My thanks to the RNLI, who gave me the opportunity of going to sea with them this afternoon.
They were also kind enough to let me quiz them about their methods of navigation. As you might suspect, the sun, moon and stars don’t play a big part, but they do have some fantastic kit. The Tamar class of lifeboat that we went out on is a formidable boat and the crew’s eyes really light up when you get them on the subject of how good the boat is at righting itself from being upside down.
The only major navigational surprise for me was that they don’t currently use AIS (Automatic Identification System). Warming to know that they do still carry paper charts and mark their position every quarter of an hour with a low-tech pencil.
It was only a Force 5 or 6 out there today, but as this photo might show it was enough to give food for thought… What they must go through on their really bad days at the ‘office’. One crew member, Phil, was out in the great storm of ’87. ******* ****!
Those who have read my last blog entry might be wondering what I took this picture with. The answer is my wife’s camera. I haven’t got round to telling her that the wave after this one soaked her camera. The one after that got under my oilskins and trickled down my back. Felt wonderful to give the face a good soaking in brine again!