Unmooring Copy

Let’s see now how to unmoor the same ship we moored previously. The manoeuvre strategy changes substantially depending on the wind. What do we do if the conditions have not changed or the wind is always spreading from the quay?

In this case, once we released the lines, the situation that would arise would be that of a ship that, due to the leeway caused by the wind, would move away from the quay faster than the windlass we are using to weighing anchor.

This wind would rotate the ship head-to-the-wind, and if in narrow spaces, we would have to get out moving backwards. Undoubtedly feasible, but more complicated than doing it moving the vessel ahead.

The solution is to keep a stern line ashore. In this way, the stern would not move too far from the quay, allowing the correct alignment of the ship during the anchor weighing phase. But which line is better to keep?

Any line is okay to keep the stern up to the wind, but if we want to avoid the danger that it ends up in the propeller once released (this is especially true for ships with controllable pitch propeller), it is better to keep the stern line. The spring could gather against the ship’s hull near the stern, pushed by the wind. Therefore, it is essential to avoid giving the engine Astern. It would help provide the engine Ahead for the propeller wake to ‘push away’ the mooring line if necessary. The crew must be trained for Quick-lines recovery.

We have two possibilities in the case of winds pushing on the quay. The first and the safest require a perpendicular dock close to the ship’s stern. If we are lucky enough to get into this situation, moving a stern line to a bollard on the quay behind, looking 45 degrees to the starboard aft, will be helpful.

This line keeps the stern clear from the quay during the anchor’s weighing operation. If the perpendicular dock is unavailable, we will let go of all lines leaving two bow springs and the chain, all in good tight. So we can put the rudder hard over to port and engine Dead Slow Ahead. The heave on the chain prevents the port bow from leaning on the dock. The chain and spring will also prevent the ship from moving forward, while the stern will open from the dock. We will continue weighing anchor, holding on to the spring for as long as possible, and we will always use the engine Ahead to keep the stern safe and clear.

If the wind does not permit to open the stern due to being too strong or gusty, the use of a tug becomes necessary.