A sudden wave of animation engulfed the west of Scotland ship enthusiast community on Monday, when MV Glen Sannox made the short journey under tow from Port Glasgow to dry dock specialists Dales Marine at Garvel Clyde. Stuart Craig was among the throng waiting to record the event, and several other CRSC members contributed illustrations for his report.
Nothing very exciting has been happening at the ‘Tail-o-the Bank’ during the last few weeks, as we are all painfully aware. And as we also know, nothing much seems to have happened with the progress of CMAL’s Glen Sannox in that same neck-of-the-woods either.
And so the recent rumour that the half-built ship, which has dominated the Port Glasgow shoreline since her launch in November 2017, was to be moved to Garvel Dry Dock this week created a lot of interest among ship-starved enthusiasts.
I was one of them – so hungry for something to feed my video camera that I pounced on the chance of grabbing anything remotely nautical and raced down to the river with a half-empty camera battery.
Why was she being moved? I was asking myself the same question on the drive down. Apparently she needs a new bulbous bow. Strange — I thought the one she sports was fairly new! Hull inspection and a few other ‘techy’ issues also need to be addressed, my anonymous informer had let slip.
By the time I got to Port Glasgow two tugs were already well placed: Boxer had Glen Sannox on the ropes — two of them swinging from the stern — and Wrestler had a good grip at the bow.
A couple of caged, garishly-helmeted pilots were swung aboard by hoist and crane, and the anticipation that the ship was soon to be on the move was growing. But then, in true Glen Sannox style, nothing happened for a while; perhaps she was reluctant to leave the sanctuary of Fergusons’ yard.
Suddenly Boxer shifted into reverse, performed a backwards shuffle and Glen Sannox was on the move. Wow! She wasn’t superglued to the quayside after all! Slowly she was swung round and those watching were able to confirm that the far side of her hull was painted too!
With her bow pointing downstream and the tugs now joined by Biter, Glen Sannox was dragged slowly but steadily the mile and a half down river to the entrance of Garvel Dry Dock.
By the time I reached the quayside behind the Premier Inn, near to the dock entrance, a small crowd had gathered and cameras clicked as the considerable bulk of the ‘Sannox’ was hauled and urged onwards within almost touching distance of those on the quay.
The red battery warning light of my camera was now blinking menacingly at me. Would I have enough ‘juice’ for the final round? With lots of tender nudging and prompting, the black and white (and a touch of ‘red all over’) Glen Sannox was skilfully delivered to the mouth of the dock – just as my camera threw in the towel.
As she slid behind the wall of the dock I was drawn to the irony of the notice painted on her hull (both sides) “Built by Fergusons”. Why had nobody thought of adding “Half” to the start of that?
Perhaps this first voyage of Glen Sannox will herald a change of luck for her. We all want to see her, and her rusting sister at Port Glasgow, enter service. We all want to have a sail on her.
In fact, we all want to have a sail on anything! Exciting prospect? Well, I don’t get out much. Like Glen Sannox I’ve been locked up too long.
We hope this overview of Glen Sannox’s day ‘on the move’ gives a flavour of her progress to enthusiasts unable to be there, especially those living further afield or lacking access to social media. CRSC is grateful to Walter Bowie, Gordon Law, Graeme Phanco, Jim Phanco and Eric Schofield for contributing photographs.
Published on 13 August 2020