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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 19, 2017, 12:42 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 281
Pete in Holland MI wrote:
Can you explain the Williamson Turn ?

Thanx !


Pete
I don't know if I answered but there are many good explainations if you google "Willimson Turn".
Basically you alter course about 60 degrees in the direction which the man(person) has fallen over by putting he helm hard over and then going hard over in the other direction until you have done a reciprical of the original course. This really reduces the speed and you can stop and more less drift to the position the person who fell o/b (in theory)


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 19, 2017, 11:06 am 
Can you explain the Williamson Turn ?

Thanx !


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 19, 2017, 8:10 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 281
The summer voyages were usually pleasant and at the end another port which most of the crew had never visited. I never did lose that sense of adventure when we went to a new destination with the chance to meet and experience something different.

It took a little time but eventually we managed to achieve a voyage without a piece of equipment or appliance breaking down. The radars were replaced with more reliable ones, one of which was the new ARPA type which I had to attend a course at Georgian college to qualify using. (This was a Canadian requirement). The two original search lights were replaced by one which was a great asset, (they were pieces of junk and forever breaking down). The Loran “C” was updated and a Decca Navigator fitted. This as we were spending more time over seas. The fire detection system was modified and thankfully not giving false alarms and sending us frantically looking for fires that were not there. An important addition was that we got TVs which worked in Europe. In the engine room some modifications were made, a technician coming all the way from Japan to do what was necessary to the Dihatsu generators. He spent several days working on each generator. Three were fitted. The emergency generator which was housed in a special room on the poop deck on the starboard side was a Ruston. All these changes made for a less stressful life. The crew too changed, until those who did not understand the life on the ocean, was not the “Lakes” and left, and a system of relieving introduced.

There were two gyro compasses in the wheelhouse. There were trouble free and we alternated their use, one for outbound and one for use inbound, although both ran constantly. They were a vast improvement on the gyro compasses which I first sailed with which were massive machines, fitted in the lower part of the housing. Temperamental, requiring constant attention to kept them working properly and I remember having to go, as second mate to the manufactures school and take a course how to maintain them. One an Atlantic crossing I noticed in the log book an anomaly. I checked and signed the log books daily. There are notations for the course being steered by gyro and magnetic compass and the deviation of the magnetic compass. I noticed that although we had maintained the same course (we were sailing a rhumb line) the deviation had altered by a fairly large amount. This is not possible and something was wrong. I had the three watch keeping mates join me on the bridge and asked if they had noticed this discrepancy. None had and as I was a person who had sailed on many ships without a gyro and depended on the magnetic compass entirely I was aware of these things. (The magnetic compass is the only navigational instrument the others navigational aids). The mounting bolts for the gyro in use had become loose because of the vibrations and was moving off centre. Another mystery was solved as it had been noticed that the days run (the distance travelled between noon positions) was less than expected. This because we had not steered a straight course but the automatic pilot followed the gyro heading which was zig zagging. It was imperative the compass error book was correct and up to date because we were in the US Coast Guards sights. The US Great Lakes pilots were objecting to us as we were sailing outside in the winter and by their way of reasoning should be required to take pilots. I did not understand this reasoning as if I had sat at home for the winter would my knowledge and know how on the lakes been affected?


