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Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?

DigiTrad:
GOLDEN VANITY
SINKING OF THE GRAF SPEE
THE BOLD TRELLITEE
THE GOLDEN VANITY
THE GOLDEN VANITY (6)
THE GREEN WILLOW TREE
THE LOWDOWN LONESOME LOW
THE LOWLANDS LOW (7)
THE SWEET KUMADEE
THE TURKEY-ROGHER LEE and the YELLOW GOLDEN TREE


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golden vanity (10)
Origins: Golden Vanity Variants (76)
Donald Duck and The Golden Vanity (11)
translating the golden vanity (14)
Lyr Req: The Turkish Reverie (8)
Lyr Req: Lowlands Low (Warde Ford, Child #286) (6)
Lyr Req: Frank Proffitt's Lowland Low (#286) (6)
Lyr Req: johnny doughty's golden vanity (6)
Lyr Req: duncan williamson's golden vanity (5)
Lyr Req: ollie jacobs's golden vanity (bronson) (1)
Looking to ID This Song Lyric (Golden Vanity) (11)
Penguin: The Golden Vanity (3)
The Sweet Kumadee (14)


HuwG 06 Sep 03 - 07:50 AM
EBarnacle1 06 Sep 03 - 08:40 AM
Peter T. 06 Sep 03 - 10:08 AM
kendall 06 Sep 03 - 10:11 AM
Don Firth 06 Sep 03 - 05:33 PM
Peter T. 06 Sep 03 - 06:12 PM
Deckman 06 Sep 03 - 06:54 PM
Gareth 06 Sep 03 - 07:17 PM
Don Firth 06 Sep 03 - 10:39 PM
Reiver 2 08 Sep 03 - 06:14 PM
Gareth 08 Sep 03 - 07:16 PM
Melani 08 Sep 03 - 10:41 PM
Teribus 09 Sep 03 - 05:03 AM
Phot 09 Sep 03 - 06:46 AM
GUEST 09 Sep 03 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,Hrothgar 09 Sep 03 - 07:42 AM
InOBU 09 Sep 03 - 07:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Sep 03 - 08:10 AM
HuwG 09 Sep 03 - 08:50 AM
Schantieman 09 Sep 03 - 09:19 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Sep 03 - 10:31 AM
Joe_F 09 Sep 03 - 06:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Sep 03 - 07:04 PM
Gareth 09 Sep 03 - 07:14 PM
EBarnacle1 11 Sep 03 - 09:41 AM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Sep 03 - 04:47 AM
Joe_F 17 Sep 03 - 07:36 PM
Peter T. 22 Nov 03 - 06:28 PM
Joybell 23 Nov 03 - 06:25 PM
Joybell 23 Nov 03 - 07:22 PM
The Fooles Troupe 23 Nov 03 - 08:03 PM
Hrothgar 24 Nov 03 - 04:38 AM
Songster Bob 24 Nov 03 - 12:00 PM
Don Firth 24 Nov 03 - 02:33 PM
Joybell 24 Nov 03 - 04:51 PM
Joybell 24 Nov 03 - 05:01 PM
IanC 16 Feb 04 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,Carlos 13 Jul 04 - 01:52 PM
Les from Hull 13 Jul 04 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,GUEST, Stephen 01 Dec 04 - 08:29 PM
EBarnacle 02 Dec 04 - 02:18 AM
GUEST,Jimships 15 Jun 11 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Jun 11 - 02:36 PM
ripov 15 Jun 11 - 04:53 PM
kendall 15 Jun 11 - 07:52 PM
Tootler 15 Jun 11 - 08:03 PM
Phil Edwards 16 Jun 11 - 04:12 AM
GUEST 16 Jun 11 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,BobL 16 Jun 11 - 05:28 AM
jimL 16 Jun 11 - 05:34 AM
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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: HuwG
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 07:50 AM

Some further thoughts on the possibility that the enemy of the "Golden Vanity" (and the "Vanity" herself) were grounded at the time of the incident.

1. It would explain why the cabin boy was in extremis after swimming back to the "Vanity". He had been swimming over dry land. You could argue, why then was he drowning ? Well, it is possible to drown in a puddle if too exhausted to stand or get up. Or, that the tide was coming in.

