Sea Chanteys on the Balclutha
Hyde Street Pier, 2905 Hyde (at Beach), 556-6435
On the first Saturday night of every month, wannabe old salts, sea dogs, jack-tars, and windjammers gather aboard the Balclutha and belt out salty old ditties about jolly boatswains and cups of grog and lofty ships to windward and mistresses of the trade. As the ancient clipper rocks gently against the swell of the bay, volunteer bo's'ns get up and sing the verse of “Blow the Man Down” and “Whiskey for My Johnny” and lead the other hundred or so seafarers in the chorus — a rousing evening of call and response that makes you want to set your ringtail abaft the mizzen peak, or something. Reservations are required to attend this popular free event, which includes hot cider prepared in the galley (bring your own mug). The Balclutha is the ideal setting for such sea-sprayed revelry: Built in Scotland in 1886, the handsome three-masted sailing ship rounded Cape Horn 17 times as it carried its cargo from San Francisco to Antwerp, Cape Town, Melbourne, and points between. A-roving, indeed.