Boat handling skills

Hurtigruten “Nord Norge” arriving Bodo in gale:

They do this year around, in all weather and several times a day. (68 port calls per 11 days round trip)

12 posts were split to a new topic: Trawlers

That’s quite a set.

Given her windage, I would be interested to see how they got off.

They set an anchor on approach for that purpose. A technique used by Hurtigruten since the days of single screw ships w/o bow thruster.
Still one left:

In fact it is still used regularly even by the modern ships with all the latest and best of equipment and plenty of power.

I watched the local ferry come into Kalymnos last night, and was struck by how perfectly the crew worked together. There was not a single person involved who was the least bit unsure what to do next, and it all came together effortlessly. It reminded me of this video:

While you might call that maneuver dangerously irresponsible, there is also something deeply admirable about the sheer level of mastery on display.


All well and good until it goes horribly wrong.

An even older lady (Blt. 1956) leaving Bergen bound for Svalbard:

Her special “bow thruster” is worthy a study as well.

Same ship leaving Bergen after a “Veteran Boat Meet”:

Now assisted by a even older veteran tug.

Nordstjernen coming alongside in Rorvik using an anchor for control:

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I was a deck crew on a lot of those manoeuvres when I worked at Hurtigruten. A lot of times they would push the aft end of the vessel against the qauy and pull the bow out with a combination of anchor and bow thruster. The Deck Officer’s on Hurtigruten is maniacs.

After getting the certificates myself, I often wonder if I’m crazy enough to work at that company. Some of the manoeuvres i witness as a deck crew I would never dare pull myself.

To be fair they had a high tolerance for fuckups, if I pulled some of the stunts on a Offshore vessel like I experienced at Hurtigruten, I would be gone in a flash.

Did you ever serve on any of the old vessels (Nordstjernen and Lofoten) with single screw and no bow thruster??

Technique you could possibly learn from a book (or simulator) but I would say that performing a manoeuvre like the one in the last video take both technique, experience and skill. Some have it and some don’t (or will ever learn)
The Hurtigruten Masters and Officers gets plenty of opportunities to gain experience in very varied weather and different ports.

One thing for sure, it beats operating modern offshore vessels with Bow and Stern thrusters, plenty of power and DP.

I go back long enough to remember taking OSV with twin fixed pitch screw and w/o bow thruster alongside Drillships, Tenders, and DLBs by “walking the boat”. Sometime the distance between breast anchors where not much more than the length of the boat.
That took skill that some of the Coonass Skippers had, others never mastered.

BTW; The idea of using a spring apparently never occurred to them.

Did you watch the video in post 38?
It is not about “heaving the bow off with an anchor” but using an anchor to gently inch the bow into the wharf, which certainly takes skill and forward planning.

I wouldn’t belittle the skills needed to shift along the wharf unaided, but ???

The use of anchors and mooring lines by vessel’s masters often develops because of the nature of the trade the vessel is in. Old timers used to talk many years ago about mooring in Calcutta which sounded pretty hair raising.
Here in NZ the colliers used to cross the bar into river ports to load coal. Alongside the anchor cable was secured around a specially built bollard because the current in the river could be as much as 11 knots.
The colliers had a cruiser stern and after letting go forward used to swing with the stern against the wharf . Once they were half way round full ahead was ordered with the wheel hard to port to lift the stern clear of the wharf. Sphincter fully closed but twitching, the river being not much wider than the vessels length. Full power on these ships was nothing to write home about they were known as “slow greens.”

Nope, only on the vessels built early nineties.

Modern vessels have different limitations than old-school boats and ships. They are just as much fun to maneuver, as they are less limited. All any of them take is practice. It happens all around the world every day. Fun stuff, but about as blue collar as it gets.

Of course fun is a matter of perspective, but I humbly beg to differ. There is something gratifying about working with your environment to solve a complex task with a small tool set.

A few years back, I read the history of the Colin Archer SAR boats, and there was a bit about when they had engines installed. One of the captains was asked what he thought of this newfangled device, and his answer was that they were very nice for making way in a dead calm, but absolutely useless for maneuvering. To this day I’m consumed with envy, but we are all bound to be children of our times :-/

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I did not mean fun but skills. To “manoeuvre” a boat using DP may be seen as fun to some (for most it is a job) but the skills involved are more on the tech side than seamanship side.

Certainly, getting under the crane of a rig or platform and stay there for hours can still be a challenge in a force 8-9, even with DP and plenty of thruster power. To do so by manual operation take both skills and guts. With the older low powered boats with fixed pitch propellers and no bow thruster it was not even possible.

Back in the 1980’s I inspected a new AHTS that had all the latest and best of equipment for the time.(Joy stick, no DP yet)
The young Mate showed me all their gadgets and explained what they could do, but when I asked the older Master if he used all these wonderful tools he said; “I let the Mates play with it, but when it gets difficult I go back to manual operation”. (That wouldn’t apply today)

I was on a Colin Archer for a time. Beauty on the water, but only 4 knots on full speed!

DP was not mentioned in your original boast… er… I mean post.