Sailor (Yachtsmen) beliefs and superstitions

Black cats and Friday 13th are just a small portion of all the superstitions. The strange thing about this article is the fact that it was written on Friday 13th and thus makes me smirk a little. Everyone can decide on his own, if he believes it or not, but as it turns out, the yachtsmen are a bit superstitious. Here are just some examples of superstitions about sailing and the sea. It’s for you to decide whether they are true or not.

It is unlucky to start a cruise on Friday. (Jesus was crucified on Friday)
Never start a voyage on the first Monday in April. (This is the day that Caine slew Abel)
Don’t start a voyage on the second Monday in August (Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed on this day)
It is not good to start a voyage on December 31.
Black traveling bags are bad luck for a seaman.
Avoid people with red hair when going to the yacht to begin a journey. (Red-heads bring bad luck to a ship, which can be averted if you speak to the read-head before they speak to you)
Avoid flat-footed people when beginning a trip. (They bring bad luck the same way the read-heads do. The danger can be avoided by speaking to them before they speak to you)
A stolen piece of wood put into the keel will make a ship sail faster.
A silver coin placed under the masthead ensures a successful voyage.
Disaster will follow if you step onto a boat with your Left Foot first.
Pouring wine on the deck will bring good luck on a long voyage. (An offering to the gods)
Throwing stones into the sea will cause great waves and storms.
A stone thrown over a vessel that is putting out to sea ensures she will never return.
Flowers are unlucky on board a ship.
Priests are not lucky to have on a ship.
Women on board a ship make the sea angry.
A naked woman on board will calm the sea.
Don’t look back once your ship has left port as this can bring bad luck.
A dog seen near fishing tackle is bad luck.
Black cats are considered good luck and will bring a sailor home from the sea.
Swallows seen at sea are a good sign.
Sighting a curlew at sea is considered bad luck.
A cormorant sighted at sea is bad luck.
Dolphin swimming with the ship are a sign of good luck.
It is unlucky to kill an albatross.
It is unlucky to kill a gull. (It is said that gulls are the souls of the lost sailors)
Handing a flag through the rungs of a ladder is bad luck.
Hanging a mop or bucket overboard is a sign of bad luck.
Repairing a flag on the quarterdeck will bring bad luck.
Cutting your hair or nails at sea is bad luck. (Hair and nails are like offerings to the Roman goddess of life, death and rebirth Proserpine (Greek – Persephone) and thus the Neptune would become jealous about the to the goddess while in his kingdom).
Church bells heard at sea mean someone on the ship will die.
St. Elmo’s Fire (an electro-magnetic phenomenon) around a sailors head means he will die within a day.
When the clothes of a dead sailor are worn by another sailor during the same voyage, misfortune will befall the entire ship.
If the rim of a glass rings stop it quickly or there will be a shipwreck.
Never say the word drowned at sea.
The caul of the head of a new-born child is protection against drowning and will bring the owner good luck.
The feather of a wren slain on New Years Day, will protect a sailor from dying by shipwreck.
A ships bell will always ring if the ship is destined to be wrecked.