Madness At Sea – A History

April 2022

Those of you who have spent any time at sea will know how the unique conditions of being afloat can fundamentally change the way that you think and how you experience the world. It will come as no surprise that there have been occasions in history when humans have been pushed to their absolute limits and their minds have cracked; when a firm grasp on reality has catastrophically failed in a sudden a violent shock, or when doubts and anxiety have crept in like water through a tiny hole the hull of ship, unnoticeable until its weight has become too heavy to ignore and impossible to fix.

Dr Sam Willis explores the troubling history of madness at sea, a fascinating topic that allows us to range freely across the oceans of history, exploring a variety of stories that highlight different aspects of how the maritime environment has affected the mental health of sailors in the past. It’s a story of loneliness, hallucinations, psychopaths, endurance and the limits of the human mind. It takes us to the adventures of ancient mythical seafarers, to the age of exploration and global maritime empires, to world wars fought at sea, to the challenges of modern racing and the dangerous pleasures of sailing for fun…

Sam speaks with the author and sailor Nic Compton whose book ‘Off the Deep End‘ explores this theme as never before. Do NOT listen to this episode on your own on a boat, and be certain that safety at sea starts – and ends – in the mind.

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    Madness at Sea

    Sam Willis 

    From the Society for Nautical Research in partnership with Lloyd’s Register Foundation, I’m Sam Willis. And this is the Mariners Mirror podcast, the world’s number one podcast dedicated to all of maritime history. Hello everyone and welcome to the Mariners Mirror podcast, what a treat we have for you today one that is particularly relevant because of our growing contemporary awareness of issues surrounding mental health. Today we are talking about the troubling History of Madness at sea, a fascinating topic that allows us to range freely across the oceans of history, picking up a variety of stories here and there that highlight different aspects of how the maritime environment has affected the mental health of sailors in the past. Now, any of you who have spent any time at sea will know how the unique conditions of being a float can fundamentally change the way that you think, and also how you experience the world. It will come as no surprise I suspect there have been occasions in history when humans have been pushed to their absolute limits, and their minds have cracked, where a firm grasp has catastrophically failed in a sudden or violent shock. Or when doubts and anxiety have crept in like a tiny hole in the hull of a ship, unnoticeable until its weight has become both too heavy to easily ignore, and too heavy to easily fix. To find out more, I spoke with Nick Compton, whose brilliantly titled book off the deep end explores this topic in great detail. Here’s Nick, I hope as ever, that you enjoy listening to him as much as I enjoyed talking with him.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Nick, thank you very much for talking with me today.

     

    Nick Compton 

    Brilliant, thank you so much for having me on the show.

     

    Sam Willis 

    So madness, at sea, what an amazing topic. Why? Why did you decide to write about this topic?

     

    Nick Compton 

    I’ve always been interested in psychology, and obviously interested in the sea, and at one point, I wondered whether anything  had been written about it. And I stumbled across a small book written in the 1980s that was full of illusions and delusions, and plus a few stories. I thought it was a wonderful little book, that could be expanded into something so bigger, and updated and more contemporary. So that was the starting point.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Did you have any kind of personal experience ? Did you say, actually, there’s something I can draw on here. I know about this.

     

    Nick Compton 

    I’ve lived on boats, all my life on and off. I’ve lived on boats since the age of two weeks. And I lived on boats in the Mediterranean, right up until the age of 15. And really 95% of my time, my life at that point was lived physically on a boat. So I had the background on boats. I didn’t really know I had any background in the psychological area, if you like until I was researching it. And I started talking to my dad about his history and his life on boats, and specifically in the Navy. And that was when I discovered. I’ve always known that he’d been shipwrecked at least once and had a few hairy times in the Navy during the Second World War. And then he told me about one incident in particular, when he was sunk on the ship with the Galatea, HMS Galatea of Alexandria. It was quite a it’s quite a notorious shipwreck, it turns out, the ship went down in three minutes, of the 550 crew on board only 100 survived, including my father, who was picked up by passing British ships that were in the area. And when he described the incident and he was describing the voices of his fellow sailors and officers in the water, calling out for help, and how he tried to go towards them and the voices would disappear. It sounded traumatic, he never said anything,  he mentioned the guilt he felt at being an officer and allowing this to happen. You know that because he felt partly responsible for basically 450 people were dying, and that’s as far as it went. And then later when I looked at his service record, I saw that after that incident he had been retired from active service in fact with a note of effective saying he was mentally unfit to serve in active service, active duty. He was retired basically to an office job, and then splice that together with things my mother said about him in later life, that even as an old man, he hated to watch  war films where there were battle scenes. If he did he wake up in the night, crying out, shouting out in his sleep. And this was seventy years after those incidents, that incident that had happened. So it made me realise that there was there was a there was a connection there. And there was a trauma in his life, which nowadays we would call PTSD. And that’s basically what was he what he suffered from for the rest of his life?

