‘It feels good to be a part of history’
For the man who navigated the largest cruise ship to ever travel through Bermuda's narrow channels it was just another day on the job, although winds were higher than anticipated.
Bermudian pilot Rudy Cann was up long before the crack of dawn at 3.30am to prepare for the 1,063 ft Norwegian
Breakaway's inaugural arrival.
Dressed by 4am, he boarded the pilot boat
St David at Ordnance Island at 5.15am to become the first local pilot to navigate a mega-ship of that size into port.
Mr Cann, 52, has been a pilot since 1992. He commended the ship's bridge team, and all those involved with Bermuda's pilots, on the precedent setting voyage.
“It was challenging, but very interesting, because it's all new, it was a team effort from beginning to end,” said Mr Cann. “We all had a role to play, from the ship's captain, and all the navigators.”
He was one of three senior pilots assigned to computer generated simulation trials last month. Pilots Anthony Robinson, and Wendell Burchall, joined him in training that started before the ship was out of dry dock.
International maritime rules require cruise ships, and other large vessels, to be navigated into port by local pilots, with the exception of warships.
Mr Cann who remained on board
Breakaway for several hours after the arrival, said 25 knot winds made the last leg of the journey a bit challenging because, “the higher the wind, the more the drift”.
“We don't know the wind limits for a new ship, or just how much it would drift,” he said.
“We came through Narrows Channel off St George's first, then the North Channel right into Dockyard. The channels are narrow for a ship of this size, 157 metres at one point for a ship that's 40 metres wide.
“I think everybody breathed a sigh of relief because the data we gathered from the first voyage up sets the tone for remainder of the shipping season. It all went absolutely well. I think this ship is a good fit for Bermuda, and will serve the country well based on the revenue it will generate,” he added.
It was several hours before he disembarked, he remained on board to set, and confirm, the navigational tracks which were “recorded and can be used as an overlay for future arrivals”.
“Bermuda's channels are some of the most challenging in the world, absolutely without a doubt based on the narrow widths. We have to build new data now for the
Breakaway to come through safely each time during the season.”
And at the end of the day he said: “It feels good to be a part of history, it was certainly challenging but it was all in a day's work.”