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 18, 2017, 8:59 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 281
Winter sailing was not always pleasant and there was an occasion when we were in the Gulf of St.Lawrence and there was plenty of ice. As we were ice strengthed it never was much of a hazard and you could obtain ice routing to assist. The Canadian Coast Guard had ice breakers on station to help if you got into difficulty. On one occasion we were leading a group of vessels through the ice. The closest vessel was a Swiss ship. I spoke to the captain and told him it was imperative that he maintained a safe distance astern of me. Meaning a distance in which he could stop his vessel. I emphasised this as during the previous year our sister ship was doing the same and she was rammed by the ship coming behind. It caused considerable damage and she was out of service for a few weeks. The reason for this was twofold, we may encounter thicker ice and slow down and there were frequent snow flurries causing white outs and they would not see this happening. A constant radar watch was essential. He acknowledged all this and I was pleased to assist fellow mariners. Imagine my horror when, what I had explained to the captain happened. We encountered a patch of thick ice and slowed down considerably and thick snow reduced visibility to near zero. They certainly were not watching as they got closer and closer and I called them up. Just then the snow cleared and he saw the danger and swung hard over and out of our track and stopped in the ice outside not far from our stern. I was exceedingly angry and told him so in nautical terms! We proceeded and the other ships behind followed. He was stuck and I could not have cared less. In these conditions it’s always good seamanship, to help but not if it was to put your own ship in peril.
On one Atlantic crossing during the summer months it was unusual that the seas were calm and there was no swell. I thought it would be a good time to have a “man overboard drill”. I told the chief engineer and the third mate who was on watch. We had made up a dummy and it was in the forecastle. The third mate walked for’d and on my signal tossed it overboard. I immediately blew the whistle signal to indicate a man overboard and broadcast it over the loud speakers. Then did a Williamson turn. By this time the crew managed to get the starboard motor lifeboat ready. A relief deckhand said to the leading seaman “he does not expect us to get in the water” “Oh yes he does as what it was you in the water” by this time we had completed the turn and were approaching the life ring that had been released with the orange smoke signal. The boat was in the water and steered towards the ring and dummy and recovered them. The lifeboat was hoisted back on board and secured. Course was resumed and a meeting of all the crew help to critique to drill. All thought it went well and I commented that the boat crew could now boast that they had been in an open boat in the Atlantic and were not illegal immigrants trying to enter Canada as refugees.
The summer voyages were usually pleasant and at the end another port which most of the crew had never visited. I never did lost that sense of adventure when we went to a new destination with the chance to meet and experience something different.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 15, 2017, 4:01 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 281
During the flowing years these three boats did not work exclusively on the Lakes but during the summer when the grain trade was very slow and to save laying up their “Lakers” we travelled outside extensively. We visited ports in Russia, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Morocco, Cyprus and the USA. Everywhere we went the people were impressed by the cool efficiency of the Canadian crews and the versatility of the boats. In Russia the port of discharge was Leningrad now called St.Petersburg. It was a country where there were many restrictions placed on the crew and a curfew was in effect for all the crew, except the master. Armed guard were at the bow and stern and on the gangway. Going ashore you were required to produce your passport and a notation was made in the book the guard had. Them it was to the dock gates and the customs inspection. We were treated very formally but the international seaman’s club was a place all were welcomed. From there you could arrange to visit the many attractions that today tourist pay top dollar but we got admission to free, more than that we had VIP treatment and bypassed the line ups. The summer palace of the czars was not or less destroyed during the war with Germany and was being restored to its former glory during my visit. Before entering we had to remove any loose clothing, jackets etc. Over our shoes we were required wear felt slippers. This to avoid marking the wonderfully designed wooden floor. Inside gold leaf was being applied to many parts and it amazed me the care and attention to detail. A guide showed us around and many old ladies kept a watchfully eye out. I was only inches away from masterpieces by those famous artists like Monet, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh to name but three. Photographs were allowed but no flash. As I said it was being restored but an experience to remember. Next was the world famous Hermitage. Two days going round there were not sufficient to take in all the famous works of art and sculpture and the many antiques collected by the ruling Czars. The wealth inside that place is astounding. The city has a history in every corner from the warship Aurora which gave the signal to start the revolution. I was asked if I like ballet. Never having been to see it I had no opinion, next I knew I was escorted to the Kirov Ballot and in a private box viewed ballet. At the intermission it was the fashion to promenade in the grand hall and sip Russian champagne. All in all I still remember those occasions. As we ended up in port for nearly three weeks we were well known to the guards as friendly. I never went anywhere without a Canadian badge visible. It works wonders giving a packet of Marlboro cigarettes. There were little in the stores and ball point pens, razors, toilet paper and soap smoothed the way. We traded cassette tapes and jeans for caviar They held a going away party at the centre before we sailed. What a contrast to the reception I received when we went up the Mississippi River to load and I did not have a visaed crew list. I explained to the immigration officer that as Canadians we did not even need to have a passport (at that time) when friends and I used to cross over to Buffalo NY for a weekend shopping. He was astounded at that but when he referred the matter to his superior he confirmed what I said.
The time spent off the lakes allowed the company to keep the other boats operational and I certainly did not mind sailing on these unusual boats. I will attach an advertisement that Misener had in a shipping magazine in September 1897. Alas it was only about 18 months later the first boat was flagged out and the Canadian crew replaced by Asian crew. The Master and Chief engineer stayed for a while and later they too got replaced. Hypocrisy was my thinking but I was more than a little bitter which might have coloured my view. I questioned this decision and was informed that the company could hire a Master and Chief engineer for the same amount they were paying me. I know that but I pay many taxes in Canada and if I did not have all those deductions, I too could accept that wage.


