Ships Magnetic Compasses

Harvatt
22nd March 2010, 17:58
I am a new member to S.N. so forgive me if I lose my way a bit ! but I was
trained as a ship`s magnetic compass and nautical instrument maker,
completing my training with my M.O.T. cert. of competency as Compass
Adjuster. Leaving this specific trade many years ago and now totally retired
I am not a little conerned that almost nothing is published on these instruments and very little on the internet. This equipment was generally
hand made and thus highly skilled work. Do any members feel as I do that
it is a subject that should not be allowed to die out. I am of course referring
to the Real Equipment and not the mass produced ` equipment ` seen at times today .

Harvatt

bert thompson
22nd March 2010, 19:31
Harvatt welcome.
While employed by Sperry we shared a workshop with Lillie and Gillie in North Shields. Was very impressed with the skill displayed by the compass makers
Best wishes
Bert.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
22nd March 2010, 20:08
I very good subject I think.

The workmanship on a decent British made magnetic compass, say by Sestrel, B. Cooke or Lilley and Gillie, be the compass standard or binnacle, has always impressed me.

Right now there seems to be a serious shortage of people able to repair them.

James_C
22nd March 2010, 20:29
Harvatt,
Any contributions you could make would be of interest to many of us here who've stood on the bridge, and many who don't.

Andrew,
There's also a serious shortage of those qualified to correct them!

Andrew Craig-Bennett
22nd March 2010, 20:42
Very true, Jim. I've sent you a PM on that subject!

Tony Breach
22nd March 2010, 21:55
I beleive that the marine magnetic compass was one of the most beautiful instruments ever made. For how many years or centuries was man's direction dependent on the magnet? When I travel I always have a small compass with me & I also incorporate them into my pocket sundials. About 8 years ago I saw a Beale's deviascope in an antique/junk shop in Newport Pembs for about £120 & I still rue the day that I did not purchase it.

Really nice to have someone on board who can actually manufacture one.

Welcome on board Harvatt.
Tony

Harvatt
22nd March 2010, 23:02
Thankyou Tony for your welcome - yes I agree you did miss a snip, or rather treasure with your Beale`s Deviascope, having made repaired and tested so many of these years ago. I remember the work that went into them. There was always one of these in each School of Navigation, and used for examination purposes as well as training. I would like to think that a lot of this type of Marine Equipment has been saved from the scrap metal merchant somewhere, but that is wishful thinking !
Harvatt

Binnacle
22nd March 2010, 23:15
I sailed on a British ship a number of years ago that was fitted with, if my memory is correct, a Plath steering compass, it was entirely unlike any British compass I had sailed with as they all, without exception, were of a standard wooden/brass design. The Plath was encased in a non ferrous metal binnacle and was of a glass bowl design. I cannot remember whether it was dry card or not but as never an air bubble was seen, I presume it was not liquid. It seemed to be very well damped down and the sperical top seemed to illuminate well. It had a patent magnetic adjustment system, comprising control knobs which altered the position of the magnets . I remember after spending a year's charter on the Australian "slave trade" getting two compass adjusters aboard in Port Adelaide prior to heading home. The Plath patent adjustment system defeated them and they ended using string and scotch tape to hold the repositioned magnets. The ex Empire ship had been seriously burned out towards the end of the war and the bridge had been completely rebuilt resulting in the German steering compass being fitted. Many nights I wished we had had a Plath standard compass on the monkey island, as with no radar on a dirty wet night, on a heavily rolling monkey island trying to get accurate cross bearings while the card swung around was a pain in the neck. I felt that the British design had not altered much since the days of Captain Cook.

slick
23rd March 2010, 08:38
Welcome Harvatt,
We all I am sure glad to see the arrival of a specialist in what to many is truly a "Black Art".
Like many I dream of finding Nautical nuggets in a "Junk" shop, the closest I came was when I saw an old Lifeboat torch, the type with a key on the back for sending Morse Code, is Morse still a requirement at sea these days?
Yours aye,

slick

greektoon
23rd March 2010, 09:37
I was on a small tanker recently that had been fitted with an inner skin requiring the addition of a large quantity of new steel. The superintendent could not understand why I insisted that the magnetic compass would require adjustment, instead waving the old deviation card at me which "had not expired".

Even casual comparison between the standard and gyro compasses (allowing for the local variation) can reveal that the deviation card is way out, and I am often left to wonder at the circumstances in which these cards are produced and appear on ship's bridges.

There is a consensus that the validity of a deviation card is 1 year only and this is something that can often appear of PSC deficiency lists. Correct me if I'm wrong but I do not recall when at sea or taking my tickets the concept of a deviation card expiring unless in circumstances such as structural alteration and provided that regular checks of the compass deviation are made by the OOW's.

Billieboy
23rd March 2010, 12:41
greektoon, seen that a few times, I just say the lifeboats are on the same date but there are NO falls! I Just used to ignore the office rants and ask the master if he was happy, if not, he got whatever he needed. I've even had to, "persuade", some Masters, to tell me what was wrong here and there; generally after I've found the faults or an engineer has tipped me off.

Harvatt
23rd March 2010, 13:38
Magnetic Compass. Thank you all so much to those who have so quickly contributed with some interesting comments on this general area.

Sperry , John Lillie & Gillie , Sestrel , B.Cooke , Plath Spherical Compass without a bubble , " Black Art " !! , Beautiful Instrument .

My biggest regret is that I did not keep a diary and do not have a single photograph taken by myself. Suddenly in later retirement I am realising almost to late that this Skill / Trade is rapidly disappearing and there is so much valuable interest in it that cannot by a long chalk be obtained readily in book form . I hope that I can make sfficient time to offer a small contribution . _ To "Binnacle " - your Plath Spherical Compass would not I think be a Dry Card, Probably Liquid Filled, either Oil or mixture of alcohol and distilled water. They generally had to withstand a temperature of -40 to +60 degrees C. They were an excellent piece of instrument engineering. To "Greektoon" - the issuing of a Deviation Card and it`s "Life Span " is a rather long and very technical subject - I will try and pass comment when I can.
Harvatt

John Tremelling
23rd March 2010, 18:01
All that I can say regarding compass adjustment is, 'BALLS', great big iron ones.

Nick Balls
23rd March 2010, 18:46
Sadly the quality of compasses is today poor .......... many made under license .
I had never come across the phenomenon of 'replacing a compass' until the mid 90's.
As has been said all the old stuff was brilliant ! To a worrying degree a magnetic compass is now seen by the ship owner as simply a 'legal requirement' However this is simply not true.. far from it , the Poor old mariner has to put up these days with very poor yet vitally important equipment ............. The influence driven from the perception that 'Well they have all that GPS Stuff' from people who don't sail on the vessel.
Again another worrying trend is lack of records kept by the officer of the watch ie the Compass record book !!!!!!!! Alarming to say the least !!!!

Andrew Craig-Bennett
23rd March 2010, 19:52
All that I can say regarding compass adjustment is, 'BALLS', great big iron ones.

You mean, of course LORD KELVIN'S BALLS [=D]

Billieboy
23rd March 2010, 20:40
They're called, "Lord Kelvin's Balls", because, they sort of fell off, when he discovered absolute zero!

Harvatt
23rd March 2010, 21:52
Magnetic Compass. So, we seem to have a lot of balls around ,Lord Kelvins or otherwise.
I believe 10" Diameter will be the largest I have come across - yes they are made of
soft iron but how many of us are aware of their function ?
Harvatt

Harvatt
24th March 2010, 00:01
Magnetic Compass. To Greektoon - Your "Deviation Card" - just a few thoughts whilst I have a few minutes. Some reasons for Compass Errors being different to those showing on the Deviation Card - Movement or Changes In The Position Of Localized Iron Work , Unsuitable Wiring Around The Compass , Loading vessel With Magnetic Grabs , Electric Welding , Lightning , Vessel Lying In One Direction For A Length Of Time , Type Of Cargo , Placing Of Compass , Ideally, Ironwork should Not Be Less Than 2 Metres Away , The Period In Between Compass Adjustments Is Also Dependent Upon Type Of Vessel. The Deviation Card Informs Any Authority ThatThe Compass Has Been Inspected And Checked For Errors. It must Also Be Born In Mind That As With A Car M.O.T. It Is Only Really Valid For The Time And Place It Was Carried Out On Account Of Factors Such As Those Above. N.B. Add To These - Change Of Latitude And Here Are A Few Factors Causing Compass Error On Board Ship. I had better go now, I do not want to spoil an interesting forum by boring it !
Harvatt

Andrew Craig-Bennett
24th March 2010, 00:07
No chance of boring any of us.

randcmackenzie
24th March 2010, 00:18
Welcome Harvatt, one of a number specialists in truly practical skills, I always thought.

Re Deviation cards - I believe that if they are backed up by frequent compass errors, they have no expiry, provided no major structural alterations are made.

A ship can also quite easily draw up her own over a period, though with some of the PSC inspectors not knowing quite what they are looking at all the time, they might take some persuading.

Looking at many work boats and pleasure craft, I am somewhat astonished to see the compass mounted in front of the wheel, rather than on the centre line.

Best regards.

slick
24th March 2010, 08:18
All,
I heard once that if your Cargo was Scrap Iron and was being loaded and or being discharged using an Electro Magnet, then the Magnetic Compass was removed ashore, can anyone confirm this and were there other similar precautions in the case of the use of Electro Magnets.

