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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

29th March, 2018

The early morning found me approaching the heads off Falmouth. It was a brisk, windy and pitch back!

I decided to wait for sunrise so that it was more than just the Pilot knowing where he was going.

It’s a narrow channel into Falmouth and with a brisk breeze up the stern, going very slow was not an ideal option. Furthermore, once at anchor, we needed to stop the ship from swinging on the wind. On just one anchor ships swing, or ‘sail’on the wind and there isn’t enough navigable water in Falmouth Roads for that, so I need to do a manoeuvre which is referred to as ‘running moor, with the addition of using the stern anchor as a dredge. A running moor is where you drop your first anchor, at speed and at a specific distance drop the second anchor. Thus, the first anchor is then lying right astern and the second anchor on the bow.

By heaving up [shortening in] the first anchor and paying out the second, you position the bow equidistant between the two anchors. Provided the wind is favourable, you tighten both cables so the stern swings short round. Thus if you imagine the letter ‘T’, tail of the ‘T’is the line of the ship and at the extremes of the head of the ‘T’, sits each anchor. Once in this position, we then walk back [this means to drop the anchor under power using the winch] the stern anchor to the river bed. Once firmly on the river bed, this then has a dredging effect as the stern tries to move, thus restricting that movement.

All clever seamanship stuff! Getting three anchors out is one thing, getting them back is another!

It was a reasonably successful day running the ships tenders, supported by one shore tender - that helped to move guest off and on the ship reasonably quickly.

Departure, I’ll keep it brief! One of the challenges of a stern anchor is that you cannot turn your propellers or move the rudder with the anchor down otherwise you risk damage by colliding with the anchor cable suspended under the hull. All of our main engine room machinery preparations for departure starts at two hours before the planned departure; logic dictates then, the stern anchor has to be ‘home’before we can start testing and preparing our machinery.

Once the stern anchor is home, you lose the ability to control the swing of the ship - so it all about judgment of time and the weather…

Needless to say, it all went swimmingly well and we were of towards our next port, no not Saint Peter Port, but Cherbourg.

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.