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Keeping crew entertained during a long passage
CC
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 4:19 AM
Joined: 13/06/2009
Posts: 4


Hey Everyone, We are 3 days into a 2 week passage and the 4 hour watches are already lacking spirit and entertainment. Already we've conquered celebrity charades, 'would you rather', the weights, swiss ball and elastics have made there presence known and we haven't forgotten the art of telling a good story or starting an interesting conversation. We need your help to provide us with some suggestions on games, jokes, stories to tell that will keep our crew alive during watches (whilst doing their job). Please send through some ideas - the sillier the better! Thanks
Haya
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 9:21 AM
Joined: 02/04/2010
Posts: 19


....ever heard of books?  To cross the pond was not quite the same as spending a night at the luna park, last time i did it...   

junior
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 9:55 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Ya, but reading is kinda isolationist. Crew might hibernate till' landfall. CC needs action, a challenge, a lean mean stinkpot squeegeeing machine team building exercise. Try this next time. Stop by a farmers market and purchase a complete Bee Hive, African Killer Bees are great, then quietly stow them in the forepeak. Two days out...clear of land , ships, just you, the dolphins and the stars...open the forepeak, take a stick and bring that hive back to life. YeeeHawwwwwwww !!!!! Immediately the crew with form Bee fighting teams, stay alert, bond, only the strong will survive and once they make landfall , hit the pub...or hospital... great sea stories will be told. Big shortage of decent of sea stories among the stinky crowd
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 11:09 AM
He is asking what to do on the bridge while on watch......You could read the Colregs and quiz each other. Get out the sextant. Bust out the Flash cards. Read the navigation equipment user manuals. You can also change up the look-out schedule so you don't have the same person all the time. Or my personal favourite, talk about all the other crew and what you hate about them. Enjoy, I love crossing.
CC
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 11:10 AM
Joined: 13/06/2009
Posts: 4


Thanks for your comments Haya. I'm looking for suggestions on games, books aren't the best call when your meant to be watching the radar. Anyone out there have any helpful suggestions?
Haya
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 12:00 PM
Joined: 02/04/2010
Posts: 19


You're welcome CC.  Also, you might amuse yourself by broadcasting Celine Dion's "My heart will go on" on channel 16 and tell eventual protesters to F-off, this will no doubt keep you entertained! 

kapt_mark
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 12:06 PM
Joined: 30/06/2008
Posts: 81


if you rotate the second watch keepers then you are not with the same person the whole time. Keeps a bit of variety. Change the watch lenghts? Classic game, joke/ poem / song. Take turns to do either of the 3.

rodsteel
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 5:20 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


Polish the silver and the anchor chain.

 

Wipe down and Armor-All the fenders.

 

Re-iron all the linens and uniforms.

 

Re-fill the chef's condiment bottles.

 

Clean and oil the engineer's tools.

 

Inventory, re-stock and re-pack the first-aid kits.

 

Sort and re-pack the Christmas decorations.

 

Clean and polish the display screens and inside windows on the bridge.

 

Open up, dust and vacuum the navigation electronics cabinets.

 

Work on your foreign language conversational skills (English grammar for many posters?)

 


Anonymous
Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010 5:53 AM
You can play "I spy with my little eye" something that is ______________. And then they have to guess what you are looking at. I always used to say the floaty in my eye.....no-one ever got that one. And then there is alway the game where you say the name of a country and the person after you has to say another country using the last letter of the previous one.
junior
Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010 9:40 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Also remember " pat a cake " "Hula Hoops" and "Hopscotch" for keeping your pro stinkpot seaman alert and capable of mindlessly staring into a blank radar screen for the next two weeks . If these STCW approved games wont work, try rigging up an invigorating Limbo pole in the wheelhouse . When all these proven Gin Palace crew stimulator's fail to put a sharp edge on your Goons , remove the steering wheel from one of the supertenders, order the mind numbed crew to don foul weather gear, sea boots , harness and stand outside in the fresh sea air, steering wheel held firmly in both hands so that they may fantasize about what it would be like to be a sailor, blast reaching off the backs of waves , racing dolphin comets , dodging incoming flying fish , chasing 300 mile days and celebrating life..
Haya
Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010 8:47 PM
Joined: 02/04/2010
Posts: 19


