Fri Dec 13th 2013
It was a privilege to be in the audience last night at the DunLaoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC) to hear and see Jim Kennedy perform as he told us of his career as a pilot in Dublin Bay for 27 years.
I was present in January this year when he told us about his career with the RNLI at a lecture for the Maritime Institute at Stella Maris in Beresford Place.
Last night’s lecture was pure showmanship. He had very few power-points but did not need many as his story comes from the many years of working as a pilot and in such a long career there had to be some incidents.
He used the chart of Dublin Bay and a more detailed one of Dublin Port to show where certain ships tied up and he has berthed all types from cargo vessels, tankers, passenger liners, aircraft carriers and even submarines. I think he mentioned 400 per year.
He choose a member of the audience with a similar head size as a mannequin to show his all-weather jacket which has a built in lifejacket, strobe lights and places for his hand-held vhf etc. He introduced his Captain’s hat, his Pilot’s hats of various types, one with a clip and string, which was useful if blown off. He also had some prized caps from various jobs including one given to him by the Libertad, tall ship.
He introduced a white board at one stage to show us the theory of how a vessel is tied up. Most screws turn to the right so tying up a vessel to port you head in with the bow alongside and a kick astern reverses the direction of the screw and you come neatly alongside. That is the theory but you must allow for the height of the sides, winds etc. and there are more tricks with the anchor and using tugs.
A pilot deals with many cultures and is always well turned out and courteous. Jim told us of the rates for pilotage and tugs and how they have grown in a ten year period, so has the paperwork and he showed us copies of the latest ones.
A Japanese car carrier Captain was remonstrating with him one day about the increase in charges and Jim put it down to “fluctuation”. The Japanese retorted quickly saying “Fluck you Europeans too”. Entente cordial!
Jim covered many incidents including the sad case of the “Kilkenny”, the early retirement of some pilots and the very sad loss overboard of one of the pilot boat crew whose body was recovered, fortunately.
During the Kilkenny incident he was wearing another hat as the duty coxswain of DunLaoghaire Lifeboat and they were instrumental in rescuing crew members. You can still feel his sadness that three did not make it.
I can thoroughly recommend this lecture and maybe Santa will bring Jim a laser pointer so that he can return the Ford Cortina Aerial that he used as a pointer to its place in the veteran car museum.
Jim also gave me a chance to plug the prints of Asgard II, which is covered elsewhere on this site and to make people aware of a forthcoming lecture at the Maritime Museum on the Coastguard 1822 to 2014 which will take place on 10th April at 19:30 and will be more fully advertised in due course.
Jim has offered his lecture to the Maritime Institute and I hope we can take it up in due course. These are the type of lectures which help to build up our knowledge of our maritime heritage.
I wish Jim health and happiness in retirement and in pursuit of his many interests.
Joe Ryan – member of the Maritime Institute.