All superstitions had been observed for the journey, even the ‘spilling of blood’, which conveniently occurred on its own when the bosun and cooper came to blows over the affections of a blue-eyed whore at a brothel in Matosinos.
A plump gray kitten was secured to bring the journey luck. The quartermaster even purchased a caul from a local midwife. They’d waited to set sail until the first day free of rolling clouds and red dawns. They’d even brought a priest to accompany them on the journey.
Portuguese sailors were notoriously uneasy about weather, and the winds blew ill in the North Sea even in the best of times. Thus, they were reassured by the priest’s presence and the promise of daily mass.
But when the storm came, the fools ran to the quarterdeck for a holy water blessing instead of manning the sails. And thus, the Oporto was lost.