I left the ship in Trieste to drive back to Venice, get my laundry done and grab a plane on Sunday for Almere in Holland. I was scheduled to join a team of 5 and I on a ship handling course. This was the first time I would interact with the new simulators in our brand new centre of excellence. Well, I thought the old simulators were good. These new ones eclipse them by miles. They really are something quite special. So life like. What is more is that the arrangement of the equipment and the actual selection of instruments mirrors our new bridge designs on our new build ships including Seabourn Encore.
Whilst in New Zealand I bought a NZ Silver Fern flag for the two kiwis to adorn their skyline apartment. Known as Casa Kiwi the idea of the flag was to advertise their presence to a bunch of Australians that live close by. I have yet to confirm whether the Trans Tasman rivalry carries on in Venice.
Not to be outdone by their colleagues another bunch of our officers sent me a photo of them crammed into one of our little cars on the commute to the shipyard from Venice. It’s a tiny car that is supposed to seat 5 people. Not this one.
Driving is our Project Manager Jan Velthuis. He is over 6 feet tall and just about fits the car. Next to him is Marco who is one of our Technical Officers. He is a keep fit fan and is built like a brick privy. The two of them fill the front. Shoe horned into the back is left Pekka Piipsa, our Chief Engineer, in the middle is First Officer Patrick Kilbane and Riccardo who is our Refrigeration Engineer is squeezed to the right. They spent over an hour and a half like this. Got to feel for Patrick!
The ship handling course is designed to refresh my knowledge of a few techniques and also to give the more junior officers important knowledge to take back to their ships to put into practice. It is also a chance for the instructors to check I have not picked up any bad habits. Pity they dont do this for driving cars where we all pick up little habits we perhaps should not. The model that the simulator was programmed with was the Royal Princess. She is a 330 metre long, 8.6 metre draft behemoth. She is a beautiful looking ship and compared to the Seabourn ships was a completely different beast to handle. However the techniques apply equally to handling her. Compare a Rolls Royce to a Mini. Different cars same basic techniques to drive them.
My instructor was Hein Arendsen. He is a Dutch marine pilot of many years and a good instructor to us.
I took a drive around to the yard this morning to catch a glimpse of the ship in her new paint. She looks stunning in the sunlight. I will update you more tomorrow from the yard in Venice. So, I leave you with a few photos from Trieste taken by our Safety Officer Franko of the ship sporting her new coat of paint. Note the ships name is still to be picked out in black.