"...so that they may fantasize about what it would be like to be a sailor..."   ....hahahahhahaa.....i'm almost rolling on the floor here!!!    :D

Anonymous
Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010 9:07 PM
Yeah, sailboats are for people who can't afford powerboats.
CC
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 7:36 AM
Joined: 13/06/2009
Posts: 4


Thanks for your pro sailing stories jnr. I think most of the crew are now going to stick with our original game plan. Complying a list of reasons why people bother posting useless comments on this site. Its such a shame that this site is not properly facilitated. Instead most messages received are from people who don't think twice about what they are posting.
Capt. Rob
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 6:28 PM
Joined: 04/09/2008
Posts: 5


Well, standing watch means just that! Watch! Reading books on watch? Playing games. You can do all that when you are OFF watch. Be serious on watch and keep the boat safe!
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 6:35 PM
No wonder I cringe at the thought of going down below to sleep when I know that the focus of crew is not 1. Are we going to hit anyone 2. Are we going to hit anything 3. Is anyone going to hit us 4. Are there any nasty leaks in the a. steering compartment b. mid bilges c. forepeak 5. What is going on in the engine room, have you done your hourly check list and inspect bilge a. is anything leaking fluids. I will sometime spend time off watch down in the engine room on transatlantics just playing what ifs... OK I'm the captain and I eat live breath and sleep boats and engines. When I'm offshore my focus is on the moment. I do not need to be entertained. WHEN YOUR eFFIN on watch, keep watch. It's meditation. Check the radar, check the engine room. NEVER NEVER EVER for second do we allow no human eye to NOT be peering out the windows or radar in fog, night. The thought of this bull manure going on that your going to be reading and taking your eyes off the "road" really pisses me off to read this cr@p. If you don't love being at sea then don't go. I will fire your juvenile asp if I catch you not paying attention Your not to read-your not to watch videos-YOU MUST KEEP YOUR EYES open and keep watch. I am writing this as your captain is sleeping down below but how do you know that I'm not your captain and you better gd get back on watch and grow up.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 6:48 PM
In none of my training have I seen games or entertainment come up for bridge WATCH's and I am sure there is not some sub heading on the bridge orders or captain's orders. LOOK out of the window that is what you are there for! You can watch endless re-runs of sex and the city when you are not on WATCH! This is so simple it hurts.
lava77
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 6:53 PM
Joined: 24/11/2009
Posts: 10


ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING!!!???? Watch means WATCH! Not f*%#ING PLAYING games or reading! It's because of asses like the guy that asked this question that makes it so I can't sleep well when its my time off watch. Its also the reason when I am on watch to be extra vigilant because i know there are idiots out there playing games while on watch.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 7:43 PM
You could update your resumes...because anythng other maintaining the watch would be termination. You people must be kidding; how old are you, 13? Hard for some to believe, but this is an actual business with consequences, penalties and challenges when the procedures and ( pay attention to this one ) THE LAW is not followed. You've just given me a great question to ask deck candidates when in the interview; "What games did you play on your last boat while on watch?" Hey Nick, a robust and spirited debate is healthy, unless you elect to post garbage like this which erodes the professional fabric of this industry. Please keep the SUBJECT limited to material that will not embarrass this industry. Games on Watch????
Scott
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 7:45 PM
Joined: 16/09/2009
Posts: 6


Why don't you ask your Captain what you can do while "on Watch" If he doesn't blow a blood vessel then I don't want to be cruising the same waters your in!
proskipper
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 7:48 PM
Joined: 01/04/2010
Posts: 15


I have the perfect solution.

You can discuss with each other what you are gonna tell the judge when you have had a collision.

"All vessels at all times will keep a proper look out".

I will tell you how I motivate my crew when they are on watch.

I sack their arses off the boat if they do anything else other than keeping a "proper look out".


