Tuesday, December 4, 2007


The two basic things when making a bend or turn in a channel is where to begin the turn and how much rudder to use.
It is impossible to make a turn properly if the turn is started at the wrong place in the channel. If the turn is started too late excessive amounts of rudder and engine revolutions are necessary to complete the turn while remaining in the channel or in the desired location in an anchorage. A more common error, is to start the turn too soon, since it is human nature both to be conservative and to become impatient when waiting to reach a desired point. This results in having to check the ship's swing and then start the turn again at a later time. Starting a turn too early may not always cause a problem and is preferable to starting a turn too late, but if you have to check the ship's swing in a channel where suction can be experi­enced it may be difficult to start the ship turning again once that swing is lost.
Begin the turn when the ship's pivot point is nearly at the turning point at the end of the reach or range, not the ship's bow or bridge. Remember that ships turn circles, not corners. If in doubt about the amount of rudder required, use a larger amount than you feel necessary. Reduce the rudder angle as needed to place the ship at the desired point. Practice making exact turns, even if a ship is in an open anchorage and there is no need to put the ship in an exact location at that particular time. A professional makes turns neatly and with a minimum of helm orders and it is only practice that the feel for making turns can be developed.