Tony Selman
18th December 2006, 22:10
To go with the sister thread on Andania here is a photo of Alaunia I took in 1966. I am annoyed I chopped the bows off which was unlike me as I tried quite hard to get the photo balance right as a general rule. Maybe I had no choice with where I was standing and the lens I was using. From memory this was taken whilst waiting to lock out of Huskisson Dock and I must have stepped ashore and walked round to take the picture before sailing for NY. I am reasonably sure this was the voyage where we arrived back in the Mersey on the Friday night before the World Cup Final in 1966. We were not guaranteed to berth the following day which caused some considerable anxiety, but in fact we did so.

Speaking as an R/O I much preferred this class of ship to the all aft jobs which I never took to very much. I have also included a photo of me grafting away in the Radio Room which I think has been posted before but not actually on an Alaunia thread.

19th December 2006, 11:31
Hi Tony,

A couple of evocative shots for me - I did three trips on Alaunia in 1965/66. You can clearly see the precarious position of the radar scanner, which usually needed at least one visit per voyage to fix an obscure fault - usually in foul weather. I don't remember now if it was on the Alaunia or the Andania that the radar caught fire as we were sailing up the Thames inbound from NY. The entire I/F strip was charred to a cinder so there was no way that I could fix that. The Marconi Radiolocator IV radars gave more trouble than any of the stone-age technology BTH RMS 1s usually fitted to Brocklebank ships in those days.

Happy days indeed,


Tony Selman
19th December 2006, 14:10
John, no they weren't the best were they but I had less trouble on Alaunia than I did with the radars on the all aft ships. They just shook themselves to bits and I had 2 horrible trips on Samaria with a variety of radar problems including over 2 days to change a scanner motor in NY after it got jammed in with a distorted frame and of course the replacement would not go back in either.

That said I did change a scanner motor on Alaunia on the Grand Banks in thick fog with a heavy swell once, that concentrates the mind considering where the scanner is placed. I can't remember who held the tools and the torch but he did a great job.

They were comfortable ships to sail on as well being turbine ships with midships accommodation albeit the Atlantic did it's best to throw you around anyway. I recall reading on a Brock's thread somewhere that they were not too popular when they transferred over to Brocklebank's as they were very hot in the tropics, not surprising really considering the difference in the runs.

Ron Stringer
19th December 2006, 18:45
You can clearly see the precarious position of the radar scanner, which usually needed at least one visit per voyage to fix an obscure fault - usually in foul weather.
You have no idea how much heartache was caused to the installation departments of all the radar suppliers by marine supers that insisted on the scanners being sited with a clear view for'ard. As an ex- installer and repairer, I must say that the funnel-mounted locations were only slightly less favoured than those on the cross-trees of foremasts or for'ard goalposts.

On the funnel the electrics, the electronics and the maintainer were fried (if not asphixiated) by the funnel gases. When installed up for'ard, in the North Atlantic winter you risked life and limb crossing a wet and unfriendly foredeck to haul yourself, tools and spare parts up a cold and slippery ladder to some dizzy height. There you tried to hang on, remove the equipment covers, find the problems and fix them. All the while you had to stop all the covers, tools and other paraphernalia from blowing away or rolling off the platform, and try to avoid looking down as the rolling took the mast beyond the edge of the deck and over a cold and angry sea. My first ship, E & F's "Golfito" was just such a fitting - and she had no raised fo'c'sle.

I even was called to one ship on the Tyne where the radar was at the top of a 10-metre tall guyed mast, with no ladder rungs or platform. Apparently the radar, waveguide and cables had been fitted onto the mast before it had been mounted and welded to the deck. I went up slung in a bucket attached to a dockside crane and fixed the fault. What would have happened at sea I will never know.

K urgess
19th December 2006, 19:12
Here's one courtesy of Port Line. Port Townsville.

Luckily I only had to attend to it once even though it was a Raymarc 12, but being my lucky day, it was while crossing the Bay of Biscay in a force 8.

Looking down at white water as she rolls tends to concentrate the mind. A good clout with a wrench was enough to unstick the scanner motor thankfully. Thanks for the word picture Ron, I was hoping the nightmares had faded away.(EEK)

Unfortunately the transmitter was mounted in the focsle just below the scanner so faults still normally meant getting wet.

19th December 2006, 21:42
Ron, You got that one right about being asphixiated by the funnel gases. In the Alaunia picture you can see the top of the "stove pipe" that was the actual funnel, discharging fumes just about at head height as you worked your way across the funnel top on the wet slippery plates. The actual hatch on to the funnel top was at the rear so you got gassed whatever you tried to do. At least on the older ships the main part of the radar "works" was contained in a steel box on the monkey island with only the scanner sticking out of the top.
As an aside, as I mentioned in another thread, the air intakes for the ventilation system on the Alaunia and Andania were slits in the rear of the funnel. That meant that funnel gasses tended to be sucked in and circulated round the accommodation - not nice.

That said, Alaunia and Andania were as comfortable as any ship could be in the worst North Atlantic weather.


Tony Selman
20th December 2006, 13:08
John and Ron. Alaunia was the only ship I ever sailed on where the scanner was directly on top of the funnel although a Trident tanker did have it's scanners on a purpose built mast forward of the funnel and the air was none too good in a following wind.

As it happened my episode on the Grand Banks had distinct elements of both Ron's and John's stories. It was foggy with a heavy swell on the Grand Banks (nothing new there then) with not much wind, but what there was astern of us. This meant the trip up through the funnel was exactly as John describes. Someone came up with me but I can't remember who, an apprentice or 2nd or 3rd mate perhaps, and did a great job helping with the problems Ron describes. I am not overly fond of heights (understatement) and on a heavily rolling ship lashed to a small platform on top of a funnel is just about as character building as it can get. I actually found doing the job was fine because you were concentrating on doing it right and not dropping something vital but hard as you tried sometimes it was difficult not to look out or down when you were gettings things ready.

In this instance on the Banks the job went as smoothly as could be expected except for the following wind giving us the full benefit of the flue gasses and we both were coughing well and with bad throats for a couple of days.