Author Topic: QE2 - and The Pilots  (Read 4184 times)

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Offline Twynkle

QE2 - and The Pilots
« on: Mar 02, 2010, 11:26 AM »
Brave, and very knowledgeable!
All that leaping - and QE2 seemingly not reducing her speed - much!
Then the heavy responsibility - and sometimes watched by thousands...!
Any stories, images - anyone?

QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Offline Beardy Rich

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Re: QE2 - and The Pilots
« Reply #1 on: Mar 02, 2010, 07:41 PM »
Hi Rosie,

Yes, those pilots. They used to board the ship via the shell door using a rope ladder suspended from the deckhead of one of the bunker stations on 5 deck and were escorted to the bridge.
It wasn't unusual for them to ask if there was any late mail needing to be posted shoreside when they departed.

Those pilot boats were fast too, cut through the waves like a hot knife through butter and the engines sounded glorious.
Rich Drayson. Ex Snr Mechanic QE2 1984-1988.

Offline Stowaway2k

Re: QE2 - and The Pilots
« Reply #2 on: Mar 02, 2010, 09:22 PM »

Offline Twynkle

Re: QE2 - and The Pilots
« Reply #3 on: Apr 11, 2010, 12:34 PM »
Hmm...and someone somewhere said that she wasn't called the Black Pig for nothing!

So what was it about QE2 that made her difficult to handle?
To add to her 'quirky steering' (if that's what it was?!)
were some harbours / ports more tricky than others?


« Last Edit: Apr 11, 2010, 12:37 PM by Twynkle »
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: QE2 - and The Pilots
« Reply #4 on: Apr 11, 2010, 05:32 PM »
I don't think she had 'quirky' steering, just not much steering abiity at all when moving slowly!  She had weak bow thrusters, no stern thrusters at all, and her rudder was not as effected by the propeller wash as on some other ships due to its position in relation to them.  The 86-7 refit gave her variable pitch propellors which allowed her to switch between going astern, stopped, or reversing nearly instantly which must have made things a lot easier!
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Paul White

Re: QE2 - and The Pilots
« Reply #5 on: Jul 04, 2010, 08:27 PM »
Brave, and very knowledgeable!
All that leaping - and QE2 seemingly not reducing her speed - much!
Then the heavy responsibility - and sometimes watched by thousands...!
Any stories, images - anyone?

The usual speed for boarding a pilot is 6 knots and QE2 would normally reduce to this speed, on occassion it would be done at 8 knots.

The fastest I saw a pilot boarded was at 18 knots, but that was using special SWATH pilot vessels at the mouth of the river Elb.

http://www.maritimejournal.com/news101/a_and_r_pilot_tender_gets_fast_ballast_system


Paul
Paul

1996 - 2001
Chief Officer

Offline Lachlan

Re: QE2 - and The Pilots
« Reply #6 on: Sep 22, 2010, 05:36 AM »
In February 2008 QE2 visited Melbourne for the final time. At the time I ran the Australian Shipowners Association so had a lot to do with ships, their owners, crews and all the service-providers to shipowners. I contacted my friends at the Port Philip Sea Pilots and it was arranged that I would accompany the pilot picking QE2 up off Port Phillip Heads. We left the pilot station in the pilot cutter at about 00.30 and as it was very rough and as QE2 was the fifth ship to have her pilot dropped off, we did not reach the ship till about 01.30.

The pilot boarding ground is about 5 nm south-west of the Point Lonsdale light which means the pilot launch has to go some distance out nto Bass Strait to reach waiting ships. This night it was blowing 30 - 35 knots with rough seas on a heavy swell. The ships were asked to assume a course which would create a lee with the pilot ladder rigged on the ships' port side and to proceed at seven knots.

