The Q concerns the rear wheel on ship plus


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mike disch

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1. It seems that there ought to be a major category for Operation of the Ship. Since there isn't,
2. I was asked about the "rear wheel", its use, and how info was communicated--piped? voice? etc.
I winged an answer, but am now researching. Anybody know about this?
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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Do not quote me on this:

Ships of the Great Lakes (built before 1950) have a very similar set up. Usually the after wheel is connected directly to the rudder post, there are a couple pins and connections that need to be made in order for it to work. This wheel (again on the Great Lakes) actually cranks the steering engine and takes two or three men to handle effeciently. It is connected to the bridge via a sound powered phone.

Oddly enough, this is still considered a alternate version of steering (required by SOLAS and the Coast Guard), and is tested during the annual Coast Guard COI inspection.
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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I think the requisite answer is that the after steering wheel and binnacle is the ship's emergency steering position. That is to say, it would be resorted to when the bridge is rendered untenable by such as fire, collision damage or battle damage.

Therefore, communication with the bridge is not relevant to its use. Some effective form of communication with the engine room would be essential of course.

Noel
 
T

Tom Pappas

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It would also be a backup for use in case the linkage (mechanical or hydraulic) between the wheelhouse and rudder were interrupted.
 

Erik Wood

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The old linkage system was easy to fix, and it was also easy to identify a problem and easy to locate it.

With Hydraulics you have computer systems and pumps and all kinds of things that can go wrong. With linkage it was a quick fix and you where on your way.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Noel is on the right track about the steering wheel on the docking bridge, but he has put it in somewhat more dramatic terms than what was anticipated. Steering systems are subject to failure. For instance, Titanic used a hydraulic system in which a pipe may have "blown out" or a cylinder failed. In that case, the wheelhouse steering would not have functioned, so the quartermaster stationed on the docking bridge would have taken over. The docking bridge wheel control went directly to the steering engine.

A special type of telegraph would have been used to send steering commands from the captain's bridge to the docking bridge under "emergency steering" conditions. Command would remain on the regular bridge where the ship's charts and other navigational instruments were located.

In a go-to-H*** situation, block and tackle could be rigged to the rudder and operated with the steam capstans normally reserved for handling mooring lines.

Emergency steering is still required on commercial vessels. At sea, however, a multi-screw vessel may not require emergency connections to the rudder. Titanic could have been maneuvered to harbor by use of its two wing propellers alone. For instance, increasing the power on the starboard prop would turn the ship to port. Docking, of course, would require tugs.

--David G. Brown
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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Rudder??? Who needs a rudder, just give me a bow thruster and two screws and I can parrell park anything without tugs. Don't believe me??? As the former Captains of the Norway and Festivle.
 

Bill Sauder

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Dec 19, 2000
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Telemotor failures were not too common and not nearly as dramatic as a blown-out pipe. Since the hydraulic linkage between the wheel and the steering gear aft was only to signal position, and not to transmit power, the pressure used in the pipes was low.

Two of the more common failings were:

1) Entrained Air: The hydraulic medium used was glycerin and water, and because the system was open to the atmosphere, small amounts of air would find its way into the hydraulic circuit. Very occasionally, these would coalesce into bubbles that would make the helm slightly unresponsive (just as when car breaks become "spongy" from air in the system). If the problem became acute, the system would be purged.

2) Bye-Pass valve failure: More serious was the failure of the equalizing bye-pass valve to open. It is a very small valve port that opens up between the "signal right" and "signal left" pipes to equalize pressures when the wheel amidships, and therefore the rudder should be midships as well.

If the valve becomes blocked, either through debris or obstruction, the telemotor receiver controlling the steering engine will only read one circuit, such as the "signal right" pipe, and ignore the other, in this case "signal left". The effect is that the rudder gradually "ratchets right" and if the condition goes unnoticed, the rudder may ratchet all the way against the stops since the telemotor receiver doesn't get the signal to return to amidships.

As I recall, there is a manual bye-pass on the telemotor transmitter on the bridge that can be used if the auto by-pass fails to reset the rudder to amidships until the system can be opened up for inspection.

Bill Sauder
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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Bill, thanks for the wealth of information. Do you happen to know where I could find a book or related material regarding the telemotor. This is for my own personal use.

I have dealt with several steering gear failures in my career, most of which occured while I has a pilot and not on my own command. While a JO in charge of the fantail during a docking a hydraulic line burst and somehow jammed the rudder at about 15 degree's right. I and the duty engineer in after steering used a drill to put the rudder in a neutral position.
 

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