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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 6, 2017, 2:22 pm 
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Alas the Windoc incident saw their demise.


CSL and NMP were in negotiations prior to the Windoc incident.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 5, 2017, 11:05 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Guest wrote:
As was said somewhere else here on this board Patersons thought they had a contract for her beyond that season, and you might know this Cap but didnt the grain going to Russia get cancelled in 92 for good, Quedoc was even in the process of fitting out when her orders got cancelled.


The Vandoc was to be used mainly in the upper lakes and the Russian grain contract did not have anything to do with her demise. It was the loss of small contracts that saw her ending. The Mantadoc could fill all the needs. I don't know about the Quedoc but as she was a fuel bandit with whose engines which could only use expensive diesel. I felt there were many wrong calls which happened too often and their crystal ball needed replacing. Alas the Windoc incident saw their demise. BO HO I did not shed any tears as i will relate soon.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 5, 2017, 9:26 pm 
As was said somewhere else here on this board Patersons thought they had a contract for her beyond that season, and you might know this Cap but didnt the grain going to Russia get cancelled in 92 for good, Quedoc was even in the process of fitting out when her orders got cancelled.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 5, 2017, 5:37 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Guest wrote:
I know Vandoc sat and rotted away in Thunderbay but were they not thinking about sailing it with a skeleton crew down below for scrap, and they couldn't get permission from coast guard or union or somebody.


When we stripped all the worth while spares and other usefull items there was not much left of value. The Pilothouse was vandalized to such an extemt there was nothing that would be able to be repaired or fixed to operate again. The only way she was going to move was to be towed dead ship. Sad endng to a proud boat and when I think of the effort which was made to get her operational I wonder what brilliant soul made the descision!!!


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 5, 2017, 2:20 pm 
I know Vandoc sat and rotted away in Thunderbay but were they not thinking about sailing it with a skeleton crew down below for scrap, and they couldn't get permission from coast guard or union or somebody.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 4, 2017, 10:22 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
I was there only a few trips and was transferred to another vessel. This was another of the old German ore carriers but it had been involved in a serious fire which gutted the accommodation and bridge. It had to be rebuilt. This was a vast improvement on the Windoc and the master had a cabin on the main deck but also a small one just below the pilothouse. I preferred this and spent most of the time in these quarters as there was a VHF radio station in there. With this you could always aware of what was happening. It could be isolated for the main system for privacy. A new program was introduced which when implemented was a good idea but I found after a while it was just a waste of time. It was a workplace safety and recording committee. The master was not to control these meeting but be in attendance. A member from each department on board was nominated and represented those crew members. I am all for anything which makes for a safer working environment but although this was the main intention I found I just another SYA programme. Reports were to be sent to the office and then any concerns which were brought up by the crew addressed. Many safety problems were valid and if possible were rectified. The engine room was the biggest concern as it was a very hazardous environment and not much could be done. Asbestos was extensively used during the original building as then it was not realised the effect it could have on health. When I first started sailing one of the jobs I did was lagging steam pipes on deck. It was a coil of asbestos type rope which we would wrap round the pipes and then seal it with cement mixed in a big drum. This consisted mainly of asbestos. The whole was then wrapped in a cloth material and sewed. I must have been lucky as I was never inflicted by any ailment which could be associated with the use of this carcinogenic material. One boat had the main fridge and freezer deck covered with lead. The replacement of those two environmental hazards would have involved horrendous costs so were quietly ignored. The crew members who attended these meeting were not enthusiastic even though they were paid overtime to attend. It was usually the third mate who kept the minutes of these talkfests and I sat only interjecting on points outside the parameters of the committee agenda. My opinion was it was all a waste of time except for a few good suggestions.
I was to become it contact with the Vandoc later as it had again been laid up. This time it was for the final time. She was tied up at the Patterson dock up the Kam River and just beside the company office. Alas she had been vandalized and much of any value stripped. We went alongside on the Mantadoc to salvage whatever could be used and to transfer all the fuel, lub oils and spare engine parts. The accommodation was still as left by the crew ad all the new mattress we had got in Montreal we taken on board. Not the way I would have chosen to celebrate Thanksgiving (Canadian). The end was imminent and later the boat was scraped.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 3, 2017, 11:18 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Guest wrote:
You guys did all that work to get the Vandoc working and looking good and then another fleet undercut Patersons by a lot on the small ports she was suited for, I remember in the winter of 92 Western Engineering did a considerable amount of work on her, steel, engine and other numerous little things. Its too bad it would have been nice to see her out again.


