There’s something about the first week of August. All sorts of notable events in sailing history took place this week, and here’s a list of some of our favorites!
Monday, August 1: American writer Herman Melville was born on this day in 1819. Melville spent his youth traveling the world aboard sailing ships, specifically Nantucket whalers, and these experiences informed all of his writing, from his debut in Typee to his masterpiece, Moby Dick. Melville was not very well appreciated during his lifetime, but Moby Dick is now recognized as one of the greatest books ever written.
Tuesday, August 2: On this day in 1610, Englishman Henry Hudson sailed into a large body of water that he took to be the Pacific Ocean. Hudson wanted to navigate the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and he thought he’d been successful. Unfortunately, he was actually about 2,000 miles short. What he’d found was the huge expanse that is now called Hudson Bay. The bay remains a popular sailing destination.
Wednesday, August 3: On this day in 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain. In another tale of mistaken continental identity, Columbus thought he would reach India on the other side of the Atlantic. Of course, he actually landed on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Columbus eventually realized tha the had not landed in India, but remained convinced to the end of his life that he had reached some part of Asia.
Thursday, August 4: Coast Guard Day! This holiday commemorates the founding of the Coast Guard in 1790 (back then it was called the Revenue Cutter Service), and it’s a chance for all of us sailors to thank the men and women of the USCG for keeping us safe on the water!
Friday, August 5: This is the day that, in 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Southampton, England on its first attempt to reach the New World. It took a couple of false starts, but the Mayflower finally made a harrowing 66-day passage to Cape Cod, and the rest, as they say, is history.