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Author Topic: Nautical "Strange but True!"  (Read 137938 times)

Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #100 on: April 13, 2008, 07:35:34 PM »

Hit the wrong blasted button again.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #101 on: April 13, 2008, 09:56:12 PM »

All modern small boat compasses are magnetic but are marked in degrees with just the  Cardinal points shown.

This is the one fitted to my boat.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #102 on: April 13, 2008, 10:12:40 PM »

All modern small boat compasses are magnetic but are marked in degrees with just the  Cardinal points shown.

This is the one fitted to my boat.
Considering that you are really going up and down a (very nice) river, I don't think that any of my previous comments would apply to you.But if, perchance, you got blown out into the middle of the Atlantic your only recourse would be to head roughly East and ask the first person you met where you were (are). Silly point taken Colin, but the "big boys" have to abide by different rules. Cheers.BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #103 on: April 13, 2008, 10:19:47 PM »

It's not quite all electronic yet Bryan. I use a set of Admiralty charts for the Solent intended for small craft. But you can look up the corrections on the Internet, print them off in colour and just stick them over the affected area (if you have a decent printer).

I'm afraid that I don't much bother with corrections these days as we don't go far and navigate by the chart, eye, tide table and a tidal atlas. Oh, and we have a GPS of course!

Colin
Forgot to ask, What is the difference between the "Tide Tables"  and a "Tide Atlas"?  Never heard of a tide atlas. Always used those little diamond shaped thingies on the charts and pencilled in the predicted streams.. but horses for courses and so on.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #104 on: April 13, 2008, 10:44:20 PM »

Bryan,

Those compasses are not toys, they are used for blue water navigation in yachts and have all the adjusters etc. you have described but in miniature plus you are supposed to compile a table of variation for greater accuracy. I don't go out of sight of land so I don't worry about that as the boat is made of plastic anyway.

Re the Tidal Atlas, this is  an Admiralty publication applicable to a specific locality. Essentially it is a visual representation of the tidal streams that you would otherwise work out from the chart diamonds. There is a page for each hourly state of the tide, -/+ High Water at the applicable Standard Port. The arrows show the direction of stream and the numbers indicate its strength in knots. The lower value is Neaps the higher Springs. Obviously you extrapolate between the two.

In practice the Atlas is extremely useful. For example, in my case it will show at what time I need to be at Chichester Harbour Entrance to pick up a favourable tide down to Yarmouth. If I leave it too late I might find myself plugging the tide at Newtown Creek and either have to put in there until the tide turns (no hardship!) or fight the tide for a couple of hours to reach Yarmouth.

It does nothing you can't get from the diamonds but it's a heck of a lot easier to use - particularly when making that "where shall we go today?" decision!

Colin
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #105 on: April 14, 2008, 04:49:06 PM »

Bryan,

Those compasses are not toys, they are used for blue water navigation in yachts and have all the adjusters etc. you have described but in miniature plus you are supposed to compile a table of variation for greater accuracy. I don't go out of sight of land so I don't worry about that as the boat is made of plastic anyway.

Re the Tidal Atlas, this is  an Admiralty publication applicable to a specific locality. Essentially it is a visual representation of the tidal streams that you would otherwise work out from the chart diamonds. There is a page for each hourly state of the tide, -/+ High Water at the applicable Standard Port. The arrows show the direction of stream and the numbers indicate its strength in knots. The lower value is Neaps the higher Springs. Obviously you extrapolate between the two.

In practice the Atlas is extremely useful. For example, in my case it will show at what time I need to be at Chichester Harbour Entrance to pick up a favourable tide down to Yarmouth. If I leave it too late I might find myself plugging the tide at Newtown Creek and either have to put in there until the tide turns (no hardship!) or fight the tide for a couple of hours to reach Yarmouth.

It does nothing you can't get from the diamonds but it's a heck of a lot easier to use - particularly when making that "where shall we go today?" decision!

