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Ships & the Sea - Expert Quiz Answers

by Robert C. Stone R.C.N. (retired) of Ajax, Ontario, CANADA
1. 

For what was the naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal awarded?

The citation reads 'for 19 years undetected crime'. The Royal
Navy believed that it was impossible for a man to be in the R.N. for 19 years without having committed a crime.

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2. 

Sailors serve in a ship, never on a ship. Why is this so?

Because a ship is a sailor's home. One lives in a home, not on it.

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3. 

What was the name of the decisive battle of the Pacific War?

Midway.

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4. 

What did Philip II, Aethelred II and Kublai Khan all have in
common other than kingship?

All lost newly built costly fleets to storm weather. The English
and the Japanese named their storms 'divine wind', thus the Japanese
term kamikaze in 1281.

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5. 

Why is it necessary for a seaboat to be griped to when secured?

The gripes when secured restrain the seaboat from moving with
the motion of the ship which might damage or destroy the seaboat.

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6.

What is meant by broaching to?

Broaching to means to turn broadside to the wind and weather in a heavy sea exposing the ship to capsize. Today it is usually caused by accident and occurs frequently during the downwind leg of a yacht race when carrying a spinnaker or too much sail. It requires expert helmsmanship and a well-drilled crew to overcome without damage. In the days of square rigged ships tacking was usually executed to leeward so that the ship would not be caught in irons going slowly through the eye of the wind. Hence there used to be a considerable risk of broaching to depending on sea and swell conditions.

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7. 

Distinguish between flotsam and jetsam.

Flotsam is floating wreckage whereas jetsam may be any goods thrown overboard.

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8. 

On June 1, 1813, the U.S. frigate "Chesapeake" surrendered after an astonishingly short eleven-minute engagement to an R.N. frigate when the U.S. ship was slightly more heavily armed and had 20% more crew. What was the R.N. ship's name?

The Royal Navy ship was the H.M.S."Shannon.  It was captained by Philip Bowes Vere Broke. (Note
the aristocratic family names, deVere and Bowes, as in Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, the late Queen Mother.) The gallant U.S. Captain's name was Lawrence.

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9. 

How would you splice a rope that was not intended to go through a
block?

A short splice.

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10. 

How would you splice a rope that was intended to go through a block?

A long splice.

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11. 

Why is water removed from the table before toasts are proposed in the Royal Navy?

To prevent toasts to the King over the sea, by passing a glass over the water. James II, when Duke of York, was the 1st Sea Lord and an accomplished sea officer.  He fought in several engagements against the Dutch and the French and was very popular in the Fleet. In 1685 King Charles II died unexpectedly. His brother James, Duke of York succeeded him as James II. However, James was Roman Catholic. Most of his subjects except in Irelandwere not of that faith. Aside from imprisoning Anglican bishops on false charges, James set out to ensure that all commissioned officers in the military were Roman Catholic. The net result was that senior officers in the Navy and Army plus many parliamentarians invited William of Orange and his wife Mary, James' eldest daughter, to come to Englandand be crowned king and queen as William II and Mary II. These amazing events took place in 1688. James with the memory of his father Charles I's execution in mind, fled the country to France. He was still King of England. William was crowned the same year, 1688, and so we had two Kings of England: William in possession, and the other, James, dispossessed over the sea. Thus a toast to the King over the water, done by passing the glass over the water in toasting the King, was a treasonable act. And to this day all water is removed from a naval mess table before toasting the Monarch.

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12. 

What is the use of a snatch block?

Snatch blocks are used for main derrick guys and boat's falls. In yachting today they are frequently used in roving temporary running rigging. Wherever snatch blocks are used appropriate caution is necessary to ensure they are not overstrained and that they are properly fitted and secured. Too heavy a reliance on them might be fatal.

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13. 

Name the seven parts of a block.

Shell, crown, tail, score, sheave, swallow, and pin.

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14. 

What was the real name of Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo and what was his occupation before his imprisonment?

The Count of Monte Cristo was Edmond Dantes, Master of the
"Pharaon".

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15. 

What is the name of the only municipality in the world named after a ship?

Ajax, Ontario, named after H.M.S."Ajax" of Rio De La Plata fame.

