Life at the end of the road

November 6, 2014

Back to winter :-(

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:37 pm

Home at last. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve started a post with that phrase, but there really is no place like Arnish. Even the south easterly gale and torrential rain was unable to dampen my spirits today, for it really felt like the teeth of a full blown west coast winter today.

Tuesday, the last time I posted turned into a ‘bit of an epic’ and was only arrested from the jaws of chaos by the early arrival of our ‘back to back’ crew. Quite how we’d have managed without them I don’t know. As is normal for the last day ‘on shift’ and the flooding of the dock there was much to do.



All the sea valves had to be closed, the ramps housed, hull penetrations checked and of course the yard’s ‘cheery pickers’ removed from the basin.



Now that must have cost an ‘arm and a leg’ to get that crane in, methinks that the yards trusty Coles jobby had a problem Sad smile Now, I can’t pretend that it all went as smoothly as I’d have liked because there was a little hiccup or two along the way Smile



However, once that was sorted and the Voith units tested

the dock was flooded. That will be the MV Loch Striven’s unit’s at Ardmaleish a few years ago, Hallaig has five blades made of phosphor bronze but it gives you the idea.


Once the water levels either side of the dock had equalized and all the valves and systems checked Hallaig was eased out of the dock on her capstans.


003  004

The forward crew gradually hardening up the two bow ropes whilst the aft crew paid out the rear, all the time balancing the four lines so as to keep Hallaig central in the dock. The Hybrid craft running purely on batteries made the operation silent and communication easy. It’s not possible to exit the dock under your own power until the propellers are well clear of of all the keel blocks and timbers.


You really do not want one of those in yer propeller, that could really ruin your day!

As we cleared the blocks, first the forward, then the aft units were started and eventually Hallaig was berthed near the ice plant in the harbour at Troon.




And yes, I know the photograph is carp but I refuse to buy yet another camera!!!

Once safely berthed most of the crew departed for home or a hotel leaving the captain and I to wait for the Volvo engineer from Fettes and Rankine to finish his tests on the main DG’s.


All the alarms and ‘shutdowns’ needed testing on the three Volvo D13 engines that take it in turn to provide around 80% of Hallaig’s energy. The rest of it coming form the 216 LiFePO4 batteries that are usually charged overnight on Raasay.

Hallaig was designed to be supplemented with 20% of her energy needs from the lithium iron battery bank, but that is actually a little misleading for the ‘serial hybrid’ system developed by Alexander Breijs of Imtech saves much more than 20% fuel and CO2 emissions. This is because of the requirement for at least two DG’s to be running the whole time that the ship is in ‘DG mode’. When the vessel is in ‘hybrid mode’ only one generator is required and that is kept ‘optimally loaded’ by the ‘energy management system’. The ‘serial hybrid system’ can not only reduce fuel and emissions but it reduces repair and maintenance on the DG’s.

 It must be me

After a late finish we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and dinner with the rest of the crew, or at least that was the plan.


Me, I was left for the fourth time in a week locked out of my room!!!! I dunno what it is but ‘touch screens’ and electronic keys just don’t seem to like me. I can barely work my phone and am at times left bashing an iPad furiously trying to get a response. Sure the first night it was because I had the card in the same pocket as my phone, and sure I should have known that from my experience in Rotterdam. However there was no excuse for it during the rest of the week. Am I really the only person that this happens to?


Eventually I managed to get access to room 124, have a shower and meet the rest of the crew for a Czech lager prior to dinner at ‘the two fat ladies’. A relatively early night followed and by 7:30am  on Wednesday morning I turned my back on the golf course and headed home. Sorry guys, I know golf is very popular but I just don’t get it!


I can think of far better things to be doing at 7:45 on a windy November morning Smile

The beautiful drive north up Loch Lomond



was in sharp contrast to what greeted me today at Arnish.

Today a south easterly gale and pishing rain was what met me as I eased myself out of bed, the ferry wasn’t running and the hens were drowning Sad smile


I spent most of the morning clearing a blocked drain up at the hen shed.

Anyway I did do much more but it’s 22:30 now and I’ll finish this tomorrow



  1. glad you’re home Paul, but from the weather forecast last night it looks like you’re in for another “power wash” today

    Comment by cazinatutu — November 7, 2014 @ 6:28 am

  2. Hi Paul you have had a busy time .doesn’t the Voiith mind running dry? or at that speed ? what speed is it in normal operation and do you have any idea what it was doing in that test run sorry for so many questions — great to have you back you were sorely missed by me anyway. thanks

    Comment by patrick — November 7, 2014 @ 11:48 am

    • Hi Patrick,
      The Voith’s are OK for a few minutes dry, any longer and it’ll damage the seals. 510RPM is the max speed I think but it would have been running at much less than that.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 8, 2014 @ 7:51 am

  3. Hi Paul

    Just catching up on your recent posts. Great to have you back.

    With regard to the camera issue, I reckon you need to put one of the following on your Christmas list, then you only need carry one bit of electronic gear.

    A phone with 20 mega-pixels and waterproof/dustproof to boot – can’t imagine why Sony don’t call it The Camilli! 🙂 Spec looks made to measure your lifestyle:

    Comment by Carrie — November 7, 2014 @ 11:53 am

    • £400 for a phone Carrie, you’ve gotta be kidding and have you ever tried to use a touchscreen outside in the pishing rain. It’s a nice idea right enough but I just don’t know anyone who thinks I’m worth that much 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 8, 2014 @ 7:49 am

      • 🙂 🙂

        Comment by Carrie — November 8, 2014 @ 6:33 pm

  4. hi loved your pump ,is it a DC or AC pump .where did you get it 🙂

    Comment by Duncan Boyle — November 8, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

    • Hi Duncan, 230Vac from eBlag, though I’m sure you can get 12 and 24 volt ones.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 8, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

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