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Coors54

How do you moor a battleship?

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Well, the title sums it up, I'm going to display my 1/350 HMS Warspite on a sea base moored to a bouy (based on photo's of her in Valetta harbour) but there seems to be no single way that battleships were moored. So as my nautical experience only stretches to yachts under 50ft I have several questions -

1) Some photo's seem to show a main anchor chain to the buoy, others seem to show a cable, is there a preference?

2) other pictures then show chains descending from the extreme of the prow into the water but what to? They seem under tension so must go to something.

3) Would there be a stern line to another buoy to hold the ship in position? Yachts usually swing with the tide or wind but several hundred feet of battleship is something else. Again pictures are not clear or consistent.

4) Would keeping an anchor ready to trip if things went awry be a standard procedure?

 

My Googlefoo hasn't brought up any manuals online.

 

Of course I could make it all up and no one who is likely to see the finished article would be the wiser but the detail fetishist in me wants to get it right, so I hope there is someone out there versed in mooring a big ship!

 

Dave

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Gidday Dave/Coors54, Not seeing your actual photos you're referring to I'm surmising here. The chains in Q2 could be for streaming paravanes for minesweeping. They ran down to a chin plate at the forefoot and the wires towing the paravanes would be attached to them when required. They have nothing to do with mooring the ship.

     The anchor chain is/was referred to as the anchor cable, and is/was (in my day anyway) made up of lengths of 15 fathoms (90 feet), each length called a 'shackle' and joined together with chain links (called joining shackles) that could be broken apart. The anchor was joined to the first length the same way.

     As to answering your questions, I think the chosen method of mooring would depend on the specific situation, and how much space was available to the ship. Mooring to a buoy could be done with the anchor cable (after detaching the anchor) or using a separate cable. Both would need a swing radius of at least 700 - 900 feet (the length of the ship plus ?) and both could be slipped quickly if a rapid departure was required. The ships own anchor could be used but requires a larger swing radius. Also slow to recover although the cable could be broken at a joining shackle if required. In a situation where there is insufficient room to swing then mooring to the stern is also required, either to another buoy at the stern or using an anchor at the stern, called a 'stream anchor'.

     This answer is somewhat ambiguous, I know, but points out that there is no single way of mooring the vessel. So in your model choose whichever you wish - I think they would all be correct. But please listen to any other responses here. I've been known to get things wrong. But I hope this helps. 

     Regards, Jeff.

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According to my manual of seamanship (if I understand it correctly), a ship is moored when both anchor cables are used. This would in the ship taking up less spacing when drifting. In this case both cables are dropped (at an angle to each other), both cables are broken at a joining shackle and a special mooring swivel piece is inserted. As a result, both cables run over the bow into the ocean, meet at a single swivel piece (sometimes laying on the bottom), and then both cables go their separate ways. The procedure for deploying, heaving back in, breaking and reconnecting the cables sounds quite complicated.

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7 hours ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

Gidday Dave/Coors54, Not seeing your actual photos you're referring to I'm surmising here. The chains in Q2 could be for streaming paravanes for minesweeping. They ran down to a chin plate at the forefoot and the wires towing the paravanes would be attached to them when required. They have nothing to do with mooring the ship.

     The anchor chain is/was referred to as the anchor cable, and is/was (in my day anyway) made up of lengths of 15 fathoms (90 feet), each length called a 'shackle' and joined together with chain links (called joining shackles) that could be broken apart. The anchor was joined to the first length the same way.

     As to answering your questions, I think the chosen method of mooring would depend on the specific situation, and how much space was available to the ship. Mooring to a buoy could be done with the anchor cable (after detaching the anchor) or using a separate cable. Both would need a swing radius of at least 700 - 900 feet (the length of the ship plus ?) and both could be slipped quickly if a rapid departure was required. The ships own anchor could be used but requires a larger swing radius. Also slow to recover although the cable could be broken at a joining shackle if required. In a situation where there is insufficient room to swing then mooring to the stern is also required, either to another buoy at the stern or using an anchor at the stern, called a 'stream anchor'.

     This answer is somewhat ambiguous, I know, but points out that there is no single way of mooring the vessel. So in your model choose whichever you wish - I think they would all be correct. But please listen to any other responses here. I've been known to get things wrong. But I hope this helps. 

     Regards, Jeff.

Hi Jeff, thanks for the detailed answer, that settles my mind to a great extent and emphasises the maze of specific terminologies when you step on a vessel!

 

The explanation of the paravane chains is an interesting nugget to file away.

 

Dave

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Further to the previous replies and based on my own experience which wasn't on WWII battleships.

To secure to a buoy the anchor cable is broken at the first joining shackle aft of the anchor. The anchor being held in place by a Blake bottle screw slip. 

A securing to buoy shackle if attached to the free end of the anchor cable.

This is then lowered out of a fairlead, usually the bullring, to approx. Where the buoy will be when it is brought underfoot. 