Capt. Rob
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 7:51 PM
Joined: 04/09/2008
Posts: 5


Once again, this is absolutely incredible that someone would even ask a question like that!!! Music is even off limits with me So you are listening to tunes while on watch and you miss some faint Mayday call on the VHF and cost somebody their life! I'd grab you by the back of the neck and throw you overboard !
Alfredo
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 7:59 PM
Joined: 01/09/2008
Posts: 3


"We are 3 days into a 2 week passage and the 4 hour watches are already lacking spirit and entertainment." Good Lord, You really have a lot of nerve to post something like that. You just have no idea of what you are saying/doing. Please make us all a favor and get a job where you can get "entertained".
Scott
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 8:00 PM
Joined: 16/09/2009
Posts: 6


Throwing them overboard my be a bit harsh but certainly off the bridge! By the response I'm seeing if the individual asking the question doesn't get the hint he/she should get out of yachting!
proskipper
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 8:09 PM
Joined: 01/04/2010
Posts: 15


So there you go cc.

You have your answer to a very stupid question.

Give me your skippers email address and I will forward him this URL.

Better still, go do your job.

In the words of Alan Sugar "You're fired".


CaptErik
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 8:46 PM
Joined: 09/09/2008
Posts: 64


Truly glad to hear others chime in about another stupid question and am amazed that some people can not go 4hrs without having something to entertain them, other than scanning the horizon, gauges, radar, charts.


Dave Skolnick on Auspicious
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 8:55 PM
Joined: 14/05/2010
Posts: 3


I'm not sure how to convey the message more positively -- watch is watch.

Offshore in my little 40' sail boat I'll be happy to think of the proportion of those above who take watch keeping seriously.

My crew and I are paying attention. Are you?

junior
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 10:48 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


remember , its the captains job to organize a sea day and provide stimulation. " Tasks" can simultaneously be fun and worthwhile seamanship. Its a pitch black night tonight...flat calm, no targets on the radar for hours and the watchsanding crew is fiddling with the wheelhouse SSB...tuning into BBC Africa service, learning how to master the shortwave frequency sets and radio wave propagation Tons of valuable tasks for crew to do that can only be done on a long passage. Many things to learn and no need to be bored.
Azzag
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:04 PM
Joined: 05/02/2009
Posts: 9


It has already been said numerious times. When you are on watch you are not there for your entertainment you are there to ensure the safety of the vessel and all onboard by any and all means possible. That means keeping you eyes, ears and mind focused on that task. If you find this boring then go get an office job.
junior
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:18 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


The only reason we are on yachts is for entertainment. Combining entertainment and seamanship is imperative for safe trip. The best entertainment value Ive found in recent years is to invite one or two yachtmaster mile builders to join in on a long trip. The wheelhouse will be full of pencils , reduction tables , hand bearing compass's and enough relivant ,stimulating conversation to keep the watch standers alert
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:37 PM
That's great, but who is looking out the window, ever seen a container at sea ? Ever seen what it can do to a sailboat ?
captpage
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:39 PM
Joined: 19/10/2008
Posts: 36


Follow the Regs...remember min of two on watch that are legal to stand watch. Not playing games or cleaning up or ect...just standing watch! Remind them of floating items like containers, small boats, persons adrift, bubbles in water - possible subsurface eruption, pirates, fast moving war ships. Cover fire drills for early morning problems. Remember fire fighting school...was not really how to fight a fire as much as to scare you into making your rounds so you don't have a fire. do the same for bridge watch. have them act as captain and do mock decisions, night orders, bridge resource managment for things like port entry, yellow flag proceedures, ect. If you have very good nav system...use a grease pin, mark a star on glass and guess the movement location in a time frame, keeps eyes looking out and teaches the stars/Nav. Another is distance calling of other vessels or objects with one person marking distance and other guessing...it really wakes you up on how wrong you can be at night. A good strong hot coffee or strong tea. Get out of the seat and move about. Be professional and your crew will also, if there is problems the leader caused it, plain & simple. It is a tough world at sea, the tougher you are the smoother the whole assigment will become. Live and stay true to your license GOD Speed - Page
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:10 AM

