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Life on board
Captain Seidl teaches shanties.

... I am bound for south Australia!

over 2 years ago
Written by Ronald Toppe
Life on board > ... I am bound for south Australia!

... I am bound for south Australia!

over 2 years agoLife on board
Written by Ronald Toppe
Captain Seidl teaches shanties.

The sound of a sailing ship? Shanty!

Imagine that you have been sailing the ocean for three weeks, in bad weather. The crew is exhausted, but the sails must be adjusted, again. How do you motivate them to grab the halyard and haul, in perfect coordination?

You make them sing, a melody that motivates and in a rhythm that matches the job to be done. The shanty was created.


The shanty was first and foremost sung when working, not as entertainment on the free shift. The rhythm is crucial.

Some go at a steady pace, and are sung when turning the gait to pull up the anchor or when the pumps are worked, up and down. Others when the sails are set, haul by haul in a steady rhythm. If you need to tighten a sail, you need a strong and completely coordinated jerk. Then the shanty builds up to the jerk, which is triggered by an "o hoi!"

The name shanty probably originates from the French word for sing, "chantez".

Learning shanties in the middle of the Atlantic.
Learning shanties in the middle of the Atlantic.


The shanty is led by a lead singer, a shantyman. He often improvised the text, it was not until long after the sailing ship era was over that the shanties were written down.

Captain Seidl is very fond of shanties, and a skilled shantyman. On the way across the Atlantic, there is plenty of time to learn something new, and Seidl is happy to keep up the tradition.

The sail needs tightening and the anchor is hauled from time to time, so why not do it to a genuine sailing ship shanty.

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The One Ocean Expedition is a circumnavigation by the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl. We aim to to share knowledge about the crucial role of the ocean for a sustainable development in a global perspective.

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