Meal Times

Tai Pan
3rd February 2009, 11:32
On H8 ships (2 on 2 off GMT) what did you do when meal times clashed with being on watch. honest answers please

ROBERT HENDERSON
3rd February 2009, 11:42
When I first went on coasters with the two watch system, we worked five hour watches, 8 to 12, 12 to 5, 5 to 10, 10 to 3 and 3 to 8, so mealtimes did not clash. When we changed to six hour watches most masters would relieve for mealtimes, when it was only master and mate we still had that same arrangement where the master would relieve for meal breaks. Alternately the cook would take a meal to the bridge for the officer on watch. For the engineers there was not problem as most ships were un-manned engineroooms.

Regards Robert

K urgess
3rd February 2009, 11:53
Seven bells meals whenever possible but if not I had the meal delivered to the radio room.
Never had a problem and never left the radio room while on watch in 11 years except in emergencies.
And that's an honest answer.

Moulder
3rd February 2009, 12:17
First ship I was 2nd R/O - there were two of us so no problems - I covered the main meal time whilst the boss went down to the saloon.
On the remainder of my vessels during the 2 on 2 off era - 7 bell meals or asked the steward to bring them to radio room especially if on long QRY with GKB.
When the watch system became less rigid - no problem - 7 bell breakfast - normal lunch and dinner.

(Thumb)

Ron Stringer
3rd February 2009, 12:17
Seven bells meals whenever possible but if not I had the meal delivered to the radio room.

Same here and never had a problem. On the ''Golfito'' when I was on the 'late shift' taking the press, the night steward used to bring a tray up to the Radio Room (whether he was sober or not).

Bill Davies
3rd February 2009, 12:32
When I first went on coasters with the two watch system, we worked five hour watches, 8 to 12, 12 to 5, 5 to 10, 10 to 3 and 3 to 8, so mealtimes did not clash. When we changed to six hour watches most masters would relieve for mealtimes, when it was only master and mate we still had that same arrangement where the master would relieve for meal breaks. Alternately the cook would take a meal to the bridge for the officer on watch. For the engineers there was not problem as most ships were un-manned engineroooms.

Regards Robert

Robert,
Never understood where you coasting men found the energy.
If the Pilot kept me waiting to long I am looking for the Pilot Chair.

Bill

gwzm
3rd February 2009, 14:43
On Brocklebank H8 ships with two R/Os:the off-watch R/O relieved the on-watch R/O for meals.

On Brocklebank (and Cunard) H8 ships with one R/O: meals were either arranged for half an hour before going on watch or they were brought to the radio room, dependent on timing. I had many meals typing with one hand and stuffing in grub with the other whilst on watch.

No need to cheat.

All the best,

gwzm

ROBERT HENDERSON
3rd February 2009, 15:02
Robert,
Never understood where you coasting men found the energy.
If the Pilot kept me waiting to long I am looking for the Pilot Chair.

Bill

BILL
Looking back I sometimes wonder about our energy myself.
As for the Pilots chair, we should be so lucky.

Regards Robert

price
3rd February 2009, 15:32
I remember on the Market Boats, we used to work four on four off with a first and second dog watch, I can't remember now, how we resolved the problem, (first wheel, second wheel and farmer) at tea time 1630 and 1700,
Bruce.

Nick Balls
3rd February 2009, 15:50
On offshore vessels in the 80's Mate and 2nd mate did 6 on 6 off with them also acting as (sometimes ) very busy R/O's. The Old Man drove the boat till he dropped !!!! Getting back to port the real work started, with the mate on till she sailed !!!!
Also a nightmare for the engineers as only C/E and 2/E looking after some complex stuff!!!!
Then in theier wisdom the companies took away the Motorman and the 3 AB's were expected to help out down below as well ...............Luckily on the ships we all stuck together and must say managed some good old times as well !!!

DaiSparks
3rd February 2009, 20:42
On H8 ships (2 on 2 off GMT) what did you do when meal times clashed with being on watch. honest answers please

Under the H8, 2 on 2 off z scheme, when it clashed it was 15 min Lunch and/or Dinners with the Auto Alarm covering, no such luxury of the Steward delivering a meal to the shack in Smiffs. Breakfasts were an optional extra, if on duty (7-9a) it was tea and toast.
Thankfully when the new 'civilised' flexible H8 scheme came in based on local time(0800-1200,2H block between 1800 & 2200 with remaining 2H to be taken anytime between 1200 to 2200 but could be split into minimum blocks of 30 mins) it permitted you to adapt the latter part of the watch to traffic conditions, which was brilliant since I spent most of my time in the Pacific. Sociable meal times became the norm thereafter along with 8Hr watch keeping days and a empty in tray (One OM said I was too efficient!!)

DaiSparks (Thumb)

Bill Davies
3rd February 2009, 21:41
This is interesting. I occasionally meet with NI members who work for an Irish coastal company and I am told of this 6 0n and 6 off followed by own Pilotage of the Manchester ship canal.
I would like to here more coastal stories as I must concede it is a big gap in my knowledge. The smallest I ever commanded was a Panamax the largest +400 and too many of them. Perhaps a new thread.

