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7th August, 2017


With all the planning in the world, you do need the local knowledge of the Pilot!

The previous night my bridge team and I had worked through the best options to get into Peterhead.. It’s a small harbour with a narrow breakwater entrance.

The tidal stream was concurrent with the SW'ly breeze so what does that mean? It means we have to shoot through the entrance with some speed otherwise we'd be set down onto the northern breakwater - but how to stop this 37,000 tons of steel when inside the entrance?

We could dredge the anchor, using it as a brake, that's a real seafaring thing to do, or we could go stern in, bow to the weather and tide. The latter was likely the best option on the assumption the Peterhead harbour master would not want Saga Sapphire's anchor cable stretched out across his harbour.

It was 0500 when I got on the bridge and we shaped up for the pilot station - allowing an additional slow speed 'chat-time' once the Pilot was onboard. The pilot embarked early at 0545 and we discussed our plan. "That's very good Captain" he said, "the only problem is that there is less water than charted". So I used the time to amend the plan.

Further discussions aboard and ashore indicated we had some potential slack close-in on the break water. By adopting a 'Dover' type of approach we could go in with less speed, albeit Peterhead has a fraction of the space in every sense, than of Dover. Using the Voith equipped tug as a 'brake' against our engines we entered at 4 knots, slightly askew, and brought up in timely manner.

Backing down onto the berth for 0700 gave us a comfortable hour to settle down before inviting our Guests ashore on their excursions.

The weather is still with us.

Captain Stuart Horne

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.