Yours aye,

slick

Ian Brown
24th March 2010, 12:33
My recent experience is that PSC and Vetting inspectors look for an annually renewed Deviation card. They will generally accept a few months overdue if the error book is filled in every watch including anchor time {which can be considerable these recession days} and shows reasonable errors.
That all seems setting a high standard but I have had 'Compass Technicians' come onboard to renew the card annually who were quite happy to just make out a new card using the old one!
Not in the UK I should point out.
I take comfort that if all my wonderful state of the art bridge gear was knocked out I would still have a simple reliable means of steering a course.

John Briggs
24th March 2010, 12:53
It won't be too long before a magnetic compass is no longer required as part of the ship's fit out.
It is being discussed in IMO already!

greektoon
24th March 2010, 15:23
My recent experience is that PSC and Vetting inspectors look for an annually renewed Deviation card. They will generally accept a few months overdue if the error book is filled in every watch including anchor time {which can be considerable these recession days} and shows reasonable errors.
That all seems setting a high standard but I have had 'Compass Technicians' come onboard to renew the card annually who were quite happy to just make out a new card using the old one!
Not in the UK I should point out.
I take comfort that if all my wonderful state of the art bridge gear was knocked out I would still have a simple reliable means of steering a course.

That is my experience Ian. Where did this business of the deviation card requiring to be renewed annually come from?

James_C
24th March 2010, 16:08
Most likely a misguided/over zealous SIRE inspector/PSC man etc..
I wouldn't be at all surprised to find it had originated from an Oil Company.

John Tremelling
24th March 2010, 16:53
I have often wondered what difference the use of Degaussing gear would have made to the deviation. At the time my investigative nature had not developed to the degree which it has today, but I do not ever recall seeing a seperate deviation card during my short time at sea.

Harvatt
24th March 2010, 21:15
Thank you so much for your comment Andrew , it is much appreciated .


Harvatt

Harvatt
24th March 2010, 21:30
To John Tremelling , from my experience , the main de-gaussing coils installed around
the hull and super structure would on their own, have made a huge difference, being
there to neutralize the ship`s magnetic field about and below the water line , to counteract the magnetic mine . This difference between the original and the new situation makes a big difference to any residual compass errors , which in turn is counteracted by fitting coils on the Binnacle. A separate deviation card would be supplied or alternatively a separate set of errors entered on the deviation card itself after having set the coil strength on the binnacle .

harvatt

Harvatt
24th March 2010, 21:55
Interesting comment Slick , I have over the years , come across this being done. Logically this should make little or no difference, by virtue of the compass design. The float to which the compass card is mounted is almost like a free floating body , it balances on a pivot , thus allowing it to line itself up with the magnetic field around it .
If we were able to take that field created by the ship`s hull and the electromagnet away, the compass would point to the North . Usually the Compass North will be frozen
to a point on a bulkhead after discharging or loading by this method and take some time
to revert back to normal - if ever ! I new of one vessel which had discharged by this method and believe it or not it sailed from Hong Kong to the Humber with it`s North point
frozen to the wheelhouse forward bulkhead . It made it`s way all that distance by following other vessels and using the Sun and Stars to position find.
Harvatt

John Tremelling
25th March 2010, 12:12
Thanks Harvatt, I had never noticed a coil in the binacle, nor a separate deviation card, however it all sounds very logical and I am sure that they existed.

callpor
25th March 2010, 19:12
It won't be too long before a magnetic compass is no longer required as part of the ship's fit out.
It is being discussed in IMO already!

John,

Regardless of what IMO may or may not decide at least one of the Oil Majors will always require an independent means to alert watchkeepers if any of their electronic wizardry is going adrift.

In the latest edition of International Marine Transportation's (IMT) Minimum Environmental & Safety Criteria (MESC) published since 1992 for any vessel which wishes to be considered for ExxonMobil or Affilate service, including berthing at any of their or J/V Terminals, the first Navigational Safety requirement states " Vessels MUST have a means to provide warning if the vessel deviates off her intended course; e.g. GPS cross track error, autopilot alarm etc. An independent magnetic off course alarm is strongly preferred." From my own long past experience with ExxonMobil where the term "MUST" is used it never ever means "MAYBE" and "strongly preferred" means that it is a MUST requirement for any term charters and will become a MUST for all vessels in the next edition of the MESC.

It was interesting to note on a very modern vessel (twin ECDIS + INS etc) that I rode on a short voyage last month, for an independent assessment of Navigational & watchkeeping practice, that there was a new Deviation Card displayed, prepared after a full swing off Bergen at the end of last year and that the magnetic compass error was checked and recorded at least once every watch. However, the vessel did not have any other independent means to alert them to a malfunction of the electronics. In my report I recomended that the Owner consider fitting a Magnetic Off-Course Alarm - a relatively inexpensive but fail safe means to fulfil this requirement.

Regardless of state of the art electronics any navigator should recognise the benefits of their Magentic Compass, and it was encouraging to see that on this vessel they understood this fact.

What a great thread this is, initiated by a real expert on the subject. Thanks Havatt.

Regards, Chris Allport

rodhaigh
25th March 2010, 20:54
Gents,
As a pratising compass adjuster myself, I found this thread very interesting.
The use of the instrument is declining, along with the knowledge of its foibles, however there are still many concientious shipmasters and owners who insist on having the compass up to scratch.
Some of the same owners and/or shipmasters also show remarkable lack of knowledge about the compass.
I have had a fisherman, due for an adjustment, bring his compass into my office for me to adjust because the fish were running and he had to go out to catch them.
Another fisherman with a trailer boat wanted to know why we had to launch the boat (the weather was foul), couldn't we tow it around the local supermarket car park.
A marine super gave the crew of a tug the day off as there were no movements booked and left me the keys to the wheelhouse so I could get in to do the compass adjustment.
A couple of weeks ago I was booked by the owner's rep. on a large dredger. When we got out to the vessel (she was anchored in the stream) I was informed that the engines were not usable, but couldn't I make out the deviation card from the compass error book?
Finally, as a little plug, I conduct an excellent training course for compass adjusters by correspondence.
Cheers
Rod Haigh

Harvatt
25th March 2010, 21:46
Well said Rodhaigh , I once adjusted the compass on a cruiser in the Humber , when I
had finished and handed him his deviation card, he asked the best way to get to
Bridlington , I could not resist telling him to carry on down to Spurn and turn left! I had
another one with four of the wrestlers who were appearing on the TV , they were on
their way to Spain - no real idea of navigation, not been to sea before - they had to
call out the Lifeboat off Yarmouth . This obviously was the yachting world but my point
in a way is that the Ships Compass in most of it`s forms was for so long just not taken
seriously. I do feel just maybe today , it carries a bit more thought even allowing for
all the electronic equipment available .
Harvatt

Harvatt
25th March 2010, 22:00
Ships Magnetic Compass. Do any members have any information about the last days of
The Admialty Compass Observatory at Ditton Park in Slough ? I had a period when I had to go there every few weeks to take Magnetic Compasses for testing and
certification they were a lovely staff there , from the director of Compass Department
downwards. Unfortunately I left the trade for a period and I had not realised they closed
Slough and I believe split beween Portland Bill and John Lilley and Gillie Ltd . North Shields.

Ron Stringer
25th March 2010, 22:18
Lovely place. All bridge mounted electronic equipment (radiotelephones, radars, echosounders, direction finders etc.) had to be submitted for measurement and calculation of the safe distance that they had to be kept from the magnetic Standard and Steering compasses. Drive in across parkland and then across the bridge over the moat and through the gateway into the inner courtyard.

You could have been anywhere in England but in reality you were only yards from the M4 and only a couple of miles from the Heathrow Airport perimeter fence.

It was closed in 1977 but for the life of me I can't remember what we had to do thereafter to obtain compass safe distance certification for new products.

Tony Breach
25th March 2010, 22:44
Harvatt, The magnetic compass was used seriously during my time at sea. In 1963 I was an AB on the paddle steamer BRISTOL QUEEN (which had a West Hartlepool wheelhouse; otherwise an open bridge). The ship had two magnetic compasses the standard & steering & all courses were in quarter points resulting in my quickest ever climb up an impossible learning curve. In 1964 I was 3rd mate on Bank Line's BEAVERBANK circumnavigating on their copra run. She had a magnetic auto-pilot by Arkas of Denmark, a truly wonderful & accurate instrument.

Reading from my Standing & Night Order book from SPRING DELIGHT, my last ship in 1987: "The gyro & standard magnetic compasses are to be compared frequently. Conditions permitting, the magnetic compass error & deviation are to be determined by azimuth or amplitude at least once during each watch & additionally after each significant alteration of course once the standard compass has settled. Officers should bear in mind that while a gyro compass may fail for various reasons a magnetic compass will not".

I guess I live in the past!
Tony

Harvatt
25th March 2010, 23:56
Hello Tony- that was a quick reply. Yes the Arkas Auto-Pilot was good, as were a lot of
Danish instruments-not always polished finish but generally always reliable. I have fond memories of Bank Line , adjusting compasses on many of there vessels but one had to be a bit careful walking on deck during discharging. i was once carrying a compass back
after repair and went flat on my back but at great personal risk did not dare drop it at that
late time before sailing.Maybe I did not word my message quite right, I feel I should have hinted that the compass was a piece of equipment often taken to much for granted
by some. As a Compass Adjuster I often felt that I was under pressure to get the job
done and be away. It was difficult sometimes, particularly in the Winter, trying to write
out a deviation card with frozen fingers and with the tug alongside waiting for me to get
aboard to be taken back, all the time being carried along by the tide.
I suppose we all tend to remember the heartaches the most
Harvatt

R798780
26th March 2010, 00:40
Reading from my Standing & Night Order book from SPRING DELIGHT, my last ship in 1987: "The gyro & standard magnetic compasses are to be compared frequently. Conditions permitting, the magnetic compass error & deviation are to be determined by azimuth or amplitude at least once during each watch & additionally after each significant alteration of course once the standard compass has settled. Officers should bear in mind that while a gyro compass may fail for various reasons a magnetic compass will not".

