Doxford Stand By - Ships Nostalgia
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  #1  
Old 19th March 2005, 12:02
scottie dog scottie dog is offline
 
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Doxford Stand By

Love of low speed diesels.

Having sailed with many types of engines, low, medium, high speed and even gas turbines, my fondest and funniest memories are on the old low speed engines.
Stand- by,s were fun and you were in ultimate control the bridge had no input bar the telegraph.

Doxford LB
I sailed with Palm line in the seventies starting as junior engineer, at this time Palm Line had around twelve dry cargo and one Palm oil tanker.
The majority of vessels were DC and had Doxford engines, the engine rooms suffered from extremely poor lighting but they were kept spotless,
Painted mostly white with all brass and copper pipe work and fixings highly polished, but the centre piece was the engine control station with its polished stainless steel consul and brass pressure gauges and telegraph.

My first vessel was the Ibadin Palm, I joined in Rotterdam in May 1975 and we set sail for West Africa, what a site! A four cylinder twin opposed piston engine thumping away at 110rpm, Pistons and side rods trying to escape through the engine room sky lights and your ears popping as the pistons compressed the engine room atmosphere I was absolutely awe struck.

Stand By was awesome and the 3rd engineer my hero, what was this man doing and how was he doing it! The telegraph would ring, HALF AHEAD and the third went into action, how many hands has this man got? First the air start lever then the fuel lever through the gate, return the air start lever to rest and a quick change of hands onto the fuel pump wheel must keep that fuel pressure up!
My God! What’s this double ring FULL ASTERN what’s happening? The thirds reactions are immediate but why does he look so concerned? Time stands still as he waits for the engine to come to a stop before repeating the whole process again with the engine rapidly reaching 100rpm astern. It’s ok though the dock gates are still in one piece.

As time went by I eventually mastered this ampedextrous feat but not before lifting many a relief valve and the chief engineer screaming what the …… you doing,
But I got there in the end and once there nobody was going to get me off this was mine and i,m keeping it.

Single Handed
I,m now 4th engineer and im the hero, but somebody somewhere decides I still need to be tested!
All pre stand by checks have been carried out I think! Where is everyone? What’s going on up top?
S…. the telegraphs ringing stand by! Ok engines on diesel plenty air in the receiver Turning gear out I hope! Right answer the telegraph fill in the movement book still time for people to arrive WRONG! HALF AHEAD.
Right not too bad used a bit too much air though, engines settled fill in the movement book, wind up them manual start DC hamworthy compressors close the blow down valves S….. What’s that ringing? bloody hell it’s the telegraph STOP ENGINES my feet cant grip the shiny floor plates as I make a dash back to the consul what’s this! HALF ASTERN I haven’t stopped the engine yet! Ok panic over fill in the movement book get back to those compressors STOP ENGINE! Where the hell is every one? Not doing too badly though only lifted two relief valves but will still cost a few beers.
OK full away Heavy oil temperature coming up nicely time to change over, fuel pressure ok all Ts and Ps ok By where moving about a bit must be a bit of a sea out there, engine revs are erratic reduce the revs a bit B…..s too late revs dropping off fast over speed trip where’s that bloody hammer? Three steps at a time to get to the trip and one violent attack with the hammer does the trick revs are picking up again.
Hang on what’s that movement behind the boiler, need to wipe the sweat out of my eyes is that the second the third the junior lecky why are they all laughing what’s so bloody funny.
What a bunch of B……..s you wont ever catch me doing that to somebody well! Not today at least.
Shower changed and in the bar best lager I’ve ever tasted even if it does cost 20p a pint.
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  #2  
Old 19th March 2005, 20:57
Santos Santos is offline  
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Talking Doxford stand-by

Hi Scottie Dog,

The thing I remember most about Doxford engines ( 5 cylinder Centre Scavange and 6 Cylinder ) is very loud bangs and perfect smoke rings from the funnel following an engine movement request, normally at a vital moment when manovering. I was on the bridge thank goodness and not below. However we were still deafened. ( The best one I ever heard lifted the fiddlelies ( ventilation hatches ) on the boat deck. ) We were then deafened by the Old Man questioning the parenthood of the man who invented Doxfords and the Pilot screaming for action ( Usually ' LET GO FORRAAAAAAAARDDD.......... ' )

Hey I forgot scavanger fires as well --- large ammounts of black smoke from the engine room and loads of very pretty coloured sparks from the funnel, which left soot all over the boat deck and whoever happened to be on deck at the time ( this normally also accompanied by much use of very bad language !!!!! from whoever was on duty in the engine room at the time. This was closely followed again by a big reduction in speed and the Old Man once again castigating anyone and anything to do with Doxfords.

