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    Guestbook messages

    04-10-2008 18:45 Harold Porter wrote:

    This ship was the most beautiful ship ever built. She was notorious for finding bad weather - I joined on Jan 2 at Dingle Oil Terminal, Liverpool - and we took the pilot to Trinidad. On another occasion, north of the Azores while crossing from Rotterdam to Curacao in ballast, we altered course to assist a Danish ship which had lost eight men over the side. When we came to haul back on course, she was thrown onto her starboard side by more than 90 degrees, dipping the bridge wing lookout man under solid water; the deck boy on the wheel appeared to be making love to it and both the coir runner across the wheel house fore end and the helmsman's grating disappeared through the lee door and are presumably still wandering the Atlantic. On another occasion we went from Rotterdam to Stockholm. The barometer was falling fast and we were the last ship to transit the Kiel Canal for a week. In the Baltic, we collected two to three feet of ice on the upper decks, and then became the first ship to transit the Keil Canal after the closure. In the Elbe, we saw a four thousand ton or thereabouts cargo ship sitting in a field about fifty yards away from a farmhouse. She had missed the channel in the flood caused by the storm, during which, Hamburg had three metres of flood, many navigation marks had been swept away, etc, and our barometer had jammed against the bottom stop. The hurricane we passed through off Cuba during the missile crisis was nothing in comparison. She was built of very soft steel, and always had a crack in the sheer strake on the starboard side just abaft the after midships fashion plate, and generally after a week or two out of drydock her forward bulwarks would be more or less flat until the next drydock. Her engines were semi-automatic from Brown Boverei and ran faultlessly week after week. We assumed the charter assigned to the Harold Maersk after she suffered an explosion in her engine room and did three months on the Lake run - Maracaibo to Curacao - setting the then record discharge time for Butinized Paconsib Crude of twelve hours twenty two minutes from 'Finished With Engines' to 'Standby' for departure because the main pumps were so efficient we could drain tanks with them She had the first submerged log in the Anglo Sax. fleet, and this, luxury of luxuries, recorded the speed as well as the distance steamed. She also had a knack of injuring people. We once signed a crew on in Thameshaven and a deck boy slipped down the after companionway to the sailor's accommodation, fracturing his hip. While the pumpman and the donkeyman were hoisting his stretcher up the gangway to the ambulance, (the jetty was about ten feet higher than the deck at the time) the Mate kept shouting "Mind the derrick. Mind your heads on the derrick." He followed them up, still shouting advice they really did not need, and broke his nose on the derrick.
    Acavus was one of those magic ships, always happy, always ready to surprise, always very efficient and a delight to the eye.

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