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

It's amazing how much nicer the world would be if people followed that little phrase.  Let's for 1 minute NOT be negative.  Let's for 1 minute ASSUME that this person is properly standing watch:  eyes and ears alert, watching the water, the radar, listening for alarms, funny noises and the VHF, etc.  If that is indeed the case, they are not playing games or reading, they are perhaps just talking to the other person on watch and after a few days, they have exhausted stories and want some other verbal "games" to chat to the other person about whilst they continue to maintain a SAFE watch.  If that is indeed the situation CC, here are my suggestions:

20?'s, 2 truths and a lie, riddles, the alphabet game (with names of movies, actor/actresses, nautical themes, etc), telling jokes, etc

I hope these help and please don't let people with their NEGATIVE thoughts and assumptions and comments get you down about these forums.  Occasionally someone with something POSITIVE to say might respond!  =)


Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:51 AM
Good on ya CC, you have stirred some of the self righteous rum soaks off their bar stools. The vitriolic responses and indignant Ï'm so correct attitudes have shown us how this industry is so full of itself. If you were on my boat I'd love it, you seem to be cheerful and motivated, enthusiatic and looking for new ways to improve. I don't doubt that you are aware of the standards required by watchkeepers, or that you keep a careful lookout, but you are someone who likes to make the most of a situation and enjoy life. I'll have you on my crew anytime girl, you are perfect for guests and owners, and can light the fire under the stodgy sanctimonious hierarchies that are evident in this forum.
Salvador
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 7:13 AM
Joined: 22/07/2009
Posts: 97


Hi,

I would go: a) Sextant, day & night

                  b) Manuals of the things I knew less, or have doubts

                  c) The Rules of the Road,

  Counting that someone is minding the food...   my choices.... but I'm still dealling with alarms in the dock yet so...

have a fantastic crossing, never did one , would love to do a few around the ball!!

Fair seas

Salvador


chrismlewis
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:17 AM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 120


As always there needs to be some balance. Yes, you must keep a safe watch. By day that is one person, by night that is 2 (IMO rules I believe). However I always have 2 on watch on the bridge to assist in keeping the watch keeper alert. Some balance of useful training/ learning and relaxation/ chat will make for a better long term level of watchfulness and attentiveness. This is up to the Captain to instil in his senior watch keepers. In teaching the junior watch keepers they will keep their own knowledge up to date and improve those who do not routinely keep a watch. Anyway, taking a steering ticket & learning about sextants, radars, the ocean and sea life etc is supposed to be fun and interesting, right? If not then I guess you have the wrong teacher or the wrong career!
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:05 PM
CC, All the stuff about no fun, eye on the ball! Well, of course you can have fun. I have spent many hours on watch, never taking my eye off the sea or the radar, with vocal games. 20 questions: like charades, Its just limited to 20 goes or you lose. Politicians, actor, singers, cartoon characters, mutual friends, even objects. Always fun. Another one I learnt recently: You give the other person 3 names. One, they will spend a night having great s3x, another, a year alone together on a desert island, and a third, marriage. Try working out Mother Teresa, The Pope and Gandhi! Have fun. Andy
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:52 PM
When im on watch teaching the deckhands so they get through their yachtmasters is what keeps me entertained...they ask I tell then if possible we work it together on the bridge, makes teaching and learning easier...and gets you through the 4 hours really quick, when you show them something maybe on the radar they will become engadged and they will stay that way till you teach them something else....show a deckhand how to plot positions on charts every hours for the log and you will see them counting the seconds till they can do a new plot. well anyway no lectures here.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 5:09 PM
Just put the guard zone alarm on the radar and get some sleep.
Captain Hard
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 5:39 PM
Joined: 15/09/2010
Posts: 2


