News Item

Solent Branch News - Nov 2015

The Branch has had a busy start to its Autumn programme with a wide range of activities planned for the coming months with two events "sold out."

She might not be everyone's first choice as a holiday destination, but the world's largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, attracted a lot of attention during her recent passage through the Solent to spend a day at Southampton.. At 225,282 tonnes she must have created quite a navigational challenge for her Master and pilots as they rounded the Bramble Bank to head up Southampton Water in dense fog. With a beam of 208 feet, the width of her bridge exceeds that of the wing span of a Boeing 747 airliner. Fully loaded she carries in excess of 7300 passengers and crew.

The loss of the Costa Concordia has brought cruise ship safety very much into focus. It was therefore perhaps fitting that our first branch meeting, on board the historic vessel Shieldhall had as its subject the salvaging of Costa Concordia. This was followed by an equally relevant meeting at the Warsash Maritime Academy on the subject of the legal and practical implications of the relationship between the ship's master and pilot. Presentations by local pilot Bill Hargreaves MSc FRIN and Richard Wild MSc FRIN from the East Coast set a platform for some very lively debate and questions. An interesting feature of this and many other local RIN meetings is the wide range of experience and age of those taking part. In this case with an attendance of 70 people, the age difference between the youngest and oldest present was at least 65 years!. Experience ranged from four weeks as a cadet through to others with substantial command experience, including a Vice - Admiral. RIN must be almost unique in being able to run successful events with such wide appeal.

Unlike the London Boat Show, the Southampton Boat Show continues to grow with its stands and berths being booked many months in advance. The RIN stand, organised by the Small Craft SIG was better placed this year and was kept busy. Solent Branch members assisted with the manning of the stand. A combination of SCG and local branch programmes encouraged quite a number of interesting people to join RIN.They came not only from within the local region but also from other parts of the UK. A most worthwhile event which raises the RIN profile and brings in new members.

On the subject of exhibitions, the Solent Branch has ploughed something of a lone path within RIN by taking part in "Skillfest" events for a number of years. The most recent one, just held at the Southampton Cruise Terminal attracted over 3000 young people and their teachers. We did not have jobs or training courses to offer but the organisers like us there because we demonstrate new technology in action, so much so, that they recently gave us a local award as "amazing people". This autumn, the maritime section of our stand was strengthened by Les Emptage MRIN of Neptunenavigation and for the first time, Ordnance Survey joined us with a team of three. With Graham Purchase FRIN from NATS, this meant that we had air, maritime and land navigation well covered.

The Branch regards providing encouragement, assistance and a platform for RIN and its special interest groups to run events in this region as an important part of its role. RIN's INC 2015 is being held in Manchester but we very were pleased when the Small Craft Group decided to run its November weather and sailing seminar at the Hornet Services Sailing Club in Gosport. It has proved to be a good decision, because the event was fully sold out two months before the planned closing date.and we have a reserve list.

History of Air Navigation events run in this region are always popular with local members ,so much that the next one being at Goodwood on Wed 12th November 2014 is a "sell out".

Visits are well supported and a feature of our local programme, so much so that we have laid on two separate visits to the new MCA National Operations Centre in early December. Prior booking is essential and because of a numbers limitation, this event is strictly members only, no guests.

Our plans for 2015 are in place with events at NATS, The Ordnance Survey, Royal Lymington YC and the Warsash Maritime Academy, culminating in a Fly- Sail event on 13th/14th June 2015.

Local contacts _ Mike Highwood -
John Cairns -

  • 19 October 2014
  • Solent Branch

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