A Quick Ride

Hey Y’all. Good morning everyone. I just returned from an unexpected trip to Texas taking a very long plane ride to take a very quick boat ride from Galveston to Texas City to bring Elissa from her year round berth at the Texas Seaport Museum to the Bollinger Shipyard for several weeks in the dry dock.
Somehow as luck would have it I was able to sneak out between snow events and enjoy a day in the sun. Once again the volunteers and museum staff made my job a simple one; just 9 miles up the channel to the yard and back her in to the dry dock. There was the usual assortment of moving targets to avoid: ferries, crew boats, tankers, and shrimpers. Why is it that the most shrimp seem to be found in the very middle of the channel? The Houston ship channel is one very busy place. As you can see Elissa is high and dry. For the next few weeks the Coast Guard will have a chance to give her a very thorough inspection and the ship will receive new paint below the waterline. The propeller, which gets fouled after months of sitting idle will get buffed and look like new. You know I was just writing and dreaming last week about going for a boat ride and the feel of being aboard a moving vessel was just the fix I needed. It took all the discipline I could muster not to take a right out of Galveston into the Gulf of Mexico and set sail. Wouldn’t it be nice to go for sail?

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.


  1. Yair! Captain, we be with ye. Haven’t been on a good “cutting out” expedition in quite a spell. We can board her after dark. Cutlasses and pikes should do the trick. A few stout men with hearts of Red Oak and blood of pure Stockholm Tar can take her out. South to the roaring forties and they will never find us. Just give the word.

  2. That longing for a sail, to be on the water…how most of us spend all our days after being on the Mary Day just once. Is this a gift or a curse we have been given? I can feel the sea air on my face as I sit here…in my chilly landlocked living room.

  3. If I may be forward allow me. Bend is the archaic form of bind. (See Oxford English Dictionary). It is the technical term of making the sail fast to the yard, or boom and gaff. So if you are in a gale, and your sail blows away, you bend (or fasten on another one) Captain Barry, am I correct?

  4. When raising the mainsail and foresail aboard the Mary Day, to get those last few inches at the throat and peak, the crew member in charge demands heaves from the work party using the call 2-6-HEAVE! My fellow passengers and I have often asked about the origin of the 2-6-HEAVE! call. Today I thought I would see if Google had an answer. The best I came up with was on the Guardian web page in their “Yesteryear” section.

    The consensus seems to be that the great guns on the gun decks of the war ships during the Napoleonic wars were run out by men who. because of the noise and confusion on the gun deck were called by number rather than name. Thus, once these muzzle loading guns were sponged out and reloaded they had to be run up to the gun port by men numbered 2 and 6 to be fired again. From that it became common to use the call 2-6-HEAVE! anytime a line needed a strong tug.

    I don’t know if that is the true derivation but it does make some common sense and it also hearkens back to the days when sailing ships ruled the seas.

    My next challenge is to discover the derivation of a Heavelet called out in falsetto.

  5. In Julian Stockwin’s book “Artemis” there is a description of a gun exercise. The crew were indeed numbered. The number 2 person was the rammer- sponger, and the number 6 operated the training handspike. In his example everyone bore a fist on the gun tackle falls, but it would be reseasonable to think depending on the size of the gun, Numbers 2 & 6 would have this duty. The gun captain aimed and fired the gun, and was the one most likely to be struck during the recoil. I expect the falsetto voice may have come from such an incident.

  6. “Ouch! My ballocks!” wailed the gun captain in his new “Tiny Tim” voice when he ran afoul of the gun’s recoil.

    For a diagram of a British third rate warship check out the graphic at Wikipedia.com. Makes one wonder how more than 600 men (and a few women) lived aboard.

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