My life at sea with the Combined Cadet Force


Chris Davenport of the Portsmouth unit writes on his experiences of working with the Combined Cadet Force in Hampshire.

I was sitting at home wondering what to do next when I had a phone call from an acquaintance that I knew when I had been working on the Naval Base at Whale Island as Chief Coxswain on the diving boats.

He was originally in charge of the Army yachts based on the Island but later took up life as a Coastguard.

He had left that job and was now in charge locally of training for the Combined Cadet Force and some of their boats.

He asked if I would assist him and drive one of the boats on a part time basis and on Sub Lieutenants daily rate.

So, I started driving a Talisman 49.

She sleeps 6 to 7 comfortably and I, as the Skipper normally have to sleep on a mattress on the cabin floor.

She is fitted with a full working galley and decent heads plus all the navigational kit that is needed.

The routine goes as follows.

The students, mainly from public schools, join at 0900 and then after issuing with all the relevant PPE have an hours safety and procedure brief.

We then have a practice alongside for their benefit, and my peace of mind, which is followed by them bringing all the fenders in board and tying up using the knots that we have taught them.

After further tuition we make our way over to Cowes or somewhere similar within a couple of hours steaming.

3 point fixes and general navigational training on the way, with them at the wheel until we get there.

Alongside for a couple of hours and after a free lunch we make our way back again but this time they are in 95% control with me overseeing.

Playing with the twin engines is a dream as we have to moor the boat in a space only 53 ft. long!

Next year we shall be doing a Channel Sail and taking in Guernsey and France.

MVS Portsmouth