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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 27, 2017, 8:05 am 
Keep em coming please. Excellent first person stories, and the ocean based sailing stories fit in well with the usual Great Lakes based readers found on this site.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 27, 2017, 7:36 am 
Great stories. Please keep them coming.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 26, 2017, 10:04 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 282
I have noted that there have been quite a number of views on my posts but very few have taken the time to make a comment.
Is it just my perception that they are being not well received???
Should I continue or am I just an old man passing the time???


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 26, 2017, 9:16 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 282
When I had finished with the “West Coast” and all that it had involved including a bout of malaria and the frequent shots and pills I now had enough time to sit for my Masters certificate. Where I had been on a contract that subsidized my time at school, I was not a poor student but decided to knuckle down and get though it as quickly as possible, them relax.
With that aim I obtained my Certificate of Competency as a Master Foreign going just after my 26th birthday having started nine years earlier.
It was a great moment when after the orals the examiner handed me back my application with Pass written on it. It was time to celebrate as I was now a qualified Master Mariner.
I decided that as this was in my last chance to have a long vacation and not have pressures to go back sailing so I made the most of it and enjoyed golfing, fishing and partying. Alas all good times have to come the end and my bank balance told me I had to go back to work. What to do was the next question. Many of the people I had met while studying had extolled the virtues of tankers so I applied and was accepted by one company and off I went. I was a rookie so I had lots to learn and it did not take long for me to doubt the wisdom of my choice of tankers and when I was transferred to an old T2 second war rust bucket that confirmed it was not the life for me!! It was made more so when sailing up the Red Sea the pumpman came and told me the for’d pumproom was filled with oil and looking over the side I saw a stream of avgas pouring out from a crack in the hull. Arriving in the UK I was down the gangway shortly after the pilot and the customs man not looking back.
It was during this period between tankers and my next employment that I met the lady I was in love with and told her that first date that I had found my true love and she was the person I wished to marry. I did a couple of years later and now 53 years have passed and we still are in love and married.
A short story about my time as second mate and I will conclude this story but should the moderators approve I will start another thread about my sailing with a masters certificate and my immigrating to my new home in Canada.
A second mate you are the navigating officer and one of your responsibilities was to wind the ships chronometer about the same time each day. This was an essential piece of equipment required to obtain the vessels position, before the days of satellites and GPS etc. Noon sights were done by the 2nd mate and 3rd mate to obtain the noon position. That ment the 2nd mate got to the bridge about 9 o’clock each day at sea if on an ocean passage to take a shot of the sun. He wound the chronometer then.
The chronometer was delicate clock that was housed in a special felt lined box at the end of the chart table and was observed through a glass cover.
It transpired we were in port for an extended period and what with one thing or another I forgot to wind the chronometer. When I did remember I went to the bridge and to my horror it had stopped. My heart went into my mouth but I recalled a lesson on how to start it. With the sparkie to get the time signal I took the chronometer out of its gambled box and removed the glass faceplate which is screwed on and turned the hands to the correct time and gave the chron. A quick couple of twists but it did not start as stupid me I had forgotten the reason that it stopped in the first place (I forgot to wind it). So I turned it upside down to wind it up (a special key is used to insert it to the bottom of the chronometer) and to my horror it fell out!! If I was panic stricken before I was nearly on the verge of a heart attack but when my heart returned to normal rate I up it back in and wound it, turned it up and reset the hands and with a quick shake to my relief it started ticking away. Set to about the correct time I put it back in its box and into the special cubby hole in the chart room.
However that is not the end of he story as each day it is check by a time signal sent by radio and the time checked and the error etc is noted in a special book called the chronometer rate book. This is kept should there not be a time signal the correct time GMT can still be obtained by checking te rate book and seeing the rate of loss or gain on the chronometer. Before my episode it had been gaining 1 second every two days and now it was losing 1 second every four days. The captain in one of his few inspections happened to notice this and asked me if I could explain strange occurrence but I responded no I did not!!!


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 25, 2017, 11:40 pm 
Great stuff Cap'n!!


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 25, 2017, 3:06 pm 

Joined: June 28, 2010, 12:30 pm
Posts: 357
Thanks for sharing Cap! I really enjoyed your stories and your writing style.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 25, 2017, 2:10 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 282
Another of my recollections of my days in Palm Line.
We were discharging in Accra which was a surf port and it was one of the mates on deck to initial a talley slip if a piece of cargo was lost over board. (LOB).
One trip I was dismayed to discover that my left elbow was swelling up and was to say the least dis-comfortable.
It was decided that I should go ashore to see a doctor.
Only way to do that was by surfboat.
I was given a slip to say that I was cargo so the crew of the boat could be paid for that trip. I was not going to be the only cargo as the boat was loaded as well so I was perched on top of the cargo.
Off we set with the boss man in the stern keeping time on a little bell thing that kept the rhythm of the paddlers.
As the beach was approaching he stopped and all paddling ceased.
Next thing was he was tinging that thing at double pace and the paddlers were doing their thing keeping time.
All of a sudden as the surf was boiling round us he stopped and the paddlers jumped into the water and pushed the boat as far up the beach as possible..
When it grounded a couple of them hoisted me on their shoulders and carried me to dry land.
I went up to see the doctor who looked at my elbow and said I will fix that laddie (he was a fellow Scot).
Froze it with either and got a scalpel and lanced it. A good squeeze and out popped lots of little maggots. Seems that there is a type of fly that lands on you and lays its eggs under the skin where they hatch using you as their food. It healed up with the aid of some type of cream.
The trip back out to the ship was non eventful as there was no cargo other than I and I sat on the thwarts when they pushed the boat into the surf as it was riding high.

