Over the years, 48° North has decked the hulls with a variety of boating related yuletide joy. Since it’s that season again, we’re digging into the vault with some stories of holiday’s past to help get you in the spirit. 

From the December 2017 issue of 48° North.


Blustery cloudbanks and blistering cold,

Praying the spring lines and deck cleats will hold,

The rigging is singing and clanging aloft

As my holiday light strings try not to blow off.


I had hung them on Sunday, a gem of a day

With the feeling of autumn, and blue skies, not gray.

I got warm in my sweater and tossed it aside,

As I stood in the dusk and admired with pride,


A simple display as that kind of thing goes –

It makes the boat cheery as it festively glows.

But now I am worried as she wildly pitches,

‘Should I have used bowlines instead of half hitches?’


I step from the boat to the pier one last time,

Adding a third spring, my last length of line!

With the forecast upgraded from Gale to Storm,

I know I won’t sleep much, but at least I’ll be warm.


Then, the twinkle lights flicker, the marina goes black.

An outage? This weather is on the attack!

No heater, no twinklies, and the storm getting stronger,

I’m not sure a Christmas Eve night could be wronger.


And then in the distance… is that a faint jingle?

And a comet? No. Airplane? Holy kelp, it’s Kris Kringle!

As he flew overhead in his reindeer-led sleigh,

The wind swirled briskly, and then went away.


I’m a sailor, I’m generally fond of the wind,

But a storm of that magnitude makes me thin-skinned.

A night that had started with terror and peril,

Was now silent, so I began humming a carol.


I stepped down below and poured egg nog with brandy,

Then back to the cockpit, now feeling quite dandy.

I adjusted my docklines and removed a few fenders,

And glanced to the night sky for old bearded frienders.


His gift has been given, and was nowhere in sight,

But just then, my holiday twinklers ignite!

A Christmas wish granted, my face was a-glowing,

And to my astonishment, it started snowing!


Though no longer a kid, and not having a chimney,

I left cookies and egg nog just under the bimini.

I smiled to myself as I climbed into bed,

My Christmas Eve saved by a sailor in red.


Original artwork by Heinrich Schwartze-Blanke.