I guess I live in the past!
Tony

A little tongue in cheek, but may I beg to differ (re the last statement):

Leaving Chalna on Maskeliya we were in hand steering with a defunct gyro compass. As apprentice I made the fourth QM for that episode. While polishing brass in the wheelhouse I heard the QM on the wheel report that he had the helm hard a starboard and she was swinging to port. According to the magnetic compass she was, til you looked out of the window, that told a different tale. "Steer into the wind" ordered Clifford Hicks, while they fitted the spare bowl. A day later the gyro was fixed.

Tony Sprigings recounted his first command where the needles fell off the card in the magnetic compass whilst on passage with no working Gyro. Seems he made Liverpool by steering for visible landmarks.

I have experience of a TMC - Transmitted Magnetic Compass - which could be switched into the Autopilot. The problem there was that the compass had been adjusted for somewhere around Gothenburg. Rolling in a heavy swell off Antofagasta in the South Pacific produced interesting results as the compass card swung wildly.

On an earlier occasion I was trying to compare standard with gyro, this time in the South Atlantic approaching Capetown. The compass card not only swung wildly, twice it did a full revolution. This was just shortly after the 7 day war closed the Suez Canal and India had to be reached via the Cape on ships which previously only ventured as far south as the Seychelles (4 degrees south ?)

A relatively simple matter to lower the bucket and later reverse the heeling magnets while 'Masters' was still fresh in the mind..........but

vic pitcher
26th March 2010, 10:25
Harvatt, The magnetic compass was used seriously during my time at sea. In 1963 I was an AB on the paddle steamer BRISTOL QUEEN (which had a West Hartlepool wheelhouse; otherwise an open bridge). The ship had two magnetic compasses the standard & steering & all courses were in quarter points resulting in my quickest ever climb up an impossible learning curve. In 1964 I was 3rd mate on Bank Line's BEAVERBANK circumnavigating on their copra run. She had a magnetic auto-pilot by Arkas of Denmark, a truly wonderful & accurate instrument.

Reading from my Standing & Night Order book from SPRING DELIGHT, my last ship in 1987: "The gyro & standard magnetic compasses are to be compared frequently. Conditions permitting, the magnetic compass error & deviation are to be determined by azimuth or amplitude at least once during each watch & additionally after each significant alteration of course once the standard compass has settled. Officers should bear in mind that while a gyro compass may fail for various reasons a magnetic compass will not".

I guess I live in the past!
Tony

Magnetic Arkas fitted to Pass of Glenclunie. Completely reliable

Binnacle
26th March 2010, 12:13
Reading from my Standing & Night Order book from SPRING DELIGHT, my last ship in 1987: "The gyro & standard magnetic compasses are to be compared frequently. Conditions permitting, the magnetic compass error & deviation are to be determined by azimuth or amplitude at least once during each watch & additionally after each significant alteration of course once the standard compass has settled. Officers should bear in mind that while a gyro compass may fail for various reasons a magnetic compass will not".

If a ship has gone ashore due to magnetic compass error, in an area of magnetic anomaly, such an entry being produced at a court of inquiry into the ability of the OOW could prove exceedingly embarrassing to the master.

Tony Breach
26th March 2010, 14:05
I take your point Binnacle & possibly it should have been modified such as "normally will not" or similar. In an area of known magnetic anomaly, there would most probably have been a reference & instruction in the night orders. However, I don't think that ship traded to such areas. In any case the OOW is required to compare compasses frequently & the master to be advised of anything unusual or untoward in another order. It should also be remembered that the compass will still be accurate & the OOW or master must compensate for the probability of the possible anomaly of the magnetic field.

The reason for my wording of that particular order goes back to when I was 2nd mate & with the ship making about 21 knots through a tropical downpour in very poor visibilty in the afternoon watch with the master also on the bridge listening to the radio, the signal to the repeaters failed without warning or alarm. The gyro was Plath Navigat & I don't remember if it clicked or not & I was head in the radar for most of the time with the PPI in North-up gyro stabilised mode which indicated the vessel on course. There was no wind so no waves to indicate a change in direction - then the ship came out from under the cloud & the sun was in the wrong place. Checked the magnetic which gave the dreaded answer. The master had noted nothing until I showed him the direction of the sun & he was very fair to me when we had figured everything out although we didn't know how long the ship had been doing her own thing. A sun sight in the south west, as was the course, indicated we had lost about 12 miles but we had to wait for evening stars to get a position. I was pretty cut-up about it as like every 2nd mate I was proud of my navigational expertise - the engineers had a ball with me! Ever since then I made frequent compass comparisons when checking the gyro course & required the OOW to do the same while telling him of my experience. I recommended to owners that a magnetic off-course alarm be fitted but have never ever seen one.

Tony

borderreiver
26th March 2010, 14:47
When going for my master orals in 1973 you had to adjust a magnetic compass . I approached the compass in the senor examiner's room in Dock street and turned the balls looking for any movement of the compass needle. The examiner asked what I would do if there is any movement of the needle. I told him they must be residue mag-ism left in the balls and I would take them off put a chain stopper on them and send the cadets on a long route match with them after explaining to the cadets why they had to do this. The orals cont with this type of humor and I passed .

As a cadet on the Border Reiver going up the Elbe the in the winter of 63 the gyro compass failed.
The helmsmen could not see up the periscope due to the cold has made the mixture the compass was in broken up with solids going to the bottom.
The spare compass was brought out and placed on top of the steering consul. Later when the sun come our the main compass become normal needless to say it was sent ashore for the liquid to be replaced.

Binnacle
26th March 2010, 18:29
After adjusting the compass on the deviascope while up for orals I suddenly remembered I had a pen knife in my trouser pocket. As the examiner had written a book on Ship's Magnetism I knew he would not take kindly to my stupidity and dreaded the door would swing open before I had recorrected the compass with the knife at a safe distance. Fortunately he was fully engaged in the next room grilling a fellow candidate.

Harvatt
26th March 2010, 21:46
Easily done Binnacle , even outside the examination room. I adjusted the compass on an
openbridge tug many years ago, prior to it sailing from the Humber to the Thames. Upon
arrival the Tug Skipper put in a complaint that I had made a hopeless adjustment. Upon
it`s return I went aboard to investigate and fortunately it was in front of the Skipper I
found a Marlin Spike lying almost dead athwart inside the Binnacle well immediately
beneath the compass. I pulled this out, gave it to the Skipper and swung the tug again
- the errors were virtually the same as those on the deviation card I had Left previously
. What can you say ? a lesson learned ,but in the hands of a less experienced skipper
it could have been serious.

Harvatt

Harvatt
26th March 2010, 22:35
To Ron. Pleasedyou thought the same about the " ACO ". I have only good memories of it. I remember the Director Compass Department during most of my visits - He was in
fact an ex Admiralty Swinging Officer and by coincidence I had worked alongside him on many occasions when on trials for new vessels built in our area for the Navy. I always
admired the high standard of Magnetic Test Equipment, in fact I was envious - always
looked forward to going and indeed I learned a lot from them. I was surprised to see it
closed in 1977, like yourself it would be interesting to learn what form it`s replacements
took. Would I be right in thinking that Bill Clarke was still M.D. of John Lilley and Gillie at

that time, a lovely fellow - called everyone " Sunshine "

Harvatt

sidsal
27th March 2010, 19:31
Nowt to do with compass adjustment but an anecdote. I was 3rd mate on a Brocklebank ship just after ww2. It was the custom to replace all the sounding pipe brass plugs with wooden bungs for passage through the Suez canal because the Gyppos would steal them.
All well and good until we cleared the G of Aden en route to Ceylon/Calcutta in the SW Monsoon and started to roll heavily. One of the lascars came rushing onto the bridge - " Sahib - compass fall down on poop".
The after emergency compass on the poop had had its brass fixing pins stolen !

Harvatt
28th March 2010, 21:41
To my friends on the "Bridge" -"Ships Magnetic Compass" ,can I call you friends ? I originally tried to become involved with SN because of concern for say the last 80 years of this subject - particularly the early part. Has this period and piece of Marine History rapidly disappeared ? Thankyou for accepting me as a member - at this point though I feel as though I have become sidetracked into finding an interest in the posts of all you experienced Seafarers. My life for so many years was "The Ship`s Magnetic Compass" and all it`s accessories. During this life, I must have adjusted compasses both at sea around the Country and on many rivers, on some 1500 - 2000 vessels; alright some of this number were follow ups, and most Nationalities. I was involved in making, designing and repairing most of this type of equipment. I felt that between us we could restore interest in both this and the many skills generally. Let it not be forgotten that these instruments were produced by many small "Marine Opticians" , not just the "Kelvin Hughes" , "Heath" "Henry Browne" etc., and much of it was made using Hand Tools, Treadle Lathes and old fashioned machinery by comparison with today`s standards. I am
really talking about the Pre and early fifties, when Shipbuilding was at a Peak - when " Brown`s Deviation and the Deviascope " was about the only Compass book on the bookshelves. Am I too wrong in not wanting this Old Trade and it`s Skills to be forgotten?
Harvatt

John Dryden
28th March 2010, 22:10
At least B.Cooke & Sons in Hull are still there.I remember when I was a lad at Trinity House spending ages looking at the window display.To this day I can,t walk past without looking in at the instruments and polished brass!
John.