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Misener advert.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 15, 2017, 12:15 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 281
Rob wrote:
Captain,
I'd be interested as to what exactly you said that you regret be quoted in the article(s).

Sorry Rob
but that must remain a secret as I said reading them now I did not know the reporter was a very good listener.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 15, 2017, 11:06 am 
Captain,
I'd be interested as to what exactly you said that you regret be quoted in the article(s).


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 13, 2017, 1:34 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 281
As my last post it is not my intention to give a year by year account but on to what I think may be of interest. I was speaking to a person who was reading and did not understand some of the words that I had written e.g. Bosun. A most people know this is an abbreviation of boatswain, a man who was in charge of the deck crew. There were many passengers on during our “Lakes” time and two whom I remember well as they were not what I expected. One was a retired rear admiral from the US navy. He did the trip as he was hoping to get an insight what was involved in being on a ship transiting the system. It was, he hoped so he might understand what was involved to bring an old naval vessel to Duluth to use as a museum. He requested that he be in attendance in the wheel house every time I was there. He did indeed do that and also was present for most of the time. I said to him he should get some sleep and the response I received was “this is the trip of a lifetime and I don’t wish to miss any part of it”. I guess the guys those jobs it is accept it and have the hum hoe outlook but many outsiders consider it exceptional. I don’t recall his name but he was a great ad very pleasant person and I was sorry when he departed a very tired man. He wrote to the company afterwards thanking them for the experience and extolling the professionalism of the crew and the proficient manner which they conducted their jobs. I was to say the least delighted to have my crew recognised by such a person.
One the other memory was the couple of reporters from a newspaper in the prairies who were writing an article about the transportation of the grain from the farm yard to the overseas market. It started being trucked to the elevators in their area and on to railroad wagons. The railroad wagons/tank cars were unloaded at Thunder Bay where it was cleaned, graded and stored to but loaded on a vessel. We on board were the final stage before it was shipped to world markets. They also spent a major part of the trip in the wheelhouse and unbeknown to us were very astute observers and listeners. It was only when I received a copy of the published article that I discovered how well their listening skills were. I still have those and I have with some reluctance lent to friends to read. How others view us is a revelation and I suppose we take our unique occupation for granted. They too were amazed at our part of the route the farmer’s product took. Various members of the crew and I were interviewed and quoted much to my sometimes embarrassment as I might have said too much. I on occasion bring out these articles which were published in the Prairie Producer in August/September 1986.
In the time period I am now on I was, due to the illness of their preminant masters to sail, briefly, on our sister ships, C.M. & S.S. It was quite a revelation to me the differences how they were run and I did not wish to rock the boat so to speak and change anything. I had somehow been branded as an enigma by the H.R. guy in the Misener office. When I asked what he meant by that he said these who sailed with me either loved or hated me. I retort was I suppose the ones that hated me did not stay long and he nodded his head. Whilst on the other two boats I was reminded to a comment which was related to me by a crew member. During a “Canal” transit we had a visit from one of the Misener brothers and his wife and she was heard to remark to her husband “how is it our ships, referring to CM & SS are not as clean and tidy as this one. I admit the crew were ever proud and the hallways sparkling and shiny and when dirty cargo was being worked covered in craft paper.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 12, 2017, 8:57 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 281
Should the readers wonder how I managed to remember all these details I think I mentioned previously that I kept diaries and notations in them allowed dormant memory cells to waken and I am verbose.
