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Day 85- Captain OM Watts

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.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.

7 Responses to “Day 85- Captain OM Watts”

  1. Claire Says:

    Fascinating - it’s really amazing how links continue within families. Thank you Nigel for sharing that with us. Andrew and Guy really have no excuses!!

  2. Dione - Petit Says:

    Wonderful to hear such interesting family history - and great that so much detail has been discovered all in the name of the Indian Ocean Race!! Thanks Nigel.

  3. xtina Says:

    Every stroke is 10yds further
    Every wave is 10yds more
    Every breeze is 10yds nearer
    Every day is nearer shore

    Every second brings you closer
    Every minute on the foam
    Every time you travel forward
    Every yd is nearer home

    ( Steve G ~ thank you Steve!
    July 9th ~ keep going boys,all downhill now,you can do it)

  4. Tom W Says:

    Message from a top man who is in fact also my boss:

    From: Glyn Royles
    Sent: 15 July 2009 10:54
    To: Tom Watts
    Subject: Your Dad’s blog


    I’ve just read your Dad’s blog today about Captain OM Watts. I couldn’t believe that he was related to you. When I was selling Vuarnet sunglasses we had a special lens for yachtsmen called the Vuarnet Nautilux range of glasses. They were very well respected and it made it easy to sell them in the Hamble and along the Solent. However, my best customer was Captian OM Watts on Albemarle Street in Piccadilly. They used to race through the glasses and they were a very good friendly customer.

    What a small world. It made me smile just thinking about it. Happy Days.


  5. Patrick Says:

    Hi I just read your fantastic voyage for the first time. When I saw Captain Watts name that reminded me of my first job after school in 1965 when I worked for OM Watts at their Albemarle St address. He was always adressed by the staff as Captain. I never heard anyone call him oswald. Everey morning he arrived by taxi from his home ans us office boys had to meet him to carry his many bags up the three flights of stairs to the offic above the showroom which was above the Lyons Corner house cafe in Albemarle Street. I worked 12 months in the office with the Captain where he taught me office procedures and how to keep track of the hundreds of maill orders that arrived every week. After a year we were progressed down to the show room where Mr Ford and Miss Abby ruled the roost. Probably not the place for all my memories of the captain any way it must have rubbed off on me as I am still working at sea as an deck officer in the Australian merchant navy living in Perth Western Australia. I will be following your progress daily from now on. Good Luck.
    Patrick Second Officer Sat Diving ship Venturer Singapore.

  6. jenny croucher Says:

    It has taken me all this time to work out how to leave a comment! The school computer throws out “alien” sites, so it has been a battle!

    WELL DONE, both of you, it has been fascinating reading the blog - looking forward to seeing you when you return.

    Lots of love Kat’s Mummy and Daddy

  7. why not find out more Says:

    why not find out more…

    Team MSS - Andrew Delaney & Guy Watts Indian Ocean Rowing Race Blog 2009 » Blog Archive » Day 85- Captain OM Watts…

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