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St.Joan

A few pics of the St.Joan (Preston Pilot No.3) 1964
The engine room (port) shows the Lister power set
W/Hs. (port) Marconi Kestral MF & (stb.) Consort radar,
the dispay was timed, and had to push a switch to view,
this was replaced by a Kelvin Hughes later. The unit on the
shelf under the radar was the alarm/sw.box. if one engine
failed an oil pump had to be switched in for the gearbox to
balance up with single screw gear. Those were the days.
 

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Pilot Station

Back in the late 1960s we at Marconi Marine were trialling a new design of VHF radiotelephone and seeking owners that were willing to allow us to fit them aboard their vessels to gain feedback from users. At the same time the manager at Marconi's Liverpool depot was hoping to land the order to equip the Preston docks VHF system and persuaded them to fit a trial equipment on their Pilot vessel. Other managers in different areas had similar success and about half a dozen vessels were identified for similar treatment.

As the "VHF expert" I was despatched, in an estate car full of radio equipment, cable and antennas, from Chelmsford to tour the country, fitting each trials equipment and then moving on to the next one. The first installation was to be carried out at the Pilot station, on the north bank of the Ribble, somewhere between the dock entrance and Warton airfield. I had to follow the Lytham Road out of Preston and find a narrow lane off to the left. A bumpy drive down the lane brought me to a wooden jetty with the Pilot boat lying alongside. I fitted the radio on the boat and we went for a brief run up and down the river while the skipper got used to using the set and testing the coverage. Then I set off for Glasgow where I was to fit the next set, on one of the 'Flying ...' tugs.

The thing is that although I found the Pilot station jetty without any difficulty in nineteen-sixty-something, looking on Google Earth today I can find no sign of a jetty, no pilings, not even stumps. Can anyone enlighten me as to where it was and what happened to it?
 

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Hi. Ron, The pilot station moved from alongside the navigation vessel moored off Lytham to a newly built shore pilot station at Dock Creek, in Dock Road, just past the W of Lytham boundary.
(A pic. of the jetty is attached, taken in the early 80s after the PN dock closure)
This was used, if memory serves me, from the late 60s until the dock closed, I then took over the lease and used the place as a small boatyard/chandlery with fueling facilities, my workboat, and the Preston survey boat moored alongside, plus any others on a temporary basis being worked on. Dock road was quite an industrial area in those days, BUT the inevitable developers looked upon most of Dock Rd. as just the place for fancy housing, so today is now unrecognizable, the creek high-fenced off where the pilot station used to be, with moorings and jetties a thing of the past.
 

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Thank you Jonesie, that is just how I remember it. Amazing that there is no trace of it today - it isn't as if the river has been widened and engulfed the jetty.
 

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Hi. jonathan-strong, having just returned to Ships Nostalgia after a lengthy time, Andrew from Preston Dock control centre, who is doing some updated research, pointed me back to the original postings re St.Joan, and your recent postings are certainly great information, as from your engine room description, and builders plate photo, this would certainly seem to be the 'Joan' No.3 pilot cutter we remember from the 60's. Somewhere in my archives, there are some photos of the engine room and w/hs. etc. which I will dig out and post in the near future. Will pass on this info to John Eccles, who was the senior skipper during the 'Joan's' years with Preston Pilots. Many thanks indeed for your info.
Taken yesterday morning in the US.
Ref St Joan

Mike. Sincere apologies for long period off the site. I have been unwell for some time and couldnt face doing any research. Many thanks for all the info you sent it is very much appreciated. I now have it on good authority from Charlie Mole, her last coxn, that she went to the British Virgin Is. The deck was loaded with extra fuel etc. She made it safely but I do not know if she is still operating. Best wishes. Andy
Hi. jonathan-strong, having just returned to Ships Nostalgia after a lengthy time, Andrew from Preston Dock control centre, who is doing some updated research, pointed me back to the original postings re St.Joan, and your recent postings are certainly great information, as from your engine room description, and builders plate photo, this would certainly seem to be the 'Joan' No.3 pilot cutter we remember from the 60's. Somewhere in my archives, there are some photos of the engine room and w/hs. etc. which I will dig out and post in the near future. Will pass on this info to John Eccles, who was the senior skipper during the 'Joan's' years with Preston Pilots. Many thanks indeed for your info.
 

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