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Archive for July 13th, 2009

Day 85- Captain OM Watts

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Andrew and Guy¬†are experiencing so many “once in a lifetime” experiences whilst undertaking this epic journey to row the Indian Ocean and undoubtedly uncovering aspects about themselves they never knew before the¬†19th April 2009.¬†¬†

But the two years plus of preparation work has also been a journey of discovery for them, for family, friends and supporters.

Guy and I were aware that my father was one of seven children¬†and that one of his elder brothers had “run away to sea”. Guy’s Great Uncle Captain Oswald M Watts died within a year of Guy’s birth and we knew a¬†limited amount about his life.

Guy and I with the help of my brother Peter undertook some research and after contacting the current compilers of Reeds Nautical Almanac a chapter of his¬†great uncle’s life began to unfold.

Captain OM Watts was one of the youngest Merchant Navy officers ever to hold a Master’s certificate, aged 23. He was the first editor of Reeds Nautical Almanac with the first edition being published on 1 January 1932 costing two shillings and six pence (12.5p). The early Almanac’s¬†provide all the¬†knowledge a navigator needs to pilot a vessel in the Home Trade Waters around the British Isles. Oswald continued to edit the Almanac until his retirement in 1981 and thereafter as a consultant until his death in 1985.

During the 1930’s he set up a chandlery off Piccadilly in London.¬†Oswald also¬†started a sea school where yachtsman could learn what they needed to know to serve in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the build up to the Second World War. In addition he¬†ran correspondence courses for people who could not attend these courses. He wrote books on the use of the Sextant and supervised the preparation of maps in conjunction with Stanfords.

It seems unlikely that this part of Guy’s family history would have been revealed in as much detail if Guy and Andrew had not embarked on their Indian Ocean rowing challenge.

Here’s to the Flying Ferkins and Captain OM Watts!

Nigel (Guy’s dad) out.

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

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