58 riders for the PLANETS London to Paris 24 hour cycle challenge were fuelled to complete the gruelling 300+ kilometre distance by a very generous donation of bananas from Geest Line.
The money raised during the event, in excess of £65000, will be used to pay the next 6 months of instalments in the purchase of an intraoperative radiotherapy machine, which will put Southampton at the forefront of advanced surgical oncology therapies worldwide.
Geest Line is proud to be associated with the Royal Navy’s Merchant Navy liaison scheme. This scheme is in place to give Junior Naval Officers the chance to sail in Merchant vessels in order to build a stronger common understanding between the maritime communities. With four vessels running out of Portsmouth on a weekly basis Geest Line was approached to be part of the scheme by providing berths in their vessels.
Only too pleased to assist, S/Lts Alex Snow and Mark Walker embarked on the 31st May for a round trip:
|31 May||Portsmouth – Join|
|1 June||Le’ Harve|
|11 June||St Lucia|
|13 June||St Vincent|
|13 June||St Lucia|
|14 June||San Juan|
|15/16 June||Dominican Republic – Banana Loading|
|26 June||Portsmouth – Left|
S/Lt Snow observed ‘Clearly, due to the nature of their business, the routine on board differs significantly from that of the RN. With far fewer systems to operate and exercise (eg, weapons, communications, CBRNDC, aircraft etc.) a much smaller crew is required. However, with 150m of upper deck exposed to the weather, not to mention cranes and stacks of containers, there is lots of maintenance to do. During the ocean passage it became clear how much effort is required to keep the ship in an orderly fashion. At one point the Chief Officer (second in command) was seen aloft the main mast conducting ships husbandry. Both of us found this to be a fine example of team work’
Both S/Lts benefited enormously from the scheme, S/Lt Walker observed ‘Most notably from the Captain who took a keen and enthusiastic interest in teaching us not just astronavigation, but also other questions pertaining to the safe navigation of his ship. Captain Trimanez was enthusiastic for us to learn celestial navigation long hand without the aid of computer software such as NavPac. To this end we found themselves consulting Nautical Almanac’s rather than our computers for the times of sunrise, sunset and MerPass. The Captain also required us to calculate Local Hour Angle of Aries each evening in order to conduct simultaneous sights. This allowed us to use the rapid sight reduction tables to employ the intercept method and find the ship’s position. By way of demonstration, the incomparable to Captain Trimanez who was capable of fixing the ship consistently within 3 miles of the ships actual position and plotting it manually before we were finished with our own sights. Something we will never forget’
Both Mark and Alex have now returned to HMS Penzance, which will see them serve in the Middle East. As they left S/Lt Town joined for his trip around the Caribbean curtesy of the Caribbean’s leading Shipping Line. Long may our association continue.