26th January 2007, 20:40
I joined a ship as second mate which was sailing from London to Wellington. The master suggested/ordered that the steaming time be calculated as 24 hours plus/minus any change in longitude. I suggested that it would be necessary to adjust clock at noon for any difference between longitude change and clock change. He considered this was not necessary. As I expected the chief engineer was unhappy with this arrangement. This was a low powered vessel and often the clock change was slightly different from the longitude change. To add to the clock problem he liked to be on local time when entering port. The night before arriving in Aruba we jumped onto local time. On sailing clocks were altered to longitude time. Shortly after the same drill for Panama transit. We had no passengers to confuse, only the crew. I had to record in my sight book the difference in seconds between the longitude change and clock change as the passage was a lengthy one. On making up the voyage abstract, to determine the actual steaming time, I had to make an adjustment between "E" leaving UK and "E" arrival Wellington. Plus/minus the odd seconds I had recorded in my sight book. On sailing from Wellington, wiser councils prevailed, he suggested that we revert to the 24 hrs +/- clock change. I presumed he'd put his copy of "Lecky's Wrinkles" to rest for a little while. He was an experienced master and I learned much from him, but he could be trying at times.
27th January 2007, 01:09
[QUOTE=Binnacle;104064]I joined a ship as second mate which was sailing from London to Wellington. The master suggested/ordered that the steaming time be calculated as 24 hours plus/minus any change in longitude. I suggested that it would be necessary to adjust clock at noon for any difference between longitude change and clock change. He considered this was not necessary. As I expected the chief engineer was unhappy with this arrangement. This was a low powered vessel and often the clock change was
Ahoy Binnacle. Fortunately I only heard about Masters like that. A 2/0 I was with told me he had to ring 8 bells when the sun was on the meridian, and then alter all the clocks on the ship and work out days run etc. on that time. Untill you mentioned it I never thought about the ER's problems in that field. This charmer [Master] "didn't believe" in gyro compasses, so a perfectly good gyro sat in it's little room,"saving the electric", but boy did the navigators know their magnetic compass. They had missed a tide arriving Hull, and the food had run out. Ch.Stwd was told to go ashore and buy 43 eggs and 43 rashers of bacon an d a couple of loaves of bread; CS asked should he buy a couple of extra eggs in case one was bad. No said the Capt, it won't be mine. I sailed with a couple of bastards, but nothing like that, thank God.
27th January 2007, 12:39
And here folks wonder why I switched to coasters after my experiences with (imo) rather arrogant and stuffy upper echelon on the bigger ships, belonging to the "glory" lines...
Never saw that sort of attitude on a coaster.
But then, the coaster captains and mates where there to make a living and
some of them owned the ship, so it was more of a lifestyle and not just a well paid job that allowed you to razz the daylights out of others just because you could. Besides with the shorter trip durations, an arrogant master could have well found himself without a crew almost overnite, and that would hit his pocket book straight on ...
One captain was like a dad to me. Although I will admit we had a 1st mate on one coaster that was an old grouch (just his personality) he never really tried to make you do extra work, or "chip" you...
27th January 2007, 18:00
He wasn't a bad man, he'd survived at sea during two wars, like many another he'd resorted to the bottle to ease the stress. A mate who had sailed with him before he went TT told me that at Xmas transitting the Suez Canal he'd given every officer a fez to wear at Xmas dinner. It was hard for me to believe this was the same man. We had a sparks from Co. Clare, who on St. Patrick's day was told by the mate that the captain, who was from Antrim, always gave the crew a drink to celebrate. That night at ten o'clock, sparks had given up all hope when he told me "sure he's no Irishman at all." One time we had taken good sights and he comes up at noon and asks if I had taken a vertical angle of Mt Etna, fifty miles away. I hadn't. Next day we were coming along the coast taking frequent bearings. To ensure no problems at noon I put five bearings on the chart, the cocked hat could not be faulted. When he came up he inquired if I'd got the sun, incorrectlly I told him we were too close to the shore, I was rather annoyed when I grabbed my sextant and worked out an ex meridian. Anyway it was before the days of going on watch with slippers on and calling the old man on a clear day if the radar fails. Happy days.
28th January 2007, 05:22
I have sailed with arrogant sailors, stewards, electricians and engineers but I must have been unusually fortunate, never sailed with a arrogant Master.
29th January 2007, 21:23
I was a cadet with Lyles on a ship where the master wanted Noon on Noon. So we had to flog the clocks odd bits of time to make this happen. Furthermore the 18 mins or whatever it was had to be shared equally between the three night watches. What we did is take the D Long to next days DR noon then flog the clocks to ensure that we and the sun arrived at pretty well the same time. It was no problem really and gave us something to grumble about.