We were now on our way to Wallsend to get engine repairs by the builders of the engine, Clark Hawthorn.
We had a good run up the coast to the Tyne where the pilot boarded and guided us up to the workshops and wharf of Clark Hawthorn. The Canada Marquis was berthed there and we rafted off so that we could get the engine problems resolved. The Selkirk Settler had been and gone and from all reports all was well. We had not long secured when a hoard of workers descended and started to haul the engine apart. As previously mentioned the three ships had the same type of Sulzer engine. Our engine was built at Greenock in Scotland by Kinkaid, SS was but by the place we were now and CM in Switzerland. All were having the same problems so blame could not be attached to how each boat operated so consensus was to do major changes.
Before long piston heads were removed and the liners drawn out. I would not be able to tell of the technical side of what was going on but the shore guys were being supervised by the Misener superintendants, Mitch who was in charge of the complete programme and Bob (not the mate). There many theories and no real agreement but this was on a trial and error basis. One thing was certain was we were not able to operate as the design boffins stated. The CM sailed and we had to move off and let her slide out. He had run lines under her and let them slacken down and they backed out and when clear pulled us alongside. All done at high tide slack water, without tugs and engine which was scattered all over the place. During the twelve days there many technicians from our unreliable equipment were on board doing their magic, I hoped that it was successful as it was no fun having to cope with the uncertainty of what was to wrong next.
When all was completed we departed and headed to the river Scheldt to pick up pilots to go to Terneuzen lock. On the way over the North Sea many engine speeds and tests to find out what vibrations we had. This was old territory for me having been in this part of the world many times. In the evening we docked at Sluiskil in the Nederland’s and holds inspected to receive the cargo. It was a small load of Nitrates for Montreal. The loading was very slow and it took five days to complete March 10th saw us outbound and ready for another winter Atlantic crossing.
My diary for 15th March had the following notations “weather took a turn for the worse with strong N ly winds and seas picking up. Noon position lat 44 00 N Long 31 43 W speed 13.1 knots. Had to alter course this afternoon as vessel rolling heavily. Very uncomfortable. Spraying overall and shipping seas.” On 19th we entered the ice fields in the St.Lawerance River. It was conditions I had previous had on the Crosbie boats so it was not a concern and we were able to cope with only a blackout and main engine stop when we were close to the shore (more grey hairs). The passage ended when we secured in Montreal on 22nd March I was delighted that I was going on vacation and gladly handed over to captain M.
This year there were many changes as we were finally getting things working as we had expected and doing the usual lakes work, loading at the “Lakehead” (Thunder Bay/Duluth)and down to the lower for ore to the US steel mills and doing it again and again. There was a trip to Catskill up the Hudson River with cement clinker while I was on vacation. After the discharge the relieving captain decided the best plan to clean up after discharge was to use the sprinkler system (we use during hot summer days to cool the deck) to wash all the dust off. He did not realise that all that did was turn the clinker dust into cement and now the boat looked like Port Weller Piers. I was not impressed when I returned! It involved many hours of hard work and the use of phosphoric acid to clean that mess and the lesson was learned, water and clinker dust do not go together.
There was another trip to Tilbury and I was told they did not get a warm welcome but I was on vacation so did not really care. My wife and young son joined me for trips on the Lakes and there was occasion when we were in Indiana Harbor steel plant discharging ore the offices security guard would not let my son through the plant (it was not safe) although he was accompanied by my wife and I. Got the agent to call his boss and soon sorted it out. I dislike people who think because they have a badge and a firearm it gives them the right to intimidate others (read into that whatever you like).
