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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm trying to get a sense of the approach to Buenos Aires docks in a Royal Mail Steam Packet liner such as RMS Magdalena (5372 GRT) in 1905.
Would the master take on a pilot - if so, how early?
Presumably he'd need two or three tugs too?
How did the tugs and bridge signal to each other?
Is there an complex approach channel to the docks?
Is it restricted by tidal state?
How far out on the approach would he need to signal half, then slow, then dead slow?
Presumably the stokers would have no need to feed the boilers for quite a time on the approach?

Grateful thanks

Tony
 

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Don't know about Buenos Aires but I come from a maritime family that goes back before steam. Freighters in most foreign ports and smaller western ports docked on their own. Before there were many regulations on pilots and tug assist, owners didn't want to pay for tugs and the captain was under some pressure over expenses. Usually less pay or lower return for the voyage.
 

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approach to Buenos Aires docks in a Royal Mail Steam Packet liner such as RMS Magdalena (5372 GRT) in 1905.

Would the master take on a pilot - if so, how early? What about the Plate pilot? That is about 140 miles. For the docks... might be a mile. Change from the sea pilot to dock pilot. Definitely a pilot though.


Presumably he'd need two or three tugs too?

A. Probably one. 5,000 grt vessel is not that large.

How did the tugs and bridge signal to each other?

A.Megaphone!


Is there an complex approach channel to the docks?

A. Can't remember!

Is it restricted by tidal state?

A. possibly.


How far out on the approach would he need to signal half, then slow, then dead slow?

A. Slow down to pick up the pilot. Not much. 20 minutes.


Presumably the stokers would have no need to feed the boilers for quite a time on the approach?

A. the stokers would need steam right until the vessel is alongside. The engine movement dictate that. The stokers would be 'stoking' all the time because steam from the Donkey Boiler would supply for winches, generator. Possibly one of the main boilers was kept 'warm'.


Stephen
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks

Thanks so much folks. And thanks for the two pics Stephen, much better than I currently have. I guess the second one is her anchored at an intermediate port. I know the Royal Mail ships did not waste time docking, but just had lighters taking passengers, luggage, mail, supplies back and too.

Best wishes

Tony
 

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Tony
I as on the Brasil Star, when calling at Montivideo, on leaving Monte . We took on for the overnight run to Buenos Aires River Pilot, Customs Officers, BA Doctor, We carried around 50 1st Class Passengers so on arrival in BA the ship was already cleared to dock.
 

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Thanks

Thanks so much Stephen. She's a handsome ship, I think. Single screw, which I guess was normal for her size and time of building.
 

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Thanks

Thanks so much. That sounds like they had everything well-streamlined to speed up the whole process of docking and turnround.

Tony
I as on the Brasil Star, when calling at Montivideo, on leaving Monte . We took on for the overnight run to Buenos Aires River Pilot, Customs Officers, BA Doctor, We carried around 50 1st Class Passengers so on arrival in BA the ship was already cleared to dock.
 

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The approach to the port of Buenos Aires is very shallow and depths are not affected so much by tides but by the wind... sustained easterlies..... very high water... sustained westerlies ... very low water.... in both cases this can be for a considerable period.

In the chartlet below you can see the depths in metres outside the dredged channel.
I imagine passenger ships would have berthed in Darsena Norte ( which was tidal ) which these days is used by the fast ferries running to and from Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. Maybe they berthed in Antepuerto Norte.... a search of old photos of the port should give a clue... even as late as the 50' the Dodero Line ships were probably using the same berths..
Access to the docks/ diques of Puerto Madero was via locks at the northern end of Dique 4 and southern end of Dique 1..... I'll post a photo of the northern end in a day or so.... lock gates have gone but stonework is still there...

They would have been slow steaming for some time before entering the Antepuerto.

Given the nature of the approaches I would expect the pilot boarding ground to be some considerable distance seawards... best place for that info would be an old British Admiralty pilot book.

Signaling between pilot and tugs? Pre VHF as I recall the pilot would use a whistle .. an Acme Thunderer perhaps... and the tugs would acknowledge on their steam whistle...
 

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Photos as promised....

Looking south in Darsena Norte in recent times (2010)... entrance to Dique 4 is under the bow of the departing fast cat... left side.

Looking seaward from Darsena Norte .... the building is the Yacht Club Argentino.... the club dates from 1883 but I don't know how old the building is.

Looking south into Dique 4...

The depth marker and what I think is where the gate seated..
 

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