Life at the end of the road

October 29, 2016

Double docking :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:00 pm

Golly gosh, is it really Wednesday already? Sure enough, I’ve looked at the calendar and it is, well well, how time flies.

So, tis almost 21:00 now and I’ve barely ‘checked in’ since Sunday cos there’s so much been going on.

So much for that, it’s 17:25 on Saturday evening now and already the sky is getting darker, it’ll be dark this time tomorrow if the weather doesn’t improve. The good ship Hallaig was due a coat of paint today but that didn’t happen. Poor old Bogdan kept poking his head out of his hut, shaking his head and cursing in Polish. At least I think that’s what he was doing, I’d taken out my hearing aid due to a splitting headache. Can’t grumble about the riveter in my skull right enough it was justly deserved Smile

In the Garvel

Seem to recall that we left Largs around midday and a pleasant journey up to Greenock and the ‘Great Harbour’. The Clyde was looking lovely and had more of its fair share of pleasure craft on the water. I guess it was folk making the most of good sailing weather before the winter.

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As we passed by Wemyss Bay the MV Coruisk was about to ‘pick up’ the service to Rothesay to let MV Bute head up to the Garvel too.

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The Bute is lucky, she only has a few miles to steam to dock, unlike our four day trip.

We arrived at the dock gate at our appointed time of 15:00.


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The gates of the Garvel Graving dock slowly swung open to let us in.

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Whereupon we were told to ‘just wait there’ whilst everyone went for their tea break Smile That done we threw a rope from each corner to the waiting workers and were gently and precisely guided into position.

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Obviously it’s pretty crucial that the ships exactly in the right place on the blocks that are positioned for her to rest on. The ‘docking plan’ in the ships drawings is carefully studied by the yard beforehand to ensure they’re in the correct place and the dock marked so as the ship stops in the right place. Centralization is achieved by hanging a weight exactly in the middle of the dock whilst the ‘Dock Master’ watches from the dock end. The ships ropes are swapped for the yards wires and then the vessel is finally winched tightly into the exact position over the blocks. Finally a couple of pre cut telegraph poles are hammered into position whilst resting on the vessels hull.

Blocked in

Not only was this my first ever visit to this lovely granite dock with it’s wooden bottom,


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it was the first time we’ve ever been in a dock with another ship, this one being the MV Bute that we passed earlier at Wemyss Bay.

We stayed aboard until the dock was pumped out and the Hallaig sat gently on the blocks, the wooden dock bottom being very kind to ships I’m told.

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Dunno what sort of wood it is or how thick the huge planks are but if it’s been there since the dock was built in 1871 it must be hardy stuff.

Let the work commence

On Tuesday morning work commenced in anger but without the usual pressure to get out of the dock. Fortunately or unfortunately depending which way you look at it or stay in here is governed by the Bute and she’s having major work done.

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A 400bar blasting with the pressure washer top to bottom.

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Being in dock with the Bute I took advantage of the chance to go and have a look at her propulsion system.

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The Bute has an Azipod at each end of the ship a development of the ‘azimuth thruster’  which was gear and shaft driven. These units have an electric motor within the ‘pod’ and are extremely efficient and manoeuvrable.

 Bow visor removal

Whilst I was busy with the Lloyd’s surveyor in and out of most of the ships many spaces.

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The yard had brought in an extra crane and started removing the Bute’s bow visor.

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So that’s it, 22:00 in the Tontine hotel

291016 011 and it’s back to the dock tomorrow, not quite so early right enough.



  1. Why didn’t the Bute go in first and save blocking in the Hallaig?

    Comment by San — October 30, 2016 @ 8:46 am

    • Doh! Because they’re not going to flood the dock and have to reposition the Bute. Silly me.

      Comment by San — October 30, 2016 @ 8:54 am

      • You’re not alone San, it crossed my mind once 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2016 @ 5:02 pm

  2. Is it just me or is the Navitron forum down?

    Forbidden You don’t have permission to access /forum/ on this server. Apache/2.2.15 (CentOS) Server at Port 80

    Comment by Malcolm — October 30, 2016 @ 9:49 am

    • Hi Malcolm,

      yes, definitely down, emailed Andrew on here who is a moderator on here and he said Biff and he were in the dark about it 😦 Bit of a tragedy if it’s been shutdown or whatever. I find it invaluable for reference and help.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2016 @ 5:01 pm

  3. Hello Paul,
    Think you’ll find the Azimuth thrusters in Bute, Argyle, Coruisk and Loch Nevis are shaft and gear driven with the shafts on all but Loch Nevis being carbon fibre.

    Comment by Tom McNeill — October 30, 2016 @ 10:47 am

    • Thanks for that Tom, I kinda thought those ‘pods’ were a little small for an electric motor but Wikipedia definitely calls them ‘Azipod.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2016 @ 4:58 pm

  4. Hi Paul is the Hallaig having an M,O,T already, it doesn’t seem like it was launched yesterday.

    Comment by Polite Scouser — October 30, 2016 @ 9:33 pm

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