Those in management positions must dread the retirement of those characters who retire from their life’s work with a wealth of unrivalled experience, but also bearing a catalogue of what they consider are the failings of those in charge who condemned their working lives, and those of colleagues and friends, to one of less ease and success than it could have done.
One such retirement by the senior CalMac master Alan Sinclair has presented CalMac and the rest of us with a treasure trove of experience and surely good advice and information for managers and decision makers. No doubt many amongst CalMac’s crews will echo his statements and will say it was high time much of what he says was aired and considered. I think what he says is hugely valuable at many levels and I am happy to summarise much of what he states, being one of the most experienced captains of recent years in the ferries serving the Highlands and Islands.
Alan Sinclair is known as a born ship handler, and naturally versatile becoming one of CalMac’s senior relie f masters and so not tied to a single ship or route for any length of time, becoming almost uniquely familiar with many of CalMac’s notoriously and increasingly varied ships and the huge variety of quays and harbours they have to use. Because: as the well known parody of psalm 24 says;
The Earth belongs unto the Lord And all that it contains Except the Kyles and Western Isles For they belong to MacBraynes
It’s good to reprise his pithy descriptions of the many vessels he has known so well – in no particular order...
The old Glen Sannox: “She cavitated like hell, but she was fast, with old-fashioned propellers that worked like a mincing machine. Once she was off, she moved like a scalded cat.”