Saturday, 16 April 2016

WARATAH RUDDER, WEAK LINK.

The Advertiser (Adelaide) Tuesday 17 August, 1909.

Captain James M. Banks, Senior Marine Surveyor for New South Wales:

The vessel has twin screws, with no aperture between, 
which is as safe an arrangement as can be conceived. 
But, again, I find that this vessel
has modern fitted rudders, i.e., in two
pieces. The rudder stock goes up
through the rudder casing, and is joined to
the main rudder by flat plates securely
bolted. But I can conceive that were the
Waratah encountering a severe gale, with
such tremendous seas as I have experienced
along the Agulhas Bank, where the current
running to the west against the sea makes
a tremendous break, and were she going
dead slow with such a sea on the bow, one
enormous break running along the ship's
side and striking this rudder (were it
down) might have such weight and force as
to damage the rudder, and perhaps shear
these connecting bolts, and leave the lower
portion of the rudder absolutely disconnected. 
Should such a casualty have occurred,
Captain Ilbery is too prudent a man to
allow the ship's head to go in shore, but
would naturally get her head to southward,
make the most of the unfortunate circumstances 
in keeping the rudder quiet until fine weather came on, 
which might be days, and even weeks before he 
could risk men over the stern to effect temporary repairs
by getting beam cramps on the rudder, etc.
It may be also that such damage had
damaged one or other of the twin screws."
"Be that as it may," the letter concludes,
"when fine weather came on I would trust
Captain Ilbery and his officers to make such
temporary repairs as would enable the ship
to retain her position until assistance
reached him, or it might even be eventually, 
though slowly, reach a port of safety."



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