2. It might explain why the captain was so ungracious. He realised that some superhuman feat, for which he had promised in advance a sum of gold and his daughter's hand, was in fact a deed which anyone could have accomplished. So, as he watched his foe simply fail to float, he would no doubt have smote his forehead and cried, "Doh!". And taken measures to avoid paying out.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 08:40 AM

There was at least one incident, I am not sure in which war, in which several opposing vessels were grounded and their crews attacked each other with the intent of damaging the enemy vessel. One side succeeded and sailed off with the rising tide, leaving the other to sink in the lowland sea.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 10:08 AM

I think EBarnacle is on to something here. If both ships were temporarily grounded in shallow water (the lowland sea), waiting for the tide to come back in, wouldn't that give a likely lad the idea to paddle over to the other ship, bore a few holes in it, and swim back with the rising tide (the song does mention the drifting tide)? Course it doesn't deal with the other technical issues, but I like the images.

yours,

Peter T.

P.S. I assume the name "The Golden Vanity" is a tipoff that the ensuing story wasn't going to go well. The other ship name it echoes is "The Golden Hind". All the many names of ships attached to this song have to have "eee" on the end!


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 10:11 AM

The battle between the Monitor and the Virginia ended in a draw, The Virginia went aground, and the Monitor left to sink another day.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 05:33 PM

Some decades ago, a friend of mine had a somewhat different slant on the matter of the cabin boy. His argument (augerment?) went as follows:

"Okay. Here they are, sailing in the Lowland Sea, and they fear they will be taken by the Spanish enemy. Then this kid has an idea of how he can save the ship, save the captain, save his mess mates, and save his own sorry ass. So instead of just doing it, he jumps on the opportunity to blackmail the captain for gold and silver and the captain's fair young daughter his bonny bride to be. What would he have done if the captain had told him, 'Stick it, you little twerp! We'll take our chances and shoot it out!' Would he have just sat there sulking and let them fight it out, see a lot of his mess mates get killed, and maybe get killed himself? Why are his mess mates so broken up about this kid when he actually does die? He was using their lives as bargaining chips! The kid's an opportunistic little roach! I have no sympathy!"

Well . . . he does seem to have a point.

Also, I was thinking of the people (some folk singers I know, both here on Mudcat and face to face) who rail on about how stupid the plots of operas are! When it comes to stupid plots, there are a few ballads that can easily match the dumbest of opera scenarios.

But wotthehell! It's still a good song.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 06:12 PM

I think your friend is full of it. Here is a chance to drown the other ship, no loss of life on your ship, as opposed to big explosions, swords up your wazoo, and if you are lucky, the rest of your life in a galley ship in North Africa. The cabin boy takes some initiative, so if it goes wrong, no great loss, one cabin boy. Kid who plays the harmonica, probably, sense of adventure, while the rest of us sit around moaning about how we are going to die. Boy playing hero, so captain says, what the hell, I'll give you the moon. Could the captain have stopped at gold and silver, probably, but he was probably amused by the whole thing, hey I'll throw in my daughter, and make you Archbishop of Canterbury -- watch the looney kid drown, interesting story to talk about tomorrow, let's watch, and I'll put a pound on the kid to drown, 100-1 on the side with the first mate.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Deckman
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 06:54 PM

GEEZE ... You guys are brutal! Where's the romance? No wonder there's no wimmen posting anymore! Bob


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Gareth
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 07:17 PM

(See an earlier post of mine) I still maintain that the Skipper recognised that the cabin boy had served on the "Good Ship Venus" and was still SORE about that.

On the other hand, revenge may not have been his motive, rather a desire to protect his daughter from the sexual proclivities of the cabin boy ---- ????

BTW

As one who has walked/struggled/slithered over the mud in the Medway/Swale/London River/Whitstable Bay at times I would cast a doubt about the enemy being attacked at low water by a deshipped cabin boy. Particullay if weighted down with an auger, or scuttling charges, fuses etc.

But if it had been winter, perchance the cabin boy could have walked over the ice ???

ALSO BTW - Ta ! Huw. for your corrections to my synposis of the "Hornblower" story.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 10:39 PM

I'm with Bob the Deckman on this one.