Derek Roger
3rd February 2009, 21:58
In Brocklebanks the 12 to 4 had an 11 bell meal ( usually in the duty mess ) before going on watch and the 4th Eng / 3rd mate would relive the 2nd Eng and Mate for 1/2 an hour at 6 pm for dinner ( again usually in the Duty mess ) 8 to 12 therefore lost out a little but so what it was the easy watch anyway ! Time to sun bath swim in the pool etc . They did however miss out on the Movies and would have to have their own showing after watch in the afternoon .
Derek

K urgess
3rd February 2009, 21:59
Brocks seem to have had more bells than anyone else, Derek [=P]

Tai Pan
4th February 2009, 10:26
Thread seem to have gone astray, I was asking about H8 ships(single R/O).
In Bluies, no problem, two R/Os and the 1stvR/O kept his hand in. However after 9 months with MIMC I was posted to Esso Bedford ( usually known as Esso Portland, due to the number of cement boxes) not a good start hearing someone say in the MIMC office " I see they have some poor sod for the Bedford".
She was very old, both engines never seemed to work at the same time, our speed was dismal. We were berthed in the centre and the galley and mess room down aft, no chance of food being brought along the catwalk or special times. So am afraid it was AA on and a quick dash aft, not very pleasant in rough weather. We even ran out of food coming up the red sea and for two days all we had was tinned grapes.

trotterdotpom
4th February 2009, 10:51
On H8 ships during the 2 on, 2 off debacle, if the watch was due to start at 1200, the normal procedure was to have "seven bell" lunch with the Second Mate.

There were 8 Bells in a 4 hour sea watch, eg 0800 - 1200, 1 bell was at 0830.....7 Bell was at 1130.

I can't remember what I did if the watch started at say 1100 (quite possible due to the disparity between GMT and ship's time and also the zone in which the ship found itself). I never had a meal in the radio room, so I imagine I just did what John did: put the auto alarm on and went to the saloon.

The problem solved itself when the watchkeeping hours became more flexible and based on ship's time: 0800-1200 in the morning, 2 continuous hours between 1800 and 2400, and the remaining 2 hours at the discretion of the RO but in minimum segments of 20 minutes.

John T.

R651400
4th February 2009, 11:12
Never had any problem freelance with HX.

Derek Roger
4th February 2009, 17:01
Brocks seem to have had more bells than anyone else, Derek [=P]

Never could count Kris !
How many bells were rung at New Year ? 16 I think ? Derek

andysk
4th February 2009, 17:15
...... How many bells were rung at New Year ? 16 I think ? Derek

Lots (and lots and lots) !

K urgess
4th February 2009, 17:24
Depends on the level of participation in the festivities. [=P]
I suppose nowadays they either don't bother or breathalyse anybody who thinks it might be a good idea. (Cloud)

Roger Bentley
5th February 2009, 19:13
Never could count Kris !
How many bells were rung at New Year ? 16 I think ? Derek

On my first trip to sea in 1950, I was the youngest person on the ship - troopship Lancashire. On New Years Eve the oldest man one of the quartermasters rang the first eight and I rang in the next eight. Petrified wth fright as he had muttered to me "don't make a mess of it or it will be bad luck. I managed it without an error! Cheers

Derek Roger
5th February 2009, 23:09
On my first trip to sea in 1950, I was the youngest person on the ship - troopship Lancashire. On New Years Eve the oldest man one of the quartermasters rang the first eight and I rang in the next eight. Petrified wth fright as he had muttered to me "don't make a mess of it or it will be bad luck. I managed it without an error! Cheers

That was the tradition Roger ; Ring out the Old year and Ring in the New .

Derek

Pat Thompson
5th February 2009, 23:35
Greetings,

I remember as 3rd Mate having to relieve the Mate for his evening meal. No big deal however one Mate did not eat in the evening and effectively I was then obliged to give him a half an hour sit in his chair break and that did get RIGHT UP MY NOSE.

Naytikos
7th February 2009, 06:15
I posted my experience on this topic on another thread.
While with British ships on the 2 on 2 off system I simply signed 'off-watch for lunch (or dinner)' in the log. I received a letter from Cardiff telling me this was not on and 'arrangements should be made for meals to be served in the radio-room and the principal officer is pointing this out to the master'.
This was a few months after I had left the ship concerned. I never did work out how they only picked it up the one time as I did this on all five of my deep-sea UK flagged ships.

Arthur Jenner
7th February 2009, 07:22
After I completed the EDH course in 1946 I was offered a trip on a coaster; the Ben Read owned by National Benzole. There was a ten man crew - Captain, two mates, two engineers, one donkeyman, a cook-steward and three ABs. We three ABs and the donkeyman had to cook our own food; sharing the tiny galley with the cook-steward. Food was rationed and we also had to keep going ashore shopping for our grub. We were more concerned with cooking times than meal times because it was almost impossible for more than one person to use the limited cooking facilities at the same time.
Our watches were dictated more by the length of our trips than by any rigid format like deep-sea ships used. Our usual run was from one of the Thames refineries, Shellhaven or Thameshaven, to Ipswich. This being a six hour run, we did three two hour wheels. On the run to Lowestoft, nine hours, it was three watches of three hours. Once, on a run to Middlesborough, it was three four watches. Somehow we managed to fit our mealtimes between our turns on the wheel. Steering that little ship was no joke. There were two wheels; a large hand wheel and a small one operating the steam steering engine. The captain made us use the hand wheel almost all the time. It was hard work sometimes.

greektoon
7th February 2009, 08:57
I also experienced the 5 on 5 off system of watchkeeping as described above. Apart from fatigue when endured for long periods of time, interrupted by frequent port arrival / departures, acute indigestion could also be a problem. ie, coming off watch at 0800 hrs, having breakfast, crashing out for a couple of hours, lunch at 1130, dinner at 1700 hrs.