Ray’s Dazed Kipper Manual
is a manual of seamanship based on best practice and appearing monthly in Classic Boat magazine. Goodness knows who writes it; someone called Samson Post, apparently, though it seems improbable that this is his real name. I have been given permission to reproduce a few specimen lessons here. I hope they may be of some use, if only to show mariners what to avoid.

There are plenty of seamanship tutors around these days. The French have the Glenans manual, bless them. The British have our own type, quite unlike the French model because we draw the line at sleeping three to a bunk. The Americans can safely be ignored, for their habit of laying their buoys the wrong way round causes severe disappointment. But there is always room for one manual more; in particular, a manual aimed at people who like to go sailing in boats that are past their first youth. So we are going to start one, and this is the introduction to it.
It will not, like the Glenans manual, talk a lot about la Psychologie du Mal de Mer. Unlike American how-to DVDs, it will be silent as regards Lunker Action on Bass Boats. And it will not attempt to squeeze the prospective navigator into a course of exams commencing with Competent Cradle, passing through a linked series of twenty-eight qualifications all of which cost several hundred quid to acquire, and terminating with Burial at Sea (final).
So what is it then?
Ray’s Dazed Kipper Manual is based on nautical wisdom bearing the toothmarks of generations of professional seafarers. Modern manuals tend to stress safety. This only makes the student seafarer nervous. The Dazed Kipper manual places the emphasis firmly on survival. The voice of experience, delivered at a volume audible above a force 9 breeze with thunder, will eventually bring the student seafarer to the stunned, pickled condition that characterises the experienced mariner. And there is no voice on the seas around our island home louder or more experienced than that of Ray Doggett.
Of who?
Of whom, you mean. Captain Doggett, or Ray as he is known to his three friends and thousands of enemies, is a hardy British seafarer of advanced years. He absorbed salt water with his mother’s milk. Now it runs in his veins, combined with alcohol, Stockholm tar and of course blood. He has worked on Thames barges, J-class yachts, garbage lighters and deep-sea trawlers. His many circumnavigations under sail are legendary and highly fictional, and he has survived the bankruptcy of six boatyards, for all of which he was responsible.
By an intensive process of brainstorming, idea showering, and very noisy arguments culminating in fist fights, Ray and I have devised a syllabus for the Manual. We feel it is a quality assured contribution to the literature, aimed at growing the skills base of marine leisure participants in the runup to the Olympics; or as Ray puts it, taking a few quid off them RYA bastards.
Inevitably, comparisons will be made between Ray’s Dazed Kipper Manual and the RYA Day Skipper Manual. There will be significant differences. RYA students will be encouraged to avoid sunlight, sail clean plastic boats with odour-free bilges, and take hot (but never scalding) showers at sea. They will know exactly where they are at all times, update their charts continuously, and may come to regard the occasional sea voyages they can cram into their busy timetable as vexatious interruptions to a lifelong schedule of exams.
Ray’s students may feel that a glass of rum is a warming breakfast beverage, that there is a sentimental joy in using charts passed on without updating by elderly great-aunts, and that a tiny bit of tobacco smuggling is a handy way to offset the shocking expense of yachting. Dazed Kipper candidates, confronted by an exam, are expected to fail it. Ray was second mate of a tug at the age of fourteen, and everything he knows he made up. Dazed Kipper students will be expected to do the same; the Manual will merely provide hints, amplified by sage maxims from Ray himself. Provided he is not upside down in the snug bar at the Anchor.
So in the months to come, we will work our way topic by topic through the arts of seamanship. We will begin with the Naming of Parts, then Choose a Boat, develop Cruising Skills, give mature consideration to Elementary and Advanced Smuggling, and know where we are most of the time to within about twenty miles.
Now you will have to excuse me, for some friends of Ray’s have just done a bank job and the safe will make a perfect anchor for the Vicar’s mooring. Further information in Classic Boat magazine. Notebooks out, pencils at the ready, mine’s a rum, same for Ray. See you then!