John Briggs
29th March 2010, 02:34
Harvatt - You are certainly not "too wrong" in wanting to remember this old trade and all the skills that go with it.
This site is "Ships Nostalgia" and much of it concerns the 40's, 50's and 60's when the magnetic compass was such a critically important instrument for the navigators.
Magnetism was never my favourite subject in Masters but I must admit I got a great deal of satisfaction in being able to produce a reasonable result after a session on the deviascope.
An older magnetic compass with its magnificent wood work and polished brass is a thing of beauty and a credit to the craftsman who created it. As John Dryden said these instruments hold a fascination for all of us.

I am sure you must have many stories of adjusting compasses and we would really enjoy reading about some more of your experiences, so please consider posting them.
I well remember adjusting compasses in Singapore roads and trying to maintain the course that the adjustor had called for. Just as we had settled down on a course and things were looking reasonable the adjustor would call for another heading and we had to swing around into a situation of ships everwhere ahead of us - a ROR nightmare. The engine room were probably cursing as it was all a matter of adjusting speed to avoid collision.

lakercapt
29th March 2010, 04:27
Seem to remember on a fairly new Palm line ship steaming off Portland to test the degaussing gear and also doing a swing to adjust the magnetic compass with it switched on. There was a separate deviation card supplied.

In "Robbie" boats all had auto pilot working off the steering compass and they worked well (except when we were boarded by British marines on our way to Londonderry to search for weapons and a marine with an automatic machine gun stood near the compass and caused it to wander. On auto it did not know that the RN frigate near us was in for a close encounter)

Harvatt
29th March 2010, 13:29
Ship`s Magnetic Compass. To John Dryden, John Briggs and Lakercat. Thanks for that quick response. John I have not been in B.Cooke & Son since the mid 90`s , walked past it a few times - always had interesting window displays - often wondered what they are doing these days. They were you know, one of the first companies to produce a G.R.P Standard Binnacle - all white with orange dome -was this the early days of mass production ? and to John Briggs - you know that magnificent woodwork you speak of, it was generally teak and not just any Teak but Burma Teak (for it`s oil content) in those early years - cost about £5 a cubic foot in the early 50`s . John - so pleased to find someone who thinks the same about about instruments of that era; you are right, this is " Ship`s Nostalgia " , I will have to think back , now I know there is real interest. Thanks again . Harvatt.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
30th March 2010, 19:07
Not so long ago, Lilley and Gillie made (maybe they still make) a standard compass which could drive the autopilot, the ARPA and any other bits of kit that wanted heading information. This was rather handy as it saved the buyer of a new ship the cost of a second gyro. I recall buying quite a few.

Hamish Mackintosh
31st March 2010, 01:40
They're called, "Lord Kelvin's Balls", because, they sort of fell off, when he discovered absolute zero!

Na he fell over in Flinders Bar

Billieboy
31st March 2010, 10:10
Na he fell over in Flinders Bar

Good bar Flinders! was there once; they closed at 6pm, bloody early I thought!

Binnacle
31st March 2010, 10:37
My memory may be playing tricks, but as I recollect it, on the only ship I sailed on with magnetic compass auto steering, to alter course, say to starboard it was necessary to slew the a/c ring to port, i.e. in a contrary direction. I seem to remember at the the time thinking that this was completely contrary to the regs brought in when “tiller” steering orders were amended. Am I mistaken ?

ROBERT HENDERSON
31st March 2010, 11:30
My memory may be playing tricks, but as I recollect it, on the only ship I sailed on with magnetic compass auto steering, to alter course, say to starboard it was necessary to slew the a/c ring to port, i.e. in a contrary direction. I seem to remember at the the time thinking that this was completely contrary to the regs brought in when “tiller” steering orders were amended. Am I mistaken ?

I was Mate on the first Everard ship with this system, the verge ring as we called was calibrated in degrees, to alter course the verge ring was moved to the new course and it did mean moving it as Binnacle has said.

Regards Robert

Pat Kennedy
31st March 2010, 14:04
All,
I heard once that if your Cargo was Scrap Iron and was being loaded and or being discharged using an Electro Magnet, then the Magnetic Compass was removed ashore, can anyone confirm this and were there other similar precautions in the case of the use of Electro Magnets.

Yours aye,

slick

According to the 9th edition of Munro's Seamanship Primer, under 'Loading and discharging by means of electro-magnet';
"the sub-permanent magnetism of the ship may be altered, check the deviation frequently."
It also states, somewhat bafflingly;
"electric suits or steel rings inside officer's caps may cause serious deflection of a ship's compass.
Pat(Thumb)

K urgess
31st March 2010, 14:54
According to the 9th edition of Munro's Seamanship Primer, under 'Loading and discharging by means of electro-magnet';
"the sub-permanent magnetism of the ship may be altered, check the deviation frequently."
It also states, somewhat bafflingly;
"electric suits or steel rings inside officer's caps may cause serious deflection of a ship's compass.
Pat(Thumb)

That's the excuse we all used to make our sea bonnets floppy. (EEK)
The stiffener would effect the magnetic compass.
Nice one. [=P]

I believe it was possible to get heated suits like the aircrew used during the war. Especially for use on Arctic convoys.

Pat Kennedy
31st March 2010, 19:58
I have in my posession a steering monitor compass unit, manufactured by S Smith and Sons, Kelvin Hughes Division.
The compass is mounted in gymbals inside a wooden box, and beneath it is a small circuit board and a rat's nest of wire and fuses.
It was given to me by a friend in Odyssey Works, the Blue Funnel HQ in Birkenhead,( a few years after Blue Flue had gone) and I think it came off the Cyclops.
There is a photograph in the gallery;
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/193235/title/magnetic-compass/cat/530

I only sailed in two ships, both rock dodgers, where we steered by magnetic rather than gyro.(Firth Fisher and Peter M)
I found it difficult initially, it demanded a higher level of concentration than the gyro compass, there were no clicks to warn you that the ship's head was going off course, so you really had to watch the compass like a hawk.
Regards,
Pat(Thumb)

RayJordandpo
31st March 2010, 20:03
Harvatt,
A very interesting subject indeed.
When I worked for United Towing, the Marine Superintendant's son (Alfie Hopper) qualified as a compass adjuster for B.Cooke of Hull. He still works for them as far as I know. His claim to fame was that he was the youngest person in England at the time to qualify (more than 40 years ago). I've often wondered what the syllabus is to become a compass adjuster and are any marine certificates involved?
Incidentally, I recently joined a new build in Singapore and the magnetic compass on the top bridge had a camera in the binnacle which relayed a picture to a computer screen in the main bridge. No deck head binnacle to peer into, no mirrors to keep clean. Simple but effective. It may not be a new idea but I have never come across it before.

Lancastrian
31st March 2010, 20:26
But it must depend on a power supply which is perhaps not too clever?

RayJordandpo
31st March 2010, 20:38
Yes Lancastrian you are right, I was just thinking the same myself.
Actually there are no less than 27 computer screens on the bridge and adjoining office, UPS and redundancy all over the place. Four (yes FOUR) gyro compasses and still the good old magnetic compass.

Harvatt
31st March 2010, 22:17
You could be right about John Lilley and Gillie Andrew and the ARPA but I do not remember coming across it, however out of interest I can just remember a handful of compass manufacturers becoming involved with Auto-Pilot systems hooked up to their magnetic compass. I seem to remember Sharpe offering their system to the market place . I also vaguely remember Kelvin Hughes, Heath and Henry Browne using various systems. B Cooke were offering the Sharpe system back in the early 70`s and John Lilley and Gillie something about the same time and I think Lilley & Reynolds did.
However, for me your posting Andrew has turned up something which had to turn up with time. In the pre early 50`s I believe there would be over 30 U.K. Nautical Opticians who had the capability of repairing magnetic compasses - out of these , a number had the capability of manufacturing compasses to the very high standard required to pass through the A.C.O. Test Labs and obtain an Individual Test Certificate. Today John Lilley and Gillie advertise themselves as one of the few remaining compass manufacturers in Europe. I feel S.N. are looking at a period around say the 30`s , 40`s and early 50`s in the main . I for one have been wondering why magnetic compasses and their manufacturing skills rarely , if ever , make print these days. SURPRISE - it would seem there are not many companies left that are involved in serious depth - or even left and it saddens me .

So how about this for a question - How many Nautical Opticians can we name that were in business in say 1951 ?
Your posting Andrew was only short but I believe turns out to be a good one .
Harvatt

randcmackenzie
31st March 2010, 23:41
I have in my posession a steering monitor compass unit, manufactured by S Smith and Sons, Kelvin Hughes Division.
The compass is mounted in gymbals inside a wooden box, and beneath it is a small circuit board and a rat's nest of wire and fuses.

Very simple and effective piece of kit, Pat, and it would still work fine today.

Re magnetic compass auto pilots:

The Norwegian company Robertson certainly made one, and Anschutz had a system where all the repeaters, including the auto pilot could take their heading reference from the magnetic compass.

This same transmitting compass could also be used as an off course alarm.

Excellent system it was too.

B/R to all

Andrew Craig-Bennett
1st April 2010, 00:11
I would like to suggest a name long forgotten - Searby and Sons, of Lowestoft. The compass on my boat (built 1937) is by them, albeit it is in a Simpson Lawrence binnacle, and I have occasionally seen others by them, along with clocks and barometers - I believe that they may have supplied the Lowestoft fishing fleet.

K urgess
1st April 2010, 00:35
Typical Robertson AP series Auto Pilot as sold by SAIT in the 1970s.
The attached cost £871.