Why not just take a nap like that idiot who ran his Ferretti onto the beach south of the Fort Lauderdale Inlet coming back from Bahamas. If he was any better of a navigator and came into the inlet and hit a fuel ship at 30 kts there would be much less of the port and south florida! Watch "games"??? so few of you would make it in the merchant fleet! Never turn you back on the windows! I hate seats in the pilothouse. I like to sometimes go down below and shut off equipment mid-watch of the 12-04 just to see who is paying attention. I also visit the bridge frequently and move all the dials of the radar, GPS, etc to see what they catch. An alert crew is a SAFE crew....is a SAFE SHIP. 2nd officer isn't even allowed to correct charts on his watch. He usually does his work when the 3rd is on watch or in his stateroom. No Coffee on the chart table. No Using the Captains Binoculars. like the VHF and Comms....keep chatter to a minimum while on watch.
Captain Hard
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 5:48 PM
Joined: 15/09/2010
Posts: 2


There is a cause-effect relationship between the organisational climate and recent occurrence of maritime accidents. Imagine if you are playing games as your shipmates sleep and you run into something that you only had moments to react to in the "dark of the night". You can bet that your 20 questions game with your review board will start with "what were you doing when the accident happened?"
Captain Brian
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 8:50 PM
Joined: 11/09/2009
Posts: 12


Best activity I've found---fish. Drag a line all the way across. Keeps the watch on their toes looking for birds, weedlines, any kind of debris that might shelter a big crew dinner. They're constantly checking for traffic in case of 'if we hooked up right now'. Nobody wants to be the guy who missed the strike. We have even rigged up a strike alarm that would ring the passerelle doorbell if we got a hit. Then everybody comes flying to get in on the action. Yes, it's rare to get a hit way offshore, but I caught a very big Yellowfin over 1000 miles from the nearest land a few years back.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:17 PM
My last mate couldn't make it the full four hours on watch without nodding or sleeping for that matter. On top of that he was seasick most the time. He is now first officer on a bigger boat. So, i guess my advice would be first to Stay Awake. Watch the radar and stay on course first starters. After you master that you can play the games!!
AllyJ
Posted: Friday, September 17, 2010 10:30 AM
Joined: 21/03/2009
Posts: 19


I so agree with Captain Rob! Watch keeping means just that - you are on WATCH. During a watch, the safety of the vessel and crew are your responsibility. Doing a watch is a huge responsibility and should be taken as such. It is not a time to read or play games - extreme vigilence is required at all times and this should be instilled in crew members from the very first watch they do... What if someone fell overboard and you didn't notice because you had your face in a book???


Henning
Posted: Friday, September 17, 2010 10:53 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1053


CC wrote:
Hey Everyone, We are 3 days into a 2 week passage and the 4 hour watches are already lacking spirit and entertainment. Already we've conquered celebrity charades, 'would you rather', the weights, swiss ball and elastics have made there presence known and we haven't forgotten the art of telling a good story or starting an interesting conversation. We need your help to provide us with some suggestions on games, jokes, stories to tell that will keep our crew alive during watches (whilst doing their job). Please send through some ideas - the sillier the better! Thanks


Pay attention, walk the decks, check the bilges and machinery spaces. It's 4 hrs twice a day if you're crewed properly and doing it right, that isn't too danged tough really is it?

Anonymous
Posted: Friday, September 17, 2010 9:41 PM
Henning wrote:
CC wrote:
Hey Everyone, We are 3 days into a 2 week passage and the 4 hour watches are already lacking spirit and entertainment. Already we've conquered celebrity charades, 'would you rather', the weights, swiss ball and elastics have made there presence known and we haven't forgotten the art of telling a good story or starting an interesting conversation. We need your help to provide us with some suggestions on games, jokes, stories to tell that will keep our crew alive during watches (whilst doing their job). Please send through some ideas - the sillier the better! Thanks


Pay attention, walk the decks, check the bilges and machinery spaces. It's 4 hrs twice a day if you're crewed properly and doing it right, that isn't too danged tough really is it?


Anonymous
Posted: Friday, September 17, 2010 9:55 PM
I think  the long distance sailors may have got the message by now? 
I would just add that after 35 years or so doing this job I have always ran a 2 hour watch system to avoid stupid questions like this one even being asked.  Four hour watches  for me personally are just too long and I can't relax thinking someone may be not completely alert,  I'm not alert after four hours..
  You probably do get a little bored at times  on the 1 week or more trips, although a little music or a talking book  helps,Junior crew could practice plotting/Radar/Radio/Star sights/Rules of the road/engineering or one of many interesting things that will help them move up the ranks that little bit quicker,  we run Transas and Nobletec and just learning all the things those programs do  can keep you pretty busy.

