Seascout-Net Mail Archive for September of 1999: New Year's Eve Log Entry Contest GENERAL BACKGROUND
New Year's Eve Log Entry Contest GENERAL BACKGROUND
Tue, 21 Sep 1999 07:56:39 EDT
To Skipper Kathy Wickward, Other Skippers, Mates, and Distinguished Salts
It occurs to me that about half of those on the net understand what the
contest is about . . . and the other half are totally baffled.
For the latter group I provide the following, subject to the corrections of
the head instigator, Skipper Erickson (which I believe is Cajun for He Who
Talks To Alligators) and others who know more about these contests than I do.
Keeping the Ship's log is about as repetitious and mind-numbing a
responsibility as there is. Very structured and very factual. Anyone who
has kept an official log for long has been tempted to throw something truly
fanciful into it.
Sailors have been a group of incredible influence and creativity.
They created the first technical language, and harnessing the drawbacks of
isolation took the availability of whale byproducts and created scrimshaw,
leftover materials and created ornamental knotwork and coxcombing, wartime
incarceration and created ships models and ships and bottles, skin and
borrowed tattooing from the South Sea islanders, the rhythm of work and
created sea chanteys. Basically sailors by virtue of their frequent
isolation had to entertain themselves and the products of their isolation
have been so good they have been adopted by society.
And there was a sort of perverse pride in talking and dressing differently
that went with a profession that entailed what MTV would call "extreme travel
and extreme risk."
At one time this sort of creativity was an integral part of Sea Scouting. In
addition to demonstrating specific seamanship skills, to earn Quartermaster
you had to build certain models and dioramas, sew a seabag, and make a
pelorus and sextant. The relative merit of that change away from making
things should be the subject of another thread of postings.
Anyway Sea Scouting is a creative activity. Who else could do as much as we
do with so little money?
New Year's Eve
No one wants to stand watch on a holiday. In the Northern Hemisphere most
vessels are tied up and inactive on New Year's Eve. It's gray, it's dismal.
But it is a nonsectarian holiday that symbolizes a new start and virtually
every culture celebrates it somehow (though not always on the same day or
using the same calendar.)
Someone Threw Out the Gauntlet
I don't know if someone said "during the midwatch on the first day of the
year" log entries can be "unusual," and then ships began to compete, or
someone started a competition for unusual midwatch log entries. Seems like
someone ought to know. Anyway someone figured out how to have some fun doing
something that was not fun.
Sometime after the cruise of the Great White Fleet and before W.W.II is my
guess for the period. Anyway in the Navy and the Coast Guard it is a
tradition for the midwatch entry to be fanciful. Sometimes there is
all-service recognition for a good entry, sometimes not. As a naval
midshipman I remember New Year's Day midwatch watchstanders being very
selectively chosen and coached. It was a matter of pride. Sea Scouting under
CDR Keane took the tradition and ran with it. it was a national competition.
The key is to have the trappings of a standard log entry (vessel's status,
position, the time, the weather), but to be fanciful. Someone called it a
poetry contest. I am not sure the entries even have to be in verse, but they
have to be creative. Many have the watchstander enduring visitations by
ghosts or mythological or historical characters offering advise or stern
The Sea Scout watchstander gets the credit, but he or she represents the
vessel. A Sea Scout Ship with two vessels and two Sea Scout watchstanders
could submit two entries. Most submissions are really group efforts, but the
watchstander gets the glory. The total effort however is a matter of and
measure of Ship's pride.
The winner gets the prize(s) posted [SO FAR] as I recall:
Chapman's Martin Flynn SSS 243
"Shanties of the Seven Seas"
by Stan Hugill/Kathy Wickward SSS 88
A submission deadline has to be set. I think last year's was 15 Jan.
Ultimately I guess that every entry wins . . . for having participated, if
you want to get philosophical.
Perhaps this dissipates the fog a bit...
Ship 101 Viking is currently in fall training for the great contest. The
B's'n has the crew listening to Rap music endlessly and sent the Apprentices
to see "Shakespeare in Love".
Sea Scout Ship 101 Viking
REIGNING LOG CHAMPIONS
"We sail to the ends of the earth." (rhyming as we go over the edge)
<A HREF="http://seascout.net/ship101/">Sea Scout Ship 101 Viking</A>
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