October Meeting

On 14 October , 18 members, guest speaker Dr Ed. Ballard and 3 other guests attended our October meeting.

Dr Ballard is well known to us have spoken at a meeting last year. The other three guests were Captain Shane Arndell RNZN, Captain Mark Rothwell and Captain Gerry Wright who has decided to resign from the Auckland Branch and join us here in Wellington.

Captains Arndell and Rothwell are in the process of signing up to becoming new members of the Wellington Branch.

On the other side of the balance sheet, it was with disappointment that we learnt that Captain Michael Millar was attending his last meeting as he is moving to live in Auckland in a few months time. Michael has been a committee member and a keen supporter of branch meetings and we wish him well and good health in his retirement years. A few of us will remember his uncle Captain Dave Millar (of the Union Co.) who was a staunch member and supporter of the Wellington Branch some 50 years ago!

As we have now come to expect Dr Ballard captivated our attention with his instructive talk on Ice Belts for the Protection of Vessels operating in the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea.

For illustrative purposes the NZ Offshore Patrol Vessels and the replenishment vessel Aotearoa were used to describe the required hull strengthening to ensure safety and to combat damage in a variety of wind, sea and swell conditions with ice conditions prevailing.

Brief videos and photographs assisted in understanding the difficulties which arise in very high sea states, corresponding swells and vessel speeds.  Over a long period of time data on these conditions have been collected all over the world including the Southern Ocean from fixed and free floating buoys. Dr. Ballard’s work involves collating and breaking down all of this information and translating it into the terms of Naval Architecture. It is from the science of Naval Architecture and Engineering that Dr Ballard has built his professional career. He emphasized that his investigations were not in any way connected with the design of icebreakers.

The work carried out by Dr Ballard which resulted in the paper co-written with the Deputy Director of Naval Architecture and presented in Sydney and was the basis of this lecture, was in fact not done before the design and build of the Aotearoa or OPV’s . In that sense it was too late to be of value to these vessels but of course is of use in a practical sense were it available on vessels encountering bad weather in conditions where bergy bits or growlers could be in the mix.

Concern was expressed from the floor of the meeting that the NZ OPV’s such is their design and size should even be considered for operation in ant-arctic waters.

The Warden thanked Dr Ballard for his address and recounted his response to an invitation to take a navy frigate, which he was in command of, through icy waters off Canada which was a firm NO.

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