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Flag L: The secret language of ships


SAN FRANCISCO – There’s another thing about this ship worth mentioning. See the crew members up on deck, at the far left and right of the photo? They’re actually dummies dressed as mariners, meant to fool pirates into thinking someone is always on watch. –Excerpt from an interesting article by Erin Van Rheenen with photos by David Webster Smith in Hakai Magazine ("Coastal science and societies").

While this article, strictly speaking, is not in Sailing Illustrated's normal wheelhouse of "yacht racing news and views," as a racing sailor your Ed. found it a compelling read. Maybe it was this caption below the article's lead photo, a close-up of the topsides of a huge container ship – "Not many people have an opportunity to get this close to a container ship." Well, sailors often do, and I for one am always in awe of these oceangoing vessels that, according to the article ...carry over 80 percent of the world’s trade, with more than 90,000 merchant ships plying international waters. Tankers, bulk carriers, and container ships—the largest things on Earth that move—are by far the most important modes of transportation of our time. They convey billions of tonnes of goods every year, bringing us everything from cars to crude oil to containers jammed with fidget spinners.

So "Come within Hail" and read the full story here.