Saturday, December 3, 2016

'Taking The Helm'

Here’s another from an Ol’ Shipmate from the PacNorthwest!  I spent much of my career in that area and am currently residing there as well… I can picture this just how he tells it!!!

Ships back in the day were like a floating sweatshop for young Booters underway! They were worked like galleon slaves to earn their Salt!! It’s just the way it was!! It’s what made us into the Sea going Warriors we all turned out to be!!!

As a Deck Seaman I was the ‘Special Sea & Anchor Detail’ Helmsman, and was called to take the helm when entering or leaving port and at any time we were at ‘Restrictive Maneuvering!’

 We were near the end of underway workups, and were entering Puget Sound, off the Washington coast where ground swells always make steering difficult!  To make matters worse, there was a strong wind off the port quarter!!  As a result, I was called out of the rack at about 0300 Hours!!!

Now with the 0400-0800 watch the night before, I didn't get much sleep!  But I dressed as quickly as possible and headed up to the pilot house to see what was up!!  Just as I stepped in, I heard the Officer of the Deck shout down the voice tube…

"Helmsman what are you doing thirty degrees off course?" 

The response from the beleaguered helmsman was…

"Coming back from forty-five Sir!"

After I stopped laughing, I requested permission to take the helm, much to the relief of the young fella who was steering… those were the days!!!

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