When I was in the middle of trying to research my novel, I just wanted to get off the ship. I read about how weevils tasted--I can't remember if the little ones or the big ones are the most bitter. I discovered that some captains knew the extent of punishment, as in number of lashes, that a man could handle and still survive. The book had a bit of a chart.
The romance of the sea sank a quick death while I was researching.
In Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Dana tells of a man who fell overboard, but could not swim. If a ship is under sail, moving quickly, it can take a bit before the crew can react enough to attempt a rescue. The man drowned, and his belongings were auctioned to provide money to give to his family.
So when a ship returned to port, I realized families couldn't readily assume their loved one would be on board
By the end of the research I did have more of a fascination with sailing, and a vast respect for the hardiness of anyone who could survive a voyage in earlier times.
I think I might enjoy writing another book set on a sailing vessel, but never would I want to experience what the sailors dealt with on a daily basis. Or even once.
Photos taken in Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.
Replica of Christopher Columbus ship which floated up the Arkansas River.