'Challenging' harbour entry for huge liner

Ovation of the Seas sails through wind and rain into Otago Harbour yesterday morning. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Ovation of the Seas sails through wind and rain into Otago Harbour yesterday morning. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A passenger views Port Chalmers from the stern of Ovation of the Seas. Photos by Christine O'Connor.
A passenger views Port Chalmers from the stern of Ovation of the Seas. Photos by Christine O'Connor.
Passengers tread a soggy path past the ship.
Passengers tread a soggy path past the ship.
Captain Henrik Loy.
Captain Henrik Loy.
Robot bar-folk prepare drinks from 144 bottles of spirits at their disposal.
Robot bar-folk prepare drinks from 144 bottles of spirits at their disposal.
Instructors on a FlowRider surf simulator.
Instructors on a FlowRider surf simulator.
A passenger enjoys the warmth of the solarium.
A passenger enjoys the warmth of the solarium.
Instructors show off a sky diving simulator.
Instructors show off a sky diving simulator.

The rain was drifting horizontally past Taiaroa Head as the huge Ovation of the Seas sailed into Otago Harbour yesterday morning.

But the vessel supposedly susceptible to difficult weather silenced concerns about its performance, and its entry to Port Chalmers sparked clogged roads, a packed Flagstaff lookout and a busy Dunedin centre.

The $1.4 billion, 168,666-tonne cruise ship is the biggest to come to New Zealand, and was making its second attempt to call at Dunedin after bad weather off the southwest coast of the South Island scuppered its first try just before Christmas.

The ship carries 4905 passengers, and most took the opportunity to see the sights in Dunedin.

There were lines of passengers outside Cadbury World in Cumberland St, and shops opened to welcome the hordes that headed to the city.

Dunedin Railways chief executive Murray Bond said his 16 carriages on two trains failed to fill but he was ''really pleased'' the ship had arrived.

It showed Dunedin had ample capacity for such large vessels.

At the Flagstaff lookout above Port Chalmers a steady stream of people arrived to view the massive ship, and streets in the usually quiet suburb were blocked with traffic coming and going.

State Highway 88 to the port was clogged with lines of cars carrying people keen to have a good look at the huge ship.

The vessel's captain, Henrik Loy, described the morning as ''challenging all the way'' through the heads and up Otago Harbour, but praised the Port Otago pilots and operational crews for their ''professional'' work.

Port Otago chief pilot Hugh Marshall praised the ship, which he said handled the difficult conditions better than expected.

Mr Marshall said outside the heads the wind gusted up to 25 or 30 knots, but inside the heads the situation was better.

Its height above water level and limited draft meant the ship could act as a sail, so any winds above an average of 15 knots with gusts of 30 knots meant it would struggle to berth once it approached the wharf.

All ships are prone to ''windage'' - the effect of wind on the part of the vessel above the water line - but cruise ships are prone more than others because so much more of the vessel is out of the water.

Ovation of the Seas has 14,000sq m of windage above the water line.

Mr Marshall said inside the harbour there was a constant wind speed between 15 and 20 knots.

Despite that, the ship handled the conditions ''really well''.

Mr Marshall was on board the vessel as it berthed, helping the pilot who joined the ship in Milford Sound.

''It's one of these things you prepare for,'' he said of the experience.

''We've done a lot of research and so on, and a lot of simulation exercises on it.''

Capt Loy, who was born in Norway but lives in the United Kingdom, said he had been with the ship since four months before its delivery last April.

''It's fantastic, very challenging,'' he said of his role.

''It's my profession. It's what I trained for, it's what I do. It is excellent to sail,'' he said of his ship.

He said Ovation of the Seas was the most stable and powerful vessel he had captained.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

Add a Comment

 

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter