Once upon a time, one of the greatest superstitions of sailors was: «A woman aboard is trouble.» Yes, this is not a joke.

Pirates spent time with women only on the shore. Bringing a lady to the ship meant the rage of the captain and the rest of the crew. They were very serious about it. The reason is quite simple. Ships were usually given female names — this was widespread in Spain and Holland, but especially in England. In English, the word ship is feminine, and ships of the same series are called sisterships. Sailors believed that the sea god, as a famous womanizer, would be favorable to a ship with a female name. So, the ship itself was like a girl. That is why a real woman has no place on a ship because it will be jealous of the rival and will no longer obey the captain.

Amazingly, in many countries, this superstition became the law. The first of them appeared in Denmark as early as 1562. King Frederick II issued a decree: «Women and pigs have no place on the ship. If any are found, they must be immediately thrown overboard. » Something similar was also adopted in England and France. It is known that Francis Drake’s crew was not very happy about him becoming a knight, as Elizabeth I stepped on board the «Golden Doe.» Even the Queen is not freed from superstition. By the eighteenth century, however, such laws no longer existed, but the pirates continued to believe that a woman aboard meant trouble.

There was also a more obvious reason. Traveling by sea meant long isolation from the rest of the world. The presence of a woman on board can lead to quarrels, fights, and the inevitable loss of concentration by men of the crew. That is why the ban was supported not only by superstitious pirates but also by educated captains. For the same reason, most likely, it was prescribed in the rules of the famous pirate captain Bartholomew Roberts. The sailor who hid the woman aboard was threatened with the death penalty. Black Bart, as a rule, gave alternative punishments, such as exile, but in this case, for hiding a woman, there was the death penalty, without any exceptions.

It also happened that the captain himself violated the rule. Jack Rackham had two women on board at once: Anne Bonnie and Mary Reed. Both dressed as men, so the crew members considered them men. Rackham himself, however, knew the truth. Slaves, in general, were not considered women, but just cargo.

Fortunately, this superstition has already sunk into oblivion. Why fortunately? Nowadays, women sometimes go to sea alone, win prestigious regattas, and cope with severe breakdowns on their own.

I personally know many women who sail in the seas and oceans. Two of them were my partners when crossing the ocean. And I am proud of my acquaintance and friendship with them.