sailing Terms Ocean Quotes Sailing Quotes


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Crewing Events for May 2019

crewing events for may 2019

Crewing Events for May 2019

Here a just a few of the crewing events that have been posted on the Lovesail crewing section.  To find out more details of these and other events then log into your account and click on the Crewing and Sailing Events section.  If you are not a member of Lovesail then do come and have a look at our friendly sailing community.

Solent Cruising

Keef is looking for crew to sail the Solent.  Weekends, day sails or week day sails are all possible.  Ideal if you want to build miles in the ever busy Solent waters.

Turkey, Greece and Mediterranean

CaptainBigHeart has a new Jeanneau 44DS (nice boats, I used to sail on a 43DS) and is looking for crew to explore the Eastern Med this summer.  His plan is to start Mid April and then keep sailing until September.

Vanuatu, Australia/Solomon Islands, PNG, Indonesia

tdb1227 (catchy username!) is planning to have no plan!  Must be able to participate in all aspect of boat life, night watches, provisioning, cleaning, cooking.  Chatterboxes need not apply.

New Zealand to Fiji

Diver has an Oyster 54 that he and his wife are sailing from New Zealand to Fiji in May.


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When Free Wifi Becomes Expensive

free wifi

When Free Wifi Becomes Expensive

There was a time when it was difficult to find free wifi and we struggled to get online whilst out and about.  I remember having to constantly seek out McDonalds whilst touring the US in an RV just so that I could download maps.  Now you can’t go 10 yards without your phone searching for the next available public network.   But how safe is public/free wifi?

Well ask any techie and there will be lots of teeth sucking and shaking of heads.  Not so safe, of very low quality it would appear and here’s why.

  1. Encryption – There are many ways the hacker can access your personal data through a free/public wifi network.  Most common is the man-in-the-middle system (MITM).  This is when the hacker, using malware, intercepts information flowing between your computer and the sites you are visiting.  Sensitive data such as passwords and financial information can be gleaned.  Most free or public wifi have poor, if any, data encryption which allows this to take place.
  2. Rogue hotspots – This is when the hacker will make up a false network for you to connect to.  They will use a similar name to the free genuine network you are trying to connect to.  The hacker then uses malware to intercept sensitive information or they can even inject malware into a connecting device.

Even if you are lucky enough to avoid either of the above tricks you then have to contend with the painfully slow speeds that most free/public wifi networks use.  Lets take a coffee shop as our example.  A coffee shop owner is unlikely to pay big money for superfast wifi speeds when he’s only making a few pence/cents on each cup of coffee? They will cheap out, going for a slower, cheaper package.  This also has the added advantage that you are not likely to sit there all day with just your one cup of coffee whilst you download vast amounts of data for free.  This coupled with the number of people in the coffee shop trying to use the free wifi is going to result in a pretty choked up network.

Safety tips

At Lovesail we don’t recommend using free/public wifi networks at all.  We know this can be difficult as some of you will be sailing around remote parts of the world and the rum bar might be your only option. Try and splash out a bit on your data package so that you don’t have to use the free networks.  A few years ago I was finding it difficult to find a data package of more than 5GB, now data is cheap it’s very easy to find packages with 20-30GB of data, more than you will ever need.  If you do need to use a free/public network then follow these tips to reduce the chances of cyber attack.

  1. Ensure all the website you visit have SSL certification.  This means they encrypt data.  These websites can be identified by https:// at the beginning of the url along with a padlock icon.
  2. Do not make online purchases when using a free/public wifi network.
  3. Avoid logging into password protected sites especially banks and financial institutions.
  4. Make sure all your software is up-to-date on all devices.
  5. Use a 4G network.  It’s usually has faster speeds anyway, and is considered to be more secure than a free/public wifi network because it does have a level of data encryption.
  6. Use a VPN.  A Virtual Private Network system is a service that will encrypt your data, however, be warned, they do have a reputation of slowing down your internet speed.

I no longer use free or public wifi when I’m out and about.  If I need to log onto any sites I only use 4G, and make sure I have a data package that is big enough for all my needs.  I use my phone as a personal hotspot if I want to work using my laptop.  The 4G network is so good now that I find it is invariably much quicker than any free/public wifi network.

