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Saturday, 22 December 2012
What Made Hubbard Go Ballistic PDF Print E-mail



We were naive. We were uneducated in maritime procedure and protocol. Hubbard did try to keep control of his short fuse, but when matters cropped up, he exploded.

A bit like an American version of Victor Meldrew.

Apart from Sam washing the Avon deck with fuel, Leon backing the ship into the harbour wall and Steve staining the chartroom wood with instant coffee (see earlier historical threads), here were a few more examples of "howlers".

In Valencia, Hubbard was touring the engine room where he saw a Donkey Pump leaking water out the side. Herman B., a German who was working as an engineer saw it and in front of Hubbard threw a sack over the pump. "I don't see any leaking pump" he exclaimed. The resulting explosion registered on the Richter Scale at 7.9.

On another tour of the engine room, Hubbard went to inspect the electrical power section. Bob P., a tall ex-Guardsman was the ship's electrician. As part of the safety protocol, breaker switches were engaged to prevent any power overloads and thereby causing a fire. Hubbard looked closely at one of the main breaker switches and his eyes grew very large, Gurgling sounds started to emanate from his mouth. Everyone took a step back. Bob, in order to save himself the trouble of having to come down to the engine room to reconnect the breaker switch when it popped had simply shoved a couple of penny coins in to jam the switch open. He told Hubbard that this was to stop the damn thing popping all the time. This managed to register about 8.3. Bob seemed to walk with a slight stoop after that.

In Corfu, we had built C.I.C. in the old cattle hold. Steve P. (given to flights of fancy and sometimes a type III) was CIC I/C. The protocol was that EVERY person coming into CIC had to sign in. Hubbard wandered in one day. Steve, being a good robot, told Hubbard that unless he signed in, he had to leave. Just before the explosion, Hubbard asked Steve what condition he was in. Steve replied Treason??. Hubbard said, "Oh no, much lower than that" and then went really ballistic.

Hubbard had ordered that a bitumen flooring be laid in the between deck area. I was given the job to do it. I had no idea what a bitumen covering looked like, so I asked around. What I learned was that it required tar, gravel and sand covering. So, we ordered a delivery of stuff and laid it in the aera. We used a roller to tamp it down and covered it in sand. We brought all the furniture back in and set it all up again. Hubbard came down to inspect. The desks and chairs were sinking into the flooring. Hubbard looked at it, looked at me and said "DS, you know what we have here?" " It is a goddamn ROAD"!!

"Dig it up". My eyebrows eventually grew back.

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