Monday, November 26, 2007

A lesson in boat handling

I'm useless at steering Herbie in reverse. So much so that we take her 25 minutes each way to the nearest winding hole and back to turn her round rather than back up 200 yards to do it at the boatyard slipway.

Ever since I first went to Portsmouth 40 years ago, I've been astounded by how the big ships can manoeuvre. I know they have bow thrusters and all sorts, but it still amazes me. At the weekend we saw this huge cross channel ferry spin on the spot and back up to her berth without any assistance from tugs. Probably all from a tiny joystick on the bridge control panel. ou can see the slick of smooth water where it has spun.Incidentally this ship carries 700 cars and can get them all off and take on 700 more and be ready to leave again in ninety minutes! It takes us that long to load a few bags on to Herbie and turn her round!
However this banana boat , ("day-oh, day-oh" I hear you sing) . . . took three tugs to do a similar manoeuvre. Slippy things bananas. I notice it is registered in Monrovia, not noted I think for its bananas. Presumably a flag of convenience so they can get round some maritime rule or other.

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