Great fun, still smile at the memories. Thanks Scottie Dog for reminding me. Long live Doxfords.

Santos

Last edited by Santos; 19th March 2005 at 21:54.. Reason: Insert Title
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  #3  
Old 20th March 2005, 09:40
cassim cassim is offline  
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Very interesting - I was on Union Cos "Ngatoro" entering Hobart Tasmania about midnight leaning on the bridge rail talking to the skipper when the engines stopped. Suddenly we were drifting through the water with no sound, no vibration - the skipper never even got concerned! Eventually after about 5 mins the engine was restarted - I never did find out what happened. The Ngatoros forward bulkhead had a ruddy big patch on it where steel had punched through the bulkhead in bad weather. Glad I was not on board at the time!
Your talk about telegraphs reminds me of a story told to me by a B.I. Purser. He was on a cargo vessel transiting the Suez Canal with an Egyptian tug on the port quarter forward. She was of the old type with open bridge wings and a telegraph on each wing. The mate is down the bow ready to slip the anchor when requested and the skipper is on the port wing..... he rings down half speed ahead. When takes his hand off the telegraph immediately moves to Full astern. The skipper grabs the the telegraphs and moves it back to half speed ahead. Immediately it goes to full astern. Poor engineroom! Then the skipper looks across to the other bridge wing and spots the offending apprentice who is cleaning the telegraph. The skipper bellows out"Let go you b........ fool" wwhereupon the mate goes "aye aye sir" and slips the anchor. The Egyptians on the tug were quite upset as the anchor narrowly missed sinking them! Afterwards when the Captain confronted the mate the mate said that was the way the captain normally spoke to him! I laughed so much as this story was told to me and even now the mental picture of this incident makes me chuckle!
Cheers
Selwyn
Cassim
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  #4  
Old 20th March 2005, 09:59
scottie dog scottie dog is offline
 
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Ahh yes the scavenge fires and the soot, remember it alll too well.
Unfortunately so may one very irrate skippers wife whom happened to be sun bathing on the monkey island at the time.
Glad to be of service
Scottie Dog
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  #5  
Old 29th March 2005, 03:48
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Doxfordman Doxfordman is offline  
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God the memories flood back, most of the jobs i was on where twin 5 cyl LBD Doxfords, some with solid upper cooling pipes others with hoese. It certaqinly was not unusual to get an early morning shower of hot upper psiton cooling water once in a while. Stops at sea were constant. One engine down and in to the c/case for water leaks, cross head bearing failures etc etc. Oh what a huge learning curve. Doubt young engineers enjoy the same camaraderi - can't spell - which did on those older ship. So many enginners and such a great time!
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  #6  
Old 29th March 2005, 10:25
scottie dog scottie dog is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doxfordman
God the memories flood back, most of the jobs i was on where twin 5 cyl LBD Doxfords, some with solid upper cooling pipes others with hoese. It certaqinly was not unusual to get an early morning shower of hot upper psiton cooling water once in a while. Stops at sea were constant. One engine down and in to the c/case for water leaks, cross head bearing failures etc etc. Oh what a huge learning curve. Doubt young engineers enjoy the same camaraderi - can't spell - which did on those older ship. So many enginners and such a great time!
Iye Doxfordman probbably too many incidents to remember never mind list. I think we all must have experienced the UPCW showers.
Pulling an upper piston was great fun, cant remember how many times I missed the target when loosening back upper side rod nuts and momentum carrying me thro the air when I forgot to let go of the 30lb hammer shank!
Crankcase inspections were not to be missed, doubt you would find the happy smiling faces these days emerging from a cranckcase saturated in lube oil and sweat.
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  #7  
Old 29th March 2005, 18:26
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The sun was setting astern on a calm summer Aegean Sea as the London Majesty made her way to Istanbul and thence Novorrossisk on the Black Sea. The idyllic scene was disrupted by great belching black clouds of smoke from the funnel combined with a splendid display of sparks. They showed up wonderfully against the darkening sky. There was a flurry of activity on the bridge and the Old Man turned to and told the 3rd Mate to ring down to the engine room and tell them about the sparks. When he hung up, the Old Man demanded to know what the response was. The 3rd Mate mumbled something about Okay and as the Old Man went out of earshot he grinned and said "What do you expect, bloody snowballs ?"

