The Ocean Voyages - A reflection by Britton Chance
My father had a boat with gasoline motor (Hall Scott), and my love of machinery was important to us. My father then got a bigger boat, “Noreaster”, with a Fairbanks MORSE diesel motor. The engineer, Zeb, trained me about diesel motors: how to start, run and fix things. Zeb taught me for about 2 and a half years.
At the same time, I loved sailing. My father, my brother Henry and I were given a Class E racing sailboat, which we raced vigorously. My brother and I worked as a team on boats which grew from 13 to 28 to 100 feet long, and in each case I was the engineer, my brother, the navigator.
On my father’s 100 feet yacht “Antares”, we got wonderful Diesel engines and radio, too. We were crossing Caribbean Sea to South American on 100 feet boat. So I learned radio, electronics and electricity to operate the radio and gyroscopic and my own automatic ship steering equipment. I enjoyed the education. Radio was my hobby as an amateur. I built a powerful transmitter, which was the most modern design. At that time, on the boat, I was in charge of long wave and short wave commercial radio. My father would send messages to his friends that I would send in MORSE code. I learned that at the Radio School at age 13 and finally got my extra first class commercial operators license. After the Titanic tragedy, all ships required this skill. Thus I had to listen for distress calls, but most importantly, since we were sailing the Caribbean, we needed to detect hurricanes. All ships reported their weather conditions and, if they had a hurricane, to the navy radio station (NAA) in fact MORSE code. Around 10-11:30 P.M. each night I copied all ship reports and made chart of our own weather forecast.
Based upon my Caribbean weather charts, in 10 years of sailing, we escaped all hurricanes. At the same time, we had many radio messages to my father’s friends
Each year I invited 5-10 classmates and fraternity brothers to join as crew and I enjoyed the friendship. I preferred the boyfriends, and my brother preferred girlfriends. Each year for 5 years I had 10 boyfriends to sail along with, my brother had one girlfriend with him. So I had more fun.
We sailed from Philadelphia, to Havana, Jamaica, Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Panama Canal, Pearl Island, and safely back by early August to avoid hurricanes. Another trip was across the Atlantic Ocean to England, France, Spain—the Royal Court of Spain. The ladies were beautiful. Also Havana was open. There were beautiful ladies. That was a wonderful experience with technology, boy and girlfriends.