That was Bob Clark, by the way. Not the Bob Clark who owned the Place Next Door, but the Bob Clark who played left-handed guitar and sang.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 06:14 PM

-- As for the theory of the ships having run aground in the "lowland sea": (BTW, we haven't decided if this is actually a reference to the coast of the "low countries", or not. I asked about that earlier, but there've been no other comments. I'm sure there are other lowland seas in the world -- or are there?) At first thought, I saw it as a similar but alternate vision to the ships being becalmed. However, if only the Spanish enemy was aground, there would be no need for the Golden Vanity to be worried -- she could have just sailed away. If both were aground, then how could the enemy ship "sink"? On the other hand, holing its bottom and flooding her hold would allow for the possibility of making sure the enemy stayed aground while the GV sailed off with the high tide. (I like my becalmed in the fog scenario better, I think.)

-- Someone asked about the GV just lobbing a "cartload of cannonballs" into the Sp. enemy, and another talked of the possibility of "shooting it out." There's nothing in the versions I've seen (admittedly not all of them) that the GV was a warship, or even armed at all. Only by inference is the Sp. enemy a warship (the assertion that the GV "feared she might be taken"). They might have been unarmed, but if the two countries were at war, the GV crew still feared that they could be "taken" especially if the enemy was a larger ship with a more numerous crew.

-- According to the song the cabin boy "swam" (not waded or slithered through the mud) both TO the enemy and also back. Even if the ships were aground they wouldn't have been "on dry land" as someone suggested... only in water shallow enough for the ship(s) not to be able to float freely (and shallow enough for the cabin boy to be able to stand on the bottom to get the leverage to drill his holes, as someone else suggested). How tall were 12 year old boys in those days? (Even those who might have reached puberty in order
to be lusting after the "lovely captain's daughter" who he had probably never seen?)

-- This HAS been a fascinating thread, and I marvel at some of the powers of imagination that have been exhibited... but I'm about at the end of mine. Let's face it: it's a song about an imaginary incident of derring-do by a young boy who suceeds in an impossible feat only to be done in by the perfidy of an unscrupulous adult. Still, as someone commented, it's a great song, and the very impossibility of the tale only increases the fun of singing it. Don't all peoples of all times in all countries enjoy telling "tall tales?" (And try to pass them off as true to "outland" sassenachs (read gullible) listeners? Let's just enjoy THIS tall tale. I don't like being a wet blanket, but I think we've milked this one for about all we can get out of it.

-- Some earlier posts here referred to the McBride twins... Willie and Arthur, and whether or not they were Irish. I think I'll go hunt for threads about them. (And the "twins" bit is a joke for the literal minded here.)

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Gareth
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 07:16 PM

Hmmm ! Well they do say a Swordfish could sink a ship, now if the cabin boy had had This at his command ????

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Melani
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 10:41 PM

Deckman--our Sea Scouts managed to sink both a Cal 20 and a sailing whaleboat exactly the way you described, by leaving the cork out--fortunately both in shallow water.

Skip--don't tease us like that--with a .45?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Teribus
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 05:03 AM

Hi Gareth,

A week last Sunday saw your Swordfish flying at about 800 - 1000ft over the Solent - absolutely magnificent.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Phot
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 06:46 AM

Teribus, wait til next season, both Stringbags will be back, if you want I'll try and keep all vintage AC enthusiasts up to date with whats going on at work, I'll see what I can come up with.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:36 AM

EBarnacle, you might be thinking of the Basque Roads during the Napoleonic Wars.

Briefly, Cochrane came up with an idea to destroy the French fleet which was anchored in the Basque Roads. He sailed a ship filled with explosives, supported by nineteen fireships, towards the French. The explosion itself did not do a lot of damage, but it panicked many of the French into cutting their cables. By morning all but two were aground. Cochrane, by now back in his own ship, the frigate Imperieuse, signalled to Admiral Gambier to come and finish off the enemy.

Gambier, who had his nose out of joint because a junior captain had been sent to carry out this major mission, and who also thought that the use of explosion ships was diabolical, did not move. Cochrane with his frigate finished off one stranded battleship, and eventually Gambier sent in three line-of-battle ships which finished off three more. Gambier then ordered all ships to return.

After this disastrous waste of opportunity Gambier was cleared by a very political court-martial.

Cochrane was an amazing man - read any biography of him you can get. Some of his exploits turn up in the Hornblower books, as well as others.


Now - back to the thread - if the cabin boy held on to the rudder post with one hand to prevent counter-rotation while he drilled his little holes ........


