The kedge anchor on the poop deck


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Jan 7, 2002
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The kedge anchor on the poop deck, as well as the mini extra anchor on the starboard quarter of the forcastle fascinate me..If on the Olympic class liners, either anchor were used, where would they be attached? I cannot determine where on the poop deck the kedge anchor would be affixed...There is no loose chain about...

As for the anchor lying on the forcastle- was that to be used in case one of the main anchors broke lose?
I suspect both of these extra anchors were never intended for use, but were just present to fuillfiull regulation requiremnets.
regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
Jun 26, 2004
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Hello Tarn,

This is my first post on ET by the way. These anchors were required, and as you surmised, they were probably not very useful for a ship the size of the Olympic class. But - their intended uses were as follows:

The forward kedge anchor was intended for laying out and warping the ship sideways (basically) in a narrow sea way. The after anchor was termed a "stream" anchor. It was intended to be used in case of grounding. Generally a ship grounds head on. The anchor would be carried out from the stern and placed a distance aft to keep the stern from swinging in the tide and or current. This was done until either a bower could be brought out, or a tug or other ship came for assistance. These two anchors were intended to be taken out, believe it or not, by lifeboats. There was a procedure for doing this which I will not go into, but it involved a clever way of lashing the anchor between two boats- used kind of like pontoons. The anchors would have been attached to flexible steel cables. Warping would have been done by the capstans.

Bruce Beveridge
 

Dave Gittins

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G'day, Bruce! We are the better for your presence.

Personally, I've always thought that there would have been a big gap between theory and practice, as far as the anchors are concerned. In the old days, all sorts of things were done with anchors. Not long ago, I saw a sailing ship turned in a confined space by the cunning use of her anchors, but I suspect it was only done "for exercise".
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>but it involved a clever way of lashing the anchor between two boats- used kind of like pontoons.<<

Sounds interesting. Personally, I wonder how those kedge anchors would have been dropped without taking somebody and perhaps a nice chunk of the boat with it. Interestingly enough, anchors are still used to move ships around, particularly in places where tugs are scarce or just plain unavailable. It's called "Precision anchorage" and I saw a cruise ship literally work it's way up against the quaywall in Acapulco that way with a combination of dropping the anchors in a given spot and some very well planned manuevering with the engines.
 
Jan 7, 2002
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Welcome to ET Bruce!
Thank you for the detailed info on how the kedge anchors were to be used.
Does anyone know if the two kedge anchors on Olympic or Britannic wwere ever utilized?


regards


Tarn Stephanos
 
Jun 26, 2004
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I do not remember ever reading any accounts of these anchors being used. I remember reading one account of the center anchor being used on the Britannic during a fierce storm in the Mediterranean.

The Olympic's stream anchor was removed a bit later in her career. Why I do not know.

As for how they got these things over the side - well that is a good question. These books I have go out of their way to show how to take an anchor out, but do not show how to get them over the side. I suppose this was because each ship were different. Some of those old war ships had cat davits and so fourth but that appears to be for the main bowers etc. I would suppose that there is an old naval procedure consisting of a lot of rope and men for carrying these things over to a spot on deck where there was a removable rail, and very carefully lowering them down.

The fore anchor on the Olympic class was less then a ton, and the stream was slightly over 1.5 tons (long tons remember). What I find even more surprising is that aft anchor being of that weight was actually secured to the railing!

Maybe some of you out there a little more salty than me in way of procedures could shed some light on how these were lowered over the side.

Bruce

Sorry for any spelling mistakes
 

Noel F. Jones

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A vessel's ground tackle is rated to her mass and deployment according to Lloyds Rules. I assume the Rules were broadly the same in 1912 as they are today.

The specification has to take into account any hypothetical situation the vessel may get into throughout her working life. For instance a transatlantic liner might find herself serving time as a troop transport or hospital ship far away from the port facilities normally available to her.

The primary purpose of a stream anchor is to prevent a vessel getting athwart a navigable channel, whatever the state of wind and tide, by holding her between it and one bower. It also enables a time saving running moor to be made without the risks entailed in performing this cavalier manoeuvre with the two bowers.

Another benefit of the stream anchor is that a vessel can use it to 'drop the channel' on the ebb without having to swing ship before getting away on passage. And finally, in a contingency situation it can be used to kedge the vessel.

The theory of ground tackle is to counter the external forces acting upon a vessel by transferring a commensurate fraction of her all-up mass outboard and into contact with the ground. The TRMA web site article is entirely correct in pointing out that (for large vessels, not small boats) the purpose of the anchor is primarily to fix the cable to the seabed; it is the mass of cable veered out (scope) which stabilises the vessel by way of friction against the ground along its length. The half-catenary acts as a buffer against surges of wind, set and wave.

On the matter of the Olympic's stem anchor I am at a loss to understand the convoluted peregrinations around the subject on that TRMA web site. The working arrangements for the stem anchor are described on page 125 of my copy of The Shipbuilder reprint. The wire rope cable reel on the shelterdeck immediately below the anchor housing is worked by a power take-off from an adjacent windlass. Presumably this develops enough power to retrieve the anchor.

