9 Things a Sailor Will Always Beat You At

You seem to be doing alright at this little thing we like to call life. You’re well-travelled. You have well-informed (you like to believe) opinions on your local MP and an array of enviable life hacks you picked up while backpacking across South East Asia. You can open a wine bottle with you feet and cut a skirt in half using your little finger. Your family thinks you’re great because you can make Thai food from scratch without even thinking. However, there’s always someone out there that’s better than you. Like sailors. You’ll never be as good as a sailor.

Here are nine everyday things they’d beat you at and then leave you on the floor wondering exactly what happened.


1. Parallel parking

I know, I know. You’re one of the best parallel parkers in the world. You are surprised that they haven’t created a reward especially for you. The words three-point turn don’t even exist in your vocabulary. Sorry, but really you’re an amateur. Try reversing a fire engine (without rearview mirrors) into a car wash, on ground flooded with water, during the worst thunderstorm imaginable. That’s what sailors do. They call it docking.

2. Walking Straight When Drunk

Your supposed poker face is an utter joke. We all know how many shandies you’ve had as soon as you see-saw to the toilet. Unfortunately, legs don’t lie, unless you’re a sailor. A life on the water rewards sailors with a liquescent centre of gravity. The more fluid they consume, the straighter they walk. Come to think of it, if you see a sailor off-kilter you should probably buy him a double.

3. Keeping a Straight Face

Sailing terminology is an ocean awash with metaphors, puns and double entendres. You can’t think of a boating pun that hasn’t been done to death. Sniggering at words and phrases like ‘breastlines; cockpit; coming about; and, in need of a tug’ is the sphere of land lovers. Find someone who can, without flinching, present a Seaman Discharge Book (yes, that’s a real thing) to a customs official and you’ve found yourself a sailor.

4. Giving Directions

‘So, hmmm…turn right by the tree and then pass the school on your left. Well, I think it’s a school. Maybe it’s a police station.. A few streets behind that is a road. I can’t remember what it’s called but just call me when you’re outside.’ These are certainly not directions. If people were able to give better directions, there’d be a much smaller hole in the ozone layer. Sailors know this. They also know that on the ocean vague directions can lead to death. Or worse, Skegness.

5. Dressing Appropriately

Even the best weather apps resort to some measure of horoscopic superstition and the problem is nobody has built one made up of actual human bones. Sailors have bones. They have bones that tingle, crack, wobble and creak. Sailors can sense inclement weather in their bones before the weather even realises it’s feeling inclement. If you are wondering what to wear for the day, find a sailor and copy what they’re wearing.

6. Bondage

Don’t even think about telling porkies. After watching 50 Shades of Grey, the reason you’ve never actually tried bondage isn’t because it’s taboo. It’s because you’re unable to tie knots. Securing your beau to a bedpost isn’t really the same as tying a shoelace. There are safety issues that you need to be aware of, unless that is you fancy an embarrassing trip to the local hospital. An unfortunate combination of poor ropemanship and a slippery surface can turn into an emergency very quickly and nobody wants to be gnawing on a granny knot when the plod arrive. You know who knows a thing or two about knots? Sailors. They could string up a sumo wrestler with a piece of string. And, more importantly, untie him afterwards.

7. Pulling an All-Nighter

It was the pillar of your secondary school education, but somewhere along the line the insouciance of burning the candle at both ends morphed into chronic anxiety. The only thing that burns in your house after midnight now is the office block you’re burning down in your dreams. Caffeine is impotent and even dubstep (a supposed form of music) sends you to sleep. However, sailors are driven by something stronger than caffeine and panic combined: the fear of the great unknown. The ocean is a capricious mistress and much like the writers of many TV series, sailors don’t always know what’s going to happen next. They’re prepared for every eventuality and what does that require? Being awake. ALL THE TIME.

8. Letting Things Go

Usually when something disappears into the vast ocean it’s gone forever. The only thing to do is try and put it out of your mind and forget about it and move on while mumbling something profound like ‘It’s part of the circle of life.’ At sea if you don’t learn to let things go, you drown in your own unrelenting suffering. Sailors would actually make great psychologists.

9. Democracy

Sailors don’t know what democracy is. On a boat the captain is always right. Even when he’s not. Only joking! Sort of.

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