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    Re: checking the magnetic compass
    From: Bruce Hamilton
    Date: 2009 Sep 23, 19:36 -0700

    On the first merchant ship I worked on (early 80's) we used to check our
    magnetic compass through the periscope and log it along with the gyro
    when ever we made a log entry.  The magnetic was very hard to see
    through the periscope, and I used to dread having to steer by it.   It
    was a mild source of entertainment for the old man to cover up the gyro
    repeater and watch me squint and sweat as I steered a course. This was a
    315 foot ship but it had no autopilot so the cadet got lots of wheel
    time. I think first year cadets are a great source of entertainment for
    the deck officers.
    
    We really did all of our navigation in true. Having 2 gyros will do that
    to you.  As well, deck officers have lots to do other than navigation so
    no one is going to look for extra work.
    
    We used to lose our power on one regular run from, Ashatabula Ohio to
    the generating station at Nanticoke Ontario, but it would come back in a
    couple of minutes. Once we docked, we would tighten up all the mooring
    wires and check the gyro. The brief power interruption never seemed to
    bother it.
    
     I eventually found the source of our regular blackouts from the engine
    room cadet. There was a relief engineer who could never figure out how
    to bring the third generator online in phase with the others so he would
    always end up tripping the entire system. We always rang standby
    (otherwise known as the engine room wake up call) when re rounded long
    point an that meant we needed all the generators online as we were going
    to be maneuvering, docking and then unloading. For a while we thought
    that Long Point (Lake Erie) was some sort of Bermuda Triangle.
    
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