Sailors are a superstitious bunch. I suppose that back in the day, before SOLAS and modern technology, sailing was risky. If spitting in the ocean before setting sail brought luck, or nailing a horseshoe to the mast helped turn away storms, I would have done both.
One well known superstition is the belief that leaving port on a Friday brings bad luck. We obviously didn’t get that memo, as Diamant sails a Friday to Thursday rotation. Maybe her crew offsets the potential bad luck by throwing coins in the ocean–a small toll paid to the sea god Neptune for a safe voyage.
Whistling in the wheelhouse. Bad luck. Rats leaving a ship. Bad luck – although I beg to differ. Pouring wine on the deck before setting sail. Good luck. Again, I disagree.
If you threw a cat overboard, it was said that a storm or very bad luck would follow. I suspect that PETA started that particular rumor. Why would you throw a cat overboard, when cats are supposed to be good luck? Bananas in a boat. Bad luck. A shark following the ship was a sign of inevitable death — sure, if you fell in.
A figurehead of a naked woman perched on the bow of a ship was said to calm the seas, while her eyes would guide you safely home. Sailors also believed that a naked woman on board would bring good luck, although I was always happiest with a naked man below deck. Kidding, people!
What are some of your favorite sailing superstitions?