Maneuvering impressions - Ships Nostalgia
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  #1  
Old 9th November 2014, 19:05
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japottinger japottinger is offline  
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Maneuvering impressions

Would be interested to hear views of engineers as to their most pleasurable experience when maneuvering main engines. To me nothing ever beat the feeling of handling the movements of the big triple on SS Maihar, turbines were OK but only sign of movement was the rotation of a small indicator arrow denoting the shaft speed. never had the pleasure(?) of operating a crash wallop bang of a grease driven engine but am sure there was a thrill there also. Lets be hearing from you.
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  #2  
Old 9th November 2014, 20:39
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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Originally Posted by japottinger View Post
Would be interested to hear views of engineers as to their most pleasurable experience when maneuvering main engines. To me nothing ever beat the feeling of handling the movements of the big triple on SS Maihar, turbines were OK but only sign of movement was the rotation of a small indicator arrow denoting the shaft speed. never had the pleasure(?) of operating a crash wallop bang of a grease driven engine but am sure there was a thrill there also. Lets be hearing from you.
Like yourself a VTE does it for me, getting it rocking across the HP TDC anticipating the next movement order. The very fact that the ST and the Diesel Engine are enclosed did not give that same feeling even though you had more power under your control.
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  #3  
Old 10th November 2014, 08:52
Philthechill Philthechill is offline  
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Thumbs up Mangla------

------was my most "satisfactory" re. manoeuvring.

Being "centre-stage" with those massive, vertical, chromed "wheels" and being master-of-all-you-surveyed was absolutely "it"!

MY main, particular, piece-de-resistance, was being able to go from "Full Ahead", "Stop", "Full Astern" whilst keeping the water-level in the two Foster-Wheeler ESD's hardly changing. (Quite some feat as anyone who has had to "control" water-levels in a water-tube boiler will agree, I'm sure!!).

By judicious "playing" with the wheels this "static" water-level was quite an achievement!

Keeping the bloke, on the air-vane controls "on-the-ball" too, so as to keep the amount of smoke coming from the funnel as little as possible was also a matter of pride.

I think my "finest-hour" came after a particularly "cramped" entry into Kidderpore.

"Pem", (One of Brock's finest, a gentlemen through and through!), was skipper and he sought me out after we'd shut-down and were having the usual post-shut-down severlteen Tennents.

"I believe you were manoeuvring, Phil", he said, "I'd just like to congratulate you on some fine work! Our berth had to be reached via a lot of other ships and barges. The engine movements were first class!".

Maybe not as dramatic as a massive "up-and-downer" but still a "joy" to control that engine and those boilers.

Without a doubt "Mangla" and "Mathura! were the absolute zenith in steam-ship construction! Salaams, Phil

Last edited by Philthechill; 10th November 2014 at 15:39..
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Old 10th November 2014, 10:17
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A.D.FROST A.D.FROST is offline  
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To be able to start up with the least amount of air with-out stalling and getting it to run in the right direction(Doxford, Like rubding your tummy and patting your head at the same time)

Last edited by A.D.FROST; 10th November 2014 at 10:26..
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  #5  
Old 10th November 2014, 16:56
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Oddly enough the thing that I noted that seemed to give most trouble to some engineers was the knack of stopping the fast spinning reversing engine wheel on the correct spot to allow full opening of the traverse gear, or knowing when to let go the wheel if the reversing engine was on TDC and it had to manually coaxed a bit.
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  #6  
Old 10th November 2014, 19:31
Bill Morrison Bill Morrison is offline  
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Standing on the top plates, first movement rang kick over air only indicator cocks screaming, all clear indicator cocks closed hammering on the plates to signal ready. Next movement two seven cylinder H&W-B&W opposed pistons start a dance like a graph of a sine wave never to be forgotten.
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Old 10th November 2014, 23:14
Hamish Mackintosh Hamish Mackintosh is offline  
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Something that used to puzzle me on the coast, was the engineroom calling the bridge during docking ,to inform them(the Bridge) that they only had enough air left for one more(or maybe it was two)moves,did they not have big enough compressors, for the reserve to stay ahead of the demand? this was with Polar Atlas engines
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Old 11th November 2014, 10:02
Philthechill Philthechill is offline  
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Thumbs up WHAT a cracking phrase!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Morrison View Post
Standing on the top plates, first movement rang kick over air only indicator cocks screaming, all clear indicator cocks closed hammering on the plates to signal ready. Next movement two seven cylinder H&W-B&W opposed pistons start a dance like a graph of a sine wave never to be forgotten.
"Like a graph of a sine wave".

