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The Not Quite First Bank Boat 1970

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Old 28th September 2021, 11:57
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Finkenwerder England Finkenwerder is offline
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The Not Quite First Bank Boat 1970

Apart from a coasting trip on Rowanbank in 1969, my first deep sea Bank Boat was Avonbank. The telegram from the Crew Dept - what we now call HR - said readiness join Avonbank in West India/Millwall Dock etc., etc.

Clambered up the gangway and into Master's cabin to say I was here, after so many Ben Boats as a cadet the whole ship smelled differently and looked very different. The attending Marine Superintendent (Clem Mossop) was with the Old Man (Austin Hall). They both stopped what they were doing and stared at me as if to say "young? green? capable?". I waited and then Clem said "3rd or 2nd Mate?" I said "3rd Mate", he said "ticket or not?" I said "just passed 2nd Mates", he said "congratulations on your promotion, you're signing on as 2nd Mate". Well needless to say I was very pleased. From then on everything was a whirl. Of course I came down to earth a bit after I was told that the reason I was signing on as 2nd Mate was because the original appointee had turned up, looked at the ship and then walked off again. Ex Port Line or NZS apparently.

The Mate (Jeff Mann) was extremely helpful and things went fine. Tony Coates joined as 3rd Mate and then the real baptism of fire arrived - midnight to four, a couple of hours out of Rotterdam bound for Panama, Austin decided to test me out and left the bridge. I felt somewhat alone, probably the same feeling as standing naked in the middle of Waterloo station concourse, not that I've done that you understand. That's the point where all the theoretical and some limited knowledge you've acquired suddenly leaves you for a short spell. Oh s**t, what happens now? Maas Centrum Buoy astern, traffic in all directions, check courses, check radar, check other ship's bearings, check lights, check soundings, don't forget a position on the chart. And so it went on even taking a round turn out of her for traffic avoidance, probably not necessary but lacking in experience you take the safe option. Must give Austin his due he never came up to take over but I'm sure he was watching out of a port somewhere! 0400 and the Mate on the bridge, relief all round.

From then on life got a whole lot better.
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Old 28th September 2021, 13:23
Tumbleweed Canada Tumbleweed is offline
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That first watch on the bridge was an experience most of us can look back and reflect on. Mine was on Houlder Brother's LPG carrier Clerk Maxwell in the mid sixties. I had just been pushed up to uncertificated 3/0 during the last year of my apprenticeship. We sailed from Tilbury in the late afternoon, light ship and down by the stern. My first watch that evening began in the channel somewhere off Dover in gale to storm force winds. Spent the entire time tacking to and fro across the channel at reduced speed. I was fortunate the master, J.Glover, spent the entire watch on the bridge with me. The following morning the weather had moderated and we were left with a large swell as we headed west. I had the bridge to myself and it was " calm seas and low swells" from then on.
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Old 28th September 2021, 20:54
Makko Mexico Makko is offline
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First watch - One of the most awesome experiences! Chief going up from stand by - "She's all yours!". Really a brown underpants moment.

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Old 29th September 2021, 11:17
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R58484957 England R58484957 is offline
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Same with me the engineer I took over from was leaving the company and after a 10 minute show around he said she’s all yours and left.
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