Windjammer Holidays

Good morning everyone. The holiday season has arrived in Camden with snow and a chilly northwest wind. St Nicholas Day was Saturday the 6th and the patron saint of children arrived by boat in the harbor. He also visited our house Saturday night where the kids had left their shoes by the door. So much for sleeping in Sunday morning.

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors. He is also the patron saint of some less savory characters but that paradoxical twist only gives credence to the saint who looks after those of us who chose to put to sea for a living. As the story goes, Nicholas was a sailor aboard a ship caught in a storm and his prayers for relief from the tempest were answered. After arriving at the island of Myra Nicholas went straight to the nearest church to give thanks. One church elder had a vision that a man named Nicholas would arrive that day to become the new bishop and despite his young age he fit the vision and well… tag, your it! Nicholas continued to inspire his followers and many miracles were attributed to his work. A far as I am concerned the miracle is still with us as any of you who have seen a young child at the holidays know.

We took to the woods yesterday to get our fir tree and leave gifts for the woods on our favorite “giving” tree. This year we hung oranges, apples, crusts of Mary’s bread (a blessing for sure!), and pine cones rolled in bacon lard and bird seed. Having a wooden boat certainly gives one an appreciation for any living tree. I especially marvel at the red oaks and the white pines (both types found in Mary Day’s construction) stretching up 40 or 50 or 60 feet and without a limb for the first 20 feet. I will never see the boards from these trees but that matters not. I never saw the trees 40+ years ago that were already 60+ years old when they were cut. So one miracle of the season is the miracle of time… time with friends and family, time walking in the woods choosing just the right tree, time relaxing aboard a windjammer and knowing how those simple acts stretch backwards and forwards in ways that are not as tangible as a schooner. It is all good and I hope your holiday season is filled with the goodness of saint Nicholas.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.


  1. Barry – I think the photo of you and Sawyer being sawyers is great. The photographer (Jen?) caught the falling snow and the look of concentration in both your eyes. I particularly like your hat. It makes me think of Russia.

    The photo of Nadie and Sawyer is great too. It’s so obvious in that picture and while we’re sailing that they love each other. But it sure looks like someone hit Sawyer in the head with a snow ball!

  2. It’s wintertime in the northern hemisphere and even here in Alabama the mornings are frosty. I recently learned an old nautical word. Calenture is a condition Captain Barry often claims he would suffer from if he had to work in the South.

    “Calenture: A kind of delirium caused, especially on board ship, by exposure to excessive heat.” – John Ridpath’s Home Reference Library 1898.

    “A disease incident to sailors within the tropics characterized by delirium in which the patient, it is said, fancies the sea to be green fields, and desires to leap into it.” – Sir James Murray’s New English Dictionary, 1914

    Jonathan Swift wrote in the The South Sea Project (1721):

    So, by calenture misled,
    The mariner with rapture sees,
    On the smooth ocean’s azure bed,
    Enamell’d fields and verdant trees.

    I was discussing this word with Al and he said he has suffered from calenture in Mississippi when working in a hay field he looked out over the green grass and fancied it to be the ocean and desired to jump in to find relief from the heat.

  3. Calenture from the Spanish calentura, from calentar to heat, from Latin calent-, calens, present participle of calƒìre to be warm. A more common word is caliente. I have endured that delirium on many occasions. I absolutely HATE hot weather, and have lived in the tropics and in Florida in the past. I’ll take a below zero day in New England over a calenture-inducing one any time. It’s one of the reasons why I sail at the end of the season. September is a fabulous month for sailing. Good word Ed; and a very apt description of that heat-induced feeling.

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