Poetry, sheer poetry!

I DO hope the phrase is yours Bill----something to be proud of!!!

Incidentally I think you can see quite a selection of big diesels working on YouTube-----------just try entering, "Starting MAN B&W engine", in your search-engine. I think you should get some "memory-jerking" there!!!! Salaams, Phil

Last edited by Philthechill; 11th November 2014 at 10:11..
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Old 11th November 2014, 11:12
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D24EMlA8Bzc and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unAsUugK9zw
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  #10  
Old 11th November 2014, 12:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamish Mackintosh View Post
Something that used to puzzle me on the coast, was the engineroom calling the bridge during docking ,to inform them(the Bridge) that they only had enough air left for one more(or maybe it was two)moves,did they not have big enough compressors, for the reserve to stay ahead of the demand? this was with Polar Atlas engines
I once heard due to all the stop and starts (SS Captain)that the chief told the bridge you have one more start or two toots on the whistle
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Old 11th November 2014, 21:12
gordy gordy is offline  
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Was it in here I saw the term 'I could start that (motor) engine with a butterfly's fart' One of my favourites

My moments on the plates, Brisbane on the Ixion, 1st trip junior, thought I was getting a real treat working the wheels, little did I know we were turning the ship before going alongside. I came out the engine room with knuckles dragging.

Texaco's two Doxford 6cyl 760LB were fun too. The T. Durham was well behaved, but not the Gloucester, fuel timing out so she could start ahead when you'd wanted astern!

One anecdote I like was of a chief who would appear on the bridge and inform the docking pilot that the compressors were ******, and he'd give him 14 starts then ring FWE!
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Old 12th November 2014, 19:40
Bill Morrison Bill Morrison is offline  
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To Philthechill and Duncan112. Thanks for your You Tube threads. I don't know if you have seen this one http://youtube.be/9wcMdqGVuS4 Built in 1955 as Port Melbourne. Became a cruise ship and her main engines are original still in the 2000's must be a record.
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  #13  
Old 12th November 2014, 22:56
Nick Jones Nick Jones is offline  
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My first voyage, a coastal trip on the SS Cotopaxi as second leckie meant I did the move book, hadn't a clue what was going on. the second Macateer used to wander off round the engine room during pauses in the action and I was scared stiff not knowing what to do if the telegraph rang. One gets usee to it after a while until I had to stand in for one of the junior engineers in the boiler room. That was fun! It was a case of beer if the low or high levels went off or the pressure dropped to low. At least you could stand under a blowwer while waiting and cool off a little.
Cheers,
Nick Jones
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  #14  
Old 13th November 2014, 13:55
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.D.FROST View Post
I once heard due to all the stop and starts (SS Captain)that the chief told the bridge you have one more start or two toots on the whistle
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamish Mackintosh View Post
Something that used to puzzle me on the coast, was the engineroom calling the bridge during docking ,to inform them(the Bridge) that they only had enough air left for one more(or maybe it was two)moves,did they not have big enough compressors, for the reserve to stay ahead of the demand? this was with Polar Atlas engines
The air systems were designed and built to cope with what was the expected requirement when entering/leaving Port. However, sometimes A.N.Other on the Verandah was a bit 'twitchy' on the Chadburns which depleted the air faster than the system could replenish it. On occasions it would have been better to bring the Jetty to the Ship!!
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  #15  
Old 19th November 2015, 15:13
john g john g is offline
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Moving into the docks in Calcutta as always interesting especially on the Mahout with the bridge control system. Compressors just about handled it .
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  #16  
Old 19th November 2015, 16:12
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The air systems were designed and built to cope with what was the expected requirement when entering/leaving Port. However, sometimes A.N.Other on the Verandah was a bit 'twitchy' on the Chadburns which depleted the air faster than the system could replenish it. On occasions it would have been better to bring the Jetty to the Ship!!
In my final year of my apprenticeship at Barclay Curles North British Engine Works, I was assigned to a trial crew on a motor ship. For some reason that has always puzzled me, my job was the control of the starting air compressors. Now there was sheer power of authority! -- to be able to say the the trials foreman "You have no more than two starts left!", and for him to pass that on to the bridge without question -- well, other than a quick glance at my air receiver gauges.

