Sailor, author, and Nautical Mind alumna Vicki de Kleer weighed in with the origins of her innovative and invaluable Visual Guide to the Flags of the World.
Regarding the Visual Guide to the Flags of the World
Usually the first questions regarding the book are “How did you get started with this idea?” followed by “Why do you think it is particularly useful?” In answer, I will tell you that my curiosity about flags started decades ago, when I was first taught how to sail. This was in a particularly busy sea area off the south of England, close to Portsmouth and Southampton. At that time there were many trans-Atlantic liners coming, anchoring, and going. Among them the Queen Mary, Bremen, and Normandie, as well as Naval ships, fishing boats and visiting yachts. So it was fun, and easy to learn what part of the world they came from by their national ensigns. Some of these are the same as the national flag, others are a variation of that, or even completely different. Only Great Britain goes so far as to have three! White specifically for the Navy, blue for Merchant Marine, and everybody else flies what is commonly, if informally, known as the Red Duster. (Protocol is strictly observed, however one morning at our local Sailing Club, a small tent was found flaunting an enormous White Ensign! The inhabitants claimed they ‘found it’, but incidentally at the time there was a lot of Naval activity just off shore, and no further questions were asked. )