     

    Sam Willis 

    Yeah, it’s, that’s quite clearly one of one of the worst experiences you can have, with being sunk on a ship in war. Before we talk more generally about the sea and the difficulties of being at sea, why don’t why don’t we just talk a bit about why it’s good fun. Let’s talk about being at sea. Because I think I do think it really helps to put it into context because the being on a boat and being at sea, it is very much a kind of yin and yang. There’s a black and white going on and you get the fresh air, you get a bit of camaraderie, if there are people around you, you have a sense of freedom, you can go wherever you want, you feel the sun, you get the exhilaration of being in terrible storms. I always loved that it was my favourite thing, one of my best memories is actually standing on the bow of a square rigger in a hideous storm trying to get to Brest and we ended up giving up and coming back.  I was getting soaked by the wind and I loved it, I was I was tied on I didn’t think the ship was going to sink. I was quite happy. What can you add to those comments about having fun on boats?

     

    Nick Compton 

    Well, I always say when you hear people talk a lot about the therapeutic value of sailing. And I always think the genius of sailing is that you are constantly occupied. There’s always just enough to do to keep you busy, but not enough to overwhelm you, normally, in a regular situation. Occasionally things get a bit stressy, sometimes things get a little bit boring. But on the whole, there’s always just enough to keep you busy. And keep your brain engaged. Which is why it’s so therapeutic. You’re constantly solving small problems, and hopefully not being overwhelmed by them.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Yeah, but golly, gosh, it can overwhelm you, which is where I think we come to these themes.

     

    Nick Compton 

    That’s what I was going to say. Another thing about the sea is that you should never, you should never forget that the sea doesn’t care that the sea is unrelenting. So there’s no point in thinking that when it’s a nice day that the sea is being kind to that that lovely calm water and sun is somehow being kind or that when it’s been when it’s rough. It’s being cruel. The sea doesn’t care either way, and you have to mould yourself to whatever the mood of the sea, you have to mould yourself to the sea, not the other way around. And then as long as you can do that, and you can adapt yourself, then you’ll do all right, if you if you try and fight it, then you’re on a losing battle.

     

    Sam Willis 

    But when it does go wrong. I mean, I’ve just jotted a few things down here. loneliness, fear, exhaustion, illness, there’s a sense I think of the sea sort of magnifying things that might be wrong. Do you agree with that?

     

    Nick Compton 

    I always think it’s interesting to compare the sea to putting your hand in the water,  your hand is magnified in water. And so it is with your emotions and with them feelings when your at sea that some somehow the experience of being at sea intensifies and magnifies your feelings. And there’s yes, there’s a lot a lot to deal with out there at sea, as you say things like claustrophobia. seasickness, just this the sheer physical enterprise of sailing a ship can be very demanding. So there’s plenty there to challenge people and famously what they say about the sea brings out the inner you. So that you can’t you can’t make excuses with the sea or it’ll get to the core of who you are, and how you deal with the sea. It reveals so much about yourself.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Have you ever been on a boat where someone’s who you think is quite normal has gone a bit weird? I have several times

     

    Nick Compton 

    I think that the most common thing, of course on boats is when the otherwise calm Skipper who you’ve known in the pub and chatted to, and is all smiles and friendly, suddenly becomes a bit of a despot, which of course, I would never do myself.

     

    Sam Willis 

    So he says.

     

    Nick Compton 

    The famous caricature of sailors at sea, it seems to happen.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Yeah, usually sparked by not enough sleep and too much alcohol. Yeah, I think the combination of those two and cold as well, sailing in the cold was always very, very difficult, stressful. So when you have when you’ve been stopping off, and you’ve all drunk too much, you’ve only got to port and then you get back in and then it’s freezing. I mean, I’ve been sailing up in the Denmark straits, and were exceptionally cold, and you need greater reserves of everything. And no, I just, you know, I’ve been on ships where everyone has got along, and then it’s all become fractious. But you know, apparently, nothing’s really changed apart from having spent a bit more time with each other. Yeah, and the sort of kind of the, the wilderness of four or six hour watches when you’re by yourself just staring out at the sea, I think you can get to anyone.

