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Compass swinging completed

The humble steering compass is still an important navigational tool and today (Monday 15 May 2017) our volunteer crew completed its compass swinging.

Why swing the compass?

Before GPS sets became so ubiquitous, swinging a compass was a yearly ritual for boat owners, and the compass was the most important navigational tool onboard. After all, even a small error could have a major effect on an estimated position calculation. In order to meet our MCA certification we are required to swing the compass.

Colin told us more about the process:

The crew arrived at 1130 and got the engines up and running making the boat ready for departure by 1200. A brew up was the order of the day whilst we waited for the compass swinger to arrive who bought with him an array of technical gear to check the compass which he set up on the wheel house deckhead.

We left our mooring and proceeded into the West India Dock, past HMS Richmond which was visiting London for a few days. We spent about 45 minutes in the dock undertaking various maneuvers before returning to our moorings.

After completing all the paperwork and stowing gear reconnecting the shore supply the crew departed by about 1500.

Once again we must say THANK YOU to the volunteers who helped crew Massey during this essential task! 

Did you know?

When Massey was sent to Dunkirk it did not even possess a compass, but the crew had bought one hastily from a chandler's in Blackfriars. There was no time to swing and correct it, which made it rather unreliable since the large steel hull of the fireboat caused a massive deviation. As a result, despite the excellent landmark of smoke from Dunkirk's burning oil tanks, they were well outside the swept channel when they got to the French coast.

How you can help

If you would like to help with further maintenance of Massey or would like to train to be a deck hand or engine room assistant please email us on volunteer@masseyshaw.org 

Get involved

Photos

A couple of photos of Massey in he dock swinging the compass.

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