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    Re: lights and shapes
    From: Trevor Kenchington
    Date: 2003 Jun 14, 23:05 -0300

    John Germain wrote:
    > Vessels engaged in racing should not be flying an Ensign: then their signals become private.
    > My best guess.
    I suspect that the _official_ issue is that a signal made with IC flags
    isn't an IC signal unless it is preceded by the hoisting of the
    Answering Pennant, with the recipient of the signal then hoisting his
    Answering Pennant to the dip -- followed by the whole game with bits of
    coloured bunting that is laid down in the code book.
    Of course, nobody ever does that any more and an Alpha flag indicates a
    dive boat or a Hotel flag a ship with a pilot aboard whenever the said
    flag is displayed.
    On the other hand, the _real_ issue is that we are expected to interpret
    signals with common sense and local knowledge. In one harbour I used to
    frequent, the Zulu flag was the accepted signal, by a yacht on a
    swinging mooring, requesting a visit from the club launch so that the
    yacht's crew could get ashore. Zulu, of course, means "I require a tug"
    (unless made by a fishing vessel on the fishing grounds, in which case
    it means "I am shooting nets") but, when made by a yacht in a harbour
    that has no tugs, that would be nonsensical and the local usage was
    appropriate and understood by all.
    The dual use of the Bravo flag fits into a similar bracket. So did the
    old use of the Papa flag as a preparatory signal in yacht racing (a
    signal that I think has long-since been dropped from the rule book). A
    committee boat flying Papa was not signalling "All persons should report
    on board as the vessel is about to proceed to sea" nor "My nets have
    come fast on an obstruction", which are the two International Code
    meanings of the single-letter signal Papa.
    Trevor Kenchington
    Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus@iStar.ca
    Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902) 889-9250
    R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902) 889-9251
    Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902) 889-3555
                         Science Serving the Fisheries

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