The steelwork was done to repair damage from a collision. A salty hit her when she was at anchor in Windsor. She was laid up for ever shortly after these repairs wers completed. Go Figure!!


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 3, 2017, 6:49 pm 
You guys did all that work to get the Vandoc working and looking good and then another fleet undercut Patersons by a lot on the small ports she was suited for, I remember in the winter of 92 Western Engineering did a considerable amount of work on her, steel, engine and other numerous little things. Its too bad it would have been nice to see her out again.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 2, 2017, 7:52 pm 

Joined: March 16, 2010, 2:03 pm
Posts: 293
Hello Cap, I have truly enjoyed your stories. You are a master mariner and a wise student of human nature. My dad sailed 50 years on the lakes, retiring as a Captain of the Joseph H. Thompson in '82.
But maybe the greatest connection I have with you is your ancestery.
Mon was born in Montrose, Scotland and emigrated to the US in 1926. I am sure if she had known you she would have called you a "Bonnie Laddy". Thanks for all your stories and knowledge! Mike


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 2, 2017, 3:47 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
I was on a few boats during my tenure with this company. During one season I was asked to go to Montreal and get the Vandoc ready for sailing as cargo had been secured for the rest of the year. This boat had been tied up for over two years and many parts from the engine room, pilothouse and galley been cannibalized. The cabins were not exempted as they were now unliveable. All the lifesaving and safety equipment which remained was out of date or needed replacement. A mammoth task and to make it more so a bunch of guys that had ever seen the boat before or were rookies. It was going to be a major challenge and of course it was all to be done as fast as possible. I would have needed the mythical magic wand as when I thought things were going well another calamity faced us. Initially a few of the crew and I, through necessity had to stay ashore until we got some cabins and services operating. The chief engineer who had been retired was asked to perform magic too. Every day we seemed to be making progress another challenge presented itself and but for my stubborn nature I would have quit. I was determined to beat all the odds and eventually with a lot of help, did so. The Canadian Coast Guard inspectors were in attendance for the safety and life boat and fire drills. Completing the load line, radio surveys all the other requirements for equipment to fulfill what was necessary to operate the vessel. Sometimes they had to attend more than once till it was correct. The ship chandlers were down every day with more supplies and I must have authorized hundreds of requisition forms. The galley had to be restocked from top to bottom and the cooks did an amazing job getting their department into some semblance of order. It was extremely difficult and they deserved a medal. When things in the engine room got operational one major clean up was undertaken. During the time the boat had been tied up seagulls had made nests and covered the structure with birds shit. This had to be cleaned off and the birds were not happy. At long last we were considered operational and the equipment in working order. I and the chief engineer decided trials were important so additional mooring were put out and the engines steering gear etc. tested. All appeared to be OK so the Seaway inspectors were called next before we headed up to get the first cargo. When the holds were opened it was found that when she had been laid up the last crew had just walked off and the residue of the last cargo had not been cleaned out. A mess of rotted grain etc was a sight I did not wish to see but another major clean up on route was needed, this with a new was not to my liking. The say it was a trip of nightmare proportions would not be a good indication of the voyage to Thunder Bay as every day another problem arose with breakdowns etc. Guess that was why I got paid film star wages you would be saying, erroneously if all be told. The first cargo was to Collingwood a port I had never been to and going in presented some bum puckering moments. Good thing about it was my wife could drive up and visit and the Canadian Tire store was close by for parts etc. Part way through discharge we had to turn the boat round stemming the wharf and now were headed in the right direction for departing as the bowthruster was temperamental. Another place we loaded for was Cardinal which was just above Iroquois lock. The cargo we took there was always corn and it went direct to the plant which produced many products from it including syrup and starch and pet food too. It was a fixed discharging leg and the crew had to move the boat regularly. Every time a boat was approaching the lock or departing the leg was removed just in case our boat was pulled from the dock by them passing. Took several days to unload and the mates were pleased as two had to be on deck all the time so plenty of overtime was earned. I made out too as I charged for the full pilotage as the agreement did not stipulate the whole section but just pilotage in the Seaway. Had to get something out of them!