Colin
Sorry Colin. Of course I recall the Tide Atlas...just my memory slipped a bit. A series of very important booklets. Must hurry along with my recollections before I lose my marbles altogether. Bryan.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #106 on: April 14, 2008, 07:01:14 PM »

All modern small boat compasses are magnetic but are marked in degrees with just the  Cardinal points shown.

This is the one fitted to my boat.
Just been looking at your compass again. What is the fixed scale for? BY.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #107 on: April 14, 2008, 07:30:33 PM »

 Inclinometer. It tells you how many degrees you are leaning over. Although it's usually the last thing you are looking at!
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Welsh_Druid

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #108 on: April 14, 2008, 07:54:14 PM »

All modern small boat compasses are magnetic but are marked in degrees with just the  Cardinal points shown.

This is the one fitted to my boat.
Considering that you are really going up and down a (very nice) river, I don't think that any of my previous comments would apply to you.But if, perchance, you got blown out into the middle of the Atlantic your only recourse would be to head roughly East and ask the first person you met where you were (are). Silly point taken Colin, but the "big boys" have to abide by different rules. Cheers.BY.

Bryan

These compasses really are not "toys". I too had one fitted in my 32 ft Ketch. Using that plus tide tables we had no trouble arriving accurately at Lands End from North Wales and then from Newlyn arriving straight into the right position off Ushant (in the middle of a thunderstorm) to traverse the Chenal der Four.  No coastal following or river travel there !!

Of course this was prior to GPS. OK  we had Decca as a backup but thunderstorms can play havoc with the reception  !  A trustworthy compass is a god send then  O0

Don B.

P.S. very much enjoying your tales. Had some good laughs at some of them . More please  :)   
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #109 on: April 14, 2008, 08:03:21 PM »

All modern small boat compasses are magnetic but are marked in degrees with just the  Cardinal points shown.

This is the one fitted to my boat.
Considering that you are really going up and down a (very nice) river, I don't think that any of my previous comments would apply to you.But if, perchance, you got blown out into the middle of the Atlantic your only recourse would be to head roughly East and ask the first person you met where you were (are). Silly point taken Colin, but the "big boys" have to abide by different rules. Cheers.BY.

Bryan

These compasses really are not "toys". I too had one fitted in my 32 ft Ketch. Using that plus tide tables we had no trouble arriving accurately at Lands End from North Wales and then from Newlyn arriving straight into the right position off Ushant (in the middle of a thunderstorm) to traverse the Chenal der Four.  No coastal following or river travel there !!

Of course this was prior to GPS. OK  we had Decca as a backup but thunderstorms can play havoc with the reception  !  A trustworthy compass is a god send then  O0

Don B.

P.S. very much enjoying your tales. Had some good laughs at some of them . More please  :)   
Thank you. I think I sometimes get carried away a bit, so I apologize. Sorry. BY.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #110 on: April 14, 2008, 08:14:41 PM »

No need to apologise Bryan. Your perspective as a shipmaster is going to be very different to us yotties. It's very interesting to see the differences.

Colin
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seacommander

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #111 on: April 16, 2008, 03:29:15 AM »

Bryan

   Really interesting tales. The c/s ones stirred a few memories of the days I worked at Electra House in London on the end of some of your cables . I remember the Morse readers you mentioned the ink came down a very fine tube which very often dried up and blocked Went home many times with purple inky fingers.

You mentioned Porthcurno I believe the hut and the cables are still there. It was featured on one of the TV programs "Coast" I think When I was last that way a couple of years ago there  was a telegraph museum in the old CW training school and you could go into the underground area where the operations were moved to during the war.

