Response to pilots' pensions new story, Faraday Cage advice, and blue water communications...

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Yachting Monthly extra letters (Summer 2013) kicks off with a response to one of our recent news stories…

Pilots’ pensions

Dick Durham’s article in your July issue referring to the

deficit in the Pilots National Pension Fund (PNPF) offers a very one-sided

account.

Trinity House licensed pilots conducted ships to many

ports including the River Crouch for centuries, until 1988.

The PNPF was established in 1971 and consequently all of

those harbours benefited from the services of Trinity House Pilots, mostly

PNPF members.

The harbour authorities fought hard to persuade the

Government to legislate, resulting in the 1987 Pilotage Act and the

disestablishment of the majority of the Trinity House pilotage

services, very much against the pilots’ wishes.

With authority comes responsibility and it seems that the

new Competent Harbour Authorities (CHAs) are unhappy about this

reality. The CHAs have 15 years to spread their deficit payments. The

situation is not ideal but not as unfair as is

suggested. PNPF members paid 21 per cent of their earnings into their

pension fund so it most certainly is not a ‘fat cat’s’ non-contributory fund.

Are pilots overpaid? Highly trained and qualified

professional seamen, working day and night, often in poor weather

conditions conducting ships safely into their ports and harbours will not be

cheap, but neither should they be!! 

Geoffrey Anderson

Harwich, Essex

Faraday Cage 

I am a regular reader of your magazine – the best sailing

magazine I know – and I enjoy reading it very much.

I read your article Avoid a lightning strike at sea (June 2013 issue), and found it really interesting.

However, when you explain how to safeguard onboard

electronics by putting them in the oven (p40), you should have added that it is

NOT necessary to have the oven on…!

Olivier Gutt

Blue water communications

I enjoyed your Practical Blue Water Cruising supplement very much.

While I have not circumnavigated, I have completed an

Atlantic circuit and been out to the Azores in my own boat. Communications,

which I believe is one of the most important aspects of fitting out a boat for

blue water sailing, was only afforded a brief paragraph.

YM might like to return to this subject in due course as

it is a topic in itself and one which I’m sure aspiring ocean sailors would

welcome advice on.

Can I also put in a lob for the simple SatC.

I have a Thane & Thane Fishery SatC, with built in GPS

which provides DSC distress capability and enables you to receive SafetyNet

weather and other safety information for free.

I was vectored in by Falmouth Coastguard by a SatC message

to aid a yacht sinking off the Cape Verdes. On another occasion Falmouth

Coastguard were able to contact me when my EPIRB was triggered when a wave came

don the companion way.

A SatC provides a back up for an Iridium phone for emails,

though emails sent over a SatC are admittedly very expensive.

Thank you for an excellent supplement.

Anthony Fawcett