North Sea and Baltic Convoy 1793-1814
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Re John Barney’s interesting article (Mariner’s Mirror November 2009) mention is made (p.437) that a convoy came back ‘many with missing anchors’. Would these anchors have been lost by anchoring in an emergency and the cables cut when conditions allowed the vessel to get under way again. Alternatively would the anchors have come adrift from their securings on the ship itself in stormy weather?
I know that the poor casting of iron anchors during that period gave the Royal Navy problems. Many of the arms broke away due to inadequate welding.
It is not clear from the article whether the convoy proceeded via the Sound or the Belt. It seems to have been the practice for a convoy to anchor at night (particularly during the passage of the Belt?) and much trouble was experienced due to the swirling currents. This requirement for overnight anchoring (up to four nights)under difficult conditions may account for the loss of anchors.
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