Comments from Mike Johnston
It was up bright and early the next morning, shaking off the celebrations of the night before and heading out for another day. The Norwegians were professionals and masters of fast boat tactics. They were also realists. Sharing a border with Russia during the cold war, they were resigned to the fact that with their relatively small navy they could only delay the Russians if they ever decided to attack. But they were committed to providing NATO as much time as possible time to strike back and they trained tirelessly. The commanding officer of the Skrei, Arve Lothe, was an outstanding guy; a masterful shiphandler and a great skipper. He taught me how to handle her and even let me attempt a docking. Because of her powerful diesels, her slowest sustained speed on one engine was about 10 knots. I am approaching the dock and I notice that Arve was getting a little nervous, moving around a bit. We get closer, still ahead on one engine and he is getting even more agitated. I of course have had a little shiphandling by this time but not much. Finally, I back the outboard engine 2/3, nudge the inboard engine ahead a bit and end up resting about 12 inches from the "quay" - a perfect result. He had the patience and control of a great teacher.
I have no doubt that he would have stepped in before anything bad happened but he didn't say a word until we were tied up. And then he said, "Great job!" It was a terrific feeling. The result may have been perfect but, on reflection, I don't remember him letting me dock her again...
Thanks for the memories!