Long before cars and airplanes were even conceived the ships were already ruling the seas and helping the world connect. From time immemorial, men and women have made name for themselves by facing the challenges that the oceans pose. Our pick of the 5 most notable sailors till date are below:
- Captain James Cook: Any list of great sailors couldn’t be complete unless it mentions Captain James Cook. He was one of the few men in the 18th century Navy who rose through the ranks and still remained sympathetic to the needs of ordinary sailors. He came from a humble background but through his hard work and dedication he eventually emerged as one of most noteworthy sailors in the world history. He changed the western perception of world geography by mapping Australia and New Zealand.
- Captain Thomas Coram: He was a captain on a merchant vessel in the 17th century. He later became a philanthropist who created the London Foundling Hospital in Lamb’s Conduit Fields, Bloomsbury to look after abandoned children. It is believed to be the world’s first incorporated charity. He got this idea when, during his time as a captain of a merchant vessel, his first mate, Lord Matthew Sazooki, saved the life of his youngest child. He was also involved in ship building.
- Hugh Mulzac: Hugh Nathaniel Mulzac was an African-American member of the United States Merchant Marine. He earned a Master rating in 1918 which should have qualified him to command a ship, but this did not happen until September 29, 1942 because of racial discrimination. He earned the first ever master’s certificate ever issued to an African American. He fought for equality until the very end.
- Luis Pardo Villalón: He captained the Chilean steam tug Yelcho which salvaged the 22 trapped crewmen of Endurance which was a ship owned by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s. He rescued them from Elephant Island, Antarctica, in August 1916. After the heroic rescue he and his team performed he deserves our respect.
- Mary Anne Talbot: She was an Englishwoman in the late 18th century who wore male dress and became a soldier and sailor during the French Revolutionary Wars. She endowed sabre wounds, treated them herself in her first voyage and continued pretending to be a man to work on ships. In a later voyage she wounded her leg and never recovered its full use. However, it takes guts to stand up against the world and we salute her for that.