A Tender Tale

"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone;
I can see all obstacles in my way;
 ....Johnny Nash

As time went on - I learned more about why people did things withoutbeing told. It was something new to me called responsibility.And funny thing - I found myself on all-night jobs - and wouldn'tthink of quitting until it was done. And soon others came torely on me. They trusted me to do the job, do it right; and ontime. One of the greatest pleasures was on a task that took notonly everything I had - but when I stated that the impossiblecould be done - I "volunteered" a shipmate to the taskas well. It was another of those "last minute panics"when a boat discovered within hours of sailing that they neededa repair that took days - not hours - under normal conditions.Seems that there was a problem in one of the SINS wiring harnesses.

SINS Console
Console like the one needing a new wiring harness.

Confronted with the situation - and noting we had just over 24hours - I told my boss that I and Bobby Bishop could change thatharness in time. I knew my own ability - I knew Bobby and trustedhis abilities. Based on that commitment - within an hour - wewere given the green light. The Boat's Navigator was super - heprovided us with whatever we needed - and offered anything withinhis power to do... Bobby - having just come up from the NavCenteron the boat - had noted what the boat was having for dinner -Lobster Thermidor. He told the Navigator - "you just keepus in Lobster -
SINS console
Typical SINS console installed in a boat - The stable platform is what the sailor is leaning back on behind him - very close quarters in the Nav Center!
and we'll change your harness"... I'm tellingyou - I've never seen (nor eaten) so much Lobster - we couldn'tset our cup down that a cook wasn't filling it back up... Andwe hit that console for all we were worth. Frankly ... I don'tremember much about that job - Bobby and I worked extremely wellas a team - we seemed to instinctively know what the other wasdoing - needed - and so on. Bobby had the duty that night -- andat 4AM he had the Quarter Deck Watch.By this time we were well on the way to re-assembly - I was supposedto call someone else to come down when Bobby had to go on watch...but we were so close to being done - I decided to wing it alone.I remember that I was adjusting the last frame / slide unit -getting it level - when Russ Haden poked his head around the corner- and asked how it was going - It was 7:30 - He helped me slidethe electronics drawers back into the console - and by 8:15 -the Boat's crew had the system re-lit and running self-check/calibration.Just under 20 hours - I don't know if that record was ever beaten-and really - in the big picture - it wasn't very important. butat that time - it wasn't that I could do it - or even that I diddo it --- the Pride was in the fact that my shipmates - both supervisorsand peers - trusted my judgment - and ability to deliver againstlong odds.


© 1997 Common Cents Computers