     

    Nick Compton 

    Hmm. So I find all that mostly, mostly, very therapeutic and enjoyable. Because I’m a bit of a loner. Well, what I was going to say is, is that, well, we’ll probably come into it, but it gets, we don’t just that. One of the things personally, I’ve experienced more with being on boats and some extent in foreign lands, is being an outsider, and living on a boat, certainly. And living on a boat abroad, makes you a double outsider, and something of a misfit in society. And I spent 15 years on boats as a kid, and coming back to England took quite a lot of readjustment. And I think probably, I’m still haven’t fully adjusted. But I think I’ve turned that around into a positive by being a writer. And being at being an outsider, as a writer, is quite important. I think it’s a very useful thing. So in a way, I’ve done that to my advantage.

     

    Sam Willis 

    It it’s also great fun. Yeah, well done. Yeah. Well done. You now this all has a history. I think that’s the point about this, and what you’ve discovered, and it has a very ancient history. And if you look back through time, there are some of the most extraordinary stories I would say wonderful, extraordinary stories of whether it’s psychological drama, or people losing their mind at sea. The Odyssey let’s begin there. That was that was the first psychological drama set at sea, wasn’t it?

     

    Nick Compton 

    Yeah, absolutely, argue the first drama, written drama anyway. But yeah, I think the the interesting thing about the Odyssey is particularly how it compares to the Iliad. The Iliad is all about being on land, governance, the certainty of fate, whereas with the Odyssey, Homer turns inwards. He does this by largely by setting it at sea. And what happens then as soon as you set the story at sea, is filled with uncertainty. And that in turn, poses questions and demands on the character of Odysseus and his men. So far from being a war drama, it’s, it becomes more of a, a psychological drama, I would argue. Odysseus and his men they set off at first, just as they were in Troy, blood thirsty, full of full of vitality and confidence. And they cause a bloodbath, they butcher people as they go and carry on like this until they get to Cape Maleas in the in the south of Greece, and that they’re there on their ships, and they get caught in a storm, and that the caught in a storm for nine days. And when they come out of it, they are totally transformed, as if the sea has remoulded them, they come out almost like gullible children, and they fall into trap after trap. Whether it’s the lotus eaters or whether it’s drinking Circe’s spiked wine, or eating the sacred cattle, they fall into every trap. Each time Odysseus is the one who maintains his sobriety, or his sanity, and pulls them through it. That’s the drama that’s enacted as a psychological drama, of him being tested over and over again, and each time the others are found wanting. And he manages to save the situation. Until, of course, he’s seduced by Calypso. And then then he’s, he’s trapped for seven years, and the gods had to come and save him. And then he builds his ship, at that point, after he’s built his little ship to sail home against the sea that intervenes. He is shipwrecked, and he becomes a piece of flotsam, there’s a wonderful line in the Chapman version, which says, the sea had soaked his heart through. And that’s where he is found by Nausicaä and he’s picked up as a bit of flotsam off the beach. He’s resurrected, and this is all really a sight more psychological than anything. He is rebuilt and then eventually manages to go home, back to Ithaca.

     

    Sam Willis 

    It’s the genius of setting a drama at sea, because there’s a kind of an accepted understanding that lots of weird stuff can happen at sea, anything can happen at sea, it gives the writer so much freedom and flexibility, doesn’t it?

     

    Nick Compton 

    And it makes everything uncertain, doesn’t it? I mean, yeah, just anything can happen. And the essence of it is uncertainty, which is what is really, really true and accurate to what it is like being at sea. And there’s the fact that famous thing, sailors never say they’re going to somewhere, they only say they’re going towards somewhere, and you never, we never write in your log and say you’re leaving Falmouth and heading to St Malo. You never write St Malo at the beginning of the day. You only do that once you’re firmly in harbour because you never be certain you will get to St Malo. You might had to put in somewhere else or you might have turned around, that degree of uncertainty that is innate and intrinsic to being at sea.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Yeah. Pringles Stokes. Now there’s a character for you. Should we talk about him? Give us give us a bit of story about Pringle. So he’s out there on the Beagle out in the Pacific. And here’s a man who properly loses his mind.

