Well, it was a fine sunny day and Your Skipper had been helping his wife Maura on her 15 ton motor ketch Le Daneka berthed only 20m from Sheemaun. Unfortunately, while leaving LD, a missed footing and Murpy's Law led to YS taking a tumbling roll onto the pontoon. As Murphy's Laws states, 'Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong' and then YS went on to prove Sod's Law in so far as when it goes wrong it will do so in the most inconvenient way. My body spin was anti-clockwise and so into the 'oggin I went. Fortunately I went on to confirm Archimedes' Principle and found I was floating, so a short swim enabled me access a nearby safety ladder.
Various lessons were learned. The most significant was that the considerable amount of water trapped in my clothing must have almost doubled my weight, hauling myself up the steps required all my strength. So remember that if you should ever have to save an MOB, say of 10 stones, his/her actual weight could well be more like 15 stones.
Oh yes, the smart-arses chided me for not wearing a life-jacket. Of course I wear a life-jacket whenever under way, but whoever dons a life-jacket to step off a boat moored to the pontoon? On reflection, I think an inflated life-jacket would have made it much more difficult for me to use my arms in pulling myself up the safety ladder. Anyway, aside from a grazed knee which became infected, all ended well.
I have had some fascinating contacts from former cadets of the 1980s. One recalling how when Sheemaun was off Broadstairs, the CO ordered cadets to be flung in the sea because they smelled bad!
The Old Pangbournian website has some relevant Blogs -
'Anyone here on the infamous Sheemaun trip from Pangbourne to Paris (and back) in the Summer of '86? I've stumbled across the 'New' owner and thought I'd like to compile some notes about the trip..... I need some memory jogging though.'
'I wasn't on that trip but remember many strange incidents about Sheemaun. I though Kirton had sunk her!
'Enjoyed many days on Sheemaun, but that was probably 82- - 83 .... Portsmouth & Solent as well as Le Havre. Certainly remember blowing things up with French petards (bombs RP) and making bread and butter pudding with the left-overs at the end of each cruise.'
I still have much work to do on Sheemaun's interior, this is clearly going to be a major refurbishment but very necessary and the old girl deserves it.
It seems our book is attracting a lot of interest. Only the other day a gentleman drove past in a tender and shouted across that he had read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it ... a first class read!