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Author Topic: Tony Feist : August 1978 from a Newbie.  (Read 3616 times)

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Offline Tony Feist

Tony Feist : August 1978 from a Newbie.
« on: Apr 11, 2013, 11:51 AM »
Hello all
I am a retired policeman who in the last years of my service was a skipper on the Hampshire Police launch 'Ashburton'.
On the 27th. August, 1978 the launch was returning to Cowes, from the west, when I saw the Q.E.2, in the Thorne channel, sailing towards me.
I also saw a dory, drfting near the West Brambles buoy. I altered course towards the dory but was interrupted from my intention by a call from the Q.E.2, on marine V.H.F., requesting assistance to dissuade a French sloop from crossing their bow.
The bridge of the liner was very much higher than my line of sight so I thought it reasonable to assume (never a good idea) that they had accounted for the presence of the dory and considered the sloop a greater danger. I altered course for the French vessel and called them over our loud hailer, temporarily fixed at the stem head. The frenchmen ignored our hails but the liner gave an angry blast on her horn, whereon the sloop came about immediately.
By this time the Q.E.2 was making her turn to port before rounding the West Brambles buoy. It was obvious to me that the dory was still in her path although there had been no communication from the liner regarding the small vessel.
I crossed the wake of the Cunarder and raced down her starboard side. We reached the dory which was of steel and about 18ft LOA. Her bow was towards us and she was at right angles to the course of the liner. There was a man and woman on board frantically trying to start one of the two outboards on its transom. There was no time for niceties. A line was thrown to them which they secured to the aft end of the boat.
I tried to tow the craft but with the two persons standing aft and with a low transom the sea poured over the stern and the dory sank. The young couple on board were left in the water.
My crew laid on the deck and grabbed the couple's arms.
I rushed from the wheel to cast off the dory before its drag became an issue.
The bow of the liner looked mighty high and very close.
I returned to the wheel and moved ahead pivotting, as much as I dared, round the dory's crew, to lessen the chance of my crew losing their grip.
A huge wall of steel slid by us, eerily silent.
We returned the rescued couple to the Hamble from whence they came.The girl's father moaned about the loss of his dory.
Apparently the shear pin on one outboard had broken  and they could not start the reserve motor.
I have nothing but admiration for my two crew members. They laid on the deck dragging the couple through the water completely at the mercy of events. It was easy for me. I had the throttles under my hand and could have powered out of danger at any time. They had no such luxury.
« Last Edit: Jan 15, 2018, 09:14 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #1 on: Apr 11, 2013, 12:27 PM »
Hello Tony -- you certainly made a dramatic entrance in our midst!

That must have been an amazing event, so deeply engraved in your memory that you can still recount every second of the time. I can just imagine that grey wall of steel sliding past almost noiselessly, while you and your colleagues were struggling to stay afloat and to rescue the young couple.

Did you ever get the chance afterwards to go aboard QE2 or sail on her?

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #2 on: Apr 11, 2013, 02:21 PM »
Welcome Tony!

Thank-you for posting your amazing story about the brave rescue and your close encounter with QE2. 

Hope you enjoy reading through the Forum's topic boards and hopefully to post on some of them. 

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Tony Feist

Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #3 on: Apr 12, 2013, 04:37 PM »
Yes, I did manage to board her. Still have the teacup given to me.
Tony Feist

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #4 on: Apr 12, 2013, 05:31 PM »
This would have been at the end of my very first transatlantic round trip working on board.

I remember hearing about this event, at the time the story I heard was that we had sunk a small boat on our way in to port. It is good to hear that we didn't actually hit them and of course that everyone was ok.

What a remarkable experience for you Tony.
« Last Edit: Apr 13, 2013, 10:34 AM by Alan Snelson »
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline Rod

Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #5 on: Apr 12, 2013, 10:34 PM »
Welcome Tony...great job!

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #6 on: Apr 24, 2013, 10:47 PM »
Hello Tony,

Thank you also for the photos which you uploaded to the QE2Story Gallery, here :

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=5







If you get the chance, could you please tell us something more about these images? There must be a story attached to them too...  :D

Offline Tony Feist

Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #7 on: Apr 26, 2013, 10:19 AM »
Dear Isabelle
Hopefully will be able to send attachments this time.
Best regards
Tony



« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 11:42 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #8 on: Apr 26, 2013, 11:56 AM »
It worked, Tony, and came out very well. No wonder you have treasured this letter and preserved it for all these years -- that is an excellent message of congratulations!

Thank you also for some further information you sent me on the pictures themselves :

Quote from:  Tony Feist
The photos were obtained from a lady, living at East Cowes, who happened to be a passenger. One of my crew lived at East Cowes and he probably was known by her. I cannot remember for certain. The story was front page news in The Echo on Tuesday, 29th. August, 1978.
The photos show the couple in the water after we had crossed ahead of the 'QE2'. The debris in the sea gives an indication how close a thing it was.
We received a congratulatory letter from the pilot on the liner.
I would have really liked to have seen, or better still, had a copy of the ship's log but was never able to achieve this.

Wonderful to see the trouble that people took, in those pre-email days, to show their appreciation and let you have some of the pieces connected with your heroic action and that of your team.

Now, I wonder would there be any way of checking the ship's log for 27 August 1987?

Thank you again, Tony, for helping us to relive yet another day in the fascinating life of QE2  :) .
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 11:44 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Offline riskygizmo

Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #9 on: Apr 26, 2013, 12:15 PM »
« Last Edit: Apr 26, 2013, 12:28 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »
Full Away on Passage.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2013, 11:43 PM »
Dear Isabelle
Hopefully will be able to send attachments this time.
Best regards
Tony

Worked beautifully, Tony, thank you!

Offline Wouter Kleijpoel

Re: August 1978 from a Newbie.
« Reply #11 on: Oct 13, 2017, 11:57 AM »
Hi Tony,

Maybe to nice to know for you that Ashburton is still sailing around after all these years !
She has been in our family for the past 10 years and use it regularly.

I would like to get in touch with you, maybe you have some more nice Ashburton stories.

Best regards,

Wouter