Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Christoph M

Christoph MOn Sunday the Christoph M arrived, performing what must be the most unusual manoeuvre I think I've ever seen.

About 100 yards from her destination, with a huge clattering she let go her anchor, and continued to drag it all the way to her berth.

Needless to say, coming alongside took far longer than is usual for these big vessels.

The only reason I can think they would dump their anchor like that is if the vessel had no reverse gear.

No sign of her using a bow thruster either.


  1. Many of these vessels have air start engines and need to have them stopped at TDC (or close) so as to hand rotate backward or forwards, so that the next dump of compressed air starts the engine either backwards or forwards acting as a directional drive (where no reverse or forward gearbox is needed) Depending whether the piston is BTDC or ATDC is the diresction it will go when its started. it can be a pain when bringign them along side in fast flowing river as they are slow reving engines and the added safety of a set anchor often acts as the skippers safety net:o)) drop your anchor close in shore! run the chain out and drive your bow at the mooring spot ( usually behind another vessel, stop letting chain out, line ashore, and walk a mid line also from the bow as far back as it can be got before the stern starts to move too far away from the quay, then winch the stern in, and secure ish! Its at times like these when the young pilot who has been calling for forward! and astern in excess and the engineer quietly replies "you`ve got one movement left! where do you want it"? Thats when its handy to have an anchor set in!:o))

  2. Hi Rob

    Interesting, thanks.

    It's hard to tell, I know, but she does look kind of new to be having an engine like that.



  3. Anonymous5:23 PM

    Don't know if she actually set the anchor, as Rob describes, or dragged it along the bottom on a short scope to help control the bow. They call that "drudging", and it's the norm for the china clay ships going into Fowey in Cornwall. Tugs drag them up the river backwards, with the anchor trailing on the bottom ensuring the bow follows behind rather than swinging. Then they can come back down the river forwards - there's no room to turn.

    It's a hell of a shock the first time you see one come past your mooring, it's the last thing you expect in that little village.


  4. Anonymous8:19 PM

    The others have just about covered it. It is an old trick to control your bow. I noticed that he has a bow thruster which I would imagine is u/s. I sometimes use this and then instead of recovering the anchor slack it off to the seabed, then when leaving haul away to pull her head out.Bargees on the thames used to foul their anchor with a lashing across the flukes and then descend with the tide backwards by shearing back and forward across the tide retaining control until gaining sea room. Its a science and the steepest learning curve is when it goes wrong!!!

  5. Anonymous8:22 PM

    Now you can see why I rejoiced when a power windlass found its way to the focsle head !!!