I had fully intended to spend an hour or two on here last night raving about how good our new ferry is after day two of this weeks ‘sea trials’. However it was well after 20:00 when I got in, and I was actually in bed before 21:00 after yet another long day, not that I’m complaining, it was a pleasure. In fact many people would pay good money to cruise down the Clyde on what was in effect a beautiful summers day, despite it being officially autumn.
The endurance test
There were many things ‘pencilled in’ for Wednesday’s trial, alarms to be tested, systems checked and of course the six hour so called endurance trial where the machinery is run ‘flat out’. All of this to be done under the watchful eye of Lloyds surveyors, the builders, the customers representatives, the system designers, the electrical contractors and of course the future operators That’ll be us, or at least my employer.
Wednesday’s 8:30am planned departure didn’t actually happen due to a ‘technical issue’ but Raj and Alexander the guys from http://imtech.com/EN were soon ‘on the case’ and had it sorted.
Not that the ‘issue’ would have prevented us sailing, just that they wanted to identify just what had caused the problem in the first place. As with everything these days it’s sorted with a laptop and not a screwdriver or can of WD40 so I was a little out of my depth. However, having lived with and used a similar system in my house for eight years I’ve a good understanding of the functionality of the whole system. This whole hybrid thing gets much mockery from engineers in the main and ‘petrol heads’ in particular but I can assure you it works a treat and our power supply to http://www.greenshifters.co.uk/for_sale/1394_3_4_Bed_Croft_House_with_Land_Available is more reliable than the national grid.
That sorted we set off south ‘doon the water’
past the Garvel Embankment and Great harbour.
According to my knowledgeable guide Raymond, the embankment, and thus the ‘Great harbour’ were created by the spoil from the construction of the James Watt dock http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/212607/0114275.pdf .
Judging by those two large silencers, that red brick and concrete structure covered in earth and that huge steel tank I’d be thinking there were at one time some serious generators on the embankment At one time it would have provided shelter for the ships bringing sugar to Greenock, the other major industry in these parts beside shipbuilding. Now it is the berth for the odd Serco or Briggs ship and not the likes of the MV Captayannis http://www.clydesite.co.uk/articles/captayannis.asp that would fill the nearby warehouses with sugar.
The Greek owned ‘sugar boat’ capsized in a gale, when a tanker collided with her after dragging her anchor in January 1974 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Captayannis . Now, some forty years on with her owners having gone ‘bottoms up’ and no one wanting to accept liability she rests on her side in the Clyde covered in bird shit Probably not strictly ‘PC’ but I think she looks great, remember, todays rubbish is tomorrows archaeological heritage
A little further south we came across the ‘Archer class’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archer-class_patrol_vessel patrol vessel HMS Biter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Biter_%28P270%29 a strange inshore patrol kind of vessel that has a high speed planing hull design but they never quite sorted out the machinery. The hull is designed for speeds of 45knts yet few of them are capable of 20!!!
Another vessel that crossed our path, or should I say wake was Argyll Ferries http://www.argyllferries.co.uk/ catamaran Ali Cat on her way to Dunoon.
The tanker Bro Anton also ‘crossed our path’ so to speak and we steamed all the way down to, and around the island of Great Cumbrae http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Cumbrae
with its strange laval rock formation nicknamed the crouching lion http://www.millportonline.co.uk/lionrock.html .
It was quite fresh so far down the Clyde and Clydeport’s pilot boat sped northwards as we continued with our trial.
Once the six hours on the diesel generators was over we switched to a very silent ‘battery mode’ yet still managed to maintain 9knts,
and what an eerie sensation that was. The MV Hallaig is quiet at the best of times, even with three generators and all her fans running she’s quiet, but in ‘battery mode’ she’s silent, a pure joy. With the LiFePOP4 battery bank capable of delivering 20% of all her power requirements for a full 12 hour day they should be able to comfortably provide propulsion and ‘hotel’ loads for all of Sunday. I really am impressed with this vessel, we are looking at ‘cruise ship’ type levels of noise and vibration on a 40m long car ferry that will deliver significant savings in fuel and emissions
Heading back north we encountered both the MV Argyle and Bute as they plied between Wemyss bay and Rothesay on Bute.
Though that picture was taken on Tuesday
After yesterday’s excitement and early night it was ‘more of the same’ on Thursday
but with an earlier start
as we slipped the fitting out berth at Ferguson’s just after 9:00am
once more with barely a sound.
Today it was more about configuring the power management system and testing systems in manual mode with both ‘servers’ switched off, or at least ‘off line’. True to form, and beyond anyone’s expectations the Hallaig performed faultlessly, and not only that, we got back alongside for 16:30