All of those shenanigans persuaded me that the only real way to go to sea was on a steam ship, where the VTEs didn't suffer from scavenge fires and didn't need their pistons pulled every ten minutes or ever. Even having served my time in a Sultzer builder, I concluded that these oil engines were simply nasty oily things that were more trouble than they were worth.

Then to encounter the magic of Babcock boilers and steam turbines, thrusting endlessly at the oceans without ever needing a piston change and driving us across the world whatever the weather threw at us. And a few trips on VTEs, the small boy's toys, where everything in the engine room was steam driven from a couple of Scotch boilers and all of the electrics were DC, enjoying a watch looking at those piston rods thrashing up and down in their open crankcases, and learning how to feel a bottom end bearing for its temperature as it passed without having one's thumb driven into the palm of one's hand. Becoming accustomed to off-watch mates congregating in the top of the engine room platforms because they couldn't resist those engines either, and occasionally inviting them down in return for a few beers.

Oh well, days long gone in the purple haze of nostalgia. Now we have ships being built that don't have engine rooms at all but, apparently, have gas turbines on the fiddly deck. They are increasingly automated, and soon will not require crews at all -- except, perhaps, for the sole remaining master and chief engineer who are there solely to take the blame.
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  #17  
Old 19th November 2015, 16:36
sidsal sidsal is offline  
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On voyage 69 of the MAIHAR to which Mr Pottinger refers, I was a deck apprentice on her and we sailed from Taranto in the heel of Italy ( after bringing coal form Lourenco Marques) and joined a cpnvoy in the Malta Channel bound for the USA. We were completely light ship snad it was intended to go to Casablanc for sand ballast. However this didn't happen and we carried on with the convoy. We were in the centre column. WQe encountered heavy weather and she rolled and pitched badly. When she pitched and the flopped down on the sea, the flat bottom caused us to think we were torpedoed and so we all slept in our clothes. She rolled her condenser intake on the turn of the bilge out of the water thus loosing the vacuum ( I'm told). The engine then had to be shut down.. This made us a menace for the other ships and we were put in the rear centre column - the last ship in the row.
During the night the stops were frequent and when the we started again the captain ordered full ahead as he feared being left behind.
I was on the 4 to 8 in the morning and when I went on the bridge I was told to keep a sharp lookout ahead for the convoy which wasn't in sight. As dawn broke a dark shape appeared close-to and I shouted tot the mate and he and the captain (Bill Jeans) came rushing to the side. It was an American destroyer - small thing with 4 funnels. There was an exchange of talk through the megaphones . The captain asked how far ahead to the convoy. TheYankee drawl came back and said - " You are five miles ahead of the convoy Captain. We are the forward outer escort"
We had sailed right through the convoy in the cark without seeing anything. As it got light we could see the ships astern and some smoke.
Philadelphia was a great reward for us lads - free beer etc at the MN club. The convoy back to the UK was one of the largest - over 100 ships and we arrived in the Mersey on D Day !
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Old 19th November 2015, 18:19
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is online now  
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#17

Thank you, Sid. Having been in my pram at the time of the events which you describe I can only repeat my thanks for the things which you did; and which enabled me to enjoy life as I have done.

