Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Chronometers Are Wound And Compared

As I was scurrying around the house this morning resetting clocks, I thought back to the boats and how we handled the concepts of time changes there. (The ones I was thinking of were the "planned" time changes, not the urban legend of the QM who would satisfy the pre-underway requirement to ensure chronometers were wound and compared by going into Radio, writing down the accurate time off the Cesium Beam on a 3" x 5", then going through the boat setting all clocks to that time.)

As the boat transitted east and west, you would have a time change every day or two (depending on how far from the equator you were), and I think most boats did those on the midwatch, which was nice if you were heading east (the watch would be shorter by an hour) but not so nice on the westbound legs. Where it got interesting was for the PacFleet boats approaching the International Date Line, since you had to figure out when you were going to make the big switch. The "westbound crossing" scenario had a couple of key issues involved:

An obvious way to do it was just to go (for example) from 2359:59 on February 13th, and two seconds later it would be 0000:01 on February 15th. This made it convenient from a log-package preparation standpoint, but it had a couple of drawbacks -- when you were looking through log packages months later, there might be questions from, say, the ORSE Board, about where your log packages were from February 14th. This wasn't a big deal. The biggest problem I saw was what to do for crewmembers who's birthdays were on February 14th (in this example). Did you really want to take their birthday away? When I did this transit on Topeka back in '92, we actually checked, and there was no one on board with that "problem"; on Stennis in '00, however, there were over 100 people who "lost their birthday". (My preference would have been to have at least 1 hour of the day in question, and switch from 0100 on one day to 0000 the next, since the Date Line is really a 23 hour advance, with the normal time zone change included.)

For the eastbound Date Line crossing, we just ended up labelling the log packages "A" and "B" after the date, and had a lot of "Longest Day" jokes...

How did your boats handle it?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think most boats did those on the midwatch, which was nice if you were heading east (the watch would be shorter by an hour) but not so nice on the westbound legs."

To be precise, it was nice for those on watch if you were heading east, and nice for those in the rack if you were westbound. 8)

RM1(SS) (ret)

4/02/2006 12:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, the QM initiated time zone is NOT an urban myth. It happened twice. The first QM thought the stopwatch was to time how long it took to set all the clocks. The second QM (4 months later) did the 3x5 card thing. Got "discovered", retrained and promptly did it again.

We didn't bother with time zones. As soon as the lines came off, we shifted to Z. This was east coast boat and we were closer to greenwich, so maybe that's why.

4/02/2006 1:36 PM

Blogger Baronger said...

Forget time changes.

How in the world do you handle 18 hour days, and going back and forth between a regualar 18 and a 24 hour day when you get on or off a boat.

Do you have special 18 hour clocks?

Plus I think it was mean of them to have it on April 1st. I thought some stations were playing an April fools joke at first.

4/02/2006 1:45 PM

Blogger Jon said...

OK... speaking from experience here on the concept of losing birthdays (I'm a leap-year baby... I lose 3 out of ever 4!) I would say let those sailors miss their birthday... they are still going to celebrate regardless of the fact that it didn't actually happen for them, and if there is some sort of ship board policy that sailors having birthdays get some sort of privilege that day, let them have it on the day before or after. The bragging rights of being able to say that you didn't have such and such birthday for those that usually get a birthday every year is pretty special, really. Now... if this were to happen on Feb 29th... (well, personally I would love THAT too, but I expect there are other leap year babies out there that would be pissed!)

1/08/2010 9:07 AM


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