A rythmic song was quite useful to cheer up and to synchronize the hard work on the sailing ships of old. If you are pulling a rope with some men, the song will help you to synchronize the efforts.
This Sailor's Hornpipe is a dance form. You will recognize the theme when you listen to the last part of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells.
Derek Hasted made an arrangement for three guitars. If you have more players, just double the parts.