Harvatt
1st April 2010, 17:33
Searby and Son - remember the name - a respected name . Odd that Iron Sheres and Flinders Bar have come up in recent postings. Back in the early 50`s a Compass Adjuster by the name of W.D. Outwin-Flinders operated out of Lowestoft. A Bill Seath - Compass Adjuster followed , probably in the 60`s though - so there must have been someone else in between.
Harvatt

Harvatt
1st April 2010, 17:39
Both Robertson and Anschutz - very well known names and good equipment - how could I have left them out ?
Harvatt

Nick Balls
1st April 2010, 18:17
Shame that Robertsons make such rubbish Auto pilots now !

Harvatt
3rd April 2010, 20:53
Following my last comment about the reduced number of Compass Makers and Repairers compared to the early 50`s , I looked up the C.N.I.T.A. Web site (ex B.N.I.T.A ) - The British Nautical Instrument Trade Association . There are just 4 names listed under the heading - Compass Adjusters and would you believe it just 1 name under Manufacturers . I take it that some of those members under the heading Chart Agents , must have some involvement with Compass Making and Repairing. I am disappointed that I have not succeeded in bringing The Magnetic Compass and above all, The Skills required to execute this type of work , to the fore . I was not looking for personal gain , otherwise I would not have used a pseudonym . I have now realised that it will be a loosing battle, so will settle for the many happy times and achievements when involved and bow out. Thankyou to those who have passed on constructive comments , I appreciated those. P.S. I notice there was a short spell of comments during May 2009 on the heading " Compass Adjustment " but obviously that did not last.
Harvatt

Bats
29th May 2012, 21:07
Found this thread when searching for information about Beale's Deviascope.

I am hoping to qualify for the 'MCA Compass Adjuster's Certificate'. If anyone on the forum knows about the location of a workable Deviascope perhaps they could contact me. Hopefully not too far from Devon!!!

Thanks.

Mike

Robert Hilton
29th May 2012, 22:11
Is it any use at all to put the compass ashore during cargo operations by magnetic grab? Since it's the ship's magnetic field that can be altered by the use of a such a grab. I have heard of it being done. Comments please.

Question 2. When I went to school all we had was a "Theory of Magnetism." Has science now explained it, or is it still just a theory. A master mariner who had been in sail once told us of early compasses where a piece of magnetised iron floated on corks in a suacer of water. It was believed that a devil from far to the South was imprisoned in the iron and was trying to escape home. So the iron pointed South and the other end pointed North. He said that was as good a theory as he had ever heard. Must we now discount it?

janmike
30th May 2012, 17:01
reading the above threads recalls a couple of tales. Firstly whilst sailing with Shell mex & BP coastal tankers. All courses were drawn and steered in quarter points!! Secondly whilst sailing on Shells G class gas tankers as the courses were almost entirely NE or SW to and from Japan and Brunei. So the whole ship appeared to be magnetised and the magnetic compas always had a non correctable error. No matter how many adjusters tried. Mike

oldman 80
30th May 2012, 17:04
As a relatively new member of this site, I have only just got around to viewing this string.
I am somewhat disturbed at some of the postings. I may be considered as old fashioned, indeed, when it comes to the magnetic compass, I consider it an honour to be so considered.
I was/am a mariner of the vintage which considered that a ship had but one compass, and one compass only, irrespective of how many man made directional indicating machines were fitted. (ie Gyro Compasses)
That compass was the Standard Magnetic Compass.
THE SHIPS COMPASS WAS THE STANDARD MAGNETIC COMPASS.
The SHIPS COMPASS should forever be THE STANDARD MAGNETIC COMPASS.

All other compasses should be considered "auxilliary" even though they may be used as primary instruments - in practice.
Gyro's were of course used to the full, they even became reasonably reliable, maybe even very reliable, but that did not alter the fact that the ships compass was the Standard Magnetic Compass - it may not have been the primary compass of direct use, but it was the ships compass - and what is more it should never be considered as anything less - in my opinion.
Whilst at sea the oow was required at very frequent intervals to compare gyro headings with the heading on the Standard Magnetic compass. If anything was seriously amiss then that simple check alone would alert the oow to gyro error, failure, or maybe just gyro repeater error or failure. I liked/required my officers to perform that simple check at least around every twenty minutes. {The same as I myself had done as a OOW over many many years}
Azimuths / Amplitudes were taken at least once per watch ( (cloud/visibility permitting), and after any navigational course alteration, and from such observations, the errors of the gyro compass determined as well as the total error of the magnetic compass which when applying the known magnetic variation for the location resulted in the determination of the ships magnetic deviation on that particular compass heading. Compass error observations were a sacred duty, they were taken extremely seriously and the Compass Error Book was duly filled in at every observation. Such practices should never change.
If that practice is not being adhered to today, then shame on the industry - and furthermore, if that is the case, then there can no longer be mariners at sea. To neglect such practice, or to even contemplate it, is nothing more than an absolute disgrace.
I went to sea as a deck officer cadet in 1963, and I cannot recall any Red Ensigned Flagged ship which was not equipped with an independent magnetic off course alarm - and post about 1965, most ships I sailed on were equipped with a transmitting magnetic compass which could be switched in to operate the gyro repeaters in the event of failure of the master gyro.
Such equipment was not so common on the FOC vessels in which I served after the RED ENSIGN fleets were demolished (mid 1980's) - but there again very little was - even essential charts were no longer guaranteed to be there and probably were not, - nor indeed anything else for that matter. Needless to say, I didn't hang around FOC's for long - just long enough to find out.
Offshore Mangement and FOC's - just shocking - there was no other way to describe it.
To Harvatt, the initiator of this thread - Please do not bow out, kindly return to the forum - YOU ARE NEEDED - more so than ever before - it would seem.
(Sad)

Robert Hilton
30th May 2012, 17:33
Yes, Janmike, I also met with quarter points on the coast, but I had already learned these. Where coastal navigation becomes pilotage it helps to remember courses. I find quarter points easier to remember than degrees. When gyro compasses came out their makers probably failed to understand this and considered degrees more convenient.

Aberdonian
30th May 2012, 18:38
I was Mate on the first Everard ship with this system, the verge ring as we called was calibrated in degrees, to alter course the verge ring was moved to the new course and it did mean moving it as Binnacle has said.

Regards Robert
Binnacle #55 and Robert Henderson #56

Your entries regarding magnetic compass auto steering are much appreciated.
I sailed in a short sea boat equipped with such a system, either in MacAndrews or GSNC, but I also had begun to question the veracity of my recollection of the thing until I came across your posts!

Aberdonian

Andy Lavies
30th May 2012, 20:41
The Portsmouth to Ryde ferries were still using quarter point magnetic compasses when I joined them in 1967. I still rememeber the outward course from Swashway towards Ryde - SWxW 1/4W. The car ferries were much more modern and had magnetic compasses graduated in degrees.
Andy

slick
31st May 2012, 07:17
All,
Mentioned numerous times in this and indeed other threads is the necessity of taking Azimuths to determine errors of Compasses.
My favoured method was the use of 'Weirs Star Diagram/Chart, BA5000 (?), are these still available if so where?

Yours aye,

slick

Barrie Youde
31st May 2012, 09:29
#76 and #77

My own recollection is that automatic steering by means of an adjustable ring on the magnetic compass was well-nigh universal in small coasters on the UK coast in the late 60s, 70s and 80s.

The Arkas system was commonly used; and the ring was sometimes called the Arkas-ring. Other systems were in use, too.

sidsal
31st May 2012, 18:11
Interesting site.Oldman 80 is quite right inhis observations.
When I went to sea in Brocklebanks Maihar ( built 1917) in 1943 there was only the magnetic compass ( quadrantal - none of thos 0 to 360 degree nonsense !!). Azimuth/aplitudes every 2 hours.
Once in another ship the emergency magnetic compass on the poop fell over when we left the shelter of the G of Aden - the Gyppos had stolen the brass bolts which fastened it to the deck !!
Interesting you change of career to aviation Oldman 80. I too qualified as a pilot and flew in airtaxi for a while.

Aberdonian
1st June 2012, 13:30
All,
Mentioned numerous times in this and indeed other threads is the necessity of taking Azimuths to determine errors of Compasses.
My favoured method was the use of 'Weirs Star Diagram/Chart, BA5000 (?), are these still available if so where?

Yours aye,

slick
No doubt these are referred to elsewhere in SN but I used the excellent US Rude Star Identifier.

Aberdonian

oldman 80
2nd June 2012, 04:09
No doubt these are referred to elsewhere in SN but I used the excellent US Rude Star Identifier.

Aberdonian

Wiers Star Charts, Rude Star Identifiers - they were all a part of the picture, but we are in danger here of creating an impression that the information obtained from those tools/publications was sufficient to determine compass error (to the layman).
That was not the case.
Those tools/publications were sufficient only to identify a star, - where it was in relation to approximate elevation, and approximate azimuth.
Thereafter of course, came the mathematical stuff - the calculation required to determine the true bearing - ie out with the Norries Tables, and the use of the A:B;C tables in the case of the azimuth, or alternatively the amplitude tables in the case of an amplitude.
Those who may have, (and in some cases, no doubt did) not bothered with the necessary calculations - were not doing their job, they were not officers, they were officer impersonators - no more and no less.
Oh yes they did exist, of that there can be little doubt - but very very much "in the minority" - I suggest, - but it only takes one, does it not?
(Smoke)

slick
2nd June 2012, 07:59
All,
The Weirs Star Charts were in fact ABC Tables on one piece of paper with everything done with a pencil and parallel rule, no calculation required.
If memory serves well there is a story in the invention of the Star Diagram by Captain Weir, someone no doubt will tell!