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Hrothgar
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:42 AM

That last post was me. What the hell happened to my cookie?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: InOBU
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:55 AM

I think this thread could sink a ship!!!!!!!!!!!!! Larry


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 08:10 AM

All this speculation about what would or what would not have been possible to do in the way of drilling holes in ships is a bit beside the point. If it is true, as has been stated, that warships did in fact in Elizabethan times employ swimmers with augers, they must have been capable of carrying out some useful function. So isn't anybody who knows something about naval history going to do a bit of research into what that was, and cast light on the whole subject?

Perhaps the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich could come up with the goods?

It appears that the 1635 version featuring Walter Raleigh as the heavy has the ship called The Sweet Trinity. Perhaps "Golden Vanity" was an adjustment with biblical overtones - "Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity..." Which would be very fitting in relation to Water Raleigh's life story. (Even down to the double meaning of vanity, since he was something of a peacock - though I'm not sure if the word could carry the current meaning at that time.)


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: HuwG
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 08:50 AM

From Purser Calderon's [1] account of the Spanish Armada (1588), referring to the Spanish Flagship, the "San Martin" :


"... the holes made in the hull between wind and water caused so great a leakage that two divers had as much as they could do to stop them up with tow and lead plates, working all day".

Evidently, it was possible for divers to use mallets and other tools under water, even while the ship was under way. On the other hand, I would assume that they were being helped by the crew, and were attached by lifelines. But at any rate, it seems that professional divers existed, and were skilled and resourceful craftsmen. If asked to scuttle rather than save a ship, they would probably have obliged.





[1] Calderon's account is used by most Armada historians, but this name has to be a joke, right ? It is the Spanish word for "cauldron" or "cooking-pot".


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Schantieman
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 09:19 AM

To creep back to unsuitable names for vessels, the RN has four yachts at Jupiter Point (W of Plymouth) called Headstrong, Heads I Win, Hedonist and (wait for it).... Head Over Heels!

It hasn't yet.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 10:31 AM

this name has to be a joke, right

Why should it be? After all, "Kettle" is not an uncommon English surname. (For example - journalist Marin Kettle, here writing about drink.)


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joe_F
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 06:54 PM

HuwG: According to the OED, "between wind and water" means "on the load-line of a ship, which, as the vessel tosses, is alternately above and below the water's surface". This makes the mention of divers rather puzzling.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:04 PM

Those wouldn't be deep sea divers with helmets and all that. They weren't invented for hundreds of years. They'd be blokes swimming in the water, who would themseleves be "alternately above and below the water's surface"


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Gareth
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:14 PM

Schantieman - And if she 'pitchpoled' - Would it be "Head over keel" ?????

Gareth - Ducking and Weaving.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 09:41 AM

Head over keel is the normal mode.

SEA SONGS AND BALLADS, ed. by Christopher Stone includes "Sir Walter Raleigh Sailing in the Low-lands." In this version, the cabin boy uses a breast drill and Sir Walter takes him back aboard then gives him everything except the daughter. Even using a breast drill, there would have had to have been some sort of hooks to keep the driller from rotating as he drilled. The other possibility is that, as the song says "The which will bore fifteen good holes at once, sailing in the Low-lands," the multiplicity of holes anchored the person doing the drilling against rotation.

Although it is not the incident mentioned earlier, THE SEA WARRIORS, Richard Woodman, p.53, [author of the Nathaniel Drinkwater series] cites an event in 1794, when the French cavalry captured the Netherlands' fleet by attacking over ice on the Zuider Zee.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 04:47 AM

20000 Folk Songs Site
lists a song

"A Boy He Had an Auger"

but currently no words, sorry...

:-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joe_F
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 07:36 PM

Robin: I think that may be a version of

Peeping thru the knothole in grandpa's wooden leg,
Who'll wind the clock when I am gone, etc.

But I can't find a copy of it to check. I could have sworn it was in _The New Song Fest_.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 06:28 PM

Listening to the album of "Family Songs and Stories from the North Carolina Mountains" (Smithsonian Folkwayswith Doug and Jack Wallin, Doug sings yet another version of the "Golden Vanity" -- in this one the boy has "an instrument made for the use" and "cut ninety-nine gashes in the Turkish Robberree" (the name of the opponent in this one). That sounds more like it!!!!

