Apr 3, 2014

From Roger ...

Now Vikings regarded all watercraft as living things.  

Viking used the same terms for similar parts on ships as existed on living things. As a result, ship have eyes and ribs and wooden ships even have knees.  The word “bow” derives from the Viking word, “bog,” which meant the front of an animal. As living things, watercraft merited names.  They believed spirits lived in watercraft and the majority of those spirits were feminine. Watercraft had characters and personalities, and for millennia watercraft were referred to as “she.” Those traditions continue in subtle ways.

For centuries, men have decorated the objects of their affection. Men have showered women with ornamentation in the form of diamonds, rubies, pearls, and gold.  Men have showered watercraft with ornamentation of carved wood, knotted hemp, and expensive paint. Carved wood absorbed the greatest degree of labor.  Figureheads, quarterboards, and sternboards, expressed an owner’s judgment of the character of his ship. Next in order of creativity came decorative knotwork, known to civilians as “macrame” and sailors as “coxcombing. Finally came paint, perhaps, the most expensive ornamental touch when calculated over the life of watercraft.

By WWII we hadn't shaken our sense that the things that carried us to dangerous places should have names. At the outset of that war, American planes adopted some of the same traditions as ships.

“Nose art” was the name given to artwork applied to the nose of an aircraft. It was the two-dimensional equivalent of a figurehead and the ladies of nose art were every bit as buxom and risque as figureheads.

So I continued a tradition.  Here I've taken the liberty of both naming my 4thGF "Omni" surfmat myself, and applying a little nose art. If I’d been more intensely naval I suppose I would have applied “Nina” to a UDT which is of course named for the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Teams (1943-1983) of which I was a member. Unfortunately I bought the surfmat first and thought of nose art second, totally forgetting watercraft have spirits and hunger for ornamentation.

Now,  I couldn’t see any way of carving ornamentation for, or into, a surfmat and since no 4thGF mat has lifelines to gussy up with decorative knots, neither of those arts were applicable to “Nina.”  Paint, waterproof fabric paint, was the answer.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, “’Nina,” empress of the waves.

If I lose “Nina” in the surf I can search ashore and identify her, because there will be none quite like her.  

At all cost, I must strive to retrieve “Nina” promptly.   

For feminine surfmats can be fickle. 

Best regards,



BC said...


Henry Hester said...

Naughty Nina. Great, just great! ��