News Item

Solent Branch News - November 2013

A review of meetings past and to come...

Beginning with assisting the Small Craft Group with manning at the Southampton Boat Show, the Solent Branch has had a busy and active start to its season of events. We can look forward to an equally busy six months ahead, with eight activities already on the plot for the period commencing January 2014.

Our own meetings opened with a fascinating account on board the historic vessel Shieldhall given by Pinky Grocott about how animals navigate above and below the waves. Some flat fish must have tide tables which enable them to sit on the sea bed waiting for a favourable tidal stream to help them on their way!

At our October meeting, the challenges of bringing large vessels and tankers into the port of Southampton were described by Matthew Winter, ABP Pilotage Manager for the port. The problems of the big ship – small craft interface were brought into focus by the then impending trial of a yacht skipper as the result of an incident during Cowes Week in 2011.

The trial has since taken place at which the skipper was found guilty on all charges, for which he was fined £3,000. Far more serious were the mind blowing costs, of which, the prosecution costs of £105, 000 form just part. A very good report of the six day trial can be found in the December edition of Practical Boat Owner - it was written by RIN member James Stevens FRIN. It is recommended reading.

Although not the subject of our November meeting, the trial and its findings were a very appropriate backdrop for Vice Admiral Paul Boissier's talk “ How Long Should A Yacht Stand On?" It could also explain why we had an audience of over 120 in the Warsash Maritime Academy's main lecture theatre. It was almost inevitable that, in an audience which includes ship masters and yachtsmen, that there was an element of “them and us” in debate and discussion session. The speaker, now CEO of the RNLI, was well placed to hold the ring because he had considerable ship command experience and is a keen yachtsman. Also to be recommended as a good read is his book “Learn the Nautical Rules of the Road - The Essential Guide to the COLREGSs”. In his very practical talk and in the book he describes useful manoeuvres to help the small craft keep out of trouble or avoid hindering large ships - these include the “The Retiring Turn” and “The Chicken Circle”.

As usual, our autumn activities included taking part in Skillfest, an exhibition attracting 2,500 young people. Once again, many thanks to Transas Marine Ltd for bringing along a bridge simulator which helps make our stand one of the busiest.

Our programme for 2014 has an early start with a visit to the National Oceanography Centre on the morning of Saturday 4th Jan 2014. The highlight of this event will be a tour of their new ship RRS Discovery. Early booking is recommended.

There is plenty of variety in the following five months with events at no less seven different locations. For information about these, keep an eye on “Compass Points” in Navigation News and the Solent section of the RIN website.

  • 01 November 2013
  • Solent Branch

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