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 06:25 PM

Well here's how it REALLY happened.
There was this little cabin boy (hereafter LCB) who fell in love with his captain's daughter. Captain was offering all kinds of incentives to anyone able to sink the enemy ship. Sooo - LCB invented a cunning device, he being Cornish and technologicaly adept.   On the evening that his gaget was finished he stood alone on the deck, the watch was dozing, and couldn't help but cry out into the night wind, "I have a magic tool!" Unbeknowst to him a Mermaid combing her hair on a nearby rock heard the brave boast. (Mermaid = expert underwater swimmer. Able to perform magic for a price.) She was very, very interested. Human male tools are usually completely inadequate to satisfy a Mermaid. They made this deal. "I'll help you sink the enemy ship but when I call you away, you must come to me!" said the Mermaid. LCB was sure he could avoid the Mermaid's payment (it never works but humans always think it will). The deed was done by the Mermaid. LCB only had to wait in the water beside his ship. Of course the Mermaid arranged for LCB to be thrown overboard into her arms. She was a little puzzled by LCB's claims about the "Magic Tool" but he satisfied her quite well anyway and they lived happily ever after.

How do I know all this? Well Folks that Little Cabin Boy was my great, great, great grandfather - Sailor Jack Semmens from Cornwall.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 07:22 PM

And as to the gadget Sailor Jack invented. Well it never would have worked would it? The Mermaid knew that. She would have thrown it away except that Jack was so proud of it. It got passed down as a family heirloom. It's somewhere in the bottm drawer of the kitchen cupboard. Never found a domestic use for a drillin' tool that bored nine holes at once.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 08:03 PM

Ahhh... Now I understand...


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 04:38 AM

You wouldn't lie to us, would you, Joybell?


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 12:00 PM

Thing I've always wondered about in the GV story. Here the captain had a crewmember who could outswim a ship in full sail, AND operate tools whilst keeping up with the enemy ship. Now, it seems to me that that kind of swimming isn't found every day, and, though the times were different, having a super swimmer to take on exhibition would pay lots better than running a ship, and they wouldn't even be mutually exclusive! Set up the exhibitions at the ports of call of the GV, and rake in the yokels' shekels. As for the daughter and the gold, you can always make allowances -- the girl should have SOME say in whom she marries, so the poor cabin-boy gets the cold mutton there, and, yes, I've put the gold in an account till you reach your majority. It's invested, my boy! Plastics!

Anyway, my tuppence on the subject.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 02:33 PM

Joybell, you could always use it for big parties. A corkscrew for nine bottles at a time!!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 04:51 PM

Yes! Of course! Thanks Don. My family never threw anything out. I knew we'd find a use for it sooner or later. Come along Christmas parties.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 05:01 PM

Would I lie? Of course not! I'm the great-great-great granddaughter of a Mermaid why would I lie about that? It's an honour not bestowed on just anyone. I'm very proud of my heritage.
PS. I have a secret sea-name but I'm not telling for fear of being taken by Water Spirit.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: IanC
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 08:30 AM

I was just re-reading Demond Seward's "The Hundred Years War" and thought of this thread.

Seward's account of The Battle of Sluys (1340) says (p43):

"... there were even divers who tried to sink the enemy ships by boring holes in their hulls below water ..."

Oddly enough, Sluys is in the Netherlands (Lowlands) and the battle was essentially between English Cogs (converted merchant ships) and Galleys, and other vessels, belonging to the French, their allies the Castillians (Spanish) and a Genoese mercenary fleet under Barbanera (Barbenoire, or "Blackbeard" to the French).

Sewards sources are a number of contemporary chronicles, but mainly Froissart and Geoffrey le Baker for accounts of Sluys. The information doesn't appear to be in Froissart, though, and I don't currently have access to a full version of de Baker or any of the other contemporary chronicles:

The Chroniques de London depuis L'An 44 Henri III jusque d L'An 17 Edward III
Chronicon Monasterii de Melsa
Adam Murimuth, Continuatio Chronicarum
Chronicon de Lanercost


:-)


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Carlos
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 01:52 PM

The date of H the 8 to E the 1 (around 1600) suggests a Spanish enemy; that is the period of the armada. The versions of the song that refer to a Turkish enemy may be later, when England's enemy was the Turkish empire, including the Barbary pirates in north Africa. The Lowland Sea is specifically off the Netherlands (Nether means "Low").
    I have read that in the late 1700's the Turkish galleys would catch an English ship becalmed and get on its quarter where it cannot bring a cannon to bear and pound it all day with a bow gun. A galley is moved by oars, usually by slaves, rather than by sails. A ship in this position is in a dire strait and facing a slow death; there would be time for a boy to swim the distance and drill holes, and the desparation to try anything. Also, the galley would not be moving.
    The usual counter was for the ship to launch a boat and pull or push the bow around so that its broadside would bear on the galley. The galley would try to sink the boat, and if they succeeded, the ship was back in the frying pan.
    In any era, as long as there are cannon so that the galley can stand off, a galley has this advantage over a ship when the wind is calm.
    This doesn't address the basic question of whether it is possible to drill a hole or if the hole can let in enough water; but it has been my concept of how the battle took place.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 06:47 PM