Yours aye,

slick

Split
2nd June 2012, 14:36
I was on a small tanker recently that had been fitted with an inner skin requiring the addition of a large quantity of new steel. The superintendent could not understand why I insisted that the magnetic compass would require adjustment, instead waving the old deviation card at me which "had not expired".

Even casual comparison between the standard and gyro compasses (allowing for the local variation) can reveal that the deviation card is way out, and I am often left to wonder at the circumstances in which these cards are produced and appear on ship's bridges.

There is a consensus that the validity of a deviation card is 1 year only and this is something that can often appear of PSC deficiency lists. Correct me if I'm wrong but I do not recall when at sea or taking my tickets the concept of a deviation card expiring unless in circumstances such as structural alteration and provided that regular checks of the compass deviation are made by the OOW's.

One year? That seems to check with the annual dry-docking. I've been with three major companies and we always did a compass adjustment prior to commencing the voyage out of drydock- If you had an extra skin fitted, involving a lot of money, how a superintendent would question the cost of a compass adjustment is beyond me, even for economical reasons, if nothing else.

Split
2nd June 2012, 15:32
Gents,
As a pratising compass adjuster myself, I found this thread very interesting.
The use of the instrument is declining, along with the knowledge of its foibles, however there are still many concientious shipmasters and owners who insist on having the compass up to scratch.
Some of the same owners and/or shipmasters also show remarkable lack of knowledge about the compass.
I have had a fisherman, due for an adjustment, bring his compass into my office for me to adjust because the fish were running and he had to go out to catch them.
Another fisherman with a trailer boat wanted to know why we had to launch the boat (the weather was foul), couldn't we tow it around the local supermarket car park.
A marine super gave the crew of a tug the day off as there were no movements booked and left me the keys to the wheelhouse so I could get in to do the compass adjustment.
A couple of weeks ago I was booked by the owner's rep. on a large dredger. When we got out to the vessel (she was anchored in the stream) I was informed that the engines were not usable, but couldn't I make out the deviation card from the compass error book?
Finally, as a little plug, I conduct an excellent training course for compass adjusters by correspondence.
Cheers
Rod Haigh

I corrected a compass, myself, as part of my Master's exam. In the school we had crib sheets, written up by all those who had just passed exams, the object being to get drummed up on the examiner's favourite questions. This examiner (Watson at Dock Street) had an error in his compass which required a magnet being placed yards away from the binnacle. Everyone knew about the peculiarity of this compass so we all learned to put an appropiately, serious look on our faces when we explained to him the problem. He must have heard this explanation untold times but he gave me his usual, wellknown, sour expression and, I suppose, gave me a pass on that point, at least.

A correction. His name was Wallace--not Watson. Memory's getting rusty! Anyone remember him?

oldman 80
3rd June 2012, 01:40
All,
The Weirs Star Charts were in fact ABC Tables on one piece of paper with everything done with a pencil and parallel rule, no calculation required.
If memory serves well there is a story in the invention of the Star Diagram by Captain Weir, someone no doubt will tell!

Yours aye,

slick

Hmm, I see.
In that case I am not at all familiar with the Weirs Star Chart - I must have been confusing it with something else. They/it was never used on any ship I served on over a thirty year period, which I find strange. I can only assume they/it was/were considered no good. In any case I can't see how they could be seen as in any way more convenient than the use of the ABC/Amplitude tables in Norries or Browns. The maths involved was very simple and took just a few seconds. It was the filling in of the Compass Observation Book which was more demanding in terms of time required, but even then it was not excessive.(Scribe)

I am also intrigued by the reference to deviation cards expiring after 12 months !!!!! I don't know where that came from, (a recommendation perhaps) but I feel it does not imply that compass adjustment be performed every 12 months - re-draw the deviation card perhaps - that would make good sense, and lets face it the task is incredibly simple. Once a year, on passage somewhere, when the sun is shining and the weather is fine, just precompute the azimuths for the sun and take a nice slow 360 degree swing monitoring and recording the error as you go around.
If adjustment is necessary, then any Class 1 Shipmaster should be well capable of doing that. The U.K. Board of Trade/Department of Transport Foreign Going Shipmaster certainly was - has the Class 1 requirement deteriorated ?

Waighty
9th July 2012, 13:49
When I joined the RMAS (non registered gov't owned vessels) I was surprised to find that there were no compass error books carried but apparently RN ships didn't either; calculations were made and the result recorded in the Log Book. I don't know if this is still the case.

RMAS deck officers could, and quite a few did, attend a compass adjusters course run by the RN and could then earn a few extra pennies swinging each warship as it came out of refit in the dockyard ports. I don't know about other dockyard ports but at Rosyth they had compass swinging mooring buoy to which the warship was connected. A tug put a towline into the stern and pulled her round to whatever heading was required by the compass swinging officer. The buoy was permanently positioned to ensure that the 'known object' for bearings was always visible. All change these days I imagine.

FFP
10th July 2012, 09:32
On 3 recent on-hire surveys the attending Surveyor was acutely interested in the compass error book and the general performance of the compass. A refreshing reminder of the standards we were trained to.

Never used the diagram myself, but the is is good description of Captain Weir's Azimuth Diagram in Munro's Navigation. Personally was always happy to take the bearing and use Burtons.

Thanks Waighty, now I understand why they built Longannet PS - completing those lucrative 'tentative' swings.

Waighty
11th July 2012, 19:50
On 3 recent on-hire surveys the attending Surveyor was acutely interested in the compass error book and the general performance of the compass. A refreshing reminder of the standards we were trained to.

Never used the diagram myself, but the is is good description of Captain Weir's Azimuth Diagram in Munro's Navigation. Personally was always happy to take the bearing and use Burtons.

Thanks Waighty, now I understand why they built Longannet PS - completing those lucrative 'tentative' swings.

That b****y great chimney was a dominating feature for miles around FFP! When I was at Grangemouth it was exactly true north of the HM's office (the old one).

oldman 80
12th July 2012, 12:32
When I joined the RMAS (non registered gov't owned vessels) I was surprised to find that there were no compass error books carried but apparently RN ships didn't either; calculations were made and the result recorded in the Log Book. I don't know if this is still the case.

RMAS deck officers could, and quite a few did, attend a compass adjusters course run by the RN and could then earn a few extra pennies swinging each warship as it came out of refit in the dockyard ports. I don't know about other dockyard ports but at Rosyth they had compass swinging mooring buoy to which the warship was connected. A tug put a towline into the stern and pulled her round to whatever heading was required by the compass swinging officer. The buoy was permanently positioned to ensure that the 'known object' for bearings was always visible. All change these days I imagine.

Hmm - sorry to appear a bit ignorant but I can't recall what RMAS is an abbreviation for. Maybe Dementia is beginning to set in after all.
I'm suprised that no compass error book was carried on your ships, but I'm sure there is good reason for that - perhaps you did not venture too far away from your base, or something like that.
However I'm glad to learn that you did record compass errors in the Log Book - which I assume was the Bridge or Deck Log Book, as opposed to the Official Log Book .
In Merchant Vessels trading to distant places, where the earths magnetic field differs largely from the place the vessel departed from (particularly in terms of that phenomena known as " dip " which is zero at the magnetic equator and 90 degrees at the Magnetic poles). The consequence of that change in earths magnetic field results in large changes in induced magnetism in the vessel (Steel Ships) and therefore large changes in the horizontal magnetic component Fore and aft and athwartships, and also the vertical magnetic component at the compass position.
It is for these reasons that the compass error book is so important and on Merchant ships the compass errors are additionally entered into the Bridge Log book but in less detailed format. Just the error - not the Lat: Long: time of observation, Hour Angle, Observed body, Magnetic Variation, Deviation, Gyro Error (High or Low) etc. etc etc.
The more detailed information in The Compass Error Book is what a compass adjuster requires to check the magnetic coefficients A, B, C, D, & E, then "Split Coefficient B" and adjust the soft iron correctors accordingly - that is after he has neutralised the vertical field at the compass position by placing vertical magnets in the bucket and positioning it as required to set the dip needle horizontal before he does anything else.
I trust the foregoing clarifies the procedure.
As for those RN guys - well sometimes I wonder about them - and just what they do, but whatever it is , I'm sure they know what they're doing, even if they can't understand why they are doing it.
(egg)

Waighty
13th July 2012, 17:43
Hello Oldman 80. RMAS stood for Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service which is now defunct and the support services they provided being taken over the ubiquitous Serco. The RMAS did have some ocean going vessels but still no compass error books! I'm well aware of the reason for the error books having studied the subject in order to get a Master's FG Certificate. I even suggested to the powers that be at that time that such books should be part of the navigation fit on the seagoing vessels. However, the response was broadly along the lines of - if it doesn't appear in the RN Stores Catalogue it doesn't exist!

oldman 80
14th July 2012, 02:59
Good Lord - Yes, of course - now I remember Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service - isn't it amazing what a bit of a prompt can do.
And by God you are so right, - of course a compass error book should have been a part of the seagoing vessels navigational inventory. I can well understand the frustration you must have experienced at the response you received from the powers that be.
It should certainly, at the very least, raise some eyebrows - should it not.
I've often felt that the admirals might not be so much "on the ball" as many would have us believe - although they still do a pretty good job in some respects - but certainly not all. Indeed they must be highly commended, in some instances- but they too (the admirals), have their hands tied, perhaps too tightly sometimes.
Who Knows ?
(Sad)

NoR
14th July 2012, 11:22
Good Lord - Yes, of course - now I remember Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service - isn't it amazing what a bit of a prompt can do.
And by God you are so right, - of course a compass error book should have been a part of the seagoing vessels navigational inventory. I can well understand the frustration you must have experienced at the response you received from the powers that be.
It should certainly, at the very least, raise some eyebrows - should it not.
I've often felt that the admirals might not be so much "on the ball" as many would have us believe - although they still do a pretty good job in some respects - but certainly not all. Indeed they must be highly commended, in some instances- but they too (the admirals), have their hands tied, perhaps too tightly sometimes.
Who Knows ?
(Sad)

Of course it's quite easy to rule up a sight book and use that.

oldman 80
14th July 2012, 12:26
Of course it's quite easy to rule up a sight book and use that.

