poetic/literary a young lover or suitor.
At Swain Legacy we revere the boatswain as one who loves and cares for the ship and her crew. The Swain Legacy is that which is passed from those who have loved and lived a maritime life to those who truly want to and will.
Swain produces exquisite, detailed, and handcrafted luggage and tool bags for the boat owner and sailing professional. All pieces are made from scratch, in a small studio, by a handful of skilled craftsman. We draw inspiration from sea shanties, scallywags, and folklore.
Fair winds, following seas.
Since ancient times, the widespread use of the ditty bag has been defined by the lifestyle of a sailor. Sailors relied on the ditty bag as a means of orderliness, a standard of personal conduct, and a planned system of stowage of their most valuable possessions and tools needed to operate their daily profession.
It was crucial to keep all the small gear necessary to perform a sailor’s duties together in a consolidated and organized location, and to quote Harvey Garrett Smith, “no better container has been devised than the sailor’s ditty bag; it is light in weight, hung from a hook, stowed most anywhere, has a handle for carrying and no hard corners – in short it is just about perfect.”
The art of the Bo’sun was almost lost with the Age of Sail as tall ships were replaced by steam. A ditty bag is to a Bo’sun as the toolbox is to a Carpenter. It was a tradesman’s calling card and exemplified the individuals’ unique skills and held the tools necessary to carry out any task required of them. Tradition holds forth that to complete an apprenticeship a carpenters’ final challenge was to create a toolbox that best represents their skill and showed all the techniques they were capable of replicating. Like wise the Ditty Bag was hand stitched, the handle made of fine marlinespike rope-work and filled with specialized tools for sail repair, splicing and rigging. This bag itself was taken up aloft with the Bo’sun to safely access gear while working in the rig.
The Bo’suns tools and materials have changed slightly but the necessity of the Ditty bag is evident and surprisingly uncommon on even the most professional boats today. The professional Bo’sun is back in great demand now to work for a relatively new and fast growing Super-Yacht industry. The new aspiring Bo’sun may not yet be aware of how crucial the ditty bag is to his trade and how useful it is for getting noticed on the docks.
A ditty bag speaks for itself. It states that this sailor knows what is required of him on a real sailing yacht and he is prepared to get on board right now, with his tools in hand.
Forbes Latimer, Founder
Since a young age, Forbes Latimer has been engulfed in the sailing industry through both personal and professional experience. He lived aboard his family’s boats. His father designed and built a 58’ schooner while his Mother ran whale-watching charters aboard their 65’ motor vessel between Vancouver and Alaska.
At seventeen, Forbes purchased and refurbished his own 34-foot wooden sloop. He is an admirer of the art of sailing, enjoys rigging and rope-work and has been swept away on many sailing expeditions around North America, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
Forbes’ knowledge and passion for production, arts, and sailing are channeled into creating the Swain Legacy line, unique products of utility and function that appeal to both professional and recreational sailors.