Captain's taste buds

Shipbuilder
29th September 2009, 20:36
Thirty-three years or so ago, I was on a ship with a particularly mean Chief Steward. Although we were on the US coast, the butter was quite rancid, but he wouldn't get new stuff until it was all eaten. Captain declared there was nothing wrong with it and wouldn't take action. (He wasn't a tyrant either - good bloke all-round).
One morning, I went in saloon early and looked in Captain's butter pot. All good and fresh! Took fresh pot from captain's table and exhanged it with rancid pot on my table. At breakfast, 3rd mate and myself sat down to fresh butter whilst keeping an eye on the captain. He ploughed through his breakfast with loads of toast and rancid butter and never batted an eyelid!
We were at Galveston Bar at the time, lightering VLCCs, so no excuse for rotten food! Can't win sometimes!
Bob

JoK
29th September 2009, 21:09
I always thought the worst ship to work on was the one the Captain would eat anything. You just proved my theory!

tell
2nd October 2009, 04:17
you are so naive, most Captains peed in the same bucket as the chief steward .Tell

Shipbuilder
2nd October 2009, 20:19
Tell,

I would certainly agree with you there!

Sailed with lots and lots of excellent chief stewards, but also lots and lots of the other kind. Always felt that when a mate got promoted to captain, he was taken away to chief steward's cabin for "a little chat" and when emerged, was not the same man that went it!

Expect this will bring screams of anguish from some, but I believe it to be the truth.

Bob

lakercapt
2nd October 2009, 20:44
Never was on a ship that had a chief steward when I sailed as master.!!!
That was the threads point.

Shipbuilder
3rd October 2009, 08:14
Who organised the grub? I suppose it must have been either you or the cook? I have sailed in most types of ship from colliers to passenger liners and all of them (19) had either chief steward or purser/chief steward. These were mainly British ships, but one was South African and one was St. Helenan.
The Chief Steward in passenger liners was a man of great power and influence and in my last ship was a four-ringer. On the colliers, they actually served at the tables in the saloon and looked after the officers cabins as well as the normal duties of chief stewards.
Bob

PS Just looked at your profile and see you sailed in Palm line, Harrisons Clyde, Baron Line, and William Robertsons of Glasgow. Knew all these companies, but find it hard to believe they didn't have either chief stewards or catering officers.
I know Robertsons was a coasting outfit and wouldn't be surprised if they didn't have them though!

lakercapt
3rd October 2009, 15:37
The ships I sailed on as master had either a cook/steward or just a cook and they did the victualing/cooking.
Never had a person that was classed as a chief steward as I always thought that it was some one you could do without. Never had any respect for the ones I did sail with previously as they tended to have a very easy job and as many reported were belly robbers

ROBERT HENDERSON
3rd October 2009, 16:14
The ships I sailed on as master had either a cook/steward or just a cook and they did the victualing/cooking.
Never had a person that was classed as a chief steward as I always thought that it was some one you could do without. Never had any respect for the ones I did sail with previously as they tended to have a very easy job and as many reported were belly robbers

When I was master I was in a similar position to Lakercapt, I was responsible for the catering budget, the cook or cook/steward for the victualling, the arrangement worked well and the feeding was better than a lot of ships I sailed on with a belly robbing chief steward. I always charged the company for refreshments and meals for pilots etc. This put extra money into the feeding allowance and allowed for those little extras the the normal allowance wouldn't afford.

Regards Robert

Shipbuilder
3rd October 2009, 16:40
The best feeding cargo ship I was in was the BANDAMA of Sivomar Line (Abidjan) The ship was ex SILVERAVON and when sold, continued to be manned by Silver Line staff. Chief Steward would go ashore personally in Abidjan to purchase fresh veg at the market, accompanied by one or two officers to help stow them in the car. Christmas Day, 1978 was best Christmas dinner I ever had at sea with a meeting some days before between all officers to decide on menu. Philippino galley staff really did an excellent job of it. The Chief Steward was actually Purser/catering officer and so did the purser work as well as the catering side. When I was in Furness Withy (early 1960s). The 2nd officer did the payoffs and wages etc and the cook seemed to run the galley. Not sure exactly what the Chief Steward did!
Bob

