19th October, 2021
Cadiz…as much as I like the city, the harbour is not my favourite, it’s either windy or ‘swelly’. We were not the only ship scheduled in the Port of Cadiz today. The Pilot was arranged for 07:00. I arrived on the Bridge at 06:30 for my usual coffee in peace before the action. 3rd Officer Tiberius briefed me that P&O’s Ionia had already cancelled her call due to reported wind conditions in the harbour. Ventura was ahead of us and she had ordered 2 tugs to assist her with docking. We were in no hurry to proceed as I wanted both Ventura safely alongside before we make our approach, and the extensive briefing with our assigned Pilot Antonio. He was very confident and knowledgeable.
The trick in Cadiz is aligning the entrance course for the breakwater. I left that part to the Pilot and I took over once we were inside the harbour. I had to compensate for the easterly wind while on a southerly course, gradually reducing speed and pointing the bow to the end of the pier, whilst passing the Ventura who was still manoeuvring. At the final stage, with bow 20 meters from the pier, I stopped the ahead movement and swung the stern around while keeping the bow in position, pointing easterly into the wind. We came safely alongside without much drama.
After arrival, it was time for a well-deserved breakfast, followed by the plaque exchange and a walk on the open decks. Winds became stronger just after midday and I agreed with the Bridge team that there’s no need to stick to our scheduled departure with Ventura behind us. We were supposed to sail at 17:00 and Ventura at 18:00. We delayed our departure to 18:30, following Ventura. Our departure manoeuvre required lifting the ship bodily off the berth some 50 meters and then a swing to port was required while controlling the stern and building up speed quickly in order to minimise the wind effect and vessel’s drift to port. With wind gusts of up to 30 knots I felt much more comfortable with Ventura gone. 40 meters of extra space means a lot! Our guests could enjoy the view of her departure...with 4 tugs! 2 tugs were pulling her off the berth and once she was 30 meters off the berth, an additional two tugs came in between her and the berth and assisted by pushing. I felt so lucky with the capabilities and manoeuvrability of Adventure.
Once she was out of the harbour it was our time to follow. Antonio came back as our pilot. A departure briefing was conducted, agreed by all and executed as planned. I was happy with control of the lift and swing, but the highlight of the departure was the acceleration. I had discussed with our Chief Engineer, Steve, that I would need a warp drive acceleration. I got what I asked for. About ¾ of the turn, I pushed rpm to equivalent of full ahead, switched to hand steering, steadied the course and watched how fast we picked up speed, reducing the wind effect. We had speed of over 11 knots by the time we reached the breakwater.
We dropped off Antonio and set sail into the sunset.
Captain Franko Papić
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