             Thanks again for some really interesting reading
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #112 on: April 16, 2008, 08:26:56 PM »

I guess this and the future postings could be construed as "part 2 of my life at sea". At first equally traumatic as I hadn't a clue how the RN/RFA worked. Big learning curve, and not always nice. So some of my recollections may sound a little humourless compared to other postings, but that is the way it was. Humour came later when I had a vague idea as to what I was doing.
After leaving C&W I was at a bit of a loose-end. Being recently married and with raging hormonesthe sea-faring life lost a lot of its attraction. As it has done to many a poor soul. I will gloss over the jobs I had as I still cringe a little. Managed to pay the mortgage and so on, but my life and training (?) was as a seafarer. Increasingly unhappy with shore life after a year of pettiness and the "money, money, money" attitude of the people I had to work with eventually eroded my soul. Had to go back to sea. All kinds of options were open to me, but I also had an awareness that the British Merchant Navy was in decline (1967). I had many interviews and many high paying job offers, but there was always a mental "niggle" of doubt about the long term future. When I was a pre-sea cadet the RFA was not an option. The ships of the RFA we could see at Smiths Docks etc. on the Tyne always looked old, somewhat seedy and (shall I say) a little "down-market". A bit like "Hungry Hogarths" or some such. Little snobs as we were then. But P&O wouldn't entertain kids from South Shields. They wanted Pangbourne, Conway and so on. So us clever little grammar school sods had to slum it in little known outfits such as "Blue Funnel", "BI", Ben Line", "Elder Dempster", "Royal Mail" and all of the other "second rate" concerns. Many companies in those days were aggressively advertising for cadets. The biggest one was "Shell Tankers". Promised the earth. Very few of my pre-sea classmates returned to take their 2nd mates "ticket". No-one had told them that their lives would be lived in a smelly environment, and the only "ports" they would encounter would be seen at a distance from the end of a long jetty in some of the most awful places on earth. I wanted more out of life than that. When I was in "Mercury" I had noticed a lot of activity in the Portland area. Helicopters buzzing, fast jets screeching, ships in close proximity and so on. Naturaly most of the vessels were RN, but I noted that more than a few were RFAs. These things were a lot more enticing than the rust-buckets I had seen during my pre-sea training days. So I rejected the high paying jobs and applied to join the RFA. I aked, and was given a ship to join to see if I liked it. No duties, just a familiaristion run. Nobody told the ship that, but I stuck to the terms I had been offered and was given a "free-run" to browse and observe. The ship was the then almost new "Olmeda", a fleet (liquid) replenishment ship (read "tanker") that could also operate 6 anti-submarine Wessex helicopters. (one in the hangar and 5 ranged on the "parking deck"). I had a very short introduction to the Captain who really only wanted to know if I had a bow tie. In those days officers had to "dress" for dinner. (Crap though it was). Those who had been "in the service" for a long time had blue "mess-jackets" (White on other occassions), whereas us plebs would wear our usual "day to day" doeskin uniforms.....with a bow tie. All very odd. Even doing the 12-4 night watch meant being in full uniform. But I put it down to being a quirk of nature.
Prior to this new building programme for the RFA they were generally regarded by the mainstream Merchant Navy as a sort of "cloth cap and muffler" brigade. Some justification in that, that I am not going to get into. I may be entirely wrong here (although I don't think so), but the new re-building of the RFA was to be compatible with and an adjunct to the new aircraft carriers to be built in the mid 1960s. The height of the "cold-war". These new carriers would have their own "fleet-train". Supply ships and so on. They would also have the added protection of the "Bristol" class cruisers and the Sea-Slug capability of the new "County" class destroyers..plus all the "Leander" class frigates. I will only give you one chance to guess what happened. The carriers were axed. (Ringing any bells?) But by then the "Fleet -Train" had been built. "Resource" and "Regent" were anachronisms from the start without the new carriers. The "Ol" class tankers proved to be very versatile and went on to give 40 years of superb service to navies all over the world. The "Ness" class were a bit constrained in although having a landing deck there wasn't anything else. But that was the RFA I was joining. At that time I hadn't really noticed that some of the really old, worn out and cruddy ships were still in service. No matter. Next one...first "proper" appointment in the RFA.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #113 on: April 17, 2008, 07:52:19 PM »

