After my last update, I exchanged emails with one of the recipients. He mentioned the difficulty of a large sailing ship navigating a harbor full of anchored vessels. That was especially true for whalers like the Christopher Mitchell. These ships often had a good number of “greenhands,” or first time sailors. Like the old shanty asks, “What do you do with a drunken sailor?” You wouldn’t put him to hauling ropes. But they put greenhands on such work. In Whale Hunt, Nelson Cole Haley describes that scene. While those on shore may gasp or laugh and other crews might jeer as the Mitchell veered left and right (like a drunken sailor), his Captain stood proudly on his ship as if it were manned by the most experienced crew.
Turning a green crew into a finely tuned machine became one of the first orders of business. To see how greenhands responded to such training, have a look at First Fury.