It may well have been a stock Geordie response under such circumstances but it amused us.

DaveM
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  #8  
Old 30th March 2005, 06:44
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Well indeed, the memories continue to flood back, one fine day chugging through the South Atlantic on watch with a "proffesional third", we had lots of them, they were the back bone of the engineering staff in the company, one of the engines became eratic in RPM, a voice was heard from the workshop as this mad man ran out of said workshop, jumped down over the rail on to the top of a running 6 cylinder Ruston DC genrator, open valve gear, which was running, screached to a halt at the control station between the two engines and bellowed "hit the deck she's gonna blow". The day work 2/E/O appeared from behind the other engine red faced and agast, "what the f.... is going to blow?" he shouted, the "f.....g smokoe kettle" the 3rd retored, christ you didn't have to be shot away to be at sea but it certainly helped!
Crank case inspections in Curaceo outward bound for KIWI, oh such fun, pulling numerous units on the KIWI coast, as Scotie dog suggest getting air bourne accross the top plate closly following a large hammer! Crawing through scavange spaces and the centre scavange pump, undoing cross head nut retaining bolts remembering that they had a left handed thread! Sperical bottom end bearings, it was certainly a great time , by golly you played hard and certainly worked hard.
Graham.
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  #9  
Old 30th March 2005, 09:07
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I'm embarrassed to admit I never got my hands dirty but,

I was R/O on the London Confidence, no Doxford there, she had a Sulzer and was the most powerful single engined merchant ship in the world when launched in 1961.

We'd sailed from Alexandria and were bound for Quebec. It was around late June, forty years ago. I remember the time because we were in Quebec on the 4th July. It hadn't been the best of passages because calm as the Atlantic was, we'd had days of fog. Whilst that might be thought to be no big deal, the Old Man had made a meal of it, and not been off the bridge for seventy two hours straight. He managed to keep everyone else wound-up as well and wanted DF bearings every half hour, that he then refused to believe. They all turned out to have been spot on once they got a look at the sun.

On the day in question the fog had cleared, the Old Man had disappeared, and all was well with the world, sunny, warm and relaxed.

Suddenly a couple of engineers came into the radio room looking a bit agitated and wanted to know if I was in contact with the London Splendour, because she was in distress. I said that the morse code they could hear was just normal stuff on '500' and nobody was in distress.

The junior of the two, confessed he'd been scouting around for a medium wave broadcast when he heard a ship's transmission, with the R/O asking the coast station to connect to London Grosvenor 4941. That was our head office, so he assumed it had been me and that if he'd listened, he'd have been able to hear the Old Man talking to the office. Instead he heard someone on the London Splendour explaining a tale of woe regarding their engine. This is the Doxford bit..

They'd had to stop and do some messing around inside the crankcase, I don't recall what. Having got it all boxed up again, they had turned it over on air...and bent the crankshaft. There had been water in one of the cylinders, something not known for its compression capabilities.

The head office had then told them to get a tow into Halifax.

Whilst we were discussing this, I heard the Splendour in normal communication and when he was free I called him back.

Their R/O told the same tale himself, and I was able to go and tell the Old Man, leaving out the espionage bit.

The Old Man demanded to know if they'd actually sent out a distress message, but they hadn't, they were just waiting for a tug. So he said not to talk to them again. I assumed it was just in case they had the great idea of us giving them a tow.