I have other tales to tell but will desist for the time being as I am certain many are wondering when this thread will end and the normal chatter of the lakes resume. More stories about my sailing days but that will have to be at a later date.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 25, 2017, 11:30 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 282
Follow up about Romanby
As a follow up for my posting about my time spent on this vessel I should mention that my run in with the captain was not unusual for this person as he had a reputation of being an bully and difficult person to get along with.
Fortunately for me he was replaced at the next port.
I was fortunate as masters had to furnish you with a certificate of watchkeeping and comment on your sobriety and character to present to the examiner when you handed in you papers for your examination as first mate. This I am certain would not have been given by that person and questions would have been asked.
The new captain was a breath of fresh air and the atmosphere on board changed for the better and a very welcome.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 24, 2017, 9:21 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 282
Another of my tales about the time I spent with Palm Line.
It was on board Ashanti Palm that this occurred.
We had loaded in Liverpool for the "coast" and during that time carpenters had built magazines in #4 tween deck and #1 ween deck.
We proceeded round to Milford Haven and anchored.
ICI had a small ship that carried only explosives and other stuff that went bang.
In #4 hatch we loaded in one of the magazines, black powder (gun powder) which was in small plywood boxes about 1 foot square. In these boxes were four cotton bags of gunpowder. In #1 hatch there were detonators etc. We also had munitions for the Ghanaian army.
During discharge in Takoradi these small boxes were being thrown about with no regard to there careful handling resulting in a few being broken and the contents split. To make matters worse some to the gang were sneaking a smoke.
I just about went ballistic and stopped all the unloading. Called all the gang to come with me and took a handful of the powder up to the forecastle and put it on the mooring bits.
I was to demonstrate what happens when cigarettes and gunpowder come in contact.
Puffed my own cigarette and touched it to the powder. Nothing happened. I then lent closer and took a few deep puffs to get a good glow on the cigarette. Touched it to the powder and a big flash.
When I recovered my vision I looked round and the gang were in stitches with laughter. I had become the same colour as they and had no eyebrows or eye lashes. I was not amuzed and went to my cabin to shower and change telling the gang to get back to unloading and no more cigarettes.
When I went back on deck a short while later I was approached by a very polite young man. He told me he had been delegated buy the other gangs to ask me if I could show them the trick with the gunpowder as they had heard that it was an amazing trick and they wished to see it for themselves. My response is not printable!!!


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 24, 2017, 9:18 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 282
Palm Line Tales



I thought that I should relate a story about my Palm Line days.
Hopeful;ly I won't offend anyone as these happened a long time ago.
I was second mate and as such I was supposed to be in charge of the wellbeing of the labour we embarked at Freetown. Kru (or Kroo) boys as they were known by.
Each morning we had a sick parade and the minor ailments I could treat with the help of that famous tome "Ship masters Medical Guide" . If it was serious they were sent to a doctor ashore.
There was an occasion that one very large gentleman approached and told me that "massa I no go kaka for three days" I didn't need to consult the reference book and issued four cascara tablets. "You no go kaka come see me tomorrow"
Next day he presented himself." Massa I no go kaka for four days"
Black draft will solve that I thought so a liberal quantaty was dispensed.
"You no go kaka come see me tomorrow"
I was very surprised when next day he was there. "Massa I no go kaka for five days"
I was getting desperate and mixed up some black draft, Epsom's salts and cascara tablets and gave them to him.
Was I flabbergasted when next day he was there but with a different story. "Massa I no go kaka but piss through assh*le


