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    Re: navigation by soundings.
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2009 Dec 24, 14:25 -0000

    Here's another short extract from the piece that took my fancy in the
    recent edition of The Journal of Navigation (vol 63 No1, January 2010), in
    case it appeals to other navlist members.
    It refers to the experiennces  of Lt Cdr R W Cooper RN in the Royal Navy in
    1945, when he joined the Royal Navy as midshipman.
    His description of sounding under way with a 16-pound lead implies that it
    must have been a dangerous game for the hand in the chains, especially if he
    was new to it. I wonder whether any Navlist member has seen soundings made
    in that way, or even done the job himself?
    contact George Huxtable, at  george{at}hux.me.uk
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    My first ship was the training cruiser HMS Frobisher, 11,000 tons. She had
    no echo-sounder. Here, the chains were manned by a cadet or midshipman on
    both sides whenever the ship entered harbour. Warships hardly ever take a
    pilot and we were told we leadsmen were an essential tool of navigation.
    (The chains were grating platforms hung either side of the forecastle
    outside the guardrails, about 100 feet from the stem.) One leant outboard
    over a loose chain at waist height, wearing a leather apron.
    Generally the ship approached the port at about 8 knots and this required a
    long reach heave. One held the 16-pound lead with the line over the palm of
    the hand and allowed as much scope as one judged adequate for the ship's
    speed. One started the horizontal swing by holding the arm as far aft as one
    could stretch and bringing it sharply forward, and then repeating. One might
    take three swings to get the line to the horizontal and one would not take
    one's arm or the lead above the horizontal because of the possibility of the
    line going slack, which would mean starting all over again. The fourth swing
    would then be urged above the horizontal with some force, but before the
    line could go slack, one brought the arm as sharply as possible back to the
    shoulder and the lead would complete the circle overhead. After three such
    overhead swings, the lead was moving very fast and when one let go just
    before it reached the horizontal on its way up, it would travel a very long
    way forward, which it obviously needed to do if the ship was making
    much-way. The first time one had to do this was quite nerve-wracking. We
    were told that the most dangerous thing was to be nervous and not give the
    lead the full force. In that case it would not quite get over the top and
    could fall on the leadsman.
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