Patrick Harris -
|The Wardroom of the Huascar|
If anyone has ever attended a traditional Naval Dinner, they know that there are a few rather interesting traditions. These traditions have come about over the centuries for a variety of reasons, many of which are lost to history. The Royal Navy, and those of the Commonwealth have significantly different traditions than those of the U.S Navy. I will be talking here about two Royal Naval and Commonwealth traditions.
All toasts are drunk sitting down, even toasts which are given to the monarch. This tradition arises from the very low ceilings of sailing ships back in the day (I had to crouch on HMS Victory... and I'm not the tallest guy). A bunch of officers banging their heads on a beam every time they said "Chin Chin" would not be good for a warship. There are traditional toasts for each day, which are as follows:
Day of the Week
OUR SHIP AT SEA
A BLOODY WAR OR A SICKLY SEASON
A WILLING FOE AND SEA ROOM
WIVES AND SWEETHEARTS
reply: MAY THEY NEVER MEET
Passing the Port
This Portuguese wine is a Royal Naval staple. After being placed by the First Lieutenant, it is passed clockwise around the table. The port never leaves the surface of the table though, as there was a tendency to spill when you pick it up on a rocking ship.