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


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

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