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Re: Was John Walker a Competent Seaman?


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Posted by Jon on March 09, 2019 at 07:26:27 user Jon.

In Reply to: Re: Was John Walker a Competent Seaman? posted by Magnus Smith on March 09, 2019 at 04:35:42:

The paywall blocks all but the first page.

I believe that the author was referring to the "rising" flood exerting the strongest pull at half water; ebb, by definition, is when the tidal current is flowing toward the sea. I'm not familiar with the term "rising ebb"; I suspect it's a state (around dead low water) where the flood's begun and is flowing over the continuing ebb tide but the stronger ebb current at depth means the tidal level's falling though surface currents are running onshore.

My reaction is the same as Magnus' about the relevance of the time of strongest pull; as long as there's enough scope to the anchor line it wouldn't be a problem.

Since the main anchor's on a chain, not a rope (which will have, at best, minimal weight under water, and may even have a slight buoyancy), the catenary would provide some measure of "cushion" to the pull, decreasing as the scope of the anchor line decreases with the rising tide. The aid from the weight of a chain, rather than a rope, for the anchor line is why even where a rope anchor line is in use, larger vessels will often use a length of chain between the rope and the anchor.

At high tide, with minimal scope (approaching 1:1, since the chain was vertical when John checked it),the anchor could capsize, losing its hold, when the flow reverses to the ebb. Without ample scope to set it in the new direction, it'd skip over the bottom.

As to his not checking as to whether the chain was cleated off, in the chain locker, we have Ransome's own words that the chain went "out over the bows with a bit of frayed rope flying after it", so the rope at the end apparently broke under continual abrasion from the overlying chain and the sudden shock rather than not having been secured.


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