This month's Channel Hopping blog features an Isle of Wight sailor singing a sea shanty about lockdown plus a Polish proa raid narrated in song! Kass Schmitt reports

There may be nothing new under the sun, but happily it’s still fun to see younger generations rediscover old things and show them to us in a new light, writes Kass Schmitt.

Before Christmas I was struggling to convince some of my yachting journalist peers that they should be paying attention to the TikTok social media platform, which has recently rocketed in popularity. I suggested they follow Alex Thomson Racing, who in sailing circles has been an early adopter of the platform.

Little did I suspect that first sailing-related viral hit on TikTok would actually come from Nathan Evans, a Scottish postman who posted his rendition of traditional whaling song Soon May the Wellerman Come, which kicked off what’s now being referred to as the #ShantyTok craze.

Tipped off by his granddaughter, 82 year old Isle of Wight sailor and shanty singer Martyn Waitt decided to join in the fun with his Covid-19-themed topical rewrite, which doubles as a Public Service Announcement, encouraging listeners to be vaccinated.

As I write it’s already clocked up over a million views.

PBO reader Martin Waitt has had his sea shanty on Tiktok viewed over 1 million times

Click the image to play on Tiktok: PBO reader Martin Waitt has had his sea shanty on Tiktok viewed over 1 million times

Meanwhile in Tasmania, Matt Tucker, a fireman at Hobart International Airport is on a mission to revive interest in racing proas by building a 26 foot foiling model in his spare time.

Although no stranger to documentary filmmaking (in 2019 he released a video about a David Lewis-inspired voyage to Antarctica he made with his brother and dad in 2005 on a Roberts 34), after the first few fascinating episodes he found the filming was slowing him down too much, and decided to focus on the building.

His Facebook page shows the build coming along nicely, and he expects to be sailing it soon. When the southern winter arrives he says he may get back to the edit suite. Watch this space.

And finally, squarely in the “you couldn’t make it up” category, a delightful combination of the two niches above gives us an account of a summer camping cruise of Poland’s Baltic coast by proa, related through a sea shanty and a narrator who sounds like Borat. Very nice!

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