Mr. Brown learned this song aboard a sailing ship; he was around Cape Horn three times on a sailing vessel.
Mr. Brown was becalmed three weeks on the Atlantic. They caught rain water for fresh water. A sailing ship was not supposed to leave port without 2 years provision.
The first time he rounded Cape Horn the wind changed and threw them into a trough of sea. The lee rail was under water, and they had to shift the cargo to one side of the ship. The captain and mate were so frightened that they cried. The boatswain took charge of the ship, the sailors "boxed the yards," and not one man was lost.