Boseley
3rd October 2009, 17:34
Never sailed on a ship that didn't have a chief or second steward. When there are over a hundred stewards on board, someone has to be the boss and it had to be someone who knew what he was about,

Boseley

Jim Brady
3rd October 2009, 21:11
When there was steak on the menu a tray of steaks would come down from the galley,one would have a mushroom on it, this was to distinguish it as "The Captains Steak"
One time I was on the press doing the dishing up I was doing something so the pantry boy served the steward with steak egg and chips.
Next order steak egg and chips Captain!!The captains steak had gone,the pantry boy not knowing about the special steak had served it.get that back quick I said.The Cadet was just about to get stuck into it when it was whipped from under his nose
Sometimes you would get three steaks Capt,Mate and Chf Engineer.

Burned Toast
5th October 2009, 17:23
Sailed for many years as Ch.Stwd-Cat.Off-Purser/Ch Stwd. read the comments(Jester) What a load of waffle from so called ship's Masters.(Smoke)

Ray McCerery R700934 1959 - 2007 UK and FoC Vessels

Boseley
5th October 2009, 17:42
Sailed for many years as Ch.Stwd-Cat.Off-Purser/Ch Stwd. read the comments(Jester) What a load of waffle from so called ship's Masters.(Smoke)

Couldn't agree more!!

Well said that man!!

Bob Sendall

kevjacko
22nd November 2009, 10:31
There was never nowt worse than a Captain sticking his nose into the stores ordering when not wanted. I did a short (mercifully) trip on a Rowbothams coasting west of the country. The Captain used to go ashore to the cash and carry for dry stores etc. Given the piss poor quality of what was on board when I joined I asked if I could go with him and got told 'no' in no uncertain terms. This ship really got my back up because I had already been made to feel as welcome as a fart in a space suit(not my fault the company went to agency guys). Anyway I gave the Captain a list of stuff needed and when he came back there was bog all of what I'd actually asked for and a whole load of shite from the 'reduced in cost' section. Including thousands of these little individual serving plastic milk pots that you get supplied with for tea and coffee, and a whole load of other shite.
The Captain asked me what I thought of his purchasing skills after I'd perused the mountain of crap he'd bought, while he looked on proudly and extolled the benefits of 6 months supply of individual milk cartons. "Would be ******* excellent captain if any of it was in date" I replied. What a wazzpot.

Klaatu83
22nd November 2009, 16:08
You can always tell a ship is going to be a poor feeder when she has a skinny Chief Steward or a Captain who isn't particular about what he eats. The worst feeders of all have both. The Steward may make the menu but the Captain approves it, and when the Captain doesn't take an interest in the quality of the mess then the Steward can get away with murder.

I've often experienced ships that were pretty good feeders, which then took a turn for the worse after either the Captain or the Steward was relieved.

ALAN TYLER
24th November 2009, 15:36
You can always tell a ship is going to be a poor feeder when she has a skinny Chief Steward or a Captain who isn't particular about what he eats. The worst feeders of all have both. The Steward may make the menu but the Captain approves it, and when the Captain doesn't take an interest in the quality of the mess then the Steward can get away with murder.

I've often experienced ships that were pretty good feeders, which then took a turn for the worse after either the Captain or the Steward was relieved.

Never heard of the Captain approving the menu in all my time at sea(23 years) the menu was made up by myself ( Ch/Cook) or in conjunction with the Ch/Stwd. I was a slimmish cook but that was down to sweating profusely in the galley!!! I know who got the best steak as well and it certainly wasn,t the Captain!!!

TonyAllen
24th November 2009, 18:27
When I sailed with Bill Johnson on the Elpenor a bluey boat, I know who got the best steak also,it stayed in the galley and the youngest got most of it ?????? Happy days.Tony Allen

kevjacko
8th December 2009, 20:50
Never heard of the Captain approving the menu in all my time at sea(23 years) the menu was made up by myself ( Ch/Cook) or in conjunction with the Ch/Stwd. I was a slimmish cook but that was down to sweating profusely in the galley!!! I know who got the best steak as well and it certainly wasn,t the Captain!!!

