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    Boatswain's Mate Embraces Tradition, Legacy of Rating, to Transform CNSP Headquarters

    Boatswain's Mate Embraces Tradition, Legacy of Rating, to Transform CNSP Headquarters

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Melvin Fatimehin | 221220-N-NM271-1022 SAN DIEGO (Dec. 20, 2022) Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Sean...... read more read more

    SAN DIEGO (Dec. 27, 2022) – Throughout naval history, lines played an integral part in everyday shipboard operations including lowering a ship's anchor, aiding with small boat operations and overall marlinespike seamanship.

    Outside of the general uses of lines on a ship, Boatswain’s Mates preserve a traditional custom known as fancywork, a centuries-old form of decorative knot tying that is commonly used for providing grip on rails and stanchions during rough seas, beautifying the ship and lanyards for the boatswain’s whistle, widely referred to as a bosun’s whistle or pipe.

    Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Sean Hoffmann, assigned to Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Forces Pacific Fleet (CNSP), used his creativity and know-how as an experienced Boatswain Mate to incorporate fancywork throughout the CNSP headquarters utilizing detailed knot-tying designs on pillars throughout the building.

    “My reason for doing it is naval heritage and tradition. You walk into the quarterdeck and you've got white walls, white pillars, and white stairs,” said Hoffmann. “I didn't see, a song a Sailor had made for the command and so I just thought I could try fancywork.”

    The history of fancywork in the navy traces back to the 13th century in Arabic culture where sailors would create intricate macrame knots to pass time or barter when they arrived at a new port. After the Moorish conquest, their designs began to spread throughout Europe and into England. In the 17th century, sailors ended up bartering and selling their macrame crafts to inhabitants of the new world which continued to be used aboard ships.

    “A vast majority of our traditions came from England, the Dutch and the Spanish. We took stuff from these traditions, even rates and ranks,” said Hoffmann. “Sailors didn't have money to go out and buy some fancy cloth, so they would unwind lines, take the strands and form diamonds with square knots holding it together.”

    Hoffmann’s fancywork designs have transformed CNSP and his devotion to bringing life to the CNSP headquarters has been recognized by CNSP leadership.

    “The fancywork Petty Officer Hoffmann did in our Surface Force Headquarters exemplifies navy tradition and pride,” said Force Master Chief Greg Carlson. “I’m grateful for his craftsmanship, talent, and keeping the shipboard tradition alive. Thanks, Boats!”

    Fancywork is a lengthy and complex process that requires astute attention to detail. Lanyards that hold a bosun’s whistle often take around ten hours to make when considering sizing, weaving and room for error, said Hoffmann.

    Hoffmann also credits the command's enthusiasm as a motivation to continue creating baroque line designs.

    “I appreciate it when people appreciate my work,” said Hoffmann. “Sometimes when I am working, people say ‘wow boats, that’s looking good,’ and it gives me a sense of pride and makes me want to do an even better job.”

    Virginia Jones, building manager, Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Forces Pacific Fleet, said she is pleased with the new designs at the CNSP headquarters.

    “We’ve never had anyone dedicate themselves to our facility the way BM1 Hoffmann,” said Jones. “He’s reminded all of us of the rich traditions of our Surface Navy and for Boatswain's Mates.”



    Date Taken: 01.06.2023
    Date Posted: 01.06.2023 12:52
    Story ID: 436354
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 
    Hometown: DELAVAN, MN, US

    Web Views: 244
    Downloads: 0