HMS Bristol At The Royal Navy Establishment Whale Island
A mention of this ship is made elsewhere in this Newsletter, this extra article
is to tell you a little bit about HMS Bristol, and the circumstances in which our
Commodore Tony Hopkins wanted to lay claim to it.
We were at Whale Island to compete in the Royal Navy Sailing Centre Bosun Open Meeting.
The briefing was held in the Centre's Clubhouse which, as you would expect, is near
the waters edge and when looking out of the Clubhouse window, dominating the view
is a warship, HMS Bristol, dark and brooding in its painted battleship grey colour,
and complete with some rather menacing armaments.
But we needed to pay attention to the briefing for the impending competition, so
had to avert our gaze from this impressive piece of power. At one point in the briefing
it was explained that 'on the table over there is a register in which you are to
list the name of the Establishment that you are representing, and the names of the
helm and the the crew who will be competing'.
The instruction continued 'On each line there is a number, this is the number of
the boat to which you are initially allocated, so you can pick any line, in other
words, it's a first come first served basis for you to pick any boat'.
To which Tony loudly announced to the assembled competitors, that he 'would have
that one out there, the big grey one with the guns!' Answered with peals of laughter,
it was a cracking good joke, Well Done Tony!
But not only did HMS Bristol dominate the view from the window, when racing, it was
also the dominating view when approaching the windward mark in that that mark was
but a few boat lengths from this warship's 35'ish feet of vertical steel port side.
A quite unusual point of reference to be heading to!