Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Waratah - specifications part two.

Again I have drawn from the transcripts of the Inquiry into the loss of the Waratah:

A range of coaling ports in the side, above the main deck, enabled the bunkers on and below that deck to be filled.

The watertight bulkheads were seven in number, extending to the spar deck, and one, which was not watertight, extended to the main deck.

There were nine tanks in the double bottom, and also fore and after peak tanks. No 3 and No. 7 had each a watertight central division, and No. 4 was divided into four watertight compartments. All the other tanks in double bottom had central and side divisions which were pierced with holes. Nos. 4, 6, and 7 were used only for fresh water. These areas of 'pierced holes' could have been a weak link for water ingress.

She carried 16 lifeboats capable of accommodating 787 people, one other boat which would take 29 people, and three patent rafts which would support 105 people. She also had on board 14 lifebuoys, two of which, fitted with Holmes lights, were placed on the navigating bridge, and 930 lifebelts (ordinary cork). She was provided with a sufficiency of distress signals and lights. There were three chronometers in the chart room, and all necessary charts and sailing directions. She had a Kelvin patent sounding machine, and four hand leads and lines.

She was fitted with Kirkcaldy's distilling apparatus, capable of producing 5,500 gallons of drinking water in 24 hours.

The gear for extinguishing fire was in accordance with Board of Trade requirements.

Her permanent coal bunker capacity was as follows:

3,829 tons at 42 cubic feet to the ton.

Bilge keels extended for about 190 feet amidships.

Terms and my interpretations:

a) Spar deck.  Another term for upper continuous deck or to make matters more confusing the 'light deck' above the upper deck. Important to note that the Waratah had three further decks above the spar deck (Bridge, Promenade and Boat), but these were midships above the hull and not continuous with the length of the hull.

b)  Freeboard deck. The uppermost complete deck of a ship. It has a secure means of closing all openings to be fully water tight, which I would imagine is most helpful in a storm.

c)  Draught.  The vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel) - still with me?

d)  Forecastle.  The forward part of the ship with the sailor's living quarters.  If you say so..

e)  Poop.  No comments, thank you, this simply refers to the deck in the rear (yes, the rear)

f)  Promenade deck.  An upper deck where passengers are free to roam.

g)  Dormitories.  If you need an explanation your life has been too good.

h)  Boat Deck.  Above the Bridge deck.

i)  Bridge Deck.  The room or platform from where the ship can be commanded ie Captain Ilbery's work station.

j)  Spar Deck camber.  Camber is a measure of curvature of the deck in naval architecture. As in spine?

k)  Bulkhead.  A partition or wall within the hull of a ship, and not someone who thinks highly of themselves.

l)  Turnbuckles.  Stretching screws for adjusting tension in ropes and not shoe adornments.

m) Bulwarks.  Walls enclosing the perimeter of the deck.  I thought bulls trotted?

n)  Washports.  Drainage of deck water.

o)  Hatch coamings.  Is the frame onto which the hatch is fitted and also serves to deflect water from entering (I'm sure with limitations as was suggested by the rapidity with which the Waratah sank).

p)  Oh I almost forgot, scantlings.  Measurements and dimensions, not to be confused with 'scantlings of Africa'.

q)  Bunker.  Something you put coal in and not into which you retreat when mother-in-law comes to visit.

r)  Double bottom.  The hull was constructed from two layers of steel.  Yes, I also thought about protection against cheap toilet paper.

s)  Kirkcaldy's distilling apparatus. Used to turn seawater into drinking water.

t)  Bilge keel.  Pay attention:  this is used to prevent a ship rolling too much.  We will be coming back to this issue many times in coming posts.

u)  Ballast. The material (coal or water) used to provide stability to the ship.

v)  GM.  The metacentric height which is the measurement of the initial static stability of a floating body and is calculated as the distance between the ship's centre of gravity and metacentre mmmmm, we will need to explore this further.

Relief. There were enough letters in the alphabet.

On a more serious note, these terms and the understanding of their relevance are important when taking a closer look at the issues surrounding the controversy whether the Waratah was a 'safe' ship or whether there were indeed issues relating to stability and the catch phrase 'she is top heavy'.

This I will endeavour to explore in coming posts.

Thank you for paying attention




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