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 2, 2017, 7:36 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Guest wrote:
Was on the windoc once and I think your actually making it sound nicer than it was lol but I cant blame Patersons for that one that was all Hall she probably hadnt had any maintenance done in 10 yrs, Question though Cap was the Cartierdoc which suffered a fire in the 80s and had her accommodations rebuilt any nicer or were they identical ?


Yes the new accommodatios were much better for the crew and the pilothouse was updated.Still the same old engineroom and galley etc.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: December 1, 2017, 12:41 pm 
Was on the windoc once and I think your actually making it sound nicer than it was lol but I cant blame Patersons for that one that was all Hall she probably hadnt had any maintenance done in 10 yrs, Question though Cap was the Cartierdoc which suffered a fire in the 80s and had her accommodations rebuilt any nicer or were they identical ?


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: November 30, 2017, 3:51 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
I was in no need to hurry to find other employment but did eventually as my wife into asking how long I intended to stay home. It was time to get back sailing. I took a position with a company which was well known and whose headquarters were in Thunder Bay, N.M.Paterson’s. This was another family owned company and the brothers were friendly and interested in the running of their ships. Alas except for one they were all old and had seen better days. During my time there I sailed them all except the Quedoc and the Paterson. The first one I was on was the ill fated Windoc. I was sent to this vessel to see how the company was run. It was, to say the least, a revelation. This boat was a converted German ore carrier. The conversion consisted of the old hull being replaced to make to a maximum sized lake boat (at this time). The midship accommodation and the engine room were matched to this new hull to create something that Doctor Frankenstein would appreciate. To go from the master’s quarters to the pilothouse you climbed through three flights of unused and neglected cabins to a forgotten era of wheelhouses. The equipment was outdated and there was no auto pilot which required the wheelsman to steer manually for the four hours of his watch. A cold water fountain did not work and any water required had to be carried from below. I spent my time there going round the vessel to see what was involved. The galley and store rooms were the original and in poor shape as was the rest of the accommodation for the crew. It had not been modified since the original building. On the engine room side I have never see such a dirty place on a lake boat. When I consider the “France” which was the cleanest and smartest of all the boats I had been on it was a black hole. A thing I found out quickly was the rudder was small and the rate it went from hard over to hard over was glacial. Not good for a “lake” boat. I did not cry any tears when this boat was in a major incident when in the Welland Canal and the bridge was lowered when it was passing under it. Fortunately no one in the crew was injured but it ended up being a TCL (total constructive loss) after a fire broke out.
I met many interesting people there including three which had sailed as master and had been unfortunate and been demoted. I don’t know why they stayed but it was not something I would have done. Many of the mates and engineers were senior and on one boat I was the youngest of the mates and engineers. I had on occasion, no mate that was qualified to do the mates section of the “Seaway” (Cape Vincent to Midland and clear of Eisenhower lock to Valleyfield Bridge); another had to be sent to do that and then left. Once another captain was required as there was no mate to do it. I, on one trip had to do the whole transit as no one could be found! I did it until I was tired then anchored and went to bed. Then weighed anchor and completed after I had eight hours off. The Seaway control questioned why I was doing this and I informed them truthfully I was too tired to continue safely. The Traffic manager questioned why the trip took so long and was not thrilled with my response. We were paid a small remuneration for doing the pilotage but it had remained the same for many years.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: November 29, 2017, 6:21 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
1991 was a year of many changes and I don’t wish to be negative but things did not go as I would have liked. During the month of January I received an invitation to attend the company winter meeting which were being held at Niagara on the Lake. I regretfully declined as I was not too impressed with the meetings I attended previously as listening to BS was not my forte. I did not miss much I found out later as there were major changes to the structure of the company and Miseners, Pioneer were to amalgamate with the bulk boats of Canada Steamship Lines and become a new company called Great Lakes Bulk Carriers. It was not to affect me any way as it transpired.
In the beginning of Mach I received a call from L.J. of human resources wanting to come to my home as he wanted to present me with a package. He came and I was handed a large envelope. In it was a notice of my termination of employment. I was half ways expecting this as with the three Govan boats now with Indian Captains and chief engineers the deep sea guys were surplus to their needs now. The original deep sea captains with the exception of guess who, Captain D was as the saying “let go”. There was included a list of what I would receive in lieu of employment. This was pay for an extended period plus and few other things. My pension which was paid for by me would be transferred to whatever plan I wished. It was by all accounts a settlement I could accept as it was fairly generous by all accounts. I was too young to retire so I had to seek new employment. Not as easy as it would seem but I did not miss much as GLBC did not last long which was not a complete revelation.