Anyway, they got their tow and our engineers were pretty fed up because we'd passed up the chance of salvage money.

When the Splendour got to Halifax they set a new world record for swapping a Doxford crankshaft. Was it eleven days or something, I don't really remember now.

DaveM
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  #10  
Old 30th March 2005, 11:24
scottie dog scottie dog is offline
 
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Doxford

This is great didnt expect such a good response!
Keep it comming.
I recall one crankcase incident alongside Freetown on the Ilorin Palm.
It started as a routine side rod x-head bolt change out on one unit, somehow the nut/bolt cross threaded and all usual attempts to to seperate these two lovers failed.
It was decided to resort to chain drilling and hammer and chisel, three of us in the crankcase taking shifts with the hammer whilst the 2E paced the floor plates with a worried frown.
We were well behind schedule and should have sailed hours ago, we had now clocked up around thirty hours inside the belly of this engine taking it in turns to cat nap on the internal access platforms.
The seconds anxiety increased with every hour that passed and we were concerned for his apparent sanity.
Desperately needing sleep and refreshment we battled on then it happened!
The unmistakable sound of the release of compressed air, sh.. the 2Engs finally lost it! hes starting the bloody engine EVERYONE out NOW!
Three bodies soaked in Lube oil and sweat all trying to squeeze through the crankcase door at the same time would have been commical if we werent all so scared.
Panick over, the second had just got board and decided to run and blowdown the three Hamworthy air compressors and top up the air reciever.
Nervously we returned to our task and completed around around three hours later, Guess who ended up taking the first watch leaving Freetown?
Never been so knackered in all my life but great fun.
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  #11  
Old 30th March 2005, 20:48
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Keep it coming eh ?

I've been scratching my head, wondering if there was anything else Doxford-wise I could dredge up.

Then I remembered, the London Majesty. I think I might be able to turn up a murky photo of her too, but I have seen better ones on the web.

The London Majesty was a brilliant ship. She was a small tanker, built around 1950~51, with great accomodation and the barmiest bunch of lads I ever sailed with.

I'd joined her in Falmouth in August '64 because her previous R/O had been pinched and flown off to the USA to join one of the cargo ships. Her Doxford story had begun weeks before and was the reason she was enjoying a Summer in Falmouth.

She'd been on her regular run carrying Russian oil from the Black Sea to Cuba. It was customary to call in at Ceuta for bunkers with a secondary purpose of visiting George Armatides, the chandler on the docks. It was not uncommon to slip ashore with ones suitcase, returning with it laden with 'docking bottles', at 7/6d a throw. Spirits were unobtainable on board, apart from the company supplied tot of rum. The older hands recalled that it was a rule that had been brought in when a bunch of drunken engineers in New York had set about demolishing the accomodation with a fire axe. Just the sort of stuffed shirt, head office response you'd expect, eh ?

Well, I digress. Just as they were entering Ceuta, there was what was described to me as a "God Almighty bang" from the engine, but it kept running and so they continued into port and decided to have a look when they go alongside. It turned out to be a trivial matter. The crankcase had cracked. As I recall, they had assistance from a tug to move from Ceuta over to Gibraltar, where temporary repairs were effected. After a while, a couple of weeks maybe, she left and sailed back to Falmouth at four knots.

She was at Falmouth for about six weeks in total. She anchored out, and each day a gang from the dockyard would come out and work on the engine, returning home in the evening. I do recall a young lady trying to hitch a ride back on the dockyard boat one morning, at the same time trying to dodge her dad, who was getting off it.

Whilst there the Majesty became a tourist attraction, with the sightseeing boats taking a turn round her. It was great, simply being "off the Majesty" was a killer chat-up line.

We eventually threaded our way out of Falmouth in Regatta week, to complete the almost forgotten trip to Cuba.

That wasn't the end though. Before departing we took delivery of two Taiwanese engineers. The senior, a 2nd, didn't speak a work of English but continually grinned and nodded at everyone. The other was a 4th engineer and he spoke pretty good English. The reason for their presence was undeclared as I recall. However, it didn't take long to figure out that the company had decided to "get rid".

