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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 8, 2017, 10:13 am 
Oh boy Captain, I really enjoyed that story. I can almost see the look of utter disbelief on the faces of those ^*&^$#s. You struck a special place in my heart with the mention of 4Bells rum. I wish that we could get it here as I am down to my last two bottles. I will have to search for a British flag ship but there are not many of them coming here any longer.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 7, 2017, 7:11 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
During the night I was called to come to the bridge as the winds had freshened and there was another vessel nearby that was dragging his anchor and getting too close for comfort. I thought it would be prudent to get out his way so got the engine going and started to weigh anchor. When it was aweigh we had a big problem. Another anchor cable was caught in the flukes. I went for’d to see for myself and was trying to think what to do. The leading seaman suggested he go over on a bosun’s chair and try and loop a line round the other cable. When he went over he had a safety line and although I was not keen on the idea could not think of another solution. He got the line round one section and we hauled the line taught and lowered the anchor a couple of feet which cleared other cable. It was them pulled to the side and cut. That loop fell clear so the process was done again a couple of times until it was all gone. We moved away for the other vessel and anchored again. On 6th February the pilot boarded and we went up river to Gravesend when the river pilot boarded and he had been primed to what was going on and was very standoffish and not a happy camper. We were going up with the flood tide and he was going too fast in my opinion but I did not comment. We were approaching the berth and he said I believe you will be docking the ship captain so I hand over to you. What a pr##k. We were going too fast and it would require that we do a 180 degree turn. I acknowledged and immediately put the combinator to full pitch astern and with the aid of the bowthruster and the Kort nozzle slowed right down and completed the turn just above the berth. The look on his face was worth it. As there was an armada of officials in launches watching I had Alfie the C/E at the control panel. I was not nervous but wanted to put on a good show for these twits (I could have used more nautical expressive words but they would not be allowed). There three tugboats standing by hoping that this would not work out. With the mates spotting as per lakes manner we berthed just touching the face of the wharf as a mate used to say like kissing your sister. When the shore linesmen took only our usual wires, 1,2,3,and 4 and a bow and stern wire they had earned their wages easily as normally a ship our size had many more mooring lines. I was delighted with the performance of the crew as they did a great job. The leading seaman got an extra bonus of a bottle of Four Bells Rum and additional O/T. (we had a bond on board deep sea and the two bars well stocked.) I turned to the pilot when all was done and normally he would have been invited to have a drink but I only asked him for his papers to sign and told him thank you very much for your assistance (sarcastically).
The customs rummage squad boarded when we berthed and were on for two days. Guess they had nothing else to do but their searching only produced limited success. Our stay here was not without drama and that will be for later a edition.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 6, 2017, 3:06 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Just after the holidays I was asked to come down to the offices to update them on the problems we had experienced and to explain the need to cut any expenses not deemed absolutely essential as the markets were not good. One expense that was mentioned in particular was the use of tugs. I agreed but told them that in Antwerp once you were through the locks you entered the harbour which was city owned and there it was compulsory.
After what was a very short vacation I returned to the boat as a cargo had been fixed to load wheat in Baie Comeau for Tilbury in the Thames. When I ha d left here was no ice in the harbour but not it was about two feet thick all round and very cold at -25C. The rest of the crew came back on 19th January with a few new faces and I had called the icebreaker which was in harbour for a crew change to cut us out. The engineers had been busy and the old chains they cut off were landed ashore using a crane I hired.
We sailed that evening after obtaining ice routing from Halifax. The voyage up to the loading port was mostly through ice and log hours in the pilot house. The engine seemed to be running well and we were leading a bunch of ships that followed our track. The 21st saw us arriving off the port but there was no berth so we had to anchor and as per charter party I tendered the Notice of readiness. Inspection of the ballast tanks found thick coating of ice and it was a good thing before we had gone home the tanks had been slackened. Our domestic water tanks had frozen and the engineers had to connect a live steam line to get them thawed. What fun. As we had never anticipated those niggling problems it was not a good omen. Berthing on 23rd was OK as the ice had been cleaned out of the harbour. The fun! Started as the port warden would not accept the bilge covering that had been approved by transport Canada during the fitting out. A pin hole leak was discovered in one of the tanks and had to call in help from the shore to fix. Eventually after many calls to keep our office updated we were passed fit to load. Again the port warden would not accept the cargo stowage plan print out which also had official approval and by this time I had had enough and called Transport Canada in Ottawa and knowing the top guy from our time at the builders explained what was happening. Tell him to call me so I took great delight telling the a**hole to call Ottawa immediately. A very subdued person returned and no more fooling about. The loading was completed but as anticipated we were light due to all the ice in the ballast tanks. They would not allow us to remain on the berth overnight so we were pulled off and anchored until it was light and started battling the ice. But with the routing we managed OK and eventually cleared and commenced a typical winter North Atlantic crossing with miserable weather but making just over 12 knots. As we neared I spoke to the ships agents and updated our ETA etc and told we would not require tugs for berthing. Now let the fun begin. A telex from him latter in the day informed me the pilots would refuse to bring us in if we would not take tugs. I replied no problem I would come up the Thames without a pilot. He was not aware that this Canadian master had previously been running up and down the river many times when sailing with Gem Line and had a pilotage exemption then. I was pulling their horns as I was aware it was no longer valid but some negotiations and all agreed that as an experiment we could berth without tugs assistance and it all observed by the harbour master and officials from the Port of London Authority. Now had to be sure that all worked as it was supposed to have engine movement trials and ascertained the bowthuster worked. We picked up the pilot at Folkestone on 5h February but had to anchor at Southend roads awaiting a clear berth.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 5, 2017, 9:17 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Guest wrote:
Capt I dont know if you know an answer for this question but here it goes why did Misener choose that model Sulzer usually the ones Ive seen are the 6cyl models? Was the running speed of 13.8 knots a little slow for the ocean? And I hope you keep doing the stories there fascinating getting an insiders view on sailing is great and thanks for being patient and answering all are questions.