My first "real" appointment was to "Resource". She was at Glenmallen. Where? Get a train to Helensburgh and we will have a car to meet you. The first of many lies told to me by MoD. No car. No money. Wait for 4 hours. Get a taxi and managing to break the local language barrier got him to understand that he would be re-imbursed and, bless him, he took me on the short tour of the Scottish Highlands.For those of you who don't know Loch Long, it's a very interesting place up from Faslane. A very scenic road up the eastern side of the loch, but you could be in for a big surprise. Come around a bend and you may well be confronted by a rather large grey ship that really has no business being there. Welcome to the Glenmallen ammunition and explosives jetty. One of the (very) few places in the UK where the RFA ammo ships can actually get to tie up. Not that it makes a blind bit of difference as getting from there to anywhere else takes dedication. But I suppose siting a major ammo depot in a populated area for the convenience of a ships crew may give rise to a few complaints. Loch Long was once used as a torpedo testing area. Nice and straight and long..hence the name?. I also recall watching dinghy fishermen hauling in 5' long cod. To get to anywhere else (unless you had a car) the RN laid on a sort of bus a few times a day into Helensburgh via Garlochhead (a good pub was there), then catch a train to Glasgow and then onwards. Took forever. So this is really where my "career" in the RFA began. Up a scottish creek with not many ways out. Although there was always a Mod-Plod presence on the compound gate there never seemed to be much thought given to the "water" side of the ship. Although I had had a brief introduction to the RFA aboard "Olmeda", this ship blew me away. Absolutely and totally different from anything I had ever seen before. (Remember the RFA is a civilian manned organisation).In an earlier post I gave a short description of the ship so I won't repeat that. But it was the on-board organisation, jargon and effectively having 3 crews ..and so many people! The jargon may as well been in Chinese for all the sense I could make of it. The entire ships company seemed to converse in TLAs. Also, although she was a dry-cargo vessel (a very loose term here), she had no hatches. All the decks were flush and the 5 decks of "holds" were served by lifts of varying sizes and capacities according to what particular whizz-bang was to be put in there. The "holds" and their contents were "looked after" by a civil service crew (CS from now on). The ranking structure of this bunch was also confusing. Can you really imagine a structure that would encompass the rating of a "Skilled Labourer"? Surely that is an oxymoron. These "dockyard maties" would spend all day whizzing around the decks on fork-lift trucks and really chewing up the nice green deck paint. And they had a habit of bumping into things (like bits of the ship) that would have been funny if it wasn't for the nature of the "stuff" they were carting around. If you are so inclined, perhaps you may care to take a peek at the pic. of Resource I posted a while ago. The gap between the amidships block and the back bit were joined by a passageway on each side of the ship that was probably 400' long. The ships ABs had the port alley (Burma Road) and the CS had the starboard (Coronation Street). Each crew was responsible for the cleaning of their own alleyway. The ABs had to fit the job in between other tasks. The CS employed a "specialist skilled labourer" whose sole task was to trog up and down their alleyway with a polishing machine and a souji cloth. 7 days a week. (Overtime at weekends,see?). The then rank structure was a bit bizarre also (been cleaned up a bit since then). Captain. Chief Officer, First Officer, 3x2nd Officers, 2x3rd Officers. 4X Radio Officers, One "writer" (a sort of purser) and a Ch.Steward who never really knew which camp he belonged in. Too many engineers to shake a stick at, 3 Electrical Officers, 2 Refrigeration Officers and possibly a cadet training unit...12 of them with their ow training officer. And I'm sre I have missed out others. One helicopter pilot (RN). The POs bar was just as crowded. Bosun and 2 bosuns mates. A Yeoman of Signals (and he had 2 signalmen below him). Engineers a bit similar with the Donkeyman at the top of the heap. The CS bunch had maybe 8 officers and a dozen POs. One of their junior officers had a very strange remit. His "day-job" was to oversee the large garage that fixed the busted fork-lifts, re-charge the batteries and so on..but his other "job" was to look after and "test" (not figuratively) the nuclear jobbies. All his "superiors" were pen-pushers. Tell you anything? With any luck you will now be as confused as I was. But the first "job" was an "ammo dump". Continue later. BY
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #114 on: April 18, 2008, 05:52:25 PM »

