• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Derelict Port de la Reine and the Port Quebec

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
695
Points
910
Yes, the stories I could tell, in my career having gone from O.S.E.R. to Captain on them  !!!!!

First, a little bit of history: Yes, PORTE ST-JEAN was the last Canadian warship commissioned by King George VI, the other vessels of the class were commissioned shortly thereafter, but by young Queen Elizabeth II. They were the last Canadian warships that had armoured hulls (which is why they were mostly submerged: the well deck as a mere three feet above water, while their draft was thirteen feet).

They were exactly what their name entails: Built to operate the anti submarine nets blocking the entrances of Halifax and Esquimalt harbours. They were originally manned by the permanent force and turned over to the reserve in the late sixties. At first, three were East and two West (PORTE DAUPHINE made the switch when the RCMP handed FORT STEELE over to the East coast fleet). They were all left hand screwed, so sorry Sailorwest, but it was the port alongsides that were a bitch (paddlewheel effect worked going ahead too, so a good GV helmsman knew that at speed ahead, Port 3 was your perfect midship). No, the rumour that a "second batch" of right hand screwed ones to complete the pairs were never built is false: never was in the plans. In their lifetime, they were modified on countless occasion, so that at the end, they looked nothing like they originally did (see the picture of PORTE QUEBEC above as the original look). And at the end, the East coast ones were different than the West coast ones.

They were called PIG boats because they were a bitch to handle at slow speed in any type of current or wind. This is because they were designed as light icebreaker (and were often used as such to clear the approach to Ammo jetty in Bedford basin when the destroyer or frigates needed to go there in winter) and therefore, they had a heavily raked hull form at the front. Thus, as soon as the peak  of the bow came under water, it immediately turned in and came to maximum depth under the middle of the well deck. As a result, there was nothing to prevent the bow from swinging left or right (no deadwood area) while the foc'sole was massive and caught any type of wind. Overall, they also handled (turning radius, loss or gain of speed, etc) with characteristics that were close to those of the old steamers.

We took pride in our PIG status: In the early 80's, we even designed a "special" dangerous trade badge to wear on our work dress (then used as Naval combat): It looked like a submariner's badge but with two pigs laying down on either side of the Mappleleaf. We also had badges made that revealed our unofficial motto: P ride, I integrity, G uts.

Mars, you are confused: They never, ever, had the "hand-pump" heads, and at the end, because of the pollution control regulations, they all had a vacusan system - or equivalent.

One year, we called in Gloucester, USA at the time of their Fair. One of the P.O.O.W. came back with three similar large stuffed animal pigs: one white, one red, one blue. Need I tell you they  became the "pigs of the watch" and were proudly carried on and off the wheelhouse at the right juncture. No JOUT ever had to ask "Which watch is on now?" ever again that summer.

One of their little quirk was that they  had compressed air foghorns. On the East coast, we sailed in fog all the time in the summer. Every three or four soundings (it varied because the system was hand operated: the helmsman or POOW held up his watch and every "two-minutes or about" pulled the lever - the intervals were very approximative), the large compressors would kick in in the engine room - and all the electric distribution onboard would flicker. That would be fine except that every time, it caused the DECCA navigator to slip lanes or later the Loran C to lose signal, and you would just recover them in time for the next compressor air charge. The pilot never left the bridge at night in fog - and navigating by DR with a few radar long range distance and bearing became more precise than the electronics.

Oh, and Dimsum, I think you are thinking of the PB's, the old minesweepers modified for JO training on the West coast. In the Gate vessels, the wardroom - for up to eleven officers, was the size of a junior officer's cabin on a HALIFAX class ship: you could not possibly do a carrier landing in it if your life depended on it.

Anyway, I could go on but will leave it at this: For those of us who made a career onboard these little vessels, we perversely became affectively very attached to them and were sad to see them go.
 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
12,021
Points
1,360
OGBD, what was min crew?  Probably a bit big for a retirement vessel to do the grand loop?
 

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
695
Points
910
We sometimes "cold moved" across the harbour with only 12 - and that was tough close-run thing.

You have to remember that everything was "hand-draulics". Only one whinch, on the foc'sole, for no. 1 line. The other three had to be done by force of man (some would say at time, sheer force of will). The engines were hand operated in the engine room so you needed someone to answer the telegraph and another one to actually operate the clutch and the throttle in the engine room and one helmsman for the wheel (the last "classic" large wood wheel in the Navy, at four feet diameter) plus one telegraph man in the wheelhouse to pass the orders.

You could go on the grand loop if you rigged direct wheelhouse control and replaced the steering system with an auto pilot, I suppose. They definitely had the range - about 8500 to 9000 NM on a fill, with 20% reserve - and with their bottom heavy weight distribution, are unbelievably good sea boats. Plus, the old Alco diesels were impossible to kill. 
 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
12,021
Points
1,360
I'd put an ALCO 251 in my basement if I thought I could get away with it!  The Pig would make a very interesting sailer if, as you noted, it were significantly automated (and a now thruster).  How many tons of fuel OGBD?

Cheers
G2G
 

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
695
Points
910
You must be an airman ;)

We don't usually measure fuel in tons but in barrels.

I haven't reviewed my Eng. notes for a while but I seem to recall a total figure of 900 barrels for all three tanks, but I could be out to lunch on that one.
 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
12,021
Points
1,360
Lol...No, that would be pounds...although I used to burn a ton per hour. ;D  I thought decent-sized vessels measure fuel in tons.

Ah yes, barrels, I know them well! Wobble pumping many of them up North have me (and my arms) a good appreciation of how much fuel each 55gal drum can be. :nod:

If diesel is about 7.6-7.8lb/gal I think each barrel is good for ~420 lbs or about 5 bbls per ton.  Just trying to assess how much of my pension would go towards fuel? ;)

Cheers
G2G
 

hugh19

Full Member
Reaction score
0
Points
210
The west coast pigs had blackwater going over the side until the end. Always got blue rockets in American ports!
 

Stoker

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Reaction score
346
Points
880
sledge said:
The west coast pigs had blackwater going over the side until the end. Always got blue rockets in American ports!

The Porte St Jean on the East Coast was the only ship to have a collection system. The others went straight over the side.
 
Top