Tuesday 9 February 2016

Fifty One Degrees North

I have been doing the do in West Mersea Yacht Club this morning moving two little dashes I painted two years ago.  They have been in the wrong place for two whole years.  I am feeling a little bit mortified about this.  I should have known better.

When I was first asked to paint the latitude and longitude over the club bar it was 2014 and no-one could agree what the coordinates actually were.

Quite a few variations were being bandied about so I decided to have go at plotting the position myself.  Using parallel rules I counted out the degrees, minutes and seconds from an old Admiralty chart in the lifeboat station. More likely I think I just stared, sucked my pencil and dreamed of heroically navigating across oceans whilst our LOM (Lifeboat Operations Manager) worked it out. Before I knew it he'd done it.

I was elated and thought I could smugly tell the Commodore,
"Look! These are they",  but back at the Yacht Club they had yet another answer. I was given a new set of correct coordinates with a decimal place.  A decimal place!  There's nothing romantic about a decimal place.  A very clever electronic box and a satellite had worked it out, the computer must be right, this must be where we are.

So, I painted the numbers with the decimal places, with a nice compass rose inbetween.  Now, what with there being a decimal, there weren't any seconds anymore, just minutes and points of a minute.  And me being a stupid artist and not knowing anything about GPS, and not really knowing anything about old school navigation either (despite having passed my Yachtmaster shorebased three times -it's about time I went to sea but that's another story)  I put the little dashy apostrophe mark that denotes minutes right at the end of the number when apparently it ought to go before the decimal.

Either everyone was terribly kind or nobody noticed or nobody cared.  No-one said a word until today.  Anyhow, tis rectified (but a bit squashed in) and all is well with the world.

About the Yachtmaster. I think I'm going to have to do night school and make it a fourth time...    now I have a boat and the whole world is just across the water but I am full of angst and not feeling quite brave enough to leap off and go.   Re-yachtmastering will surely bolster my beans !

This is dangerous talk.   Announcing here that I am going to do something sort of makes me actually have to do it.  And I know that thing that once you begin something it is never quite as terrifying as the thinking about doing it beforehand, but all the same, I might just hop round the island to Pyefleet Creek before I tackle the Horn.


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