Hear hear Alan, well said Captains were for bridges, Chief engineers for engine rooms and cooks for Galleys and all the perks that went with them. I know where the best steak used to go too, and it was'nt the Captains table LOL

Burned Toast
13th December 2009, 13:14
Too True[=P]

stoker
27th January 2010, 20:35
On one ship I sailed on as Chief Eng. the Ch. Steward just wouldn't believe that I was not getting a kick back from the bunker barge. I never did figure out how to do it !

eldersuk
28th January 2010, 00:13
I sailed with a Ch. Steward who was incredulous that I lived on my salary, like Stoker I couldn't figure it out either.

Derek

John Dryden
28th January 2010, 00:38
I was on deck but got told to make an inventory of stores one day,chief steward was an OK guy so off I popped.Before I knew it I was locked inside the bloody freezer,vaguely I remember half freezing to death and kicking off when I got out but for the life of me can,t remember what was in there but it didn,t look appetizing.

WilliamH
28th January 2010, 09:24
I remember a Chief steward telling me that his instuctions from the Master were "Find out what they don't like and give them plenty of it"

Basil
28th January 2010, 11:02
Stoker,
I'd guess one way would be to take a reading on the bunker barge flowmeter, have the barge pump some fuel around back into one of its own cargo tanks, then, after the 'skin' had passed through the meter, begin fuelling your ship.
I recollect, at Kingston, going ashore to take ullages in the bunker C storage tank. That would have been an easy one to fiddle.
I've no idea if any CE I worked for was in on the fiddle - I bet the suppliers were.

When in civil aviation, in order to guard against a fuel quantity indicating system defect, we always calculated an expected uplift. Naturally, there would usually be a small error which could go either way.
However, at a large northern Italian airport, I noticed that the error invariably indicated that we were picking up more than calculated. When I mentioned this to the boss back at Heathrow he said they knew about it. I guess we didn't want to upset the Mafia and have lots of late departures, damaged baggage or other 'problems'.

Re Captain/Purser, I recollect being alongside in Santa Marta, Columbia and the Old Man had an open day. Well, I'd never heard of such a thing in the MN; only the RN and USN.
We had local families crawling all over the ship; showing them the engine room broke up the port watch a bit.
Until I came up on deck I couldn't imagine why we had them on board; all was revealed when I discovered the Purser selling bottles of whisky to our visitors at a rate of knots. Clearly he and the OM had loaded a stash of DF in the UK and were now taking the profit. Would have been nice if we'd been given one for hosting the visit.

alan ward
14th October 2011, 11:36
Never heard of the Captain approving the menu in all my time at sea(23 years) the menu was made up by myself ( Ch/Cook) or in conjunction with the Ch/Stwd. I was a slimmish cook but that was down to sweating profusely in the galley!!! I know who got the best steak as well and it certainly wasn,t the Captain!!!

I`ve posted about this before but Sugar Crystals OM vetted and edited my menus always reducing their size and content not to their improvement despite there being a company menu bank/book in existance.One trip and off elsewhere

alan ward
14th October 2011, 11:44
I sailed with a Ch. Steward who was incredulous that I lived on my salary, like Stoker I couldn't figure it out either.

Derek

You obviously haven`t sailed with some of the deck and engine men I have

alan ward
14th October 2011, 11:57
Sailed for many years as Ch.Stwd-Cat.Off-Purser/Ch Stwd. read the comments(Jester) What a load of waffle from so called ship's Masters.(Smoke)

Ray McCerery R700934 1959 - 2007 UK and FoC Vessels

It took me some years to figure why the exchange rate given by the OM for subs differed from the bank rate,then a master in Whitco mentioned`the exchange rate fiddle`as if I knew about at already I tumbled then,the ship was issued local currency at one rate and the money was then issued to the entire crew officers and ratings alike at a lower one.OM pocketing the difference.In the past whenever I had been asked why the rate differed I had told it was`Consular rate`Imagine what that`s worth over 6 months.

Whenever`Robbing Grocers`are mentioned gentlemen ask yourselves this.Who has control over the entire ships budget,cash or credit,bond and local supplies,bunkers both oil and water,dunnage and local labour?Because it sure as hell ain`t the Grocer