midi file and text courtesy of Leslie Nelson-Burns at http://www.contemplator.com/sea/index.html

There's a saucy wild packet, and a packet of fame;
She belongs to York Towne, and the Yorkshire's her name;
She is bound to the westward where the stormy winds blow;
Bound away in the Yorkshire, to the west'ard we'll go.

Now the time of her sailing, it is soon drawing nigh;
Fare thee well, pretty May, I must bid you good-bye;
And farewell to old England and to all we hold dear,
Bound away in the Yorkshire, to the west'ard we'll steer.

Oh, the Yorkshire is pulling out of Waterlock dock,
Where the boys and the girls to the pierheads do flock;
They will give us three cheers - while their tears they do flow,
Saying, "God bless the Yorkshire, whereso'er she may go!"


Oh, the Yorkshire's a-bowlin' down the wild Irish Sea,
Where the passengers look on, with hearts full of glee,
While her sailors like lions walk the decks to and fro,
She's the Liverpool packet, oh, Lord, let her go!

Oh, the Yorkshire's a-sailing the Atlantic so wide,
While the dark, heavy seas roll along her black side,
With her sails neatly spread, and her hat Bugs to show,
She's the Liverpool packet, oh Lord, let her go!

Oh, the Yorkshire's becalmed off the banks New-found-land;
Where the water's so green and the bottom is sand;
Where the fish of the ocean swim around to and fro,
She's the Liverpool packet, oh Lord, let her go!


Oh, the Yorkshire, she's a-bowlin' past old Nan-tucket Head,
And Sea Scouts in the chains take a cast with the lead,
Then up jumps the old floun-der being fresh from the ground,
Crying, "Blast your eyes, Sea Scouts, now mind where you sound!"

Oh, the Yorkshire's arrived in her home port once more,
We will all go ashore, on the land we adore,
See our spouses and sweethearts, and be merry and free,
Drink a health to the Yorkshire, whereso'er she may be.

Here's a health to the Yorkshire, and to all her brave crew.
Here's a health to her skipper and officers too.
Talk about other Sea Scouts, the Sea Devil and all
But the Sea Scout Ship Yorkshire beats them one and beats all!
Avast Heave!
Original last lines of the chantey:
[Talk about your flash packets, Swallow Tail and Red Cross,
But the Yorkshire's the clipper to beat one and beat all.]


According to Stan Hugill's Shanties from the Seven Seas, this was an early Naval ballad called La Pique or The Flash Frigate. It was a capstan shanty.

This song was originally written about the clipper packet Dreadnought.  The Dreadnought was known as "The Wild Boat of the Atlantic". Launched in 1853, she was a clipper of the Red Cross Line and set many transatlantic speed records. She then sailed in the Atlantic and China trade until going down rounding Cape Horn in 1869.  She had been in service for sixteen years.

Ships that carried the mail were called "packets." Swallow Tail, Black Ball, and Red Cross were all competing shipping lines.  Because Sea Scout Ship 25 is named in part for another packet clipper, the Yorkshire, of the Black Ball line, the word Yorkshire has been substituted throughout this chantey for the word Dreadnought.  The Yorkshire and the Dreadnought would have been direct competitors, so the shipping line references in this chantey were also changed very slightly, as were a very few words here and there so the chantey can be sung more easily and be more directly relevant to Sea Scout Ship 25.

The packet clipper Yorkshire was built in America and was launched in New York City in 1843, ten years before Dreadnought.  Yorkshire, too,  set many trans-Atlantic speed records during her nineteen years of service carrying passengers between New York and Liverpool.  On 2 February 1862, Yorkshire set sail from New York bound bound for Liverpool with  with three passengers and a crew of 23 onboard.  She was never heard from again.  "God bless the Yorkshire, whereso'er she may be!"

To learn more about the clipper ship Yorkshire, click here.  To visit the Dreadnought page, click here.

the following information is derived from the excellent website of Leslie Nelson-Burns at http://www.contemplator.com/sea/index.html

Sea Shanties (chanties): 

The word "chantey" (or shanty) is probably derived from the French word "chanter" - to sing. Shanties were originally shouted out, with emphasis on a syllable or word as sailors performed their work. Shanties developed separate rhythms for the various chores at sea - for raising the anchor (which was done by marching around the capstan), hauling ropes, etc.

Most songs involved a lead singer and a choral response. The words were called out by a chanteyman and the men joined in on the chorus. The words of the chorus usually coincided with a heave, or pull.

Shanties served both as a mental diversion and synchronized teamwork. They also provided an outlet for sailors to express their opinions in a manner which would not cause punishment. The "golden age" of shanties was in the mid-nineteenth century.

Types of chanties:
Capstan shanties: The capstan was a mushroom shaped object with holes along the top. Sailors inserted bars into the holes and marched around the capstan to raise the anchor. Capstan shanties had steady rhythms and usually told stories because of the length of time (which could be hours) it took to raise the anchor. Sailors would stamp on the deck on the words. This gave rise to the term, "stamp and go chanties."
Halyard shanties: Halyard shanties were sung to the raising and lowering of sails. Sails hung from wooden cross-pieces called yards. With the canvas and wood, sails could weigh between 1,000 and 2,500 pounds. To set sail, a member of the crew would climb the rigging to loosen the canvas. On deck, the crew would take hold of a line called the halyard (for haul + yard). The crew would rest during the verse and haul during the chorus. Depending on the weight of the sail, crews could pull one (for heavy jobs) to three (for lighter jobs) times per chorus.
Short drag shanties: Very difficult tasks meant crews could pull less. Short drag shanties were used for such tasks - such as trimming the sails or raising the masthead.
Windlass and pumping shanties: the windlass is also used to raise the anchor. Sailors would pump handles up and down, making the barrel of the windlass rotate to bring the anchor chain up. Pumps were fitted in ships to empty the bilge (the lowest part of the ship) of water. Wooden ships leaked, but not so fast that the crew could not pump the water out. There were several different types of pumps, which accounts for the variation in the timing of pumping shanties.
Ceremonial shanties and forecastle songs: Ceremonial and forecastle (the crew's quarters) songs were those sung by sailors on their time off (of which there was not a lot). These songs usually told stories of famous battles, romance, or of the sailor's longing for home. Ceremonial shanties were for times of celebration, such as when the sailor paid off his debt to the ship or when they crossed the equator.

To listen to the Ship 25 Chanteyman play sea shanties and other songs for you that you can sing along with, click here.

Sung  times since 28 February 2003
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This page is from the website of SSS YORKSHIRE - Sea Scout Ship 25, York, PA, USA - http://ship25bsa.org