Home' Afloat : December 2013 Contents Take monthly with water December 2013 11
If We Made
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Heavy lifting derricks
David Cornes from the UK recalled, a heavy lifting plant
operating on Sydney Harbour (A fl o a t , Nov’13). There were three
in fact. The Titan, which was quite large and located at Cockatoo
Island and was towed around the Harbour – it did the really big
heavy work. I think there was another smaller floating crane there
as well but cannot recall its name.
There was also the Hawke – an unusual shaped floating crane
again towed around the Harbour.
And the Penguin – a lovely old thing – previously of the Royal
Navy and in Sydney turned into a floating hulk – gutted and
probably shortened. It had a large hold and it was not uncommon
A close shave
In the early ’70s I was sailing on the harbour on the late
well-known Sydney yacht Pacha owned by the equally well-known
insurance magnate Sir Robert Crichton-Brown. On board as crew
were a General in the Australian army and an English Lord who
kept sniffing snuff and sneezing it all over the cockpit leaving
ugly stains much to the owner’s displeasure.
We were cruising past Vaucluse when a RAN frigate making
its way out of the harbour began to overtake us. Sir Robert being
The greatest sporting upset
It’s 2013, 0750 on 29 October at gate lounge 55, Sydney Airport.
Outside is eerily quiet – we’re fogged-in. Finally, there’s time to
read October A fl o a t – Editorial first (it’s compulsory).
By the end of paragraph one, I ’m sitting bolt-upright. By the
end of para two, the hairs on the back of my neck are bristling.
A couple more paragraphs, and it’s 1983 and I’m glued to the TV.
Not breathing. Coffee going cold (now ... just as it was back then).
Australia II is slowly gaining on the Americans. Closer ... closer
... is it possible? Even closer ... it IS possible!
Seconds drag by like a spinnaker in the water, then YES! YES!!
My air punch could not be more enthusiastic if I was actually
aboard Australia II.
Phew! Sit back smiling. Worn out but euphoric once again
about ‘Our Victory’.
Thirty years on and it still thrills me too.
a Lord of the Realm was permitted to fly the White ensign from
the stern of his yacht and was down below preparing some
lunch when we noticed an officer on the bridge had trained his
binoculars on us and was pointing out our yacht to another officer.
After a short discussion a rating was dispatched to the poop
deck whereupon he promptly lowered the ship’s ensign. The
General on board remarked, “Robert, there’s a Naval ship passing
us and I believe they’ve just dipped their colours.”
Sir Robert was a big man in middle age but he launched
himself through the companionway like a 10-year-old and lunged
at the flagstaff and dipped his own ensign.
“God that was close!” said Sir Robert. “I could have been
mentioned in dispatches.”
Colours were raised again on both ships, protocol was
observed and all remained well in the world of diplomacy.
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