Aw c'mon Bryan. Oil tankers are smelly - unless they are RFA tankers? The only "ports they would encounter would be seen at a distance from the end of a long jetty in some of the most awful places on earth"? I spent 14 years with Shell Tankers and, overall, they were a good company to work for (the move to IoM manning and the mass exodus was after my time). Yes, I did see the wrong end of jetties at Mena Al Ahmadi, Kharg Island etc., but I also became acquainted with the ports of North & South America, Carribean, Med, Northern Europe and Scandinavia, Middle and Far East and Australasia. Maybe we didn't spend as much time in port as C&W and the RFA but it was long enough to spend our money AND we didn't need to wear a bow tie.

Cheers

 ::) Barry M
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #115 on: April 18, 2008, 08:02:51 PM »

Points taken Barry. But the fact remains that a lot of the kids I went to pre-sea with got a bit miffed-off and left. I agree that Shell (and one or two others were very good outfits to work for, but some of their advertising was a bit dubious (in retrospect), and these kids had "signed-up" at the age of 16, not knowing one end of a ship from the other. Times have changed. I talk regularly to a retired "Shell" Master, and he also bemoans the fact that tankers are now berthed miles from anywhere and then only for a few hours. Regarding the "bow-tie" syndrome....the height of pretentiousness by a Captain who only a few years previously would have been glad of a chance to even wear his uniform. New ships brought new attitudes, and many of them were well "over the top". Thank goodness sanity prevailed, although it took perhaps 6 or 7 years. The RFA in the mid to late 1960s was riddled with "bull" and stuff that some of those who should have known better tried to pass off as "traditions". But as one Radio Officer once pronounced to all and sundry "The RFA disn'ae have traditions...it only has bad habits"...and not many truer words were said at that time. The RFA haemorraged good officers in those days. I truthfully only stuck with it then because I couldn't see the British MN lasting too much longer. So many "small" countries building up their own fleets after being trained through British companies, Flags of convenience were on the rise and some major companies were diversifying into realms they had, historically, eschewed. And so they fell. I don't feel particularly proud or smug having seen this happening. Just that my eyes were open and the writing was on the wall..so to speak. Sorry for the long answer to a "simple" comment!. Cheers.Bryan.
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Damien

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #116 on: April 23, 2008, 10:38:03 AM »

My wife found this while surfing different religeous beliefs, I'll put the URL in for anyone who wants a look.

After a shipwreck off the coast of Antikythera, divers found a strange object. Upon observation, it was found to be an extremely small scale planetarium, with the most intricate clockwork, by which the positions of the Sun, Moon and other planets could be worked out. The ship was said to have floundered around 60BC.
http://www.mendhak.com/95-is-god-an-alien.aspx
Damien.
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tigertiger

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #117 on: April 23, 2008, 11:03:39 AM »

My wife found this while surfing different religeous beliefs, I'll put the URL in for anyone who wants a look.

After a shipwreck off the coast of Antikythera, divers found a strange object. Upon observation, it was found to be an extremely small scale planetarium, with the most intricate clockwork, by which the positions of the Sun, Moon and other planets could be worked out. The ship was said to have floundered around 60BC.
http://www.mendhak.com/95-is-god-an-alien.aspx
Damien.

Apparently not a hoax.
http://www.antikythera-mechanism.com/

Wiki has more info and a lot on the functionality of it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #118 on: April 24, 2008, 07:52:30 PM »

My wife found this while surfing different religeous beliefs, I'll put the URL in for anyone who wants a look.