I really don't know the answer to the reason they chose a 4 cylinder engine but maybe they got what at the time seemed a deal. They seldom achieved that speed on ocean passages when fully loaded to deep sea draft. The engines were costly due to liner wear and Sulzier made their money selling spare parts and that is why the engine came at low comparatively price. Spare parts were very expensive. Hope that answers your question.
I have more stories so keep tuned.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 5, 2017, 8:28 pm 
Capt I dont know if you know an answer for this question but here it goes why did Misener choose that model Sulzer usually the ones Ive seen are the 6cyl models? Was the running speed of 13.8 knots a little slow for the ocean? And I hope you keep doing the stories there fascinating getting an insiders view on sailing is great and thanks for being patient and answering all are questions.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 5, 2017, 2:34 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
I choose to anchor in the south west of England at a place called Lyme Bay as I had used this place many years ago when on the “Tourmaline”. It is a very scenic place but alas we could not watch TV as the ones we had were for the North American standard and not compatible. When we were there a telex there had been an engine problem on our sister ship S.S were the balance chain on the for’d and after end of the Sulzer had broken. The engine builders advised that the engineers remove the chains on our engine till a solution could be found. Although the three ships had the same type of engine they were built by different companies. Canada Marquis engine was built by Sulzier in Switzerland, S.S. was built in Greenock in Scotland and ours in Wallsend in the Tyne. I was told that the one built by Sulzer was better finished but what would you expect from the country famous for watches! The chains concerned were like the ones on a bicycle with the links about one foot each. They were in a loop and attached to massive steel blocks the help balance the engine. I am not a marine engineer but did a part of that in my studies for my certificates and for what I have been told a slow speed diesel engine with an even number of cylinders is difficult to balance had a four cylinder engine. This was going to be a major workup as they could not use the gas axe (oxyacetylene burner) so reverted to hacksaws. Awkward to say the least in such a confined space as only one person at a time could work on it. Work went on continuously for two days and when cut the chains were left on top of the balance blocks as they would no longer be turning. Trials running the engine and it seemed to be fine so we instructed to proceed to Sydney in N.S to lay up.

