Ship Spotting

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Last Wednesday this brig came past my mom’s summer house off Bullandö in the Stockholm archipelago. It’s the Eye of the Wind, built in 1911 at Brake in Lower Saxony and originally christened Friedrich. It’s featured in the 1980 movie The Blue Lagoon.

Did you know that there’s actually a ship spotting web site?


  1. #1 Birger Johansson
    August 8, 2011

    (OT) This picture of a sailing ship reminds me of Stewie (from Family Guy) doing a gay opera number on a Victorian sailing ship… which in turn reminds me of this:

    With subtitles
    (Crowepps at Pharyngula says “Catchy little tune — fully expect to cringe from the same sentiment in the ads for the 2012 election”)

    I recall a more sinister form of ship spotting from the book/film/TV series Das Bot. If a ship had been bought from Britain by some company in a neutral land, you had better hope the sub captain had an up-to-date copy of Lloyd’s catalogue or you were sunk -literally.

  2. #2 Birger Johansson
    August 8, 2011

    Damn! YouTube has no clip of Stewie singing on the deck of his Royal Navy sailing ship, but here is another song from Gilbert and Sullivan, adapted to Family Guy: Stewie’s Song – I’ve Got a Little List

  3. #3 Phillip IV
    August 8, 2011

    Man, look at the shade of those sails. The captain of that ship must be a heavy smoker. ._.

  4. #4 Birger Johansson
    August 8, 2011

    HMS Pinafore – He is an Englishman (Gilbert & Sullivan)

    (Full video) Gilbert & Sullivan / Family Guy “Ive got them on the list”

  5. #5 William
    August 9, 2011

    Another website I find useful for ship spotting—mainly for identification—is the ship tracking site Here is the entry for Eye of the Wind.

  6. #6 Birger Johansson
    August 9, 2011

    The ship is a monument to another era, and I don’t just mean in terms of propulsion technology.
    Built 1911, before the old world was ripped apart by nationalism and war -WWII was strictly just a sequel to WWI in terms of ideologies (no, I do not claim it was a better time, but making the cultural transition to modern postwar times did not have to cost so many millions of lives).
    Sweden was one of the few places where the historical continuity since 1911 was not broken by burning cities and columns of refugees. Even so, it feels strange to see things that were built back when people thought in so very different terms; people had better know their place when dealing with their betters, the monarchs were very much in charge, 12-hour working days and women were not full citizens. The future shock of these 100 years is still twisting politics in places (yes, I am looking at you, Bachmann).

  7. #7 Thomas Ivarsson
    August 9, 2011

    I growed up in Helsingborg the Swedish town next to “Hamlets” castle on the Danish side. In the local paper, Helsingborgs Dagblad, there was a guy writing about his collection of ships that have passed the most narrow part of Öresund. He kept records and photos of each and wrote stories about what happend to some of them, since he did not have unlimited space.

    This was in the seventies and I do not remember that I read much of his stuff. I was amazed about his dedication and that he could write quite a lot in our local newspaper. How did he get the time since quite a lot of ships pass through Öresund each day?

  8. #8 Martin R
    August 9, 2011

    He was basically a 70s blogger! Maybe he was retired or disabled.

  9. #9 Thomas Ivarsson
    August 9, 2011

    I do not know how he earned his living. He kept track of all these vessels before the time of the personal computer.

    I recall that he was in media commenting on the ship in this disaster:

  10. #10 Birger Johansson
    August 10, 2011

    (OT) “Archaeologists uncover 3,000-year-old lion adorning citadel gate complex in Turkey”

    Incidentally, similar sculptures were found at Karkemish in 1911, so there is a bit of synchronicity with the ship.

  11. #11 Deborah
    August 10, 2011

    I am old. My favorite TV show growing up (it was the favorite of many people my age) was Adventures in Paradise, as a result of which I harbor (good one) a life-long love of sailing ships and naval stories, though I am not myself a sailor. A wooden ship is a beautiful thing.

  12. #12 Kaleberg
    August 14, 2011

    The website is amazingly useful for figuring out if the ferries are running on time in the Puget Sound. Since a lot of locals commute by ferry, this site gets a lot of local use. It’s also nice being able to know something about the ships one sees loading and unloading or in for repairs. It’s a wonderful tool.

    Watching ships can be wonderful fun. In the old days, the newspapers in port cities – I grew up in New York – used to have a list of arrivals and departures of passenger and freight ships. A mystery novel might open with a ship sailing notice, incoming or departing. I live on the Strait of San Juan de Fuca near the Puget Sound and there are often ships in port for topside repairs. I’ll often notice a new ship in the harbor and check online for more info.

    I never knew there were serious train spotters until the movie came out, but if there are train spotters, why not ship spotters?

  13. #13 Moritz
    December 31, 2012

    Dear Martin,

    For those of your users interested to participate in a free and fun Photo Contest about Ships, have a look at The Curator Ship Photography Competition, which runs under the Theme “Pirates and Sea Dogs”.

    The Jury consists of the students of the European Master of Fine Art Photography in Madrid, guided by the renowned photographer and publisher Andreas Müller-Pohle.

    The prizes include a three-day workshop with photographer Paul Kranzler at the IED Madrid, a two years subscription to European Photography magazine (including shipment anywhere on this planet), and a free entry to the PhotoIreland Festival Portfolio Reviews, in July 2013, in Dublin.

    The people’s choice prize of the Curator Ship Photography Contest is a gift voucher from Premiership Models, which will give you the opportunity to become a shipowner yourself.

    Please find all the information on the official Curator Ship Photography Contest page.

    For more information, write to competition /at/

    Best Regards,


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