So true, but I rather suspect todays watchkeeper may not know what a sight book is.
But what the hell - I'm retired and quite frankly glad to be out of it all, the overall cost has been far too high. Far, Far, Too high.
You may have noticed how good looking I was - on appointment to first command. If I posted my picture today it would shock you - so it would.
Thanks Maggie T. - the F.O.C.'s, the offshore managers, the agency manning, and all the rest of the crap - Thanks a lot.
One thing for sure, No "choirs of angels will spirit her away" when her time comes - that's for sure.
(Cloud)

Aberdonian
14th July 2012, 16:37
So true, but I rather suspect todays watchkeeper may not know what a sight book is.
(Cloud)

Thoughts on recently being gifted my first car sat/nav:

It was winter 1958 in the South Atlantic when we headed for the Magellan Straits, light ship from New Plymouth NZ. As we neared the South American coast we had not had a fix for the previous 10 days due to heavily overcast skies. The Liberty ship was basically equipped with magnetic compass but no radar. A nod towards modernity was a fairly unreliable LORAN device. As I remember it, large compass errors were experienced in the area.

Land was sighted ahead on a dull, overcast morning but nothing tied in with our dead reckoning position. Leafing through the relevant Pilot Book, we stood out on the wing of the bridge comparing the topographical illustrations therein with our landfall. We found ourselves to be about 150 miles southeast of the Straits.

It would have been almost as quick to round the Horn but, since our orders were to pass through the Straits and make for Montevideo, we headed northwest. Besides, we mistakenly believed a pilot would be provided for the transit. There was no pilot on offer since we were not heading to, or coming from a Chilean port. I wouldn’t mind getting confirmation on that last point, but that is what we were given to understand.

We arrived off the Straits during hours of darkness. Fitted up on the monkey island was a 500 watt (?) shutter-type signalling lamp. The Old Man sent me up there with the idea of using it to illuminate any nearing shoreline. Heavy snow began to fall when he shouted an order to switch on. The result had us all staggering about blinded by the dazzle reflected from the white snow. End of experiment.

We eventually made a safe passage, one way or another, but I wish we had possessed sat/nav with associated technology then.

Aberdonian

NoR
14th July 2012, 21:10
............We eventually made a safe passage, one way or another, but I wish we had possessed sat/nav with associated technology then.

Aberdonian

Satnav would have spoiled the fun.

oldman 80
15th July 2012, 11:30
.

All the more reason to keep a good record of compass errors - ie. the compass error book.

Basil
15th July 2012, 12:33
Years ago I fitted a little compass to my car. It even had deviation adjustment which I set up with the engine running and thought I'd taken everything into account.
Then, one day, I happened to be looking at the compass as I switched on the headlights - and several electromagnetic amps shot through the cable just below the compass - buggah!

Binnacle
15th July 2012, 13:13
Using the magnetic compass auto steering when altering course the ring was turned, if I remember correctly, in the opposite direction to which you wished to alter course. In technical language I suppose this was known as **** for elbow. I was rather surprised that the BOT permitted such a practice as it was not conducive to safe navigation.

Robert Hilton
15th July 2012, 13:30
Using the magnetic compass auto steering when altering course the ring was turned, if I remember correctly, in the opposite direction to which you wished to alter course. In technical language I suppose this was known as **** for elbow. I was rather surprised that the BOT permitted such a practice as it was not conducive to safe navigation.

I was on one old vessel where the auto pilot control was on the after part of the wheelhouse facing forward. When altering course I would face forward and begin making movements with my right hand in the direction the course button was to be turned. Then I'd turn to the auto pilot and, with luck, turn the button the right way.

allanc
23rd August 2012, 13:16
Should see the deviation card for my yacht! She has a cast iron keel,and in my early ignorance I mounted the compass well to starboard. I used the GPS to obtain the deviations, which are predictably one sided. Fortunately we don't venture far from home, and have never relied on the compass!
Cheers,
Allan.

lakercapt
23rd August 2012, 13:26
As part of the magnetic auto pilot there was a cable with a control dial on it that you could use to steer the ship from the bridge wing for berthing etc.
Don't know if any members ever had use for that gizmo but I thought it useless for berthing as who would work the telegraph if you did away with the guy at the wheel???

James_C
23rd August 2012, 13:47
This thread reminds me of a conversation I had with a Royal Navy Lieutenant recently, however that conversation principally concerned gyro compasses.

To set the scene, we had this Lieutenant onboard for a MN liaison voyage, and he was therefore on/off the bridge on a regular basis, principally to see 'how the other half lives'.
Anyway, one morning he was up top with the 3/O, who at some point took an azimuth from the gyro repeater and went on with his calculations. Intrigued by this, our RN friend asked him what he was doing, and was amazed not only that he was working out a compass error through a method other than an amplitude, but that this new found and wondrous method could be used at almost any time day or night.

I say wondrous, because it seems that today, Royal Navy navigators/officers of the watch are no longer trained in how to establish a compass/gyro error through azimuth, only by amplitude. Anyway our (first trip) 3/O gave this lad a 'how to' with azimuth's, and he seemed very happy indeed to learn something new, especially as it would come in very useful when he returned to his ship.

This chap was an OOW on one of the RN River class patrol ships, and apparently those ships are only fitted with 1 gyro, quite unusual for a modern vessel.
He told me that one day it was noticed by the OOW that their Gyro compass was quite obviously well 'out', and there was quite a commotion amongst the bridge watchkeepers/navigator etc as to how to establish the gyro error.

Apparently the Commanding Officer (a Lieutenant Commander) actually called a conference on the bridge, at which was present the CO, Executive Officer, the Navigator and the OOW's to try and determine a method to work out the gyro error, as since the day was now in the forenoon, they'd have to wait until sunset so as to attempt an amplitude. In the end they apparently managed an error through a transit, but only after consulting the Admiralty Manual of Navigation.

I've no doubt that when this lad returned to his ship and showed his brother Officers the azimuth method, that he was in their awe!

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

xieriftips
25th August 2012, 11:53
That is my experience Ian. Where did this business of the deviation card requiring to be renewed annually come from?

Only guessing, but maybe it comes from the days when ships drydocked annually and, because of steelwork renewals, it was considered necessary to renew the deviation card after each D/D.
Once compass adjusters started disappearing, I did my own swing for deviation and provided the appropriate certificate, signed by me. Nobody ever asked to view my compass adjustor's certificate!

Split
25th August 2012, 12:56
Only guessing, but maybe it comes from the days when ships drydocked annually and, because of steelwork renewals, it was considered necessary to renew the deviation card after each D/D.
Once compass adjusters started disappearing, I did my own swing for deviation and provided the appropriate certificate, signed by me. Nobody ever asked to view my compass adjustor's certificate!

If nothing happens as a result, questions are rarely asked.

Uricanejack
26th September 2012, 10:34
An interesting topic. Its been many years since I ventured out of sight of land. I was quite taken aback to find out transport Canada and the Canada shipping act do require a home trade vessel to have a working gyro compass but make no mention of the magnetic compass. This came up when I found the compass to be missing. The adjuster had taken it to repair. We were short of fluid. After a brief discussion about the difference between regulation and common sense we waited for his return.

Our compasses are always swung with the adjuster once a year just after refit or dry-dock or if we notice unusual error. Every course logs both gyro and magnetic. And is usually the first sign of a faulty gyro. We use Anschutz they are very accurate but fail once every year or two.

Most of the officers and other masters I work with are home trade chaps and not familiar with celestial navigation, transits work well. Many are very familiar with standard compass as small home trade vessels, tugs and fishing boats often do not have gyros. As far as I know the Devi scope is still part of the Masters exam in Canada and UK.

Many years ago I worked with another cadet . A girl who could never get an accurate compass error. It was our practice to use the standard compass for our errors.. I watched her closely. One night when we were both taking an error. It turned out she was a Punk who wore a large dog chain as a necklace. every time she bent down to take the azimuth the heading changed. when she took her necklace of her problem disappeared.

The first tankers I sailed on had d degaussing gear fitted. We had two deviation cards. One for normal and one for degaussed.

Some time ago I was down of west Africa when the bridge was hit by lightning.. Apart from being blinded and deafened. Our magnetic compass was completely hooped afterwards with deviations of 40 and 50 degrees. We had to have an adjuster visit in the next port but I signed of prior to the adjusters visit.

Today when we swing the compass the adjuster comes on and we usually take a gyro error and swing to the cardinals and the mid cardinals by gyro and compare rather than by taking an azimuth of a distant object on each. If the if the deviations remain small and equal out we leave it at that if not he will make a few minor tentative adjustments prior to another swing.

Although we did confuse the hell out of everyone else when we swung a RAD vessel while coming down the Fraser River. Saved the old chap a long ride back in from Sand heads on a nasty winter night.

The only dry card compass I have ever seen was in the Marine school or a museum. Today I sail with Plath, Sperry and Kelvin Hughes. But on my own little boat I think it is brooks and Gate House. And I have a plastiom hand bearing compass which is a very nice accurate little thing.