When I ran the engine at full speed (bridge control) the vibrations were enormous and was completed to slow down till it was endurable and we did not shake to pieces. It seemed like the weather gods were not in our favour as the crossing was miserable and at one time we ended up, when hove to, going astern at 2 knots. For Christmas day dinner I slowed right down and headed into the seas until it was comfortable and all the crew sat down together and enjoyed a dinner that the cooks had prepared under difficult conditions. After eleven uncomfortable nay miserable days we secure in Point Edward dock in Sydney. Next day the for’d crew were sent home (I know we don’t have a for’d end but that is a lake expression covering the mates, wheelsmen and deckhands). The engineers and a cook plus the M.A’s stayed to work on the engine room problems.

I flew home for New Years with some French champagne and live lobsters for our Holiday dinner. My son who was ten years old at the time, was horrified when I said I had o cook the lobsters by putting them live into boiling water. However when he tasted the cooked ones he become a lover of these delicacies!

Thus ended a very full and at times trying year but more was yet in store


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 4, 2017, 5:12 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
At the end of October I was relieved for a vacation that did not last very long. I was asked to come down to the office for several reasons. A procedural manual was to be written and my input requested. There was also the contract for the deep sea masters and chief engineers that I thought as completed but again many factors had not been agreed. We were all together again and it will not be a surprise when I say I was to lead on behalf of the group. That was two days but consensus was reached without too many if only’s. It was only a few days later I had a call to inform me that a cargo for overseas had been arranged and I would be back on board to do that trip. What was a very short break I was down to Port Weller saying sad farewells to my very tolerant and understanding wife.
It was to Duluth that we went and loaded in Farmers #2 elevator and my diary notation “it was a terrible berth’. The unusual thing for a Laker was that as we were loading for Le Havre in France the USDA and Cargo Bureau were involved. This is where that old steam driven computer I mentioned earlier came to the fore as the first mate was able to give them a print out of all the relevant calculations of stability etc. We moved to Cargill elevator to finish loading the amber durham wheat on 16th November and headed to do our first loaded Atlantic crossing.It was the usual passage down to Montreal where we stopped to fuel and change the ships agreement to foreign going oh ad get the radar repaired again (bloody useless piece of *78&#8)
The Atlantic crossing was what I expected for the time of year and I think we were in the same depression for days that was moving at the same speed as Sly gale force wind are noted for days As became a standing procedure, every day we hove to and checked round the decks. It was observed that with the flexing of this log vessel, the McGregor hatches, which did not have any cleats or other securing devices and were kept watertight by their weight and the hydraulic opening and closing rams, were creeping slightly and not being hard up. It was only a matter of switching the pumps on and pressing them up again. This was a concern and more about this later. It took eight days to reach the English Channel and on 2nd December we anchored off the port.
Next day we had a pilot board and assist us to the berth. To do so we went through a lock which was for a tidal basin and as it was high slack water opened all the way. I took he ship through with the normal method of the mates spotting and the pilot was very impressed. Berthing again was something a lakers captain would have thought hum hoe again the pilot was very impressed by the efficiency of the deck crew and our method of tying up with wires 1,2,3,4 and the bow and stern wires. The cargo was examined and found to be as it was loaded. We received a message of congratulations from the Canadian Embassy as were the first Canadian vessel to enter that port since the end of WWII. When we opened the hatches a hoard of pigeons descended on us (I think there were more there than in Trafalgar Square) many of the crew took advantage and got on the train to sight see in Paris. At one time with the slowness of discharge I think the pigeons got more cargo. I reminded myself not to buy any baguettes, as you all know what these birds also do besides eat. One afternoon the agent boarded and requested that we shift the ship 150 metres ahead to allow another ship to berth astern. I called the mate on deck and told him to do that. A little time later after a coffee and business he reminded me about shifting and I told him it had been done. He looked out the window to see for himself and was puzzled to see it was done. How did you do it was his question and I told him we do that with the minimum of trouble as part of the routine at home. This turned out to be a prolonged port stay as were there for eleven days. It did allow for many defects to be attended to which was a bonus.
On 14th December we departed but as there was nothing booked orders were to proceed to a safe anchorage to await orders.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 4, 2017, 3:39 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Thanks Jerry for these kind words about my experiences. I started out this project about my life as a sailor and did not realise it would be appealing to so many people. I have told many of these tales and happenings to friends that told me I should write about them. I did not know they would appeal to so many shore side people that think that to being a sailor is a romantic life but not to disillusion them. It will be a record that someday I hope my grand children will read and understand my weird and different views of the world.
When this is completed and with the help of many persons I may consider what my options are.
I seem to remember you as a ships agent ??


