Travels Diary

Sailors’ superstitions: The Flying Dutchman

20 September 2019 | | Reading time 2 minutes

In the series of superstitions and beliefs, this legend has left its mark on many sailors around the world. This infamous boat has been sailing since the 17th century. She wanders between Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope because of the recklessness of her captain, Van Der Straeten, who one day in 1665 challenged the gods.

This uncompromising and stubborn man wanted to catch up on his delay at all costs, without letting his men rest in port, or even stop for supplies. The captain then ordered his men to round the Cape of Good Hope in the middle of a storm. The crew, terrified by the storm they were going through, decided to mutiny. The leader of the mutineers then took the helm, when the drunk and angry captain shot him down with his pistol, saying these terrible words: “I will round this cape, even if I have to sail until the end of time!”. It is then that the legend tells that a ghost appeared and pronounced its curse. Since then, this ship, known as the Flying Dutchman, has been sailing in rough seas without ever being able to find peace.

The question of the truthfulness of this account has arisen several times in the course of history: reports of a mysterious ship appearing in storms between Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope have been found.

Legend or not, this story warns sailors: fighting the elements is useless, the sea will win every time.

What about you? Tell us about your beliefs and superstitions on board your catamaran!