Carlos - the practice you describe lasted until the middle 1800s, rowed gunboats were part of the coast defence of most nations (at least, those with a coast). If a ship anchored with two anchors, or with what was called a spring on the anchor (basically another rope attached to a different part of the ship) the ship could turn a bit to bring guns to bear. Of course, you have to be able to anchor!


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,GUEST, Stephen
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 08:29 PM

Interesting thread. I have assumed that the cabin boy also carried a wire saw, drilled two holes above the waterline and one below, in a sort of inverted triangle two or three feet across, and threaded the wire saw through each pair of holes and cut through. When the last cut was mostly done, water pressure would push the triangle of wood in, and a gaping hole would appear, sufficient to sink even a large galleon in little time if the hole wasn't found and plugged almost immediately. Of course, the cabin boy would have to be ready to swim away as soon as the wood gave way, or he'd be sucked into the sinking ship along with the rest of the water.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 02 Dec 04 - 02:18 AM

Oh, some were playing cards and some were playing dice
And some were doing Turkish [or pirate, etc.] things which weren't very nice.

The crew were obviously distracted, which allowed the HCB to sneak up on them whilst becalmed and use his miraculous tool to enhance the natural ability of planked vessels to leak into the bilges.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,Jimships
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 06:21 AM

It is a matter for physics. If the water weight gain into the hull from the hole/s exceeded the submerged and displaced volume of water of the immersed ship, than she would sink. Anything less than no and a floating condition. Slightly positive buoyancy would be normal for wooden ships. What sunk "ships of the line" was the ballast and cargo below. Usually ballast was stone or iron in some later ships and the cargo was dry or wet goods in barrels. Most of which floated. The guns were heavy and the guns generally fell about on the gin decks or out of the ship if she rolled hard for any reason. Most other ships were fishing vessels and the hold of fish would be slightly negative buoyancy and salt was typically in abundance.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 02:36 PM

1. I'm pretty sure that in those far-off days nobody knew how to swim. Not in a quiet pond, let alone in a cold, heaving sea.

2. This ballad is a nautical version of the usual theme of the old ballads, namely, "The upper classes are no good and cannot be trusted."


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: ripov
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 04:53 PM

Might this be an allegorical galleon? Perhaps a "spanish lady" that the captain fancied, but the "cabin boy" got in first? That would explain the lad using his drill 9 times. And the captains crossness.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: kendall
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 07:52 PM

The song The Golden Vanity is poetic license on steroids.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 08:03 PM

However implausible, it makes a good story and that's what matters, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 04:12 AM

Just spotted this old thread.

I have assumed that the cabin boy also carried a wire saw, drilled two holes above the waterline and one below, in a sort of inverted triangle two or three feet across, and threaded the wire saw through each pair of holes and cut through.

As it says in what's surely my favourite version of the ballad:

"He took his little auger and he bored it once or twice
Then he bored for a third time with that little neat device
He made an inverted triangle, which you might have said looked nice
And he sank them in the lowlands low.

"Yes, he made an inverted triangle of holes that were so deep
One in air, two in the water, on the hull that was so steep
And through and through those little holes the water began to seep
And he sank them in the lowlands low.

"Then he sawed with his wire saw, the best that he could do
He ran his saw right through the holes and sawed the hull all through
It only took that boy an hour, or maybe it was two
To sink them in the lowlands low.

"O some were playing card games all of their own invention
And some were in their hammocks doing things I will not mention
But whatever they were doing, it took up their full attention
While he sank them in the lowlands low."


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 05:16 AM

leeneia said: I'm pretty sure that in those far-off days nobody knew how to swim

What a stupid thing to say. Of course they could. You are very dim.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 05:28 AM

Why "of course"? They didn't have swimming pools in those days, you know.


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Subject: RE: Gold.Vanity. Can you REALLY sink a ship?
From: jimL
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 05:34 AM

No


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