Friday, January 28, 2011

Captain's Blog 1/28/11

The voyage from Veracruz, Mexico to Bridgetown, Barbados is over 2,000 miles. About two thirds through we will stop off in Puerto Rico to do some anchoring drills and a Sunday at sea.
Having the stop-over more than half way means we have to move fast at first, then slow the final leg. I know I write detailed stuff about navigation, and rarely about engineering, but here goes:

We boil water to make steam, and then it is passed through a main engine turbine that drives the propeller. Simple, but at the same time we are making steam to spin turbo-generators, pumps, boil salt water for fresh water, provide heat to rooms and steam to the galley. Our boilers can only make a finite amount of steam, but we can manage all the above at a slower speed - less efficient, but it offers better control in the engine room.

However, when we need to go faster, we complicate the system by sending nearly all the steam made to the main engine turbine, which uses the energy from the steam, then we send the exhaust steam to the secondary needs equipment. Called extraction, it increases our efficiency significantly, but it is harder for the engine room staff to balance.

I'm probably going to get some critical comments from my engineering brothers, but believe me, that's how it works.

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