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 4, 2017, 11:45 am 
Captain, your stories are of enormous interest to all in the industry and to those who wish that they were in the industry. Every sailor can connect your stories to his or her own experiences that they have had in their own career. There is a level of personal and professional attachment to every mariner who reads them. They are mentioned each month at the meeting of the Duluth/Superior Harbor Club and weekly at the ROMEOS (retired old men eating out) meetings. I greatly enjoy learning about the personal history of a member of one of the fleets that I used to represent at Duluth. Please keep the stories coming and don't think that the Public are not enjoying them. There are many internet sites for self publishing books and I strongly recommend that you give it serious consideration. Another choice would be to contact LAKE SUPEROR MAGAZINE in Duluth. They are in the business of publishing and can do all of the work for you. I know that the book would sell well. I would be honored to help you contact them if you would like as the owners are good personal friends.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 3, 2017, 10:54 am 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
A thing I forgot to mention was that we received a telex when going up the “Seaway” that all beef products the we had in our freezer were to be destroyed by incineration as there had been an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the U.K. and Canada had issued a ban on their importation. The smell of roasting beef permeated the whole boat as the deck hands fed steaks, roasts and other beef into the incinerator. As it was daylight going past the Thousand Islands we had a lot of boats out watching the vessel traffic and unbeknown to me until later some of this was thrown to the boats! We did not cause any outbreak in North America to my knowledge by this act.

On route to Thunder Bay we were told that Richardson’s were to hold an open house on 13th of October when we would be alongside their elevator. There was to be a plane taking aerial pictures of us in the bay. We had all hands making the boat “shipshape and Bristol fashion” for this as we wished to impart a good impression. Unfortunately it was raining heavily and that was cancelled. It was unfortunate as the other two of their boats were anchored close to each other, “Silver Isle” and “Senneville” and it would have made a wonderful shot as we sailed between them. It was the only occasion that the three were ever close. We loaded some cargo in Pool #4 as we were still a money making enterprise and wasting time was not an option. In the wee hours of 13th we shifted to the elevator and prepared for the on slot of visitors.

Mr Richardson the owner was on board for a tour and photo shots and I think he was pleased at his purchase. Although the boat was to be operated by Misener all the bills were paid by Pioneer shipping and even the crew wage slips were from them and not Misener as I pointed out to some people. In the afternoon there was a celebration lunch in Valhalla Inn and speeches etc and presentation to all the guests of a small keepsake to mark the occasion. My wife and I were there and when it broke up it was back on board to work and shift the boat to finish loading. There was only a token run of grain loaded at this elevator. When the loading was finished we went out and anchored in the bay to do engine repairs. A few boffins were on board and again we were to do some more trials but at full deep sea draft. The mate calculated on the loading computer ( a very early one and to give you an example it was like the old video game of “pong” to today’s very extensive video games) that used a cassette like tape, what tanks to ballast . We thought it was magic at the time and it really was a boon for stress calculations and loading various cargo and hold distributions etc.

When in the open waters of Lake Superior we had engines movements, stopping and starting and when that was completed a long course down the lake with the engine going at full load. We spent all day fiddling about and had to check speed to get the ballast out. As this was the first time the ship’s crew had done this it took longer than expected but they soon mastered the ballast control panel and I even managed to work it later on. When we got to the “Canal”, again a number of technicians boarded to repair faulty equipment. The “Seaway” section was very busy and that is when we found the anchor release was not working properly. The 3cm radar again quit. After clearing the seaway and proceeding down the river to Port Cartier we had a steering gear problem and just managed to avoid a serious incident. That was when we discovered the bow thruster was not working. Eventually we berthed and the cargo discharged.