By the time we reached QE2 she had overheard the pilot boat's coxswain's instructions to the other ships so she contacted the pilot boat confirming the pilot's requirements. QE2 made an impressive sight as we approached her in the dark of night in rough seas. She was well lit up with her funnel lights on. We rounded the stern and came up close alongside at the port side oiling door on five deck. Seven knots doesn't sound very fast but in a small boat next to a large ship on a windy night with spray all around, it seems pretty fast.

The pilot went aboard first. The deckhand on the launch sort of lifts you toward the pilot ladder as the launch rises on a wave then crew members on the ship sort of lift you aboard so before you know what's happened, you're in the ship. Because it's a side door, the climb from the launch is probably only around 3 metres or 10 feet.

We were accompanied briskly to the bridge. Introductions were then made. Capt McNaught asked why I would want to come out on such a bleak night. I suggested to him that I suspected that he would know that an opportunity to visit his marvellous ship seemed to me to be a very good reason - a comment which he accepted gracefully. The Master then briefed the pilot on the pilotage plan, the steering characteristics of the ship, the power and speed available and other navigational details. The con of the ship is then handed over to the pilot. I had been on enough ships to know that as a visitor you make yourself inconspicuous while ship handling is taking place.
 
Once the ship was safely through the Heads and in the South Channel in the calm waters of Port Phillip Bay, the astmosphere was much more relaxed on the bridge. Hospitality on the bridge was warm, with regular cups of coffee and hot food. I asked Capt McNaught about his feelings about the ship's career ending and his views on other ships in the Cunard fleet. Captain McNaught's comments about the condition of the ship's structure were interesting and revealed that he more than most accepted the reality that 40 years is a long time in service for any ship and that no structure exposed to the stresses and strains of a ship 40 years at sea is going to last forever.

Rounding the South Channel Pile Light requires the ship to make a sharp turn of more than 90 degrees to port. The Master required that this turn be executed slowly and gradually, presumably for the comfort of passengers.

The answers that Ian McNaught gave to the questions found elsewhere in the QE2 Story forum reminded me of the discussion I had with him that night. We took probably five hours to make the passage up the Bay to Port Melbourne at a leisurely pace. When we got to Station Pier and the ship was being put alongside, observations were made about the nature of the ship, her passengers and crew. They were always caring observations and conveyed a strong empathy with the ship and her passengers and crew.

Once the ship was alongside Capt McNaught asked if the pilot and I would stay for breakfast but we both had to get away and  declined his invitation. The Captain gave us each a plaque commemorating QE2's final year of service which was a lovely and unexpected surprise.

As my wife and I were to travel in the ship just ten days after this, I asked the seaman who escorted us off the ship to show me where Cabin 2007 was, which he did before we left the ship through the Two Deck Lobby.

This was a sensational experience. A bit of an adventure going out to and boarding the ship. A real experience having a lengthy discussion with QE2's most popular master. The unforgettable sight from a launch of the ship lit up in a heavy sea in the middle of the night. One of my great life experiences.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: QE2 - and The Pilots
« Reply #7 on: Sep 22, 2010, 06:55 AM »
Wonderful and very vivid memories -- thank you for sharing them with us!


Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 - and The Pilots
« Reply #8 on: Sep 22, 2010, 10:04 PM »
What an amazing experience to be able to board the QE2 from the Pilot's boat and to see the interaction between the Captain and the Pilot as the ship is steered safely into port.   Certainly a story to tell dinner companions at future cruises.
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Twynkle

QE2 and The Pilots!
« Reply #9 on: Aug 24, 2016, 02:08 PM »
There must be many memories of QE2's experience of pilotage - or rather, the other way round.

Maybe some of her Deck Officers could say more?
11.11.2008, The Final approach to Southampton via The Brambles comes to mind!

Here's the pilot's account of QE2's call at Torbay, 26 years ago
http://www.torquayheraldexpress.co.uk/remembering-day-qe2-arrived-in-bay/story-29646426-detail/story.html

(I'm sure there's another topic of this name - however I didn't find it - Sorry, Rob / Mods)



 
« Last Edit: Aug 24, 2016, 02:10 PM by Twynkle »
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.