Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

Bob's Bolt finds a new home

by Sail-World correspondent on 27 May 2011
Bob Fisher after the presentation of "Bob’s Bolt" . ..
On Sunday May 20th, as the awards for the Gaffers & Classics Regatta at Lymington were coming to a close, there was a surprise for Bob Fisher.

On a July night in 1988, he was at the wheel of the maxi-rater Drum some three miles due south of the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse in the Outer Clyde. The bowman, who was taking the spinnaker gear from the port side to the starboard side in anticipation of a possible shy spinnaker reach up the east side of the Mull, noticed something odd about 100 yards ahead and shouted back to his skipper: 'Come up NOW!'

Bob turned the wheel and there followed the most awful sounds and jerk, as though Drum had gone hard aground. This was impossible as the echo sounder was giving triple echoes because of the great depth of water, but Bob was aware of a strange movement as the port side 'fence' was torn away. In the darkness he saw nothing until the glow of the stern light picked up what for all the world looked like an Evinrude outboard motor, but it was not attached to the transom of a vessel. Perplexed, he waited until one of the crew remarked: 'Submarine.'

When, after making a 'Pan' call and receiving replies from Clyde Coastguard and the Royal Navy’s diving vessel, HMS Challenger that was anchored on the west side of the Mull, Bob, now in the navigation station with the VHF attempted to call up the submarine, but for 25 minutes there was no reply. This concerned him deeply as at that time it was known that hostile (Russian) submarines were active in the area, and the thought that it could have been one of those who would have had little compunction in completing the job of sinking Drum, the crew waited with some agitation.

Eventually the submarine made contact on VHF and identified itself as HMS Otus, an Oberon class diesel/electric vessel. Details were exchanged and while Otus returned, damaged, to her base at Faslane, Drum with a 40 foot long gash down the port side and a bent shroud roller, continued to race to Crinan. It was there that she was met by a Royal Navy Commander and there was an exchange of views during which it was ascertained that the damage to HMS Otus included the optical (search) periscope, the destruction of the communications dome and the air intake periscope. Little wonder that it had taken the submarine’s commander 25 minutes to make contact through a hand-held VHF.

Later the Royal Navy admitted responsibility, but not liability for the collision and paid Drum’s owner, Arnold Clark, around £40,000 for the repairs to Drum.

That might have been the end of it, but one of the crew of Fisher’s 1896 classic Solent One-Design, Rosenn, had been a member of Otus’s crew well after the collision and knew of the incident, recently saw her in a breaker’s yard in Portsmouth. Explaining that he had served aboard the submarine, he asked if he could have a keepsake and was told to help himself. He found the search periscope cotter pin, took it home and with Rosenn’s co-owner, Barry Dunning, polished the chrome-plated brass pin with an hexagonal head and mounted it on an oak base.

'Bob’s Bolt' was duly presented to Bob by his crew after the regatta to great hilarity and much to the bemusement of the recipient.
upffront 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82Southern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Michael Marshall triumphs at J/22 World Championship
With a second place finish in Thursday’s only race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are the champions. Heading into the 10th and final race, Marshall and Chris Doyle were tied on points at 30. As the 41 teams arrived at CORK in the morning, the after effects of an overnight storm left breeze in the mid-20s, so the Race Committee postponed on shore.
Posted on 25 Aug
Best pictures of the first 4 Acts of the Extreme Sailing Series™
An influx of fresh talent have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40. An influx of fresh talent, new venues and a revised race format have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40 by a smaller, faster catamaran: the flying GC32.
Posted on 25 Aug
Return to Russia for the Extreme Sailing Series™
Joining the fleet as the season heads into its second half is Gazprom Team Russia, led by WMRT champion, Phil Robertson. With one week to go, the fleet returns to St Petersburg for the fifth Act of the season, presented by SAP, 35 of the world’s best sailors are getting their heads in the game and preparing for the one of the trickiest venues of the season so far.
Posted on 25 Aug
Marshall and Doyle tied on points at J/22 World Championship
By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points with Chris Doyle, Will Harris and Adam Burns. Jeff Todd is still in the hunt in third place with 35 points.
Posted on 24 Aug
Debriefing the 2016 Rio Olympics—Sailing news North America and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted on 23 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
A magnificent fleet gathers in Cowes for Etchells World Championship
58 teams from all over the world have entered the championship, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club. Twenty teams are from Great Britain and a dozen each from Australia and the United States of America. Four entries are from Hong Kong and as far afield as: Bermuda, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Posted on 22 Aug
FAST40+ Class to be the first to have honour of racing for One Ton Cup
14 FAST40+ racing yachts are expected, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the USA 14 high performance FAST40+ racing yachts are expected for the One Ton Cup, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the United States of America. The crew, of which only five can be professionals, come from countries all over the world.
Posted on 22 Aug
Noroton Yacht Club dominates Hinman Trophy Team Race
Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. 2016 Hinman Trophy Team Race - Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. This was the case for Noroton Yacht Club as they won the Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy for the second straight year, though maybe not in the way you’d expect.
Posted on 22 Aug
Drama Queen - Goransson wins Melges 32 National Championship
Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship - After a weekend of challenging, moderate conditions in Newport, RI, Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship hosted by Sail Newport. Capping a weekend full of tight racing with lead changes around the track, it was fitting that the final race had three teams fighting for the regatta win
Posted on 22 Aug