25th April, 2019
Daylight was in evidence at 0530 as we shaped up to embark the pilot. It’s an interesting approach to Dublin, the Saga Sapphire can only arrive at certain states of the tide, to low and we’ll be on the ‘putty’ as we say at sea. Having had along arrival brief with the pilot, super chap with a lovely lilt, we proceeded in, slowly, up the shallow 6 mile channel.
Dublin is a tight berth in anyone’s book, swinging the ship astern into a tight cut, then backing down to the berth. I have included a graphic to indicate the scale of the challenge - all with around 4 feet of water underneath the ship. At the planning stage I had allowed one hour from Pilot to berth, however, getting onto this berth took just a tad over one and half hours. For the future, just as an ‘in-case’, I’ll allow two hours. Nonetheless, the first tour wasn’t until 0830 and we were in plenty of time for that.
It was a we overcast and damp day and the berth, a classic cargo berth. I’m not entirely sure Dublin are chasing the cruise business, what a spot, even the Pilot apologised!
Anyway, the hot question of the day was what to do about the monster storm rattling in from the west. I had two options, sail after or sail before; for sure I could not keep to the planned itinerary, that would be carnage. Both options had merits, both had impacts. Sailing after the storm would inevitably put us late into Dover, even 24 hours late and sailing early, ahead of the storm, would reduce the in-port time of Dublin by one day severely impacting the Tour programs which was over sold on day two.
Ultimately, taking all into account I made the decision to sail early after Day 1 tours and evening program had completed. This meant sailing at just after midnight once the tidal window opened and this impacted my teams working routines and duty hours. But as great troops they are, we all pulled together and delivered what was needed at the time. It’s the Saga Way!
Simon, Staff Captain, executed the manoeuvre out tonight and with good guidance from the pilot, it was extremely low water because the tidal window had just opened, the Saga Sapphire dragged her way out of Dublin.
Disembarking the Pilot shortly after 0130, I drew up my night orders and headed for the hay. What along day, 0530 yesterday seems so long ago. Night all.
Captain Stuart Horne
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