Tuesday, 4 February 2014

CAPTAIN ILBERY WENT AWAY.


Board of Trade Inquiry extracts:

"The Waratah, Official Number 125741, was a twin screw steamship, built at Whiteinch in 1908, by Messrs. Barclay, Curle & Company, Limited, of that place."

"Her length was 465 feet, breadth 59.45 feet, and depth in hold from tonnage deck to ceiling at midships 35.05 feet."

A regular bowling lane is 60 feet in length. This strikes me as rather narrow for the width of an ocean-going ship, but is in keeping with similarly sized vessels of the time.

"Her gross tonnage was 9,339.07, and registered tonnage 6,003.96."

"She was fitted with two sets of reciprocating compound quadruple expansion direct-acting vertical inverted engines, with five steel boilers having a working pressure of 215 lbs., and developing 548.4 nominal, 5,400 indicated, horse-power."

"Her speed was 13 knots."

"Engines and boilers were also by Messrs. Barclay, Curle."

"The Waratah was owned by the Blue Anchor Line, Limited, the managers being Messrs. William, Frederick William, and Albert Edward Lund."

"Captain Ilbery, the commodore of the Blue Anchor fleet, and the holder of a certificate of competency as master, No. 24380, supervised the ship's construction in the later stages. When completed he was to take command of her."

"He was present on the 10th of October, 1908, when the ship was being prepared for the heeling experiment, but before the actual experiment was undertaken he went away."

"It was conducted by Mr. George Barrie, chief of the scientific department of Messrs. Barclay, Curle, & Co."

This is almost bizarre. Captain Ilbery was to be the commodore of the brand new flagship Waratah.
He had supervised construction in the later stages, which implies a pro-active involvement with the development of the Waratah and what was to be expected from her in terms of performance at sea.
He was also in a position to compare specifications and performance with a number of steamships he had captained for the Blue Anchor Line. And yet, when it came to the heeling experiment, 'he went away', and left Mr Barrie to it. Did he have any reservations at that stage and was reluctant to bear witness to the sea trials, or was there a genuine reason for his being unable to attend? Why could the experiment not have been delayed? After all Captain Ilbery was the very man who would need to know what he was dealing with and what to expect at sea. We will, however, explore in more details the 'heeling experiment' and perhaps it was not necessary for Captain Ilbery to be present?

to be continued...


Ivory Tirupati with heavy list

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