Thursday, 8 December 2016

Second Sailing Trials Accident Report

The last of J.F.Joint documents relating to Shamrock's second sailing trial is the accident report of the damage done to a yacht moored at Wear Quay during that trial.

Ref:-   Shamrock trials and the accident involving a moored yacht at Wear Quay, River Tamar, Devon
on Friday 16th October 1981.

        This report is prepared with copies to the following:-
Mr Jeff. Hughes, the owner of the damaged yacht.
The National Trust and the Maritime Museum, the co-owners of Shamrock.
The insurance  underwriters.

I, John Frederick Joint, of 23 Parkesway, Saltash, Cornwall. was appointed as master of the Tamar Sailing Barge Shamrock for the second set of sailing trials for the period Friday 16th October to Sunday 18th October 1981.
My instructions were to simulate the conditions of service and operation to investigate the potential for eventual local use of Shamrock. One of the considerations to be investigated was the voyage from her up river berth at Cotehele to the open sea at Plymouth. For this part of the exercise it was proposed to let Shamrock use the ebb tide with assistance from our own dinghy fitted with an outboard motor and from the Captain’s barge from H.M.S. Defiance: ready for immediate hook up and tow if it became necessary.
Before the berth at Cotehele was left, the crew of Shamrock were instructed as to our intentions and the crew of the naval vessel, hereafter called the “tug”, were told to keep close and be prepared for connection of the tow before the narrow and congested parts of the river at Wear Quay and at Cargreen.
Our bow anchor was rigged outboard through the port hawse, so the tow rope was rigged and ready through the starboard hawse. A large fisherman’s type anchor (kedge) was rigged on a slip, outboard at the stern.
The Shamrock slipped the quay at Cotehele as the tide started to ebb, at 0950, and drifted gently downriver using the tide, quants, sweeps and assistance from our own dinghy, crewed by two men from my crew.
It was found that Shamrock could be manoeuvred without too much difficulty in the ‘empty’ upper reaches of the river. She was able to avoid the few moored craft and was logged passing Halton Quay at 1105.
Approaching Hole’s Hole to the north of Wear Quay the tug was warned that connection would be required and advised to come back down our port side and be on the starboard side ready to take the tow line. Some delay in the execution of this order followed and the tug performed several lengthy manoeuvres before the line could be passed. In the meantime Shamrock was caught in the accelerating tidal stream and was rapidly approaching the trots of moored yachts at Wear Quay.
The tug was connected, but by this time the situation had developed, so I ordered the kedge (aft) anchor of Shamrock to be let go. This was done and Shamrock eventually halted on a long scope of anchor warp.
During this the tug had got herself athwart the stream(tide) and was set down onto the bows of a moored yacht. Shamrock was anchored and under control, so the tow line was slipped, for the tug to clear herself.
Shamrock continued to slowly drag her anchor and my immediate concern was to protect her and to prevent her from running amok through the moorings. The bow anchor was dropped and we manoeuvred with the tide and the two anchors into the middle of the main channel and lay there to both anchors in the strong ebb tide. The time was now 1230.
The tug, a 64ft Nelson type, triple screw launch, had attempted to clear herself by the use of power and had fouled one screw and rudder with the mooring chain of the yacht. The yacht’s mooring was released and she was tied up alongside the tug, which was “moored” by the fouled chain.
When the tide had eased, and I was sure of the safety of Shamrock, I went across to the tug and the yacht to make some assessment of the damage etc.
A naval diving team were called in to clear the mooring and the Shamrock continued on her way to the Sound under tow from a naval pinnace/picket boat from H.M.S. Defiance.

Found: - Inspection by J.F.Joint,   Master of Shamrock and Surveyor.

The yacht that was damaged is a 21’5” sailing sloop with an inboard auxiliary engine.  She is of a design similar to the Silhouette or Alacrity having a fore deck, a midships cabin and a small sailing cockpit.  She is built of marine ply and painted.

To mitigate any further damage and to start to prepare the boat for eventual repair an external in section was made and some temporary protective work done.


Work done

Repairs required
The Pulpit. Of 1¼” galvanised steel tube, on four securing pads had been bent and the forward pad pulled out of the deck. 

The pulpit was removed and placed in the cockpit. Screw/bolt holes were sealed.  Guard rails, halliards were secured to the mast.

Pulpit to be straightened and the galvanising checked. Repainted and refitted.  3” S.S. bolts and screws were bent and will have to be replaced.
The Bow Roller and plate. Of stainless steel, extending aft by approx 10” had the cheeks to the roller bent.

Remove, straighten and refit.
Fore Deck Planking In way of the foreward port foot of the pulpit had been ripped completely away leaving a hole approx. 4” across and a surrounding area of delaminated deck deck ply.  Compression damage to ply at the foot of the aft pad.

The hole was trimmed around the hole with a knife and filled with a putty compound. This was secured with a vinyl covering pad which was secured to the deck.

The deck of 3/4 marine ply will have to be cut back and a new section let in. Damage to the deck stringer and pulpit pads internally were not able to be checked. Repaint to match with non slip deck paint.

The Toe Rail.  The Iroke toe rail on the port side which was in one piece was damaged and ripped in the original collision. The toe rail on the starboard side was damaged later by the
attending diving tender, which
came alongside to clear the 
fouled shaft/rudder of the tug.

Both toe rails (approx.15’) to be removed, renewed or repaired and refitted, ensuring a watertight hull/deck seal.

Deck Ventilator. Found to have been damaged, possibly by being walked upon.

Replace and refit.
Pick up Buoy and Rope.  The rope was severely twisted and kinked and the pick up buoy had the handle torn off.

Replace 12’ ¾” (18mm) Nylon or Polypropelyne rope.            Replace one 10” pick up pellet.
Mooring Chain. This was strained and cut in several places by the diving team. 

Replace 40’ of  3/8” galvanised mooring chain with connectors.

Hull Paintwork. The hull had been repainted this season and the owner was not intending to repaint this winter. There was no discernable damage to the structure of the hull but the paintwork was scuffed and scratched on both sides, by the tug and the diving tender lying alongside.

Rub down, undercoat and topcoat.

The owner of the craft was contacted as soon as possible, naturally he was concerned at the damage, but will be perfectly happy if the boat is restored to her original, pre accident, condition.

She was home built, and it was suggested that he made his own repairs for an agreed sum, but he said that he had no spare time at the present and would have to have the work completed by a local yard.

At this time we have had no estimates for repairs, but I would recommend the following:-

A Blagdon of Richmond Walk, Plymouth or
Calstock Marine of Calstock, Cornwall.   (bird)

If you require any further information or details please let me know.

Yours faithfully,


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