Jeanie Deans spent Monday 8th November continuing to shelter from the storm in the lee of the Isle of Man.
Today ships have a plethora of weather forecasting and significant wave height information available to them at a click on a laptop or one of the ship’s computers. Today all sea going ships have a bit of kit on the bridge which feeds in constant updates on weather. In 1965 there was none of that. Jeanie Deans had a medium frequency radio which broadcast weather information periodically although you needed to be tuned in at the times of the broadcasts to get the information.
When I had left Jeanie Deans just before lunchtime on the Saturday the weather had been fine. It was sunny with a light breeze from the SW. I don’t know what weather forecast Captain Woods had received when he sailed from Stranraer later that afternoon but whatever it was by the evening it was clear that the wind was coming up and with it the sea.
I understand that the quality of the grub had not generally improved during the trip either although there was a cache of Fray Bentos steak pies to draw upon. These came in a tin and all you had to do was take a can opener to the top of them, then pop the opened tin into an oven and hey presto the contents within turned itself into a sort of steak pie with something approximating to puff pastry spilling over on the top of it.
They were good for portion control with one tin per person. They didn’t need refrigerating so could be stored in any old cupboard anywhere. Being in a tin they couldn’t be damaged by leaky decks above them, at least in the short term. And they stacked up on top of each other easily so you could cram a lot of them into a small space. Ideal really from a practical point of view and as a meal of last resort but a diet of eating two of them a day every day soon begun to wear a little thin with the crew. As did the wind which continued unabated.
To be continued.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.
This article was first published on 8th November 2020.