As for breaking out the anchor, there may have been a 'dolly' or drum end on the aforesaid wire rope cable reel. Otherwise there is a windlass at the break of the forecastle deck and a liberal amount of intervening bitts and capstans to which snatch blocks and relieving tackles can be lead.

I would surmise the process would consist of getting the anchor aweigh via the ring provided at its centre of gravity on the shank, canting it through 90 degrees against the stemhead plating, shackling on the cable (its fall end having been rove through the hawsepipe and brought back inboard) and then lowering the whole arrangement on a slip rope until the wire cable takes charge and the anchor can be slipped from the deck tackle.

This process would seem to involve the unshipping of the jackstaff and some length of railing, relocating the foretopmast stays further aft, and the deployment of some fendering and a few dollops of grease.

As for housing ('striking') the anchor, this would involve putting a man overside on a lifeline somewhat like the Royal Navy process of 'catting the anchor'. Once thus secured at the gravity ring the above process can then be performed in reverse order. (As may be imagined, most evolutions with ground tackle contain some element of risk to life and limb.)

Kedges can indeed be taken out slung below twinned lifeboats. The anchor can be put outboard and lowered onto the sea/river bed on such as a cargo derrick. The fall is then buoyed, parted, passed through the lashing spars of the boats, reconnected, the kedge then hauled up to the surface on the ship's gear, secured to the raft on a slipping arrangement, shackled onto the actual warp and finally disconnected from the cargo derrick so that the raft can be rowed out to the intended holding ground.

If in danger of being run down, or to save time or undue effort in worsening weather etc. all moorings can be slipped as an expedient alternative to recovery. A slipped mooring is subject to salvage law unless it has been proprietarily buoyed in which case it categorises as 'lagan' and its recovery becomes subject to contract rather than salvage.

(Any garrulous media-folk out there might care to note the correct use of the term 'slip' apropos 'moorings'. Not to be confused with the routine process of casting off the mooring lines on departure from a wharf or quay, 'slipping the moorings' signifies imperilment, contention and expense. As usual however it doesn't pay to be too dogmatic with these terms – a ship can be secured to a mooring buoy on a slip rope which by definition has to be 'slipped' on departure. Heigh-ho.)

Noel
 
Jun 26, 2004
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Noel,

Thanks for the detailed analyses of the kedge and stream anchor etc. Even got some terminology that may be useful in the future.

One point however, is that I was not referring, or questioning the process of how to get the center anchor off of the ship in my last post. I was only making a comment as to information on whether these auxiliary anchors were ever used.

You stated: "On the matter of the Olympic's stem anchor I am at a loss to understand the convoluted peregrinations around the subject on that TRMA web site..."

What is so convoluted on "that TRMA web site"? I for one, am fully aware of how the center anchor was hauled over, and am well aware of the machinery and wire drum below on the shelter deck. As far as I know there has never been an issue addressed as to not knowing about the machinery on the shelter deck on the TRMA site. If there is something wrong in Art Braunschweiger's article then e-mail him and tell him. Or E-mail me, and I will send you his address, or would be willing to pass it along. If there is an issue on the TRMA message board that would benefit from your expertise, then make a post. Of course that is when and if it ever gets back up.

Again, thanks for the detailed explanation. I have come across some of those points you stated in my books, but what struck me the most was the use of the stream anchor to keep the stern secured in a grounding situation so as to not allow it to drift over and become grounded also.

Bruce Beveridge
 

Noel F. Jones

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I have not visited the TRMA web site before and I am given to understand it is having difficulties.

It seemed to me that the article was making a lot of unnecessary conjecture, given the explanations available in The Shipbuilder reprints.

On the matter of stream anchors (stern anchors) I omitted to say that I envisaged these as being fully fitted (that is, with hawsepipe and windlass in the same way as a bower anchor) before they can be adroitly deployed to make running moors etc.

To my knowledge ground tackle arrangements had not advanced to this stage in 1912. Certainly the Olympics were not so fitted and would be disadvantaged accordingly.

Noel
 
Jun 26, 2004
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>I have not visited the TRMA web site before and I am given to understand it is having difficulties.

The only problems the TRMA have been having is with servers. The message board is down, for how long I do not know.



>It seemed to me that the article was making a lot of unnecessary conjecture, given the explanations available in The Shipbuilder reprints.

Understood. But I think Art was trying to take the explanations of the anchors into a bit more detail then what the Shipbuilder stated.


>On the matter of stream anchors (stern anchors) I omitted to say that I envisaged these as being fully fitted (that is, with hawsepipe and windlass in the same way as a bower anchor) before they can be adroitly deployed to make running moors etc.

>To my knowledge ground tackle arrangements had not advanced to this stage in 1912. Certainly the Olympics were not so fitted and would be disadvantaged accordingly.

Understood again.

Bruce
 
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