A Squall
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A Squall

We had spent a couple of weeks patrolling just west of Gibraltar, and we were sent toward the North Sea for our next exercise. The ETs (electronic technicians) asked permission to perform some overdue maintenance on the radar as we transited on the surface. I was on the bridge standing watch as Officer of the Deck. It was a beautiful blue day, in the main.

The ETs called me and asked if there were any surface ships to use in their testing. I told them that I didn't see any ships, so they decided to use the rain squall far off to the west as a contact to track as they tested the equipment.

After a while they called me back to say that it looked like the squall was going to approach us very closely.

Then a bit later they called to say that the squall was going to hit us in nine minutes.

A race was on. My replacement as OOD was due in nine minutes.

The squall hit in eight minutes. I lost.

As a courtesy, it was customary for the off going OOD to call below and describe the weather conditions for the benefit of the oncoming watch standers.

Remember, only three of the eighty crew members had any way of knowing what the weather was like, even when we were running on the surface.

Then I lost again. I called to announce that it was raining and hailing on the bridge. The Executive Officer overheard the announcement, and he ordered me to stay on the bridge until the squall passed. There was no point in having yet another officer get drenched.

I missed lunch. A steward made me a sandwich.

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