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Thread: Wahine

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Wahine

    Quote Originally Posted by j.sabourn View Post
    "............ For those not aware Head up the tube, all targets are relative bearings only and do not show the course and speed this had to be done by plotting usually in 6 minute intervals with a minimum of 3 which made 18 minutesto work out the course and speed and estimated nearest approach. Things these days due to modern technology is much easier and can be plotted very quickly. I doubt in 1968 they had all the up to date technology even of that day. It was not a requirement, and as most shipowners obeyed the law and no more, have no doubt the Wahine was properly equipped for her day. JS
    A reflector plotter would have saved you all that work. I first came across one of these in 1968 but even after that not many ships had them (they should have been mandatory). I don't think I ever plotted a target on paper (except during the Radar Obs Course at Leith in 1965) we just didn't have the time you just got good at 'reading targets'......for instance I'm sure the guys on the NE coast colliers did it by eye. On the NZ coast it didn't matter much as there was so little traffic and vis was generally ok. I'm sure that the Wahine's equipment was as required, but I find it odd that a company that was advanced in terms of deck and propulsion equipment was so backward when it came to the bridge.

    Anyway as has been suggested we've done this to death.
    Last edited by Alan Hill; 21st July 2015 at 10:24 AM.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Wahine

    Alan they should of had Ivan there as superintendent he would have sorted them out. We all used to use the head up with our own concepts of tricks of the trade the easiest one was just putting the bearing cursor on the target and if it didn't change he was on a collision course, re. the same as Article 19 or whatever it was, the plotting Perspex that you mention most ships that had radar also had, but still followed the same principles as the paper plot. Was the Wahine on the same type of run from the North to the south Island, that I did last year. If so those blokes should be capable of doing it in their sleep as must do that many times in their lives, maybe that was part of the problem complacency. However when one goes back to these old disasters one never gets the full feel of the situation, did note however that one of the lady survivors in one of the scenes was trying without trying to show it, to escape one of the reporters of the times, one can see why she didn't want to be cross examined by some twit and have herself splashed over the media in some dubious headline. Maybe she had just been away for a dirty weekend. Cheers Regards JS

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  5. #23
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    Default Re: Wahine

    HI All.
    One thing I remember on the NZ coast was that the Cook straits was a very nasty place to be caught in with bad weather. While on the USS Co's Kaimai
    we loaded two containers of naval radar units, they were well lashed down on the fore hatch, we hit an almighty storm in the Cook straits; and much like the Wahine we were thrown about, admittedly we were not as big so it was expected; one of the containers was washed overboard, and the Bosun and two of us AB's went down to put more lashings on the other one, the bosun Davie Harknes was washed into the scuppers and was lucky not to go over the side, the skipper called us off the deck.
    Another time on the Calm a small coaster we took two days to battle through the straits from Lyttelton to New Plymouth.
    Cheers Des

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    Last edited by Des Taff Jenkins; 22nd July 2015 at 06:43 AM.

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  7. #24
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    Default Re: Wahine

    I clearly remember the effects of the 'Wahine Storm' as it is now referred to as. It was two storm fronts (one was a tropical cyclone) that came together, unfortunately above the harbour entrance as Wahine was making way towards 'Moaning Minnie', the buoy at the entrance to the channel, and marking Barretts Reef. Where the Wahine eventually sank was quite shallow water, inside the harbour opposite Fort Dorset/Seatoun, by Steeple Rock.
    Eventually, ideas for salvage of the wreck were studied, then the decision was made to just cut her up in 20 ton sections where she lay. The Rolls-Royce emergency generator was cut out of the funnel and lifted ashore by the floating crane Hikitea and transported to the bulk steel store at Wm Cables. As a marine engineering apprentice working at William Cable Ltd at that time, I was tasked with taking all the crankcase doors off, pumping out the sludge contained within, and trying to remove all remaining residue within the engine spaces. The engine was bolted to a 1 inch thick sheet of steel plate, and hooked up to temporary fuel & cooling systems (44 gallon drums & hoses everywhere), along with a few large starting batteries. The Wm Cable electrical workshop had meanwhile stripped the generator, done the necessary maintenance to make it a runner, and then connected it to the engine. 8 x 44 gallon drums of electrolyte were placed on the railway siding in the bulk store. We fired up the engine and it was test run for a week, with the electrical load being supplied by the electrolyte drums. All was good (rather surprising for a R-R diesel engine that had been drowned!).
    A coastal vessel, the Holmpark, was fitted with large bow sheaves on an assembly about 10 feet wide and welded in position to overhang the ship's bow. Winches were fitted into the ship's hold, as was the R-R emergency generator from the Wahine to power them, and the whole arrangement set sail out to the wreck site.

    The salvage master was Captain Hector Robertson, master of the Wahine when it sank. The Holmpark was moored over the wreck, and as the divers cut off each 20-ton section, the Holmpark would lift it and deposit the section on the shallows at Seatoun beach, using the winches powered by the Wahine's own generator. As required, the floating crane Hikitea would then come out from Queen's Wharf and take the pile of scrap back into town. Hundreds of cars were also lifted from the wreck.
    Also recovered was the port propeller shaft, undamaged, and when an American icebreaker managed to steer it's way solely on engines, up from the ice to Wellington with a broken rudder stock, the USCG approved the use of the 12-month old Wahine shaft as a replacement. It was an interesting job watching this being done on the Poreba lathe in the Fitting Shop at Wm Cables. The lathe was able to turn 18 ton dairy factory butter churns, so a 'little' shaft was not a problem!

    When the Queen Elizabeth was burnt out in Hong Kong Harbour, Captain Hector Robertson later lead the salvage team to remove that wreck from the sea bed.

    From 1981 - 84 I also sailed with the two radio operators from the Wahine whilst transporting bulk cement from NZ to Brisbane. They were both in their 70's, had retired years earlier, but decided to do swing about on our cement carrier. Bob Lyver (or, The Hanging Judge' as we sometimes referred to him as, after his courtroom threat to a gang of 'bikies' to hang one of them from each lamp post all the way out of town, when he was doing 'bench duty' as a Justice of the Peace in the Bay of Plenty) was the unfortunate operator who had to send the SOS from the Wahine that morning.
    They were both good blokes.

    I have attached a link to the gov't record of the Wahine sinking, which is not embellished like the doco.

    https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/wa...aster/timeline

    Cheers
    Skilly

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  9. #25
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    Default Re: Wahine

    April 10th marked the 50th anniversary of the tragic loss of the Fairfield built New Zealand ferry Wahine off Wellington Harbour in a ferocious storm.

    W30443449_10215430165891024_5944255576845320192_n.jpg

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