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This is the final piece of the aircraft carrier, being transported some 10 weeks ahead of schedule.
AYTON CROSS led the tow (in reverse), with CMS WARRIOR astern, this probably her first charge on the river(?) ESVAGT CONNECTOR followed the tow down-river, and took over the charge at the Tail O’ The Bank.
The pre-set course is south, round Land’s End, through the English Channel and northwards through North Sea to Rosyth. Given the time of year and weather conditions, no doubt the best option.
Having taken over responsibility for the tow around 1300hrs Thursday 10th December, her current ETA Rosyth is 1800hrs, Friday 18th December.
Current position is 20 miles south of the line Dublin/Holyhead.
Winds in the area are south-westerly/south, 21 knots.
Since midnight ESVAGT CONNECTOR has travelled about 80 miles. The first 60 miles, in the hours of darkness, at an average speed of 8>9 knots.
However, since 0900hrs this morning, only managed around 20 miles, average speed 1>2 knots – possibly due to adverse 30 knot westerly winds in the area.
Current position now approx. 45 miles WSW of Milford Haven.
A more productive 24 hours – since last post 160 miles travelled, of which 100 miles due south, then rounding Land’s End around noon today and a further 60 miles due east, to currently being 35 miles SSW of Plymouth.
Since last post, has travelled around 180 miles, average 7/8 knots.
Course has taken her to within 20 miles of the French coast at Cherbourg. Currently 35 miles south of Brighton, making a healthy 9.6 knots.
Currently steering just 3 degrees east of north and 50 miles SE of Great Yarmouth, ESVAGT CONNECTOR has had a good 24 hours – passing through the Dover/Calais line around midnight, she has covered around 160 miles in that time.
Winds in the area are southerly, 20 knots.
Another good 24 hours, covered another 170 miles, averaging around 7 knots.
Her course has brought her closer to the mainland, currently just over 40 miles east of Scarborough, heading 298 degrees and making 6.6 knots.
With approximately 180 miles to the Forth Estuary, looks set to arrive well ahead of her scheduled ETA of 1800hrs on Friday 18th December.
Over the last 24 hours, she has covered around 140 miles in 24 hours.
This leg began at 6/7 knots, but over the last four or five hours speed has reduced to 3/4 knots – this reduction could be due to 22-knot SW winds in the area, or else timing the remaining 40/50 miles to arrive in the Forth estuary around dawn tomorrow.
Current position is about 10 miles NE of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Since then her speed has varied between three and four knots, current location is around 5 miles NE of Gullane.
No sign yet of any local tugs coming out to assist.
Currently (1545hrsGMT) about 3 miles to the Forth Railway Bridge.
Interestingly the flotilla has reversed course and is moving East – now 2 miles from the bridge.
ESVAGT CONNECTOR still leading, with OXCAR, STRATHDON and FORTH BOXER close astern, speed around 5 knots.
First thoughts are that they are postponing completion due to darkness, or weather conditions are affecting things – will be back to monitor events from around 1900hrs
FORTH BOXER returned to her base at Burntisland arriving 1800hrs, STRATHDON returned to Leith arriving 1830hrs and OXCAR arrived there around 1900hrs.
Currently however, (2015hrs GMT), ESVAGT CONNECTOR has continued east, making 6 knots and is now near the position she was at noon today. She still shows a destination of Edinburgh (as she did when she left the Clyde).
So if she hasn’t got the barge with the aft island……….?
None of the vessels mentioned passed under the bridges, so if one of them had it, it’s not in Rosyth.
Wouldn’t have thought it would be “anchored” on its own in the estuary…….
Can’t find a vessel, currently moored in Rosyth that came out under the bridges to meet the flotilla…..
Require the services of all the Sherlock Holmes out there…….
ESVAGT CONNECTOR has spent the last 18 hours criss-crossing an area off the coast between North Berwick and Dunbar.
The fact that she has done this (and is still showing her destination as “Edinburgh”), and at speeds only in the range of 2–4 knots, makes me think her work is not yet done, and she still has the barge In tow. Otherwise, why not spend the night in port?
Methinks more to follow, maybe tomorrow……..
STRATHDON never left Leith port today.
However, tug OXCAR and port tender FORTH BOXER rendezvoused with ESVAGT CONNECTOR, around 2 miles east of the Forth Rail Bridge and 1 mile south of Dalgety Bay, shortly after 0700hrs GMT this morning. The hand-over was completed and the barge, with its’ new leaders proceeded to Rosyth, arriving around 0830hrs.
Currently, OXCAR is safely back in port of Leith, FORTH BOXER tonight residing in Rosyth.
Mission accomplished – Aft Island for the PRINCE OF WALES Aircraft Carrier safely delivered to Rosyth, well in advance of schedule.
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