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Punishment at sea

We usually expect Corporal Punishment on a ship to be something along the lines of the image above but there was a more tame and fun based version.


This was a card game popular with 19th century sailors and the loser would be hit on the palms of the hand with a twisted  or knotted handkerchief. Although I spent literally tens of minutes on Google search performed extensive internet research, I could find out little about this game, how the implement was prepared or how many swats the loser could expect to receive. All I could find were simple definitions like this one.


An obscure card game from the 19th century.

A popular sea-game with cards, wherein the loser is beaten over the palms of the hands with a handkerchief tightly twisted like a rope.

Still, it is nice to know that there was some light hearted CP play at sea and not only the brutally bloody floggings, that we have all heard about.


6 responses »

  1. The best thing is, nowadays we don’t even need strange card games for some light hearted CP play. We can also take the formerly brutally bloody floggings and turn them into intriguing CP play as well. 🙂

  2. How cool! I wonder what the rules are, but then again, does it matter?


  3. I have found a story which involves the description of a game of Able-Whackets. I didn’t fully understand the rules from the description, but I think it gives a good impression of how the game was played. I’m not so sure any more whether it really was just a light-hearted fun, though… The part about the game starts at “THE ARETHUSA. 191”. You can find the story here.


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