John Sansom
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John Sansom - Aberdovey, Wales, 1949

As I write, news is coming in that the SV Concordia, a combined academic and sail experience training vessel, has capsized a significant distance to the southeast of Rio. Thankfully the 62 souls aboard were successfully transferred to a rescue vessel.

This incident reminds me of an afternoon moored in the Dovey estuary somewhat more than a stone's throw off the public beach while an onshore team fired a rope and grapnel at our elderly lifeboat platform. This was the "breeches buoy" training experience. Crikey!

It took the first near miss to remind us that this was a bloody dangerous business. Thankfully, the third miss encouraged the shore party to haul the rope and breeches out to us with the duty boat, thereby allowing us to be unceremoniusly dragged ashore one by one.

As a member of the Garibaldi watch, I also recall a six a.m. scramble to unintentionally be the first on deck for the morning swim (a cold shower replacement for us vessel-bound trainees). I hesitated when I saw that the deck was covered in snow and that there were still a number of airborne flakes looking for a home.

I explained my hesitation to the bosun who was directly behind me. "It's snowing, bos'", I said. "Not in July, it isn't," he replied....and that sufficed. You bet it did. Bosuns do, in fact, know everything, right?