More of this later.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: November 27, 2017, 10:34 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
To add some personal details to fill this section out. Our son who was five years old when we arrived in Canada and spoke with such a broad Scottish ascent his playmates could not understand him though he could understand them, it was frustrating for him. He, as time went on became a typical Canadian boy, youth, doing all the things which were typical of his age. One Canadian thing he did not do was play hockey as my wife and I vetoed this sport. (I have never attended a professional hockey game) although he skates and skis very well. He did get involved in individual sports and swimming was one he became good at achieving his lifesaving and instructors qualifications. These stood him in good stead later as a lifeguard and instructor earning cash which he really needed. Another sport which we encouraged was Karate. He now is a black belt and still goes to the dojo frequently. This discipline we hoped would help him in life and tame his times wild nature. It was this that got him into a bit of trouble. We always had pets in our household ranging from dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, budgies and ferrets to name some. As animal lovers (except cats) it instilled the love of nature and he would attend nature camps during the summer. One day he and a friend were at the local conservation area when they saw a group of older boys torturing a young raccoon. He told them to stop when one of them stepped forward and pushed our son and told him to F.O. This was a big mistake as when he got home from the hospital his mother reported the incident to the police and our son was charged with assault. I attended his court appearance and the Lady? Judge admonished him and told him his training in Karate should not have let him do this. When he pushed you, you only had the right to push back. Probation and 100 hours community service. I was incensed at this and it took me considerable restraint to hold my tongue. What world did this woman live in? When someone starts a fight your only reaction is to make sure you win. Another mark against our justice system. During holidays it was necessary for our children to have paying employment and the money earned could be used to buy anything they wished which we were depriving (?) them. It was on a trip to Florida one summer when my wife and I drove down to Dunedin to stay at our friend G. home (He was my chief engineer in Crosbie’s and in Algoma and he stayed at our home when in transit) his entrepreneurial nature came to the fore. He had pocket money to spend on this vacation but spent very little. On the drive home he wanted to stop in Tennessee to buy fireworks, many of which were not allowed in Ontario. He loaded up with all his money and a big purchase was the Chinese firecracker. That is the one were once lit it fires off about 100 tiny bangers. When we got home he got the firecrackers and took them apart and got about 100 individual bangers. The neighbourhood kids were knocking on our door nonstop to buy these at 5 cents each. Needless to say he made a very large profit on his purchases. He, my wife used to say would lie in bed at night thinking of ways to upset her. One night he and a friend made plans to take his friends’ mother’s new car for a drive. They met after my wife had gone to sleep and took the car out. They were not as good drivers as they thought as it was a standard shift and they stalled it. Police found them and the first my wife knew of ths caper was a cop and our son standing on the doorstep in the early hours of the morning. The cop was very polite and told my wife not to be too hard on him. He was a vey subdued young man for a while. The wild streak ended one summer after doing a very labour intensive low paying job. He realised this was his future if he did not improve his school marks. He as well as our daughter were to be awarded as Ontario Scholars.
He, although he had spent many days with me aboard ships had no desire to follow in my footsteps and gained his first degree in finance. When working for a large Canadian bank realised this was not the way to earn large amounts of money so went back and obtained this MBA designation. This while working full time in the bank. Not to stop there he went on to study at the London School of Economics (a hotbed of socialist ideas) and then Harvard. He started his own company employing several people and is now considered number one in his field in Canada. His gives talks about investing in real estate to many people and has written a best seller about real estate investment.The royalties are being donated to the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. He married and has two beautiful daughters but alas much to our dismay has divorced.
When our daughter and son graduated with their first degrees my wife and I paid for a trip back to the UK and have a tour of the country of their birth. (Five years apart) Met with some of their relatives was well as staying with their maternal and paternal grandparents. Their response when asked how they enjoyed this trip was similar. Wonderful places to visit but are we glad you immigrated to Canada. I will enclose a tribute our son wrote for me on occasion of my 80th birthday at the end of my tales.


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