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Northwood Park Boat and Boot Jumble

Northwood Park Boat and Boot Jumble, Cowes

I wanted to give this boat jumble a special mention as it’s the first one they have held here and it’s to raise money for restoration work to Northwood House and Park, Cowes, Isle of Wight.

DATE: Sunday 7th April 2019 Buyers from 10:00

VENUE: Northwood House & Park, Ward Avenue, Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO31 8AZ

FACILITIES: Refreshments and toilet facilities will be available from the Stable Cafe which is on site.


Car – If you are arriving by car then use the postcode SO31 8AZ.  Parking is available onsite in the field and a £2 donation to the restoration fund is required.

Bus – The No. 1 from Newport to Cowes.  The stop you need is at the Northwood Park Car Park in Park Road.

Red Jet –  Walk out of the terminal and straight ahead to the High Street.  Turn left onto the High Street then the first right into Terminus Road.  After a 5 minute walk you will arrive at Northwood Park on your right.

Taxi – These wait outside the terminal in the taxi rank.

If you wish to sell boat jumble then you will need to book online in advance.  This can be carried out on the Northwood House and Park website, normal boot sale stuff does not require advance booking.  Here are the prices for the boat jumble:




Sellers need to arrive between 08:30 and 09:30 and not before.

This looks to be a great day out and also a chance to visit Northwood House and Park, a beautiful location right in the heart of Cowes.

northwood park boat and boot jumble

Crewing Events Spring 2019

crewing events spring 2019

Crewing Events Spring 2019 – From Lovesail Members

Here are a few of the crewing events that have been posted on Lovesail. To view these and more log into your account and go to the Crewing and Sailing Events section. If you are not a member you can still view these events by visiting our home page and clicking on the link at the top of the page.


Scottish Hospitality for H2O

Lovesail member H2O is visiting Edinburgh in March – “will be visiting Edinburgh, Scotland starting March 20 to April 3, 2019. I am looking for an opportunity to day sail in the area. Thanks!!”

Sailing St Lucia to St Marten

Username sailcrx is looking for someone to join him in April – “Cruising opportunity for the right gal. Join me in St Lucia starting April 1 or April 7 2019 & cruise with me to St Marten. ETA St Marten April 21, 2019 Separate cabin available so easy to check things out for both of us. Heading offshore to Bermuda after that, then Canada.”

Fancy the Wild Atlantic Way?

David_of_Fern would like some company on his Falmouth Pilot this Spring/Summer “Hiya! I’m looking to *slowly* sail the Wild Atlantic Way off the west coast of Ireland in Spring/Summer 2019. My little boat is a classic Falmouth Pilot and I usually travel alone, but I’m open to somebody joining me this year. Currently based less than an hour from Cork airport. Novice or experienced welcome. I like to anchor a lot and explore each place along the way, with occasional long stints at sea to make the next port. If this sounds like the kind of thing you’re interested in, then please do let me know”.

Montenegro to UK

IndigoBlue has been helping with dolphin research with his Discovery 55 for a few years now.  He is returning to the UK and has some spaces for crew.  “Crewing opportunity. Montenegro to UK (approx 2,500 to 3,000 nm) Chance Discovery (a Discovery 55) will be departing Montenegro at the beginning of September en route to the UK via, Sicily, the Volcanic Aeolian Islands, across the Tyrrhenian Sea to Sardinia and North to Corsica to explore the Pelagos Marine Sanctuary. Thereafter heading West to the Balearics, Gibralter and then north to cross Biscay to arrive Lymington in late October. Many opportunities along the route to see and learn about the diverse whale and dolphin populations and the threats to their lives and the ocean environment in general. We will have an MSc qualified marine biologist / guide on board at all times. We have a master stateroom with en-suite. There is also a forward double and twin bunk Pullman cabin that share the second heads /shower with the sea berth. The two month journey will be split into 7 x one week legs. Some with shorter one day hops and some with longer non stop multiple day passages. Participants joining as crew will be expected to contribute towards the cost of the trip. Some previous sailing experience is required and for some longer legs you will be required to stand watches. A great opportunity to sail an ocean going yacht and add to your skills and experience. If you are interested in crewing please contact me for further details.”

crewing events spring 2019

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