After a shipwreck off the coast of Antikythera, divers found a strange object. Upon observation, it was found to be an extremely small scale planetarium, with the most intricate clockwork, by which the positions of the Sun, Moon and other planets could be worked out. The ship was said to have floundered around 60BC.
http://www.mendhak.com/95-is-god-an-alien.aspx
Damien.

Apparently not a hoax.
http://www.antikythera-mechanism.com/

Wiki has more info and a lot on the functionality of it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism
This "mechanism" has been known about for a long time now....but I think was put into the "quaint" category by a lot of folk who should have known better. It is often said (and written) that Astronomers, Archeologists and other "high blown" people are pretty vicious about the work of others in their chosen field. A bit like ship modellers really. But it beggars belief that such a complicated thing could be made then when even writing was in its infancy. No, I have not "lost the plot", but other ideas about its origion should be considered with an open mind. There are other examples of the "unexplained" from times long ago. The Pyramids, the (Rhebus?) map (alledgedly drawn berore the earth was considered a sphere), Stonehenge, even. Many more if I could be bothered to trawl for them. To put it quite bluntly, after many years cogitating the Universe and all that guff, I still believe that this planet was either "visited" or "seeded". No doubt I will be vilified for such heresy. (I am NOT a "Scientologist"!). Just think about the unknowns and make up your own mind. BY.
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tigertiger

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #119 on: April 25, 2008, 03:59:04 AM »

I think our ancestors may have been smarter than we thought. Often we get arrogant about our development. We may have re-invented the wheel on many occasions.

Until the printing press, most knowledge was either passed on to the apprentice, or died with the keeper. Now we have books we can share ideas, and build upon/improve what has gone before 95% of creativity is evolution and not revolution.
How much knowledge in the past was just lost, and I am sure there were some inspirational inventions in the past, that were lost or destroyed as heretical, or kept a big commercial secret.

For example, it is easy to see a situation where a commercial skipper invented a navigation device that gave him the advantage, then there would only be one such device.
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #120 on: April 25, 2008, 01:17:49 PM »

After all this time I thought the events on a certain ‘white oiler’ – refined product carrier – in the early-70’s, would be safely forgotten but it seems not! Perhaps it’s time to come clean.

We were trading in the Mediterranean and Tripoli, Naples, Piraeus, Marseilles etc. were all familiar to us. The only fly in the ointment was the Old Man, otherwise known as 'The Lurker' who had a habit of hiding around corners eavesdropping. Nothing was safe from his scrutiny and thirst for information. Thus it was that a plan was hatched to give him enough to (hopefully) put him into information overload.

One Sunday morning - "Six days shalt thou perform Field Days and on the Seventh thou shalt work only eight hours" - a small procession emerged onto the main deck in clear view of the Bridge where the Old Man was seen leaning on the rail. In front was the Chief Engineer with clipboard and slide rule under his arm, behind came the Second Engineer with a set of  steam tables and a large micrometer and following up was a trio of apprentices bearing calipers, tape measures, plumb bobs and a tray covered with a cloth. Under the command of the Second, measurements were taken of the deck, pipelines, tank hatches and in fact anything that could be measured, and passed to the Chief who consulted his slide rule and entered the results on the clipboard. By this time The Lurker was chewing lumps out of the teak capping in his anxiety to know what was afoot. (The 3rd Mate performed a brilliant impression later.)

Finally, the piece de resistance - the tray was uncovered with a flourish to reveal a gleaming brass object which was passed carefully to the Chief. Holding this up to his eye, the Chief trained the instrument on the deck, turned various knobs and clicked a small lever on the side before passing readings to an apprentice. Finally, the instrument was covered up again and the procession left the deck in the direction of the bar.   

Until he paid off a month later, The Lurker tried everything he knew to find out what had happened that morning. Desperate to know but equally desperate not to appear too nosey, he was stonewalled with murmurs of ‘commercial confidentiality’, ‘will save millions and make us a fortune’ etc. The apprentices, bribed with beer and offers of extended shore leave, managed to plead ignorance.