We did a short trip from Novorossisk to Naples and then to dry dock in Malta, with the ship supposedly being due to hand over to new owners. It was something of a cliffhanger, as it turned out that Lloyds had only certified the engine repairs as satisfactory for something like 12 months. This threw the deal into turmoil and we got the impression the fact had slipped folks minds when giving the Taiwanese the sales pitch.

We left her there and flew home on a Comet 4C in November.

I'm pretty sure that this is my very last ounce of Doxford nostalgia, but the fun and games on the Majesty could fill a book. Thanks for reminding me of it.

Cheers,

DaveM
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  #12  
Old 30th March 2005, 23:30
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Doxfordman Doxfordman is offline  
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Just put a post in the BI section of the Dwarka, she had a single 5 cyl Doxford and all steam aux's, wow what a ship. 2 x 30 ton scotch boilers and steam aux's including the gennies, little 3 cylinder Allens. During St bys, because of the all the steam requirements, steam winches, steam air compressors, and all steam pumps, the hot well used to over flow, the poor old condensor couldn't stand the shear volume of condensate and used to over flow the hot well, with a consequence of the engine room bottom plates becomming like a sauna. One of the only electrical pumps was the fuel primming pump for the main engine, which had to be used before each and every start. The old girl ran like a sowing machine, with very few problems. Unfortunately she was the last "old" Doxford I had the pleasure of sailing on, the new J types were about and I was wisked of to lean the new.
Had a similar occurance with a J type top piston side rod nut. These nute were pretty large bits of kit, and this one had seized solid. Big hammers, hydraulic gear was useless to release this nut, The old priciples came out in the shape of a drill and chizzles. We got it off and without damage to the side rod threads, the old problem was we did not have a spare, which meant we were delayed in Aukland, oh such a shame, until a new one could be made up ashore. Happy days.
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  #13  
Old 31st March 2005, 10:46
scottie dog scottie dog is offline
 
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Departure.

Just a note to say going back to sea for a while on DSVs (no not Doxford engines such a shame) back in a few weeks and most certainly pop back in on my return.
scotty Dog
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Old 31st March 2005, 23:31
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Doxfordman Doxfordman is offline  
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Trip

Have good and safe trip mate. And for memory look at the attached.

Last edited by Doxfordman; 12th May 2007 at 09:40..
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Old 2nd April 2005, 17:59
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japottinger japottinger is offline  
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Grease driven engines

Methinks you got what you asked for, far better on ssshteam ships!
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  #16  
Old 2nd April 2005, 23:21
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Originally Posted by daveinnola
the ship was half full of spares
LOF did the same thing with radar sets. They cut their costs by fitting new ships with second hand Cossor Radars that BP was disposing of. They were total rubbish. Around the mid sixties they started replacing the Cossors with AEI 651 sets. They gave a good picture when working but the display mechanicals were flakey. The company had the same rule, the Cossor garbage was to be passed on to ships that hadn't upgraded yet. When I joined the London Splendour, she'd had the new radar a while, but she'd also got a complete spare Cossor radar in a spare cabin, boxes of spare parts and half the drawers in the office were full of correspondence about Cossor radar faults.

It was all tastefully buried at sea. Throwing a Cossor radar over the side was surely a dream of many, that was lived by few. (=D)

Dave
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Old 12th April 2005, 23:39
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Hi Dave,

When first working ashore with Marconi on the Tyne we had to fit any number of the AEI 651 radars. Most gave trouble at switch-on but the circuits in the handbooks never looked anything like the actual boards in the sets. When you rang AEI's Blackbird Road site for guidance, the word was always that "Oh, there has been a modification, we'll send you a new circuit diaram and parts list for that." Always after the event, never before. Made the job a nightmare when (of course) we were always the last to be able to gain access to commission the radar. I never did find out why shipyards thought it was OK to leave it until the day before sailing to refit the radar mast that had been taken down, or re-sited, to gain improved access to the engine room top. 3 days' work concertinaed into 12 hours - no joke.