Just a little item to keep you thinking though,  the ferry that hit an Island in BC  not long ago  possibly had the OOW's  not doing what they were being paid to do  "watch".  People can die when YOU don't watch..
 Have a safe trip

Capt_Sam
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010 3:00 AM
Joined: 24/09/2010
Posts: 1


Am I missing something? The procrastination that has occurred over this post is ridiculous...... listen to what the 'positive' brigade are condoning. I moved over to the large yacht sector a few years ago. I must admit, one of my main reservations was exactly that which was posted earlier in this thread - the lack of professionalism and more importantly, safety awareness. I have a number of pet hates that have evolved from the yachting sector exposure - the seemingly amazing ability of a yacht deckhands feet to sustain load without shoes on, the complete lack of respect for safety harness requirements - I could go on. Oh yes, safety glasses, well they just don't go with Prada shades right?! I firmly believe that this industry is a great place to live and work. However, until Owners and Managers of these fine, private machines press Flag to act on training requirements and sensible standards (adopted everywhere), it seems we have to suffer the incessant ramblings of the 'untrained' few. Think about what you posted.... Your post in itself indicates a total disdain, if not flagrant breach, of the rules required to keep our fellow crew safe. I am sure a few of you will moan and roll your eyes incessantly. What a kill joy, who does he think he is - again, I could go on...... (maybe I am)! I remember an incident where I just missed a tanker in mid-atlantic waters. Sat in the chair for four hours, bored as a Junior Officer....... as I shifted in my seat there she was, lurking on a steady bearing behind a window pillar. A lesson to all maybe..... although if you're playing Twister up there you might be looking through the windows at a variety of angles. I will let you all decide.
junior
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010 10:44 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


The reality is that its a privilege and a challenge to cross an ocean with a yacht. When crew go limp and need stimulating games to pass the time , you have the wrong crew or too many non essential crew. Leave the interior and catering staff on the dock and only cross oceans with crew who find a crossing to be a challenge . You will never have to worry about how to entertain them or keep them alert.
Rusty Wrench
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010 1:54 PM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207


''I remember an incident where I just missed a tanker in mid-atlantic waters. Sat in the chair for four hours, bored as a Junior Officer....... as I shifted in my seat there she was, lurking on a steady bearing behind a window pillar.'' Junior officer or not, sounds like very poor look-out practice. Brave to admit sitting in a chair 4 hours; ever considered a walk about? I would say any engineer in attendance would have heard the tanker's big engines through the water and hull long before the 'failure to see' bridge watch....
junior
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010 3:53 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Feel some sympathy for stink crew. Its ever so easy for a stink boat driver, sitting in a nice soft chair , to become ass stupefied while mindlessly looking into the radar, auto steering, blinded by wheelhouse window reflections, anxiously watching the little boat creep across the plotter screen. Never happens on a sailing yacht. A crew is outside on the wheel 24hrs a day , non stop trimming sails, steering by the waves, clouds, stars and automatically picking out far off shipping lights long before the radar detects them. Im thinking winter 1997. We had just passed thru the Panama canal and were punching headfirst into the relentless Caribbean trade winds, making for Antigua. A day or two out , the helmsman picked up a bright light low on the horizon and asked for radar identification. Couldn't find it on the radar. Must be a low celestial body, planet ? but its altitude azimuth didn't match anything in the almanac. Hmm...The next night it was there again..even bigger. Night after night, bigger , brighter . Finally the BBC world service announced that It was the comet Hale Bopp . By the time we fetched Antigua it was enormous, magnificent. We dropped anchor Falmouth in early evening, tore ashore in the tender for beer and remarked to the first super motor yacht crew we saw ...what do you think about that incredible comet, Hale Bopp !!? ....they replied ...What Comet ?.....Think about it.
 
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