Harbour Manoeuvres.
It is time to consider manoeuvring in confined spaces. The sea is big, but harbours are not, and they call for a special range of skills and mental attitudes.
Ray’s time as a tugboat skipper has made him intolerant of the delicate evolutions of yachtsfolk. He reckons that if you show real conviction people will get out of your way, and eight times out of ten he is right. He is rarely in command of anything small enough to get into a marina, so he knows little about them, except that they tend to be padded round the edges, which saves wear on fenders and any Golden Virginia that may be packed inside them.
Ray reckons that in order to leave the quay, you untie the lines and engage ahead and astern until you see clear water, when you engage full ahead (or astern if the clear water is behind you). For coming alongside, he recommends the standard method: motor towards the quay, attach bow line and fender, and screw the stern in by using prop wash on the rudder. When sailing a charter boat or one belonging to someone else, you may choose to omit the fender. When helming a large yacht or small merchant vessel, you may prefer to use the T-Bone.
The T-Bone.
Engage Full Ahead. Sound siren. Drain glass. Ram quay at 90º angle. Vessel will stop, unless quay falls down, in which case vessel was too big. Step ashore. Head for station.
The T-Bone with Turn
for use with good strong granite quay. Engage full ahead (see above). Drain glass. Ram quay at 90º angle so bow digs in to coping. Apply full right or left rudder to taste. Bow is held by rock in which it is embedded, so stern will swing using bow as pivot. Sound siren to drown harbourmaster’s screams. Attach bow line. Step ashore. Head for station.
The Braunston Snatch
Approach quay on converging course, half ahead. Stand by aft cleat or bollard nearest to quay, holding loop of stout line or lasso if preferred. Drain glass. Engage neutral if you have time, but don’t worry if you don’t and the mooring line is a strong one. As rope drops neatly over quay bollard, take swift turn on cleat and surge until way is off boat, at which point bow line can be attached. Possible outcomes:
1. boat stops
2. rope breaks
3 bollard shoots out of quay and demolishes wheelhouse
4 cleat shoots out of boat and demolishes harbourmaster’s car.

NB as its name implies, this is a technique derived from Ray’s days on the Inland Waterways Lime Juice run. In the
Braunston Snatch – canal version, the boatman drains glass and throws a turn over the bollard which is an integral part of the top lock gate as his stern passes it. This not only stops the boat, but closes the lock gate. In an ill-maintained canal, the top lock gate may be pulled off its hinges, leading to the ramming and consequent destruction of the bottom lock gate and flooding on a Chinese scale.

RAY says: They may complain, but you will end up tied up. Mine’s a rum. Next month? Fine. Tara for now.

Emergencies. Summoning Help
At some point in your boating career you will be almost certainly be torpedoed, hit a rock or catch fire. Do not worry. This is perfectly normal and happens to just about everyone. Usual procedure is to fire flares in all directions until they are used up. There are many VHF distress aids, including the recently introduced GMDSS, which in combination with DSC, GPS and of course a vessel’s MMSI has provided increased functionality in casualty location and communication as regards distress.
Naturally Ray Doggett is not in favour of this newfangled bilge. If he wanted anyone to know where he was, he says, he would give them the address of his lodgings. The bad thing about the sea is it is cold wet and rough. The good thing is that nobody can find you when you are on it. His opinion is certainly tinged by the fact that he sees the Coastguard as first cousin to his natural enemy the Customs Officer, and that a successful rescue may interfere with a profitable insurance claim. Still, it is just possible to admire his sturdy if rather furtive spirit of self-reliance. It is against his better judgement that we include in this Manual a system for issuing the the old-fashioned MAYDAY.

Sending a MAYDAY is simple. Whatever Ray says, the Coastguard wants to help you, and will be respectfully sympathetic to your plight. Make his life easier by remembering the simple mnemonic OMIGOD. Procedure:
Switch on VHF. Tune to Channel 16. Put thumb on TRANSMIT button. Scream:
O we are going to drown. O we will all die. O we are too young/old/weak/beautiful
M mayday. mayday. mayday. mayday. mayday. Is anyone there MAYDAYEEEEE
Identification? You mean the boat’s name? Then say so. Bloody hell I can’t remember but it is dark so what difference will it make anyway just get in your helicopter and get out here. Oh
O God I wish we had never bought this ruddy boat This is awful. What a

It is possible that the coastguard may not think you are sufficiently important to rescue, and will ask supplementary questions, such as
Q: What is your position?
A: Area sales manager, Western Europe. (exaggerate if you think the truth is insufficiently impressive).
Q: Oo. Wow. Cool. And how will the helicopter be able to identify you?
A: There are quite a lot of boats out here in the dark but we are the only one on fire.
Q: Stand by.

RAY says: Well if you must you must, I suppose. But remember, when the winchman comes down to fetch you up, be sure and offer him a swift rum if available. They get cheap fags in the Forces so it is important to get off on the right foot.


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