Saturday, 16 November 2013

Stoopid Wind

Those good old Orkney gales are starting up again and, once more, we battle to work through solid wind walls, weep in front of mirrors whilst trying to comb the tangles from our hair and muse anew about running the house from a windmill.

We're a topical bunch and so a keyword search of 'wind' was duly deployed in preparation for today's blog post. Our attention was drawn to a number of mentions of 'protests against wind and weather'.

What would these protests entail? A sit-in against snow? Placards saying 'Go Home Arctic Chill!'? Reference D7/9/10 was selected as it was apparently a book full of the things.

We expected to find a book containing entries such as "Damn you wind!" Or, "Dear driving hail, you suck..." Instead this book is full of the captains of freight ships recording with a notary public any damage done to ship and cargo by forces outwith their control.

Log books were proffered to prove that they had been assailed by storms and heavy seas and fellow crewmen offered as witnesses. Some of the stories are terrifying, with skippers detailing how their ships were torn apart, piece by painstakingly recounted piece by ferocious winds and how they were forced to cut down masts to save themselves from being blown further out to sea.

The main point of these protests were to ensure that 'damage should fall on and be bourne by the Merchants or freighter interested or underwriters or whoever else it shall or may concern.' (As said by Ole Pederson, master of the barque "Emerald" which had been sailing from New York to Gottenburg but got stranded on the rocks of the Holm of Aikerness off Westray, Orkney).

Basically, the Captains are saying 'It's not my fauuuuult! Don't blame me. It was that damn wind! Stoopid wind...'


  1. Must have been absolutely terrifying being at the mercy of the wind in the days of sail!

  2. Absolutely. So glad I am not a nineteenth century ship's captain.


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