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Ron Stringer
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Old 13th April 2005, 01:04
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Hi Ron,

The most common fault I found at sea was that the scan coil motor/gearing would stall repeatedly, giving a dartboard effect to the display. But, as I said, they were great when they worked.

Cheers Mate,

Dave
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Old 24th April 2005, 11:40
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Going back to Doxford's I was sailing as Master in Bank Line and had my Wife and 3½ year old twins on board, it was noonish on a calm Sunday Morning, the Twins were out on the Boat Deck quietly playing and all was peaceful. The C/E and the Mate turned up (Gin Time, you know how it is) and we had just settled down when, you guessed it, BANG!! The Chief shoots off saying rude things about Mr. Doxfords parentage and although we are a thousand miles from any real estate I thought I would wander off to the bridge to have a look around.

Suddenly a mad rush into the cabin and there before me are two miniture Al Jolsons. "Daddy, Daddy" says one, "There was a Big Bang and the Engine Stopped"

"Ah!" says his strange looking partner sagely. "I think the Engine's on the Bum!"

How quickly they pick up seamans language.

Wonderful Days......pete
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Old 1st June 2005, 18:09
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Not a Doxford story but a Wartsila one, have a look at website www.atsb.gov.au, go to marine site and look at report number 193 and see what the engineer found when he entered the engine room, you do not know whether to laugh or cry. Surely you could have heard it? I am a steam man.
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Old 2nd June 2005, 10:02
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Stuart Smith Stuart Smith is offline
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This Doxford thread was about the best thing that I have read for a while. Although a turbine man and a one time Sulzer engineer I was highly amused to read all those tales of woe about the b*****d Doxfords.
This is what makes this site so good.
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Old 28th March 2006, 04:07
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On P&O's Palana we have just left Cockatoo Dockyard after a complete engiroom overhaul.Somtime earlier the ship had tried to go overland but there was still enough water around to flood everything.Just passed under the bridge & the Doxfords stop & there is a complete blackout.Skipper tells apprentice to ring E/R .Apprentice does so but tells skipper all he can hear is local radio station.Skipper rather irritably grabs phone to try himself.Over the radio music gets a first trip engineer who over all the background yelling plus music tells him"If you think you have trouble up there you want to see this lot"The C/E much later told me that once he had calmed down the skipper could could make a weak grin.Never traced who the engineer was. KIWI
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Old 28th March 2006, 04:59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R58484956
Not a Doxford story but a Wartsila one, have a look at website www.atsb.gov.au, go to marine site and look at report number 193 and see what the engineer found when he entered the engine room, you do not know whether to laugh or cry. Surely you could have heard it? I am a steam man.
Wow, what a story, you wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near the engine when that happened!
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Old 28th March 2006, 07:58
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Having to file the bottom piston nut to give it .005" clearance on the crosshead of the Doxford was something I never got to the bottom of.

I enjoyed my sea time on them and apart from scavenge fires we had very little trouble from the two six cylinder engines.

Enjoyed working the controls and we had start up competitions to see who was the fastest.

The open cam shaft in the middles was great for flogging the log in regards to the average rev but that is another story.
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  #25  
Old 28th March 2006, 09:32
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The first time I had a go at the controls of a Dox..I was jun/eng entering
Havana harbour,the 2nd just said,take over,I,ve never been here before,I want to take a look!!!!
On the same voyage,the bosun drank himself to death,the cook went mad,
one of the ab,s lost 4 fingers off his right hand,The governor rod broke at
the bottom,in the middle of the Atlantic,the electrician went ashore in Havana
and wasnt seen for 9 mnths,2 german crewmen jumped ship in Novorrossisk,4 of us were banged up in jail in the same place,the top pintel bolt fell off
somewhere between Hull and Makatea,coming back from Shanghai to Cuba,
we arrived at Panama with half a set of m/e piston rings left,forget how many
times we pulled pistons,all the steel hatch covers fell down no.2 hatch in Peru
our sulphur cargo caught fire off NZ,then we had to deal with the sinking of
the Clan Keith,all in all, a fairly eventfull first trip !!!
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