The Tall Ships Races 2017 reached Kotka, Finland, on July 13th. The magnificent sailing ships keep our tugs busy when they arrive and depart.
– The bigger ships need of course our assistance. It is fun to tow sailing ships for a change, says Marko Lindström, the captain on our tug Akilles.
Akilles assisted the huge Russian Mir to the berth together with our tug Harald.
Mir is the second largest of six sister ships. She is 109.2 meters long, weighs 385 tons, has a beam of 13.9 meters and a draught of 6.3 meters. The main mast is 52 meters high and along with the other masts supports a total sail area of 2,771 square meters.
According to captain Lindström, towing sailing ships is not like towing modern vessels.
– We have to be a bit more careful. The sailing ships have trainee crews, which means that everyone on board is not necessarily acquainted fully out with towing operations. We must, of course, be careful when pulling also. We do not want to break any bollards. But everything has been just fine, we have not had any problems even though the berths are tight. I cannot complain about anything, says the captain with 20 years of towage experience.
All four Alfons Håkans tugs in Kotka are needed when the tall ships are in town. The normal shipping traffic to and from the harbors of Kotka and Hamina does not stop just because a big fleet of beautiful sailing ships are visiting.
– We have a pretty extensive list of work to be done. But that is the way it should be, Lindström says while together with Harald gently pushing The Mir to the quay for mooring.
The tall ships will leave Kotka on July 16th. Approximately half of the fleet will head for Tallinn, Estonia, where our Tallinn tugs are waiting for them. The Tall Ships Races next stop is in Turku on July 20th. Even there our tugs play an essential role in the amazing Tall Ships Race event.