lines of approach
live performance and radio broadcast
1 July 2006, 2-4 pm at The Naze Tower, Walton-on-Naze, Essex
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(This activity accompanied the event of 'Lost on the Beach (live)')
By using semaphore and a relay of four boats Bettina Furnee and crew made an attempt to communicate a series of short messages back and forth between the land based Naze Tower and Roughs Tower (Sealand) eight miles out at sea. Roughs Tower is a wartime platform which was abandoned after the second world war and occupied in 1967 by a pirate radio group which never broadcast but later declared it the independent Principality of Sealand, with it's own currency, royal family, passports and visa requirements. Roughs Tower was seriously damaged by a fire on 23rd of June 2006 but access to the charred platform, in order to send the return message, was given (www.sealandgov.org).
Eight messages were sent from the Naze Tower to Sealand over a two hour period, using the international codes of semaphore and morse with hand held flags. The hazy weather conditions caused low visibility and the boats had to re-position frequently. However, three replies: ON AIR, SO NEAR and SO FAR, were received at the Naze Tower shortly before 4 pm. Messages and replies were posted on a board at the Naze.
The messages were signalled by the Sea Cadets from the Walton, Ipswich and Felixstowe units with assistance of the Maritime Volunteer Service. The event was inspired by the Towers and the local history of communication - wartime signalling and pirate radio. BBC Radio Essex covered the event with a three hour live broadcast 'Steve's Summer Saturday' from the Naze. Spectators were asked to collect a semaphore and morse sheet for deciphering messages and to bring a pair of Binoculars.
Messages written by Simon Frazer