One is always amazed at how useful and insightful the customs of the British Navy are. It was equivalent to mutiny there when a captain proferred a dinner at his table to a junior officer and the junior officer declined (except when a matter of gallantry was involved). How often I've invited a junior officer to dinner and it was declined and a month later I found the junior officer had performed or was about to perform an activity punishable by death by the articles of war. What other nautical or martial customs can you think of that would truly be useful to incorporte in everyday life?

I am writing a review of Nigel Davies' new book. It's so good, it's unbelievable. He's distilled the wisdom of markets, martial arts, psychology and chess into a lesson for all of life and boards.

Pete Earle writes:

What better place to start than the naval tradition of keeping a (Captain's) log book, of course. Recording the events of the day, successes, failures, incidents and accidents in such a way that one — or their successor — can peruse them at will, and in so doing be better prepared for the future. I don't know a single serious, professional trader who doesn't do this, and the practice extends far beyond financial markets.

Tom Marks jokes:

Who amongst us hasn't at some point over the years sailed past a woman or two on whom they they'd love to apply a cajoling variant of this old British nautical custom.

George Parkanyi lends a hand:

Here's a useful summary of such Royal Navy customs and traditions.

Apparently one of the traditions for a warship entering a foreign port was to fire all their guns, shoot their wad as it were, to show that they were coming in unarmed. (I wonder if this analogy ports to dating?) Also, when two foreign warships met the custom was to sail at each other and fire off a broadside volley before coming abreast, basically for the same reason "Hi, how are you, I'm unarmed". But I'm wondering about those warships that had three rows of cannon. OK, you fire your first row "Hi, how are you? I'm good too", and then once broadside you empty the other two rows into the passing ship. Surely some sorry captain has the dubious distinction of having been the first to learn that lesson the hard way. "Oh, you didn't get the memo? We're at war."





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