BY DAVID BERSON
At first glance there is nothing that newsworthy about three old friends going cruising from Bermuda via the Azores to England; that is unless you consider that these three friends were each 74 years old. In 1981, when they made the cruise, age 60 was considered “elderly.” The British press referred to the cruise as the “222”— a reference to the combined ages of the sailors. All three of these septuagenarians were special in another way; they were all highly decorated Royal Navy veterans. Each had earned the Distinguished Service Cross for their gallantry and bravery during World War II, and one of them, was a knighted vice-admiral. So it was that Sir William Crawford, Captain Colin McMullen and John Lamb, all retired, took leave from Bermuda bound for England. They were sailing aboard a 35-foot Alan Buchanan-designed wood sloop built in the mid-1960s named Saecwen (the Saxon word for sea queen).
Sir William Crawford and Captain McMullen had been sailing together for years. Both were founding members of the Royal Naval Sailing Association. They were officers aboard different battleships in 1941 when the Royal Navy engaged the German battleship Bismarck. Capt. McMullen was gunnery officer aboard the battleship HMS Prince of Wales and William Crawford was gunnery officer aboard HMS Rodney. Bismarck was ultimately sunk by RN forces.
The last of the crew, John Lamb, had spent the war doing convoy duty on the runs to Murmansk in the Soviet Union. He commanded his ship to ram the German submarine U-125.
Departing Bermuda, on May 5, 1981, Saecwen headed east northeast to the Azores more than 1,500 miles away.
By the end of the first week, they were caught up in a Force 10 (48 to 55 knots) storm. Heaving to, they rode out the blow. They arrived in the Azores after 21 days at sea.
Famous personages as they were, their arrival was a press event. They departed the Azores and as they closed on the coast of England met with fog and heavy traffic but arrived home safely.
Let’s join them on May 15. The weather has cleared and McMullen takes a lower limb observation of the sun at 10:35:22 LMT. The seas are still choppy after the storm, so he is tucked into the companionway so as to not get tossed around. His height of eye is 6 feet. The DR position is 36 °10’ N by 50° 40’ W. The Hs is 65 degrees by 26.6’. We’ll use the 2021 Nautical Almanac.
A. What is the sight time in GMT?
B. What is the Ho?
C. What is the LHA?
D. What is the intercept?
E. What is the EP?
A. Sight time is 13:58:02 GMT
B. Ho is 65 degrees 39.7’
C. LHA is 340°
D. Intercept is 7.7 nm toward at Zn of 129°
E. EP is 35 degrees 50’ N by 50° 17’ W