That enjoyment has included much experience of engine-movements (the subject of this thread); and my own observation in that regard is that, on the bridge, nothing concentrates the mind quite like a warning that "There are only two starts left"!

Repeated thanks & best wishes,

Barrie
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Old 19th November 2015, 21:21
sidsal sidsal is offline  
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Barrie
Thanks for nice words !
The sound of an up and down reciprocating engine is great. I used occasionally to go half way down the ladder to the engine room and watch fascinated as they lubricated the pistons with their long oil cans - matching the rise and fall.
I can also remember the shout down the engine room - "pina ca panni pump chelow" ( spelling) _ - put the freshwater pump on .
One Brock ship ( turbine) was subject of a tale when she was berting in a pier in NY. The US pilot seemed more brash and sped in when Brits would proceed slowly. It was said that the ship was going quite fast into the berth with the dock wall ahead. Pilot says - "Full astern captain - she is reciprocating engine isn't she" - "No - turbine pilot"
"O sh*t " says the pilot as she proceeded to bend her bow severely on the dock.
Don't know how true !!
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Old 19th November 2015, 21:45
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is online now  
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Sounds entirely plausible.

I remember entering Gladsone Lock with a turbine steamer. Romney, I think, or certainly something in Lamport & Holt colours, with a huge funnel.

We are lined up, committed, and on the final approach.

"Stop her!" say I.

"Pilot", says the Master, " If you think that the next movement might be astern, it would be a good idea to order Dead Slow Astern, now, just to give the general idea................"

And so we do.
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  #21  
Old 19th November 2015, 22:46
BOB.WHITTAKER BOB.WHITTAKER is offline  
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Big Diesels

Nothing more satisfying, be it Doxford / B+W / MAN / Sulzer, single
or double acting, than when you got it to :-

" Start on a phart " ! ! !

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Old 19th November 2015, 22:55
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is online now  
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#21

One man's satisfaction is another man's relief!
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  #23  
Old 19th November 2015, 23:59
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My first command and first departure from the port where I took over the ship.
Pilot kept asking, "Are you sure everything is ready Captain?"
I thought to myself that this is one nervous nellie!

First movement after letting go - Slow ahead.
I looked at the telegraph and there it was standing proudly at FWE!
I had forgotten to ring stand by!

A feeling of horror spread over me and with my stomach churning we rang Slow Ahead.
And then, the familiar and reassuring sound, Choof, thump, thump, thump as the doxford sprang into life.

Chief Engineer came to my cabin as soon as we rang full away and with a big grin on his face said, "You owe me a case of beer"
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Old 20th November 2015, 09:46
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Briggs View Post
My first command and first departure from the port where I took over the ship.
Pilot kept asking, "Are you sure everything is ready Captain?"
I thought to myself that this is one nervous nellie!

First movement after letting go - Slow ahead.
I looked at the telegraph and there it was standing proudly at FWE!
I had forgotten to ring stand by!

A feeling of horror spread over me and with my stomach churning we rang Slow Ahead.
And then, the familiar and reassuring sound, Choof, thump, thump, thump as the doxford sprang into life.

Chief Engineer came to my cabin as soon as we rang full away and with a big grin on his face said, "You owe me a case of beer"
One of the skills of the Engineer is to anticipate the next movement
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Old 20th November 2015, 09:58
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Quote:
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#17
nothing concentrates the mind quite like a warning that "There are only two starts left"!
Barrie
apart from hearing a call from the engine room and then being told
"She won't start Pilot", when calling for an astern movement !!!

Tony C
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