     

    Nick Compton 

    Poor Pringle Stokes. I feel a huge amount of sympathy for Pringle Stokes, he is asked to do the impossible really. He’s asked to survey the Straits of Magellan so that’s ships can avoid sailing around Cape Horn. And he spends two years on his little ship the Beagle 90 foot long with 60 men on board, all stuffed into this tiny little ship really, surveying the coast in all weathers and most of most of the time, the weather is horrific. He surveys the land, using a sextant, and these very precise tools all handheld on a small boat. So after two years, and you can imagine that he gets more and more worn down by it. And as he writes his description of the land there is a place where the soul of a man dies in him. And sure enough that that is what happens to him, poor man. And he ends up locking himself up in his cabin. And eventually, he shoots himself, sadly, even then he bungles it and he misses. So he’s left to die, dying of a slow death until gangrene eventually kills him. After his death, it turns out that he hasn’t been doing the job at all, that his lieutenant has actually been doing all the work, and that he was basically unable to cope with a task in hand. There’s a tragic, tragic story with amazing and enormous, subsequent follow up, because the man who is chosen to succeed him on the Beagle is, of course, Robert Fitzroy, age, just 23, who is an excellent Mariner, and a great character, and at least three admirals in his family. He passed all his naval exams with full marks, but he too has a skeleton in the cupboard, which is his uncle, who committed suicide by slashing his throat with a penknife. So there’s this in the background. Robert Fitzroy takes over from Pringle Stokes, and in a strange way  bizarre sequence of events ends up kidnapping effectively, four of the native people, Fuegian natives, a girl they called Fuegia Basket and a boy and two men, and takes them back to England. And really as his excuse is that he wants to train them up, teach them English, so they can spread the word of God in Patagonia. But he obviously has very a great interest in them, and shows them around all his well to do friends, including the king and queen. The problem comes when while the man takes undue interest in the young girl, and we think probably gets her pregnant, so that Fitzroy is in  a big rush to get them out of England to get keep them away from the scandal. But he persuades the Admiralty to fund a second expedition to Patagonia, and this time decides to take a companion, he knows  his family is susceptible to mental illness. And thinks it’s a good idea to have someone there to talk to, and the person who ends up choosing through a process of selection is, is a young student called Charles Darwin. And it’s, it’s, by this bizarre, this strange sequence of events that Charles Darwin ends up sailing to the Pacific on board of Beagle, with, with Robert Fitzroy, and, of course, for that voyage, develops his theories of evolution and writes The Origin of the Species. The sad aftermath of this is that after Robert Fitzroy gets home, eventually, four years later, he’s eventually set up the Met Office, and then really invents the concept of weather forecasting. But in 1860, Charles Darwin publishes the Origin of the Species. Fitzroy is so devastated by his the idea that he has contributed to this, this concept, being a strong Christian, that eventually, he actually takes his own life as well, in exactly the same way his uncle did rather taking a razor blade to his throat. Grim.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Very grim.

     

    Nick Compton 

    That’s a very long story. I was always going to say, it’s too long to get into. I don’t know what you think

     

    Sam Willis 

    No, no, it’s fascinating and all traces back to poor old Pringles Stokes.

     

    Nick Compton 

    It all goes back to poor Pringles sucks. He’s, he’s just an inadequate man, really, or normal man, and asked to do something extraordinary. I have great sympathy for him.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Yeah, absolutely. I mean, his his experience was was not unusual. And I was fascinated by all of the naval records, you came across the Hasla Naval Hospital in Gospel, which really does make it so clear that Pringle Stakes’ I mean, his experiences were completely unique. But I think the the, the stress and the trouble he was under that caused him such mental difficulty was certainly shared by a surprisingly large amount of people, wasn’t it?

     

    Nick Compton 

    Yes, well, then, mental illness was it was such a serious concern in the Navy that from 1755 onwards, sailors were sent to a private establishment at then Hoxton House for treatment, when that when that was found to be inadequate, and actually pretty much inhumane. In 1818, they converted a block or built a Block F at Hasler to, to house what they called the Naval Maniacs

     

    Sam Willis 

    Naval maniacs?

     

    Nick Compton  

    Naval maniacs is what they were called. Yes. And then yes, so they treat them as best they could at the time and a lot of bloodletting as you can imagine. But yeah, the reasons people gave for being there. And there’s they’re quite detailed records was at the time, very poignant, some of them and that they are the kinds of dramatic reasons such as sailors injured in action, their limbs and eyes being lost and knocks to the head from blocks in the rigging. But what I found touching and moving, going through all those accounts was how many of them were just very simple, mundane things, the day to day things of having to deal with fellow sailors, with their colleagues, being jealous of their wives back home, who they worried were seeing other men, or falling out of love, falling in love, their relations, relatives dying, all kinds of various, not mundane, but everyday type concerns, rather than the other bit, the high drama, you might expect on the high seas.