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16. 

What is another name for a parbuckle?

Another name for a parbuckle is a bottlescrew.

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17. 

Where did the decisive naval battle lost by Anthony and Cleopatra to Octavian (later Caesar Augustus) and Marcus Vispanius Agrippa?

The battle was fought off Actium on the northwest coast of Greece in 31 B.C. (a.k.a. B.C.E.).

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18. 

Winston Churchill when 1st Lord prior to 1914 proposed a name for a new battleship. The name was sent up to King George V for his consent. The King replied. "Never! Not while I am King of England!" What was the proposed name?

H.M.S. "Cromwell". And there never has been an H.M.S. "Cromwell".

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19. 

Captain Anson of the H.M.S. "Centurion" captured the Manila galleon "Neustra Senora de Covadonga" in 1743 off Macao and as a result became immensely rich. The loss of 2/3rds of his men while lamentable was financially beneficial as the heavy mortality increased each survivor's share of prize money. What did Anson's men die of and what medical benefit resulted from Anson's contribution of prize money?

Two-thirds of the crew of the H.M.S. Centurion died of scurvy. This led to the prevention of scurvy in the Fleet because Anson contributed to the cost of experimentation to this end from his own prize money.

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20. 

For three generations "Almirante Latorre", a battleship of 28,600 tons displacement, 24 knots, 10 14" guns, 18 6" guns, several AA weapons and 4 21" submerged torpedo tubes was the flagship of the Chilean Navy. When an R.N. ship she served at Jutland in May, 1916. What was her name in the R.N.?

H.M.S. "Canada".

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21. 

What was the name of her sister ship?

Initially intended as the "Almirante Cochrane", she was completed as H.M.S. "Eagle", an aircraft carrier with a distinguished record in peace and war until she was torpedoed and lost 11 August, 1942.

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22. 

Who conceived the strategy that won the Battle of Salamis for the
Athenians?

Themistocles, 481 B.C., he who when asked why he only appointed his friends as judges replied rhetorically, "Would you have me appoint my enemies?" The spirit of Themostocles is unquenched.

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23. 

Is the plug of a seaboat in or out when secured on board?

Out to permit rain and/or other water to drain.

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24. 

When a seaboat is secured inboard  are the poppets shipped or unshipped?

Poppets are shipped so that the poppets experience precisely
similar weathering conditions as the hull itself. Also looks neater.

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25. 

Why is a seaboat's tiller secured hard over?

A seaboat's tiller is secured hard over so that when the boat is dropped in the water the seaboat will automatically tend to veer off the ship's hull to prevent broadside collision.

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26. 

What is a Samson post?

A Samson post is a square shaped upright post mounted f'w'd in a boat bolted to the keel to which a towing line may be secured. Samson posts may also be fitted to ships of all sizes for the same purpose and may be found dockside though these are usually shaped differently and are referred to as bollards.

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27. 

Should a boat be trimmed to carry weather helm or lee helm?

A boat should be trimmed to carry weather helm so that it willreadily come head to wind if the tiller is unattended or if there is a loss of control of the boat in an accident or sudden change of wind both as to direction and velocity.

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28. 

What is a Plimsoll line?

A Plimsoll line may be one of many lines painted on a merchant ships hull to limit the depth to which a hull may be submerged. It is named after Samuel Plimsoll, a British politician and reformer, 1824-1898, who was  very concerned about the heavy loss of merchant seaman in the 19th Century due to poor hulls and incompetent loading of such hulls. Plimsoll introduced the Merchant Shipping act of 1876 which advocated the use of Plimsoll lines. Later the insurance industry made their use mandatory.

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29. 

What is a cable's length?

A cable's length is 200 yards or 600 feet.

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30. 

You are officer of the watch in the middle watch of a merchant ship leaving a canal and are preparing to drop the pilot. The pilot boat is coming alongside now. What should you do?

Call the Captain to the bridge if he is not already there. With his permission proceed dead slow or stop if the ship has too much way on, switch on the deck floodlights, ensure that the Jacob's ladder is secured inboard and at full reach over the side for the convenience and safety of the pilot. Attend in person the pilot's departure and thank the pilot for his services.

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