In today’s world of ISM audits Classification Society audits, Department of Transport Audits and of course port state control though I seriously doubt the officious little twerp from US coast guard actually knew what deviation was, he knew we had to have a card dated less than a year ago and demanded to see it. Prior to ticking his little box.

Ships still have compasses. But compass adjusters are becoming rare.

Harvatt
7th October 2012, 22:56
I have been unable to send any posts since
early 2010 for various reasons - health and otherwise ,
hopefully I can now return . So a simple question if anyone
can answer it . As I am a retired Compass Adjuster , Does
anyone Know if there are any Compass Manufacturing
Companies , making there own Ships Compasses to the
standard that was required by the Admiralty Compass
Observatory in their day, I ask this purely out of interest as at
my age I am unlikely to be going back to that trade again !
Kind regards
Terry .

Varley
8th October 2012, 01:15
Terry, Pleased you should make the effort to return.

It's not really my field but I am sure that SOLAS requires all mandatorily carried magnetic compasses to be approved by Flag State, the 'Standard' for sure.

Effectively this means type approval, almost certainly to IMO performance standards (just perhaps there Flags with more stringent national standards).

Suggest you Google Kelvin Hughes and Observator.

David V

David V

richardwakeley
8th October 2012, 10:06
For the bulk carriers built in Cebu by Tsuneishi, they have Japanese magnetic compasses: Saura (with YDK gyro + autopilot) or Tokimec (with Tokimec systems).

mikeharrison
8th October 2012, 14:03
Does
anyone Know if there are any Compass Manufacturing
Companies , making there own Ships Compasses to the
standard that was required by the Admiralty Compass
Observatory in their day....
Terry .

Hi Terry,

I believe that B.Cooke and Son of Hull, UK still make their own magnetic compasses. They can still overhaul Sextants etc too, as well as being bang up to date with providing electronic charts etc.

Regards, Mike

Harvatt
8th October 2012, 16:15
Terry, Pleased you should make the effort to r
It's not really my field but I am sure that SOLAS requires all mandatorily carried magnetic compasses to be approved by Flag State, the 'Standard' for sure.

Effectively this means type approval, almost certainly to IMO performance standards (just perhaps there Flags with more stringent national standards).

Suggest you Google Kelvin Hughes and Observator.

David V

David V

Thankyou David, Kelvin's and Observator are probably likely
Companies still involved. I left the trade in the early seventies
and they were going strong then. You have lost me with' Solas'
The Admiralty Compass Observatory at Slough closed down
some years ago and I have a feeling that John Lilley & Gillie
then took over some involvement. I will indeed send off as
you suggest. It seems I have a lot of work to do to catch up on
the history of the Compass from 1973 .
Thankyou again
Kind Regards Terry .

Harvatt
8th October 2012, 17:06
[QUOTE=mikeharrison;626568]Hi Terry,

I believe that B.Cooke and Son of Hull, UK still make their own magnetic compasses. They can still overhaul Sextants etc too, as well as being bang up to date with providing electronic charts etc.

Regards, Mike[/QUOTE


Thanks Mike, interestingly I used to work for B.Cooke & Son Ltd.
until 1973, then lost touch but I do believe they are currently owned
by an Asian company now . I was responsible for the manufacture
of Compasses which were to A.C.O. Standards and Certified as such.
I have looked on their Web Site a couple of times recently but it
does not give me the impression they still make them. I used to
hand deliver the Compasses to A.C.O. for testing about every six
weeks. I agree I think you are right about the Charts and Sextant
overhaul .
Thanks again Mike
Kind regards Terry .

Harvatt
8th October 2012, 17:26
For the bulk carriers built in Cebu by Tsuneishi, they have Japanese magnetic compasses: Saura (with YDK gyro + autopilot) or Tokimec (with Tokimec systems).

Thanks for your reply Richard , Gosh those names are totally
new to me ! I know I left B.Cooke & son back in 1973 - in fact I left
the Compass trade completely but indirectly I have tried to keep
abreast of things as much as able. I am of course well and truly
retired now but up to being taken seriously ill in 2010 I was trying
to catch up with the Compass trade again as a Hobby and you know
there is so little information available . It is to some extent as
though the trade has died . I know Electronics has taken over but
you would think there would be some remnants of it left. By that
I am thinking of the real Compasses .
Thanks again Richard
Kind regards Terry .

mikeharrison
8th October 2012, 20:18
[QUOTE=mikeharrison;626568]
Thanks Mike, interestingly I used to work for B.Cooke & Son Ltd.
until 1973,....


Hi Terry,
Yes, Cookes overhauled my "Kingston" Sextant a couple of years ago - I would guess that they were making them when you were there. Have you had a look at the CNITA website? There will doubtless be some names on there that are familiar to you.
Regards, Mike

Harvatt
8th October 2012, 21:00
Yes Mike you guessed right, they were making them then , They had a good
set of men in that Dept. particularly the man in charge - Alec. Scott. Are they
still making them ? I have not looked on the CNITA site for about nearly two
years ,I am hoping to get back to looking deeper into the whole subject again
now that I am a lot better health wise.
Regards Terry .

Harvatt
10th October 2012, 20:43
Hi Mike, I looked at " Cookes " web site today and there is no sign of them
making magnetic compasses . John Lilley & Gillie of North Shields seem to
be the only company left , certainly in this country still making them to what
was the old ACO standard. I also tried to register with CNITA but could not
get past their verification code so have sent an E Mail - no reply yet .

Terry .

oldman 80
11th October 2012, 01:54
Ref:- #103.
Quote:- "Makes you wonder, does it not ?"

It certainly does, and it certainly should do.
A bit of a "shocker", in fact.
An "eyebrow raiser", for sure.
(Smoke)

mikeharrison
28th October 2012, 17:45
Hi Mike, I looked at " Cookes " web site today and there is no sign of them
making magnetic compasses . John Lilley & Gillie of North Shields seem to
be the only company left , certainly in this country still making them to what
was the old ACO standard. I also tried to register with CNITA but could not
get past their verification code so have sent an E Mail - no reply yet .

Terry .

Hi Terry,

I checked this week with a gentleman who I know at B.Cooke and Sons and he told me that they are indeed still making their own magnetic compasses.

Although they have moved on in to the Electronic age, Cookes have also retained old equipment like a Sextant adjustment table, to support their customers.

I found this very reassuring as I tried to get support for some ship's electronic equipment from another manufacturer recently, only to be told that they no longer had any parts or support to offer for the gear, which is only 4 years old. <smile>

Regards, Mike

Caracas
26th December 2013, 20:40
Gents,
As a pratising compass adjuster myself, I found this thread very interesting.
The use of the instrument is declining, along with the knowledge of its foibles, however there are still many concientious shipmasters and owners who insist on having the compass up to scratch.
Some of the same owners and/or shipmasters also show remarkable lack of knowledge about the compass.
I have had a fisherman, due for an adjustment, bring his compass into my office for me to adjust because the fish were running and he had to go out to catch them.
Another fisherman with a trailer boat wanted to know why we had to launch the boat (the weather was foul), couldn't we tow it around the local supermarket car park.
A marine super gave the crew of a tug the day off as there were no movements booked and left me the keys to the wheelhouse so I could get in to do the compass adjustment.
A couple of weeks ago I was booked by the owner's rep. on a large dredger. When we got out to the vessel (she was anchored in the stream) I was informed that the engines were not usable, but couldn't I make out the deviation card from the compass error book?
Finally, as a little plug, I conduct an excellent training course for compass adjusters by correspondence.
Cheers
Rod Haigh

Would you let me know the details of your correspondence course for compass adjusters. The last time I did a swing was for my orals about 25 years ago. I live in Caracas.

oldman 80
26th December 2013, 23:15
A Blast from the Past:-

There is only one compass on a ship - it is magnetic.
Anything else is an aid only - all be it, a very good one.
Yes I am "old fashioned" - thank god.
(Whaaa)

janmike
27th December 2013, 12:48
Janmike
Sailing for a good number trips on G class gas ships on the Brunei to Japan run. The courses were all NEly/SWly. Consequently after each drydock the compass adjuster came aboard to do his thing! After just one round trip the compass had the same deviations as it had for the previous two years. In fact probably for the whole of their lives.

charles henry
29th December 2013, 18:30
That's the excuse we all used to make our sea bonnets floppy. (EEK)
The stiffener would effect the magnetic compass.
Nice one. [=P]

I believe it was possible to get heated suits like the aircrew used during the war. Especially for use on Arctic convoys.

Once joined a ship in Glasgow being outfitted for the arctic russian run.
They were spraying "insulation" everywhere. No sign of special clothing to be issued.
My first problem was when I attacked a "dockie with a 2x4" who was drinkin horlics stolen from a lifeboat and was arrested (and let go by a sympathetic old sergeant at the cop shop),
Second problem I was put ashore in hospital with a heavy cold and high fever. Dont know what happened to that vessel nor do I remember its name.

Ah memories (Pint)(Pint)

Keith Adams
28th January 2014, 21:11
My first ship, mv "Losada" (P.S.N.C.) had only magnetic compasses (no Gyro or Radar) ... one in front of helmsman, one in front of the wheelhouse (open bridge with cab at each wing) for the watch mate to check, a dry card compass on the monkey island and one at the poop deck emergency steering position. Deviation and Variation chalked on the course board at all times. Oil lamps rigged nightly for all navigation lights as well as compass and telegraphs ... we had electric lighting but oil lamps always at the ready. A 200 mile sailed distance a day was most satisfactory ! Cheers, Keith aka "Snowy"

slick
29th January 2014, 20:18
All,
Are "Squirrel Cage" lamps still in use?

Yours aye,
slick