Keeping Old Gooseberry Ashore Page 2

Keeping Old Gooseberry Ashore

Part 2: Evil Friday, Bananas, and The Right Foot

By Capt. Ken Kreisler — May 2001

 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Keeping Old Gooseberry Ashore
• Part 2: Old Gooseberry continued
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Then there’s the one about not starting a cruise on a Friday, which supposedly comes from the fact that Christ was crucified on that day. However, my good friend, Father “Fishin’ Magician” O’Reilly—better known around the neighborhood as “O’Really?” due to his penchant for telling exaggerated fish stories—has a remedy for that one. He advises his marinized parishioners to say the proper novenas—especially those to St. Francis and St. Peter—and all will be just fine. “As for the Hebrews,” he said as we shared another wee Bushmills, “well, they can set out any old day they wish.”

How can nature’s perfect food be bad luck on a boat? Well it seems back when iron men sailed wooden ships, many a vessel put into tropical locales for reprovisioning, and among the foodstuffs taken on were copious amounts of bananas. In these were all sorts of bugs, spiders, and snakes which, once aboard, often lived just as happily among the victuals, bunks and bodies of the crew, and even called many a captain’s cabin home. Soon fevers and sores spread throughout the ship’s company and eventually to ports of call, including home. When the irate masters finally figured out the source of the scourges, word spread lickety-split that any form of bananas was prohibited aboard ship. To cement the edict, they deemed the fruit bad luck.

Today this is all bilge water, so there’s no need to deprive yourself of nature’s perfect food aboard your boat. But if you feel the need to dispel any chance of bad mamma jamma coming your way, simply throw the peel into the water—not to worry, tree-huggers, it’ll get eaten—while balancing on your right foot. Never the left. And make sure you’ve finished the banana before tossing the peel.

And speaking of the right foot, getting on and off a boat with your left foot first is a no-no. If you happen to make this podiatric faux pas, merely retrace your steps backwards exactly until you are either dockside or deckside. Take off your shoes, sneakers, flip-flops, or whatever and switch them to the opposite foot. Then step on or off the boat—right foot first—after which you can put your whatevers back on the proper foot.

If you’re one of those unshod boaters—go figure anyone with a splinter/hot-deck fetish—perform the same maneuver. Do the reverse shodding thing, and get on or off. Right foot first, please, or you’ll have to do the whole thing over again but this time twice. Once ashore or aboard, feel free to unshod yourself if you must.

There are legions more superstitions to deal with, but this is all I have room for in this installment. If you have a spell that needs dispelling, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do. Hopefully I’ll be able to help you free your boat of any bad mojo that you may have unwittingly conjured up. In the meantime, don’t leave any hatch covers lying upside down on your deck, and if a redheaded person boards your boat, always speak to them before they speak to you. And never, ever mess with an albatross.

Now, if I can find that Fijian talisman my good friend Capt. Bill Pike gave me, I just might be able to go fishing this weekend.

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This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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