     

    Nick Compton 

    It makes it so much more human, isn’t it? If you say, Oh, I’ve got it, I’ve got a list of the naval records from these naval maniacs of the 18th century. What do you think is wrong with them, you’d say? Well, I’m sure that there was terrible brain trauma from battle and falling out of rigging and stuff. But the fact that it’s just everyday stuff and missing home falling out of love, that makes it really come alive,

     

    Nick Compton 

    And carries on when they do when they did them surveys of, of sailors, contemporary sailors in mental institutions. And the reason again,  we’re very similar, but my girl left me or I got lost, trying to get back to the Naval Base, or it’s all very, very trivial things, really. And at the bottom of the list were the more predictable job related incidents.

     

    Sam Willis 

    And I think it’s really important that these aren’t famous examples. They’re just slightly under the radar and they open up a whole tranche of history which we may not have thought about. However, there are some very famous examples of people losing their mind at sea. Perhaps most famous of all was Donald Crowhurst. Tell us about him.

     

    Nick Compton 

    Donald Crowhurst again another man. Well, he was an extraordinary man. And you could argue he was a genius. He was an electronics expert, who came up with an ingenious navigation device, which he tried to market back in the 1960s. And he was he was a great inventor. And he talked the talk, but he couldn’t really run his business very well. So he decided to promote himself by entering this round the world race. It’s a famous round the world race, sponsored by the Sunday Times, called the Golden Globe race. And he decided to enter the race to promote his products. So I say he was a great inventor, a great talker, but not a great organiser. So by the time he left, his yacht, the Teignmouth Electron, left Teignmouth there are all kinds of things that weren’t quite finished. And literally, within days, things started falling apart. And after  within a week, the hull started filling with water, and he soon realised that he wouldn’t be able to sail around the world on this boat, or if he did, he was very liable to sink. His problem was that if he gave up, then he’d mortgaged his house, and he’d lose his house, his business would go bankrupt. And so he was in a impossible position where he had to keep going in order to save his house and business. So he came up with this ruse of sailing around and essentially say, sailing around in circles in the southern ocean, which takes some doing in itself. And then a real really clever thing was to speculate, to project where he would have been and send out false positions of his alleged navigation around the world. So  he basically faked his circumnavigation, and just at the point where he should have been coming back up the Atlantic, he suddenly reconnected with the media and announced that he was on his way home. He was he was trying to come  in third place, so not attract too much attention, but to still finish the race, when suddenly the person in second place sank, and put a great deal of focus on him. Essentially, he spiralled into panic and started going again. He started sailing around in circle circles in the Sargasso Sea, losing all control of the ship really, and writing this huge and 25,000 word treatise, about reconnecting with God. And eventually his ship was his yacht was found with no one on board, and it’s presumed that he jumped off the boat and what was found on board were two sets of logs, one with his In real positions, and the other with fake positions. And of course, this is this was, this became a huge story at the time. And subsequently there have been plays written books written, and most recently a film made called The Mercy.

     

    Sam Willis 

    There are also numerous examples of people seeing things at Sea have you come across any examples of that?

     

    Nick Compton 

    Well, the most famous is the Fata Morgana, otherwise known as a superior mirage, which is when you see ships hovering above the horizon, and they’d been quite a few instances recently on social media and so forth, and in the news. I remember, I do remember seeing that when I was a kid, on a hot hazy day, particularly in Italy, and near Sicily, the Straits of Messina, which is where they were a famous place for them, and the looking over to the horizon, a headland would appear stratified, and, and as if it was hovering above, above the horizon. And that’s caused by its called a temperature inversion, when the the hot air is over the cold air and the light is refracted in a certain way, so that it appears higher than it really is. And it’s thought that this is probably the origin of the Flying Dutchman, which was the ghost ship that people used to spot and still do actually, I mean, either their contemporary accounts, or them ships and yachts being seen, even charging towards cruising yachts and then vanishing. And that was a regular occurrence. And another of these illusions is hearing voices when your at sea, and that’s thought to be caused by the white noise of the waves and your ears trying to fight, trying to make sense of that white noise. And it finds these voices with it with it within the waves. And there’s illusions, there are also delusions, so they are quite surprisingly common with single handed sailors, and often due to lack of sleep. The most famous was the first, effectively the first man to sail around the world single handed Joshua Slocum. Who ate a bit too much or plum and cheese in the Canaries and got a terrible stomach pain, cramp. While he was he was lying on the floor in great pain, he looked up and saw the pilot of the Pinta at the helm. And the pilot said to him ” fear not I’ll look after the ship, you sleep”, which is exactly what he did. He woke up two days later, to find the boat perfectly on course, all the sails perfectly trimmed, and he knew that the pilot of the Pinta had looked after him. And the theatre carries on with with modern single handed sailors. There’s instances of sailors seeing, one saw an elephant in the sea, and then he looked again it become a Ford popular car. And they looked again and it become a whale. Others have seen, someone saw their father in law at the top of the mast, a French sailor saw Cardinal Richelieu  holding a crocodile in the bow of the boat, another saw four ladies having tea in the cockpit. So there are lots of these stories. Basically, due to lack of sleep,

