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Taking a sight

Taking a sight

Those were the days ! Sun sights, star sights, planets during the day, moon at night if good horizon (and desperate!). Shot taken on the Flintshire.

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Dear Mike, the trouth is that with your last postings,you have stired for good ,
thousand of memories of our youth,to many old seafarers.
The delight that we felt with the results of a good observation,in order to find our position,is something unknown for the deck officers of today. G.P.S is the guilty,although a perfect instrument for the bridge.
Also your videos uploaded to You Tube ( Blue funnel ships etc ) are excellent.Congratulation!!!
Best regards,
Lefteris.
 

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Just dug out my old sight book, last entry ... 10th November 1980 on passage from Wewak (PNG) to Melbourne. I've taken a few sights since then just to keep my hand in. In 2000 I got the mates - from the country that claimed to be the world's largest supplier of seamen - to navigate from Panama to Qingdao by sights and I covered the GPS so they couldn't use it except in emergency. They were rather sceptical at first and quite surprised when we actually made landfall on the Hawaiian Islands. By the time we made the next landfall south of Japan they were actually having the time of their life. None of them had ever used a sextant before, and I guess they probably haven't since. Thanks for bringing back the memories Mike!
 

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You will really get a deck cadet nervous if you get passengers at lunch to ask, "what time is noon today ? " One kid, after not knowing a few times would walk in the mess room saying , noon today is _____, deviation is _____, variation is _____, slip is _____, and people would clap.

Then ask him the difference between a handy billy and a billy boy .....
 

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Thanks for posting this photo Mike. I took great pride in my navigational skills, and celestial navigation was a true joy. I still own my Plath that was purchased new in Hong Kong in 1966, but I'd have a difficult time trying to work up a sight after so many years...........41 to be exact!
 

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"Then ask him the difference between a handy billy and a billy boy ....."

Funnily enough I failed second mates orals on a question like this. I could not tell the difference between a handy billy and a gun tackle.
I learned... went back two weeks later, got the same examiner, he asked the same question and then passed me immediately.
I have never forgotten the answer but now have little need for the knowledge.
 

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On a somewhat different note, Mike - and relax my 'comment' is purely an observation, nothing more than that - looking at the 'length' of those shorts I strongly suspect they were a Nigerian tailor rather than a UK, maritime outfitter.

Back to our 'weapons' of bygone days, I, too, had a Plath, which I bought in London's Portabello Road for £30 in '57. That was a lot of money then but turned out to be worth every penny. It was an unused, WW2 U boat commander's complete with swastika.
 

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Wow, this has really stirred up some memories. I have to say that I got a certain inner glow when I got a good cross of possibly six stars and then made landfall the next morning to find it was spot on. I still have my sextant, obtained for my first trip as 3rd Mate in 1969, a Husun bought from the landlord of a pub in Hull. £30 and he got the mirrors re-silvered and the box re-varnished. Quite a lump to carry around though especially when joining overseas so was relieved when the company decided to put sextants permanently on board. Just for you Graham....the whites will have been bought from Harry Lee or Jackie Taylor in Hong Kong. Had only done one trip down the West Coast at that stage of my apprenticeship, on the Egori.
 

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Hi Mike. Thinking back, which seems to get harder as the years go by, I think the maiden of the Egori was '57. The reason I say that is that that was the year of my first voyage, on the Cambray, an old WW2 built 'Park' boat and a chap I was at King Ted's with, who also joined EDs, got the air conditioned Egori. He only 'lasted' the one voyage, so maybe my baptism of 'fire and sweat' stood me in good stead. I know my first 'taste' of AC was on the Donga in '61. It has just dawned on me that throughout my entire apprenticeship I never sailed on even one, air conditioned ship. Was interested to hear your 'short story'. Cheers, for now. G
 

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