Pass the Port

The Royal Canadian Navy is steeped in tradition and custom.  I see that Canadians are more closely linked with Britain than I ever would have guessed.  The excitement of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has spread across the country, 21 Albertans received the commemorative Jubilee Awards this week, and there are many more to come.

The passion for British history was clear at the Diamond Jubilee Mess Dinner of the Royal Navy Sailing Association a few days ago.  It was my first experience with the RNSA.  Royal Vancouver Yacht Club echoed with many stories about people’s individual encounters with the Queen over her reign.  There are also many customs that sailors must follow at a mess dinner.  For example, you aren’t allowed to get up from the table, or speak in a foreign language.  There is also a tradition called ‘passing the port’ in which people will make a Loyal Toast to her Majesty, and pass the port.  It sounds simple, however, the decanter of port is not allowed to leave the table.  It comes from the danger of pouring port on a boat in rough sail:  you must keep the port on the table and pour at an angle so as not to spill.

Thanks to my table I had a wonderful time learning about naval tradition, and can’ t wait to learn more.  With that- Pass the Port!

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