And the gleaming brass instrument? That was produced from a bearing brass of a steam windlass eccentric strap, scrap tubing and the innards of the Chief Steward’s clock (presented to him for services to malnutrition and “liberated” while he was not looking). To preserve secrecy it was cast overboard off Crete and to this day I assumed it still lay there gathering coral. Now I’m not so sure.

Barry M
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #121 on: April 27, 2008, 06:18:44 PM »

Our ancestors were every bit as smart as we are - they just knew about different things. A particular interest of mine is the ancient Minoan culture of Crete. When you look at what they achieved architecturally over 3,500 years ago it is just staggering. At Knossos there is a drainage channel going down stone staircase. The stones forming the channel are especially shaped to slow down the water flow where it goes around the corners on the landings to stop the water spilling out. They even had flushing toilets. Their fleet controlled the entire eastern Mediterranean.

Picture of a modern reconstruction of one of their ships below.

Fascinating stuff.

Colin
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #122 on: April 27, 2008, 06:22:08 PM »

Ok - One more. I cannot claim to be personally involved in this one but the story was current in the 60's and 70's around The Fleet.

The subject of this tale, the Old Man, was wont to imbibe. Fair enough, not to put too fine a point on it, he was a total p***head. Why is another story; Sparkies were well know to be mad, bad, Irish or devotees of John Barleycorn - sometimes (bad news) all four. In my experience (and this is where 'those who know better' can leap in) if Chiefs drank to excess they tended to keep it quiet, the Second and the rest of the engineers didn't have the time while the Mate and the rest of the anchor-clankers were too close to the scrutiny of the Old Man. Only the Old Man had the time and - in this instance - the inclination.

Too many times the Old Man would shut himself away in his cabin for days. When docking, the Old Man was often found to be absent from reality and thus the Mate was in the habit of assuming command and berthing the vessel. Thus, after the vesssel had left Piraeus (port for Athens) and the Old Man did not surface, course was set for Alicante without comment. 

While the Mate was berthing the ship at Alicante, a familiar sheepish-looking figure was seen on the dockside standing next to a Company Superintendent. It was the Old Man. 

The story came out later in dribs and drabs of how the Old Man had fallen overboard, been picked up by a following, faster vessel and - keeping very quiet- been landed in Alicante to await his own ship. If the Super had not also been there he might just have got away with it. As it was, he stayed only long enough to pack his bags and leave for the UK, never to be heard of again. The Mate got a rollicking which did not appear to affect his later career and a new Old Man joined.

It was a different world then.  :)
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #123 on: April 27, 2008, 07:52:16 PM »

Not all that different Barry. When the RFA took over the running and manning of the LSLs ("Sir Tristram" etc.) from BI management attitudes were distictivley hostile. But when the RFA/RN decided to do beach landings from the ships it caused panic within the "old guard". The BI "Master" was a gibbering wreck at the mere thought of it. So much so that he used to sit all crouched up on the deck in the corner of the wheelhouse. With a bag of chips...which he would offer to anyone passing. He was eventually carted off strapped in a chair, and was succeeded by an RFA guy (from an adjacent ship) wearing a brass coal scuttle on his head. He eventually became the "Commodore" of the RFA. But he never realised his ambition to be the first knighted commodore of the RFA.
And so such things happen. Sanity will eventually prevail, and so the LSLs went on under the RFA to be the (in my mind) the best ships for a "Nav" I have ever sailed in.
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Notes from a simple seaman

john strapp

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #124 on: May 07, 2008, 10:20:19 PM »

Bryan
Not all Shell tankers were smelly, like Barry M, I sailed on a few clean oil ones, one voyage I done, had a cargo of "TEEPOL" (washing up liquid) which is a byproduct of refining and you can't get cleaner than that!
Seven years with Shell parcel tankers and got a decent run of ports, only my last ship was a smelly bitumen carrier.
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