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 23, 2017, 4:59 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 282
Romanby
As stated in my last post I completed my indentures and obtained my 2nd Mate foreign Going certificate of competency and now in the eyes of the British laws fully qualified as such.
I received a surprise phone call from Ropners (who I was indentured to) offering me a position as third mate on their new vessel that was just being completed in Sunderland.
This was a new concept for them in that it was an engine aft and the bridge still midships. All the deck department was in the for’d house and the rest of the crew aft, including galley saloon and mess rooms etc. This sounded rather strange and when in gale force weather we had to brave the elements to go aft for food.
After completing sea trials and all the dignitaries were ashore we set sail for the USA as I then found out we were on charter to a Dutch company to carry of all things coal. Never seem to get away from it!!!
When we got there the captain was changed an unfortunately one who I had sailed with as apprentice was taking over.I now knew that I had made a mistake and that was reinforced in the weeks ahead.
I was soon obvious that this new concept was a failure and the shipyard had sold the company a lemon. Although the main hatches here steel McGregor the tween deck still had beams and hatches and we were required to have the beams in for structural strength. With bulk cargo like coal the tween deck had to be trimmed and all space used. A nightmare for the crew.
On the bridge we had Radar which was kept locked with the key being in the masters possession anhe was the one how decided when to us it!!
The master treated me like I was still an apprentice but it galled him when he had to address me as Mister instead of just my last name and one time I was being chastised for his perception of my lack of judgement he told me to take my hand out of my pockets. If I do I told him they would be round his neck and that did not go down well as you might imagine. t was only the intervention of the "sparkie" that the situation did not esculate.
One memorable moment was sailing across the North Atlantic on a dark night with the watchman and I on the bridge wing and nothing around when all of a sudden a US navy ship lighted up nearly alongside us and then many other ship switched their lights on. We had sailed unknowingly into a night exercise. Just about had a heart attack! We were escorted clear.
The ship had to go the builders for modifications and I bid them BYE BYE never to darken their ships anymore.
Time to try something different so I joined a liner company trading to West Africa and I will relate some of the tales on their ships..


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 22, 2017, 10:59 am 
Loving the stories keep em coming!


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 22, 2017, 6:28 am 
Please sir, I want some more!
Tiny Tim.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 22, 2017, 6:00 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 282
Daleby

“ With only a short few weeks to complete my time I did not fancy another extended voyage. If I was away during that time I would have had to sign on the ship as an AB and be paid at that rate. Just wanted it to end. Fortunately Ropners had four ships on a regular run to the 'Gulf' ports in the USA on a short liner basis. They carried twelve passengers and there was a massive difference from their other ships. I was sent to join Daleby and told to take my white kit with me. Still had it from my few days on Swiftpool and it was still unworn. Joined her in Liverpool where she was loading for Miami, New Orleans, Galveston and Mobile. Round to London to finish and off we set.

Daleby
Daleby - the date and location is unknown. [1]

Note: A history of Daleby can be found on the Benjidog Ships Histories website HERE.

“ I was the only apprentice and for once was not on a deck watch but on day work doing what the mate wanted and not doing as the bosun wanted. Not only that, I ate in the officers dining room - the first time since I started my time. The only other time I had eaten in the saloon was on the Christmas Day dinner. Wore my white for the first time and even the #10's for dinner at night. As we had passengers the food was exceptional and I had to shake myself a couple of times to remind myself that this was the same company I had been inflicted with near starvation and the most miserable of food. I was on cargo watch during the loading of whisky in London but the stevedores were past masters at stealing the stuff and I never saw half of what was being squirreled away. It was the same in the US ports and I just resigned myself to keeping a low profile and just a token guard.

On this Trip I was told to go on watch with the Second mate and was really only a extra lookout as he was not feeling well and spent his time in the chartroom. Was a novelty to be on a ship that had a gyro compass and an automatic pilot plus a radar that was operational. A change from being on the bridge polishing the brass and cleaning. Did not learn much about being a navigating officer but by now all I wanted was to be done. It was great going ashore in these ports as the berths were comparatively clean and not miles from town. All the tales I heard about these ports were right as we were treated very well by the locals and invited to do tours etc. One time I was walking back in the evening when a police car pulled me over and gave me a lift back to the ship as they thought I was crazy walking in that neighbourhood at night.

We loaded corn and cotton and some machinery for the trip back to Liverpool and I kept a navigational watch with the mate homeward bound.

Indentured at Last

“ There was no celebration when we arrived there but that for me was the end of my indentures. I received a bonus of 25 pounds (on satisfactory completion) and my indentures were endorsed. Free to do as I wished. I attended Leith Nautical College to study for my second mates foreign certificate. Remember when I sat the exam the examiner who had been taking other candidates into the seamanship room and had them rigging stages and splicing wires etc., looked at my application and told me that I would have had done enough sailing with Ropners that we bypassed that and went right into 'rules of the road' etc. After the signals and the written I passed and was duly awarded my certificate.

Now I having completed my indentures I was a qualified sailor.

Should I relate some of my adventures when I sailed down the West African coast or maybe the times I spent on what was called a short sea trader where I got my first command. As Boatnerds we all know that the captain is referred to as "The Old Man" and I was the youngest crew member ?
I will see how the mood takes me a \s I note there has been quite an interest in my ramblings up till now.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: March 22, 2017, 5:18 am 
Captain, you have me on the edge of my seat and I started on the Great Lakes in 1956 and sailed all my life. You at an excellent story teller. Keep 'em com'n...


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