The origin of Messing About In Sailboats

  • The original quote is from Kenneth Grahame's Wind In the Willows: "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

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June 03, 2007



I don't know about sailing songs as such ... but here in South Africa our favourite song has to be 99 red balloons by goldfinger ... it's pretty much legendary ;)

Joe Rouse

What do you do with a drunken sailor?

Peter McGrath

Fog on the Tyne: Lindisfarne.


I'd have to vote for Enya's Sail Away. I used it in a video, which you can see here:

I also used Rod Stewart's Sailing.


The link missing from my previous post.


here's some
Gordon Lightfoot—Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald, Ghosts of Cape Horn
Jefferson Starship—Santiago, Wooden Ships
Phil Ochs—Scorpion Departs, Thresher
Doors—Crystal Ship
Cream—Tales of Brave Ulysses
CSN—The Lee Shore
Joan Baez—Spanish Boots

Lonnie Bruner

Good lord, I can't believe none of you have heard of Salty Dick's sailing CD. HANDS DOWN, the best sailing CD out there. Here's the link -

Listen to the songs. Go buy it now.

So, from that CD, the best songs are:

1 - The Whores of Sailortown
2 - North Atlantic Squadron
3 - Priests and Nuns
4 - Christopher Columbo
5 - A Matlow Told Me

Martha Henderson

"If I had a boat" by Lyle Lovett - great sailing song. "Kiss my ass I bought a boat, I'm going out to sea!"

Nicholas Crawley

Son of a Son of a Sailor. Jimmy Buffet. All that is good about the sea and sailing. Freedom, Excitment The sea's in my veins, My persistence remains, I am glad I don't live in a Trailer"

Justin Dock

What about "Six months in a leaky boat" by Split Enz

Dean Dietrich

Sea of Heartbreak..J. Buffet
Capt. of Her Heart...Double
Orinoco Flow..Enya
Cool Change..Little Riv. Band
Sail Away Sweet Sister..Queen
Kokomo...Beach Boys
Come Sail Away..Styx
Pirate..J. Buffet

Patricia Forrestel

"Rock The Boat" By Aaliyah also a great music video to this particular song on a multihull sailing in the Bahamas.

steve warren

fog on the tyne is by the excellent english band lindisfarne.
now let's get randy newman's sail away on some list!

David Hartman

Not sure it's my favorite, but it does date me -- 26 miles by 4 Preps. You know 26 miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is waiting for me!

Gary Schmidt

Into the Mystic - Van Morrison -

John Ramsay

Try these:
Cool Change - Glen Shorrock/Little River Band.
Son of the Son of a Sailor - Jimmy Buffet.
Dock of the Bay = Otis Redding.
Sailing - Gavin Sutherland, Rod Stewart's version.
South Australia - traditoinal shanty.
Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot.
Ship of Fools - Rober Hunter and Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead version. s


Here you go! "I'LL SAIL MY SHIP ALONE" by Moon Mullican. It's legendary!!!

John Sanford

Sailing songs:

Away Rio, Burl Ives
Day Oh (Banana Boat song), Harry Belefonte
Leave her Johnny leave her, Burl Ives
What do you do with a drunken sailor? Burl Ives

Darren Garnier

Definitely my favorite:

Brandy, The Looking Glass
... "But my life, my love and my lady is the sea"...


Ghosts of cape Horn, Gordon Lightfoot.

But NOT Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald! After all, I plan to keep floating.

Jerry Frabutt

"If I had a boat" by Lyle Lovett and Jimmy Buffett

"Mother Ocean" by Jimmy Buffett


Dire Straits - Down To The Waterline
Jimmy Buffett - The Captain and the Kid
Jimmy Buffett - One Particular Harbor

Guy Johnston

My son was in the choral group in High School. They did a song called the Sky Boat Song. The King Singers have done it. I think it originated in Scotland. You'll love it. I have it somewhere if you can't find it.

Ian Webster

Sloop John B ---Beach boys

Josie Gavieres

Sailin' by Cecilio and Kapono (from Hawaii) - "Sailing’s his first love
It keeps him so free"

Midnight Sailing by Kalapana

(e-mail me at if you'd like either of these!)

"Lovely Cruise" by Jimmy Buffett

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