A steel wire rope is then fed through the bullring and passed to a ships boat and attached to the ring of the buoy. This photo of the Scharnhorst illustrates that....

Scharnhorst-1

The picking up rope is heaved in on a capstan until the buoy is sitting underfoot on the stem of the ship and the anchor cable is then attached to the buoy.

The picking up wire is then payed out so that the weight is taken on the bridle (anchor cable). 

The picking up wire is then removed.

The bridle can be payed out until the desired length is reached.

8ada474a4fe73ba1f49d22b0ec749e07

 

If necessary both anchor cables can be used, a double bridle. Usually if bad weather is expected or for a longer stay at a buoy.

 

I've tried to keep it simple and not use too many Naval terms and as I said I wasn't in during WWII 😂 but I don't think the procedure would be too different.

Hope it helps.

Roger. 

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Thank you Roger, that's a pretty concise description and linking it to photo's means I have a good feel for what's required, BM'ers do it again.

 

The principle is similar to what I've done on a yacht - just on a much larger scale with the need for many more hands and more expensive consequences if you get it wrong!

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17 minutes ago, Coors54 said:

Thank you Roger, that's a pretty concise description and linking it to photo's means I have a good feel for what's required, BM'ers do it again.

 

The principle is similar to what I've done on a yacht - just on a much larger scale with the need for many more hands and more expensive consequences if you get it wrong!

You're most welcome. To tell the truth I was a bit reluctant to post it because of the time frame. I didn't want to give you duff info but thinking about it I doubt the method has changed much over the years.

I remember having a BR67 Admiralty Manual of Seamanship from the 1930's in my hands in an antique shop once and putting it down. Something I regret to this day.

Roger. 

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Thanks Our Ned, that's a familiar configuration from pictures in British Battleships of World War Two.

 

One thought though, with the buoy so close to the hull didn't it bang away all the time? I pity the poor souls in the forward messes.

 

Dave

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8 minutes ago, Coors54 said:

One thought though, with the buoy so close to the hull didn't it bang away all the time? 

The simple answer to that question is yes. 😂😂😂

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When I was a Sea Cadet they used to let us do the "Bouy Jumping" when we were on RN Ships, was great fun till you slipped and went in!

 

If you moor betwween two then you can get a resonable stand off to avoid the banging.

 

Julien

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11 hours ago, Julien said:

When I was a Sea Cadet they used to let us do the "Bouy Jumping" when we were on RN Ships, was great fun till you slipped and went in!

 

If you moor betwween two then you can get a resonable stand off to avoid the banging.

 

Julien

The ones used as a perch by seagulls are particularly unpleasant and difficult to stay on. 😂

Roger. 

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On 8/9/2019 at 9:44 PM, ArnoldAmbrose said:

The anchor chain is/was referred to as the anchor cable, and is/was (in my day anyway) made up of lengths of 15 fathoms (90 feet), each length called a 'shackle' and joined together with chain links (called joining shackles) that could be broken apart. The anchor was joined to the first length the same way.

Interesting. In the US Merchant Marine, each 15 fathom length is called a "shot".

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Don’t want to confuse things, but the sort of moor you have in mind for Grand Harbour might be what’s known as a “Mediterranean Moor” (possible only in the Med because of its small tidal range), whereby a ship is moored with the bow pointing directly at 90 degrees from the wharf, and the stern attached to the wall with normal berthing hawsers.  I have only ever seen it done once - we Med Moored HMS Boxer in Livorno when I was a watchkeeper pre flying training.  I was quarter deck officer, so had a big part to play!

 

It requires a lot of planning and accurate measurement by the Navigator!  But basically you either drop the anchor at the right distance from the wall and then make a stern board in (really hard!), or (more often) you moor to a buoy as described above (so at least someone else has positioned the front fixed position) and then go astern to get your back end close enough to pass a line.

 

It requires a very high standard of ship handling - but the advantage is that you can get a lot of ships alongside (or at least, with direct access to the shore) for a relatively small amount of harbour real estate.  And sailing when you depart is a doddle.  

 

Unsurprisingly, the Italian Navy Med Moor a lot. 

 

[Reflecting a bit more, though, I’m not sure they used to Med Moor battleships - more of a cruiser / destroyer thing]

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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Thanks Crisp, I've just come back from a sailing trip to Greece and spent most of the week Med Mooring and a right old scrum it can be too!

 

Always best to go bows to so the cockpit is away from the hubbub on the pontoon or quay but most harbour masters seem to prefer the other way around and the stern kedge anchor on charter yachts never has enough chain or cable. 

 

Mooring stern to does make you part of the local scenery and stepping off the boat straight to your dinner table is very civilised! Mind you the risk of crossed anchor chains is pretty high making departure the following morning an interesting occasion.

 

Pictures of capital ships in Grand Harbour show them out in the roadway moored for'rad to a buoy and, now I've looked more closely after all the replies, secured aft to another to prevent swinging.

 

The thought of reversing even a destroyer up to the dock fills me with dread. Hats off to the navy.

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