One of the world's largest fully rigged sailing ships, the Swedish built Goetheborg III, is to sail into the port of London on the 19 May 2007 on the homeward leg of a two-year voyage. The vessel is an exact replica of Goetheborg I, one of the famous East Indiamen, which plied the lucrative trade routes from Europe to China in the seventeenth century, and is sponsored by a number of international organisations. These include SKF, which has provided a range of bearings, seals, lubrication and condition monitoring systems used on critical onboard equipment.
The original vessel ran aground in the entrance to its home port of Goetheborg on 12 September 1745 on the return from its third trip to China, which had lasted for over two and a half years. Although all of the crew and much of the valuable cargo of tea, porcelain, silk and spices were saved, the Goetheborg sank and it was not until 1986 that a marine archaeological expedition began to salvage what was left of the vessel. This project lasted six years and culminated in an exciting programme to construct an exact and fully working replica, with the keel being laid down in 1995 and the first sea trials being carried out almost ten years later.
Although the new vessel is built to the original plans, with a length of 58.5m, beam of 11m, almost 2000m2 of sail and a displacement of 1150tonnes, modern marine regulations dictate that the Goetheborg had to be built to ensure the safety of the vessel and its crew. As a result, buried in the traditional framework of the ship is some of the latest technology, including five watertight steel bulkheads that reach up to the upper deck for maximum safety at sea, two main engines with adjustable propellers and a combined output of 800kW for manoeuvring in ports and narrow channels, and two main generators powered by auxiliary engines capable of producing 180kW for the onboard power supply. In total, there are around 40 different built-in systems for propulsion, power, heating, water, sanitation, ventilation, pumping, ﬁreﬁghting, communication and navigation.
As an official partner to the project, SKF has provided valuable assistance with technical and commercial support and the supply of essential components. These have included bearings and units for electric motors, compressors and propeller shafts, seals in pumps and fans, lubrication systems in the engine room and, of perhaps greatest importance, condition monitoring systems for both onboard and remote assessment of critical systems.
These condition monitoring systems incorporate a network of permanently mounted sensors in the engine room, on electric motors and other essential equipment. All of these are linked via centralised Multilog CMU units that initially process data before uploading it via a satellite link to SKF's monitoring centre at its headquarters in Goetheborg. Using the company's Aptitude Exchange software, technicians are able to analyse the data fully, and immediately advise the ship's Chief Engineer of any impending problems. In addition, SKF's Machine Analyst software is used onboard, while crew members also use Marlin Pro handheld vibration meters to carry out routine checks on shafts, bearings and other rotating equipment.
The Goetheborg will be in London from London 19 May to 2 June 2007, initially sailing through Tower Bridge and being moored alongside HMS Belfast, before anchoring in the West India Docks.