Marhofn 280.16 - May 2014

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The tale of Mole Wrench

Alan Holmes and Martin Richardson

It was late May 2013 and the gallant crew of the Sceptre, skippered by Victor Gray of St Magnus Charters, were crossing the ocean deep with a group of baggers intent on visiting small islands around Shetland. They had already been to Linga and Papa Little. They were close to the uninhabited island of Vementry, at Swarbacks Minn in St Magnus Bay, when disaster struck. A bolt, that held a clevis connecting the steering linkage to the wheel mechanism, dropped out into the unreachable bilges below. As a consequence, Victor lost the use of the rudder and the Sceptre began drifting out of control. Victor made a call to the coastguard. Some of the baggers had already set off in a dinghy, so were unaware of the calamity - however, luckily, one of the baggers - Brian Ewing - was still aboard. Having inquisitively asked the nature of the problem, he was shown the connections behind the bulkhead.

After just a few minutes ruminating, Brian asked if Victor had a mole wrench. Thankfully, he did. Brian used the mole wrench to clamp the clevis around the cable-end to restore the connection. Despite reassurances that the solution would probably last the rest of the season, Victor lacked the confidence to continue with the trip and they all headed back to the safe haven of Aith Marina on Mainland.

However, chief engineer Brian Ewing had prevented the crew and baggers from: being castaway on Vementry like Robinson Crusoe for an indefinite time; floating aimlessly across the ocean until spotted by a passing oil tanker; or, at least, facing the humiliation of appearing in one of those daytime TV programmes about emergency rescues.
Victor bought Brian a bottle of malt in appreciation and, apparently, the Shetland media was abuzz with news of the incident.

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