Thus ended our maiden voyage and a few grey hairs added to my head


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 1, 2017, 4:42 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Pete in Holland MI wrote:
Loving the stories.

Have you considered writing a book? Not sure how all the financials work out, but maybe hook up with Capt Metz for the in's & out's of that adventure. May not sell like a Stephen King book & be as famous, but might get you some play money out of your efforts.

Pete


Don't think so Pete as there would be a very limited market and I am doing this as a self satisfying project before I reach senility!!!


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 1, 2017, 4:39 pm 

Joined: July 19, 2010, 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
For those that think being on a boat for the Maiden voyage is wonderful I hate to disillusion you as these next few days would have tried the patience of a saint (I am not in the category). Whereas Bob the mate and I did the crossing on the CM that at least had good weather. The weather gods were not kind to us and although I had decided to do a GC route to Belle Isle straits, which is the shortest way, we were still exposed to everything and it seemed that one depression after another was out there to meet us and test our metal. I was in awe of the boat in the large swells that these systems generated as she was bending like a saw. These boats were constructed with high tensile steel plates on the sheer and garboard strakes so we would endure in these conditions. Being so long and narrow it was something I had never experienced before and whenever I got a chance I was on deck with Bob doing inspections. There was more than one occasion when it was necessary to check down and alter course to ease the rolling. We were doing a good speed when it was not too bad. When we were pitching the Kort nozzle would partly clear and the engine would race so that was a good test for the engine governor.
I was being nearly driven to distraction when trying to sleep as there was something loose in the deck head in my bedroom. Off came the panels and an errant screw retrieved. With all this shaking and movement it had an effect on some of the electrical equipment and many things ceased to function. You can have all the trials and test you want bet it must pass the tests in the environment that it’s going to used and alas it failed. The Loan “C” was a waste of cargo space and the satellite navigator was an early one about the size of a bar fridge and only gave a position when a satellite passed, the rest of the time being connected to the gyro and the log gave DR positions when the proper key was pressed. The second mate would do the days run on it which made it of some use. Comparing it to the modern GPS’s is like comparing a Cadillac and a Skoda. One of the two radar sets went down and numerous pieces of equipment in the engine room. The fire detection consol was forever giving false alarms that we were on the verge or using the fire axe to fix it. The weather fax that allowed us to receive weather maps was an exception and gave good results although it took for ages to print out. After six days of being tossed about we arrived in the shelter of the coast of Newfoundland. During the course of the voyage across we changed our water ballast which is now mandatory. Before arriving at the pilot station we tested the engine controls and the bowthuster. As we had received pre clearance we did not stop at Montreal but a Japanese technician boarded to try and sort out some of the problems. He had never been up the seaway before and as we entered the Seaway was on the bridge looking and asked me where we were going as we approached St.Lambert lock. He was running from one side of the bridge wings to the other and saying 'stop captain as we will not go in there". I assured him we would and he was extremely relieved when we stopped and tied up. "Bet you are glad that’s all over" he commented. What do you mean as we have another 15 to do before we reach Thunder Bay. How often do we do this and he about fell over when I told him we did every three weeks. "Must be mad" and off he went to do his assigned tasks.
When got to the Welland canal we stopped at wharf #1 for a couple our hours for inspection and at mid day stopped at the Welland dock to unload spare gear etc. I was delighted to welcome my wife and son for the trip. We cleared the “Canal” just after 10 pm and thus end a very long day for me.


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: September 1, 2017, 8:11 am 
Loving the stories.

Have you considered writing a book? Not sure how all the financials work out, but maybe hook up with Capt Metz for the in's & out's of that adventure. May not sell like a Stephen King book & be as famous, but might get you some play money out of your efforts.

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: August 31, 2017, 7:14 pm 
Old sailor's muses?? Quite on the contrary Captain! You and the other captains who post here, grant us the time and opportunity to sail along with you through your words and experience. Sincerely thank you and please keep posting!


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 Post subject: Re: My starting to be a sailor
Unread postPosted: August 31, 2017, 5:27 pm 

Joined: June 28, 2010, 12:30 pm
Posts: 371
Keep 'em coming Capt. Enjoy every paragraph!


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