20 FEBRUARY, 2019 - M/V SO...fea DECK LOG - MONKEY FISTS AND SLUNG SHOTS (PART ONE OF TWO)
No, that is not a typo . . . I said "Slugshot" not Slingshot. (This is part one of two)
I was fortunate to be in the Navy and later around the shipyards and quays while the Boatswains Mates, Net tenders and marlinspike seamen were still an alive and working craft here in the Americas, sadly most are gone now, ending a centuries-old tradition of seamanship.
In this 21st Century, there has been a homogenizing of the world's sailors, craftsmen, and traditions, it is another epochal event like when the masted sailing ships gave way to steam and diesel-powered boats, and like wood boats yielding to steel boats (and later, the onset of Fiberglass), now, old skills are replaced with new technology.
In my lifetime alone, I watched heaving lines transform from hand thrown monkey fists to crossbow, then to shotgun propelled, now with bow thrusters and drones, even the shotgun is obsolete.
natural targets for street thugs interested in relieving them of their hard-earned, if meager wages.
Some sailors carried brass knuckles to defend themselves. Others could carry a monkey’s fist.
Rather than having a heaving line attached, a sailor could slip his hand through the eye splice and use
the monkey’s fist as an effective and dangerous club, capable of knocking out an attacker or even
opening his skull, if wielded with enough force. The money’s fist as a weapon became known as a
Tomorrow in Part two, we will look at the Bosun's Mates that make these knots (along with Macnamaras Lace).