Often we had passengers and all were welcomed on board and without reservation they all enjoyed the trip. The crew were patient and answered many, to them, silly questions. I will carry on my tales etc but I hope not ad nausea until the awful day in 1989 when the Canadian Flag was removed from the stern and the Red Buster replaced it. I never thought there would be a day when I sailed under it again.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 12, 2017, 2:37 pm 
Ya ive seen that many times with security, usually its the deckhands and oilers that get it usually the skipper has enough juice hes left alone because he can cause lots of problems.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 12, 2017, 10:43 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 281
This year there were many changes as we were finally getting things working as we had expected and doing the usual lakes work, loading at the “Lakehead” (Thunder Bay/Duluth)and down to the lower for ore to the US steel mills and doing it again and again. There was a trip to Catskill up the Hudson River with cement clinker while I was on vacation. After the discharge the relieving captain decided the best plan to clean up after discharge was to use the sprinkler system (we use during hot summer days to cool the deck) to wash all the dust off. He did not realise that all that did was turn the clinker dust into cement and now the boat looked like Port Weller Piers. I was not impressed when I returned! It involved many hours of hard work and the use of phosphoric acid to clean that mess and the lesson was learned, water and clinker dust do not go together.
There was another trip to Tilbury and I was told they did not get a warm welcome but I was on vacation so did not really care. My wife and young son joined me for trips on the Lakes and there was occasion when we were in Indiana Harbor steel plant discharging ore the officious security guard would not let my son through the plant (it was not safe) although he was accompanied by my wife and I. Got the agent to call his boss and soon sorted it out. I dislike people who think because they have a badge and a firearm it gives them the right to intimidate others (read into that whatever you like).
Often we had passengers and all were welcomed on board and without reservation they all enjoyed the trip. The crew were patient and answered many, to them, silly questions. I will carry on my tales etc but I hope not ad nausea until the awful day in 1989 when the Canadian Flag was removed from the stern and the Red Buster replaced it. I never thought there would be a day when I sailed under it again.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 12, 2017, 4:04 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 281
Guest wrote:
I do remember them before reflagging and after it was pretty shameful the state of the interior, Do you know whether there was any other vessels built on these plans?



No there were no others after the three.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 11, 2017, 8:13 pm 
I do remember them before reflagging and after it was pretty shameful the state of the interior, Do you know whether there was any other vessels built on these plans?


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 11, 2017, 5:26 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 281
Here are some photographs that were taken on Selkirk Settler on a Atlantic crossing.
These have not been Photoshopped as I know the person who took them.


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Selkirksettler2.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 11, 2017, 1:33 pm 
Guest wrote:
So Cap with all the issues the 3 ships were having, would the ships be classed as poorly built or were these problems that all newbuilds have for a while, or was it like some new car models where technologies a little ahead of everything?


No they were well built as the were able to survive some of the weather that was encountered. The engines were a new version and like many new types things found out during the operating period which would be an improvement were incorporated. The electronics were not of any particular make but did not behave well in this environment. e.g. the loran "c" is useless outside of North America and the sat/nav was antiquated. These were all replaced as were the radars and some items in the E/R. I believe there were some photographs of S.S. in heavy weather and sustained only cosmetic damage. As a newer type I ,after many voyages felt safe and secure although the flexing in a seaway could cause crew the first time they observed it, to wonder if she would break up. As two are still operating, after the abuse done to them, when under crews I did not think up to our standards is testimony enough.


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