Experienced mariner and Eastland Port marine manager Captain Chris Kaye reckons he had a tear in his eye when he was reunited with the tugboat Daldy last week.
Daldy is on charter from Ports of Auckland and will be easing ships into position at Eastland Port this month while Waimata has her first five-yearly slipping, or check-up, in Whangarei.
“Daldy is a testament to the quality of New Zealand-built harbour tugs from her era. She’s forty year’s older than Waimata and only one third of the power,” says Capt Kaye, who used to drive the tugboat for Ports of Auckland on Waitemata Harbour in the nineties.
“It’s like meeting up with a familiar friend. She’s intuitive to drive and a fantastic example of the finest harbour towage marine engineering ever.”
Captain Kaye is referring to Daldy’s Voith Schneider mechanical propulsion system which combines propulsion and steering in one unit.
Developed over 90 years ago by Austrian engineer Ernst Schneider, today the Voith Schneider propeller system is used in many vessel types, harbour tugs in particular.
Traversing sideways and turning in circles is simple for tugs with Voith Schneider propulsion, as the thrust and propeller efficiency is the same in all directions.
“It’s the ultimate in propulsion systems,” says Captain Kaye.
“With omnidirectional conventional propellers, like the ones used in Titirangi and Waimata, the direction of thrust is along the axis of rotation. In Voith Schneider propellers the thrust is applied at right angles to the axis of rotation and the direction can be varied at will.”
“The entire control system consists of an array of mechanical linkages with no electronics at all.”
“For the tug master it’s a bit like driving an old Morris Minor. A simple three on the floor: clutch, brake and accelerator, and no electronic management system to go wrong!”
Daldy is named after Auckland politician William Crush Daldy who was the inaugural chairman of the Auckland Harbour Board in 1871.
The Daldy has a more famous namesake in Auckland – the 1935-built historic steam engine tugboat William C Daldy which now operates as a tour boat on the Waitamata Harbour.
Captain Kaye says it took 36 hours to drive Waimata to Northland. The long trip provided five Eastland Port marine team staff experience in coastal voyaging.
Eastland Port staff also delivered Daldy from Auckland to Gisborne and both voyages will be done in reverse at the end of the month.
While in Northland Waimata will be inspected, painted underneath, and have cathodic protection applied to control corrosion of her metal surfaces. She will also have her propulsion units serviced.
Until she’s back Capt Kaye says the Eastland Port pilots and tug masters will enjoy putting Daldy to work on Gisborne’s harbour.
“She’s a window to a previous era in New Zealand port operations. While Waimata is a fine example of modern towage plant, working with Daldy right now is a real pleasure.”
Image caption: Eastland Port’s Captain Chris Kaye reunited with his favourite tug Daldy. Image care of The Gisborne Herald.