Reply To: Shackleton’s Endurance ship maneuver

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Frank Scott

    Ice anchors have almost nothing in common with conventional ship’s anchors. In simple terms they are large hooks that are driven into the ice so that a vessel may use them as anchor points to secure itself to an ice flow or berg. In the scenario that you describe it seems most likely that the position chosen would have been astern of the vessel, and then heaved in to provide additional stern power to that provided by the engine. I do not have a deck layout for Endurance, but I would expect that by means of various lead blocks the capstan or windlass (whichever she had) was used to tension the line to the ice anchor.

    Although he operated in the Arctic, rather than the Antarctic, nobody wrote better about navigation in the Polar regions in the pre-Icebreaker age than William Scoresby, jr.

    William Scoresby, jun, An Account of the Arctic Regions and Northern Whale Fishery, 2 vols (Edinburgh, 1820)

    C. I. Jackson (ed), The Arctic Journals of William Scoresby The Younger, 3 vols (Hakluyt Soc, London, 2003-13)