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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Bounty Information | Wanted Dead or Alive: Mad Scientess Nanila
Deeds of Derring-Do | Full of Wild Inaccuracies and Exaggerations

The rum is gone. [20110827|21:52]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[the weather today is |bistromathics]



When you hire a 44-foot yacht, and the yacht is named Bertie, it is totally reasonable to be disappointed when you find that it does not automatically come equipped with a dapper, discreet and impeccable butler, y/y? Preferably played by Stephen Fry? Yeah, that's what I thought too.

Despite the lack of butler, we managed to celebrate gin o'clock on a daily basis. We also sailed/motored from Plymouth to Helford River at night. I got up for the early morning shift with Cap'n Rob, pictured above. He suggested that I have a go at helming. I probably should have realised that this was not the best choice to make just after we entered a thick fog bank and visibility was reduced to about 100 metres. Cap'n assured me he was keeping an eye on the radar and that he would let me know if anything came up.

You can guess what's coming, right? Well, I didn't. Instead, I had the sort of experience you expect to see in a naval war film. A red mist began to materialize just off the port bow. As my petrified brain managed to quantify it as a shape, a solid shape, a very big solid shape, I found my voice. "Rob," I called carefully and calmly, "What is that?"

He bounded up the steps from the navigation table, wrenched the tiller out of my frozen hands, swung it hard to starboard, revved the engine and roared, "So that's what's been on the radar for the last ten minutes!"

It was a tanker.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: wurlitzerprized
2011-08-28 01:26 (UTC)
you had me at stephen fry...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 09:18 (UTC)
If I'd had enough rum, I'd probably insist he do this repeatedly.
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2011-08-28 03:35 (UTC)
Oh. My. God. Oh god. Aie! Tanker!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 09:20 (UTC)
I'm not sure about my approach to panicking, in hindsight. I wonder if it would have been better to be a leetle bit more urgent!
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2011-08-28 07:15 (UTC)
LORDY. That could have gone far more exciting that you'd have wanted. *shudders*
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 09:21 (UTC)
The lads assured me there was no chance the tanker didn't know perfectly well that we were there. We were only equipped with radar, while they have AIS. They'd probably slowed down ages before we approached them.
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[User Picture]From: sanat
2011-08-28 08:58 (UTC)
Eek!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 09:22 (UTC)
Yes. The episode had a slow-motion horror film scene quality to it. I should have been shrieking in terror.
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[User Picture]From: andgracetoo
2011-08-28 14:48 (UTC)
Yikes. That's crazy but at least you realized before anything bad could have happened.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 16:14 (UTC)
True. I like to think I would have unfrozen in time to do something besides call for confirmation that we were, in fact, headed for A Wall, but since Rob intervened, I'm not sure!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-29 14:31 (UTC)
Oh, I don't know - I think they're required to! They have more sophisticated tracking systems, so they pretty much know exactly where other ships are (including small fishing vessels) and can therefore change course or slow down to avoid them much earlier.
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[User Picture]From: victorine
2011-08-29 06:39 (UTC)
I would have smacked him around a bit for that one! or scolded him for not mentioning a gargantuan thing on the radar!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-29 14:32 (UTC)
He was muttering under his breath about something, but as I was concentrating on keeping my eyes peeled for things like lobster pots and fishing vessels, I didn't really hear what he was saying!
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[User Picture]From: alice_mccoy
2011-08-29 09:08 (UTC)
AAAAGGGGHHHH

So how close were you if visability was 100 meters?

Bad Rob, Bad Rob !
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-29 14:33 (UTC)
Quite close. It was almost motionless and clearly to port, so I don't think that we'd have collided with it even if we'd stayed on the same course. But it would have been close(r).
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[User Picture]From: sekl
2011-08-29 09:50 (UTC)
Yes, I think you have every right to be disappointed that the trip did not include Steven Fry. Apparently you needed Jeeves after all. If only to ask discreetly what was so very large on the radar.

I hope it was gin o'clock very soon after your encounter with the tanker...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-29 14:35 (UTC)
I think he would have come up the steps and said quietly, "I believe Madam might wish to change course ever so slightly to starboard." I would have liked that.
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[User Picture]From: alice_mccoy
2011-08-29 17:44 (UTC)
Nah it would have been "If you would allow me Madam", followed by a deft and graceful manipulation of the bits whilst balancing the tray holding your G&T perfectly still in his left hand.

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[User Picture]From: saltdawg
2011-08-29 15:33 (UTC)
My brothers on the bridge of the tanker were probably muttering "Stupid sailboat", amongst other things.
While the tanker was very much in the wrong for not blowing his fog horn, he probably didn't know you were there. Sailboats, even big ones, have very faint radar signatures and we can often be fooled by weather "noise" on the screen into thinking a sailboat is just part of the weather system. Also, if your boat didn't have an AIS, you wouldn't have shown up on his AIS.

Either way, you were very lucky. And I'm glad you are OK. I've been on a ship that had to run over a pontoon boat before, But that's a story for another time.

There is a saying out here: "tonnage rules", and if you click through, you can see why: http://gcaptain.com/idiot-month-sailboat-dismasted?28932
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2011-08-29 21:03 (UTC)
Oops...
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From: anokapolis
2011-08-31 03:37 (UTC)
Wow, that close! But that must have been once in a life time, not what if! You already have done it, almost hit a tanker:)
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[User Picture]From: helpful_mammal
2011-08-31 18:34 (UTC)
Oh wow. I'm glad you're alright, taht could have been nasty.

Unfortunately The old rule about steam giving way to sail doesn't really apply when you're a tanker and it takes you two miles to slow down.

I've never been sailing but I can tell you from experience that the Plymouth-Santander ferry looks enormous from a kayak when it's sailing into Plymouth and you're trying to cross the deep water channel before it hits you.
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