The replica of Lt John Trinder's semaphore signal is up and running at the Telegraph Tower just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend.
TELEGRAPH TOWER PROVIDES ALTERNATIVE TO 4G
The three-arm semaphore machine will be sending messages at various moments during the regatta weekend. An 18-letter alphabet is in use, spelling English words but without the 5 vowels or x,y,z. The signal faces the St Mary's harbour.
The brainchild of the tower's current leaseholder Peter Laverock, the signal is the culmination of a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the tower, which opened in 1816 under the command of Lt John Trinder.
Research in the Admiralty archives In London shows that it was used in 1816 to signal to passing British warships and to alert the local Customs cutter, CHC Providence, to the activities of smugglers in island waters.
The signal today is a full size replica in modern materials and is driven by electric motors. The original was made from teak planks and had a chain drive.