MARITIME BLOG – Random thoughts on Maritime History, or today’s events………………

Here you can find observations on the maritime world and all that it holds. With the globe 70% water, maritime events dominate our lives, from the essential trade patterns, to the crucial part that our watery planet plays governing and regulating climate.

Where to start? Writing articles for publication, there is a need to describe what it was like being Master of a big windjammer. A challenging task, especially that none of us have had that privilege! However, a lifetime involved with ships, boats, and maritime affairs coupled with a bit of research gives a good feeling for this huge job.

The constant need for fine judgement, especially with regard to shortening or setting sail was a paramount need. No Master got it right 100% with nature being so fickle. There are many examples of it going drastically wrong, one of the prime ones being the Preussen which stranded near Dover. The Master was a senior man and well respected by the Laeitz company, but he made a fatal decision. The company gave him another vessel. More later…..P.S. There are true first hand accounts of sailing ship travails in a book that I produced available for a modest £1.50 on this site under ‘books’. It is called appropriately enough, ” Sailing Ship Stories”.

There are articles about Bank Line history in the pipeline. Sea Breezes will carry an article entitled “Andrew Weir’s Sailing Ship losses” which outlines the fleet which was the largest under the red ensign, and the heavy losses in sail. Shipping Today and Yesterday will also publish an article entitled ” Bank Line’s Twin Screw Fleet” which sums up the amazing 30 year plus career of many of the old timers. Dates to be announced.

This site has been tidied up, hopefully to make it easier to navigate around. Any thoughts by readers are welcome.

Just posted a fine picture of the 1930’s built ‘Irisbank’ in which I served as third Mate for nearly 2 years. (see main page). It was a tough period of fairly basic living, made tougher by the Master who was a decent sort but very strict and spartan. To give an idea of conditions, any relaxation was frowned upon including a brief period when in total boredom, we started to play ‘football’ with a rolled up makeshift ball, only to be told to cease. On the bridge as a junior officer I was instructed to stay in the open wings of the bridge unless essential! We eventually paid off abroad in Bathurst in the Gambia and flew back via Gibraltar. It was heaven!

Anyone reading this who served in the Bank Line? First hand accounts are urgently needed to spice up the site a bit. You may have been a lowly engineer or mate, or even a galley boy on the European crewed Liberty ships, but all writing is welcome and not only welcome, but needed! It could be a few sentences, or half a book, but other readers would love to read about your time onboard. Nothing is too trivial because, not surprisingly, people are fascinated by detail. To start – please get in touch through the comment facility. Many thanks…

ex ‘Grace 1’ in the news, seen here at Gibraltar prior to departure under the Iranian flag…

CLICK on the link below for a very nice video of a paddle vessel on Lake Geneva and called the SIMPLON. She has horizontal engines made over 100 years ago, and the crank is open for the passengers to view. It is in immaculate condition.

” First Trip Impressions” is the title of an illustrated article which will appear in the next few issues of the magazine titled ” Sea Breezes”. It is an account of a first trip away in the Bank Line starting July 1951, and which involved service on 5 vessels including a ‘ coal burner’, the passenger ship ‘ Inchanga’ and the recently built, and narrowly rescued ship, ‘Westbank’. She had just been salvaged from an encounter with an unlit island in the Indian Ocean.

all comments welcome!

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