     

    Sam Willis 

    Wow. Well, we now know what that is. They probably believed every, they knew what they saw, exactly what they saw. There was a man with a crocodile on the bow.

     

    Nick Compton 

    And often they don’t question they don’t at the moment in time anything. Oh, that’s strange, isn’t it? Oh, yeah. There’s a man with  a crocodile.

     

    Sam Willis 

    I mean, yeah, we should. You know, we could wrap this up now. And we’ve done some wonderful examples of people really not knowing what on earth was going on. But see, let’s end on a positive note. It is a place of healing as well, isn’t it?

     

    Nick Compton 

    Yes, I mean, famously. And since ancient times, the sea has been a place of healing. The ancient Greeks knew that and the Victorians knew that which is why they have so many coastal resorts. And yes, and the sea air is supposed to contain negative ions, which makes you feel more energised. So there’s been a long history of this. Dr. Richard Russell set up his surgery in Brighton in 1753, and gave potions with cuttlefish, bone and crabs eyes, mixed with salt water to treat people. But more recently, research by NASA has confirmed that swimming in cold water is good for you, and good for your health. But the proof of the pudding, I think is an amazing story by a former RAF commander, Sean Pascoe, who served in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, in Iraq, and several sorties in Afghanistan. He headed a medical emergency unit where the RAF where they went in with Chinook helicopters, and retrieved wounded soldiers, up to one half thousand soldiers in his case. You can imagine after a few years of that he suffered mentally from the memory of it. And he was treated at the Maudsley hospital for PTSD, as we now know it. And during this time, he was also taking he sailing courses, and he would split his time. He’d go up into his treatment in London at the Maudsley, and then cry his heart out, basically, and come back down. What kept him going, he said, was knowing that he would go out sailing with a bunch of people and find therapy that way. And so when he recovered, in 2012, he set up an organisation called ‘Turn to Starboard’, and basically what they do is they take ex-service men and women, and not only take them sailing, they teach them qualifications. So then they come out of it with a qualification and possibly a new career. But above all, is it is it’s about seeing the therapeutic value and the healing value of being at sea that makes their work so invaluable. And more recently since the pandemic, they’ve been taking out NHS staff at the frontline to help them recover from the trauma of them treating sick people. It’s a wonderful, wonderful organisation that now has three boats, all based in Falmouth, and they sometimes go on long distance trips all around Britain, as well as doing local stuff to give people their qualifications.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Yeah, it does sound fantastic, Nick, that’s been fascinating. I’ve hugely enjoyed talking to you. And I think your research is very important as well as very, very interesting. So well done. And thank you very much indeed for talking to me today.

     

    Nick Compton 

    All right. That’s fantastic. Sam, thank you for that.

     

    Sam Willis 

    Thank you all so much for listening. Do please remember to find the Mariners Mirror Podcast on YouTube, where you can see some fabulous videos we have been creating do especially make sure you look at the one where we use artificial animation to make ships figureheads come alive, it’s definitely my favourite. Please also leave us a review, especially if you aren’t listening to this on iTunes. It’s really easy. Just scroll down, hit five stars, and tell us what you think. And we will read your review out. This is hugely important. It will help us climb the ladder of podcasts. So quite simply, more people find out about us. And we can change the way that more people think about the past. And that after all is our mission to bring the world of maritime history to as many people as possible and we simply can’t do it without your help. So please also follow the Society for Nautical Research on social media, and please best of all join the Society for Nautical Research. It really doesn’t cost very much your annual subscription will help support this podcast. It will help publish the quarterly Mariners Mirror journal, it will help support the preservation of our maritime heritage and it will allow you to come to our annual dinner on board HMS Victory. There is simply no better way to spend your spare change and to feel good about yourself at the same time.

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