The mighty anchors on Britain’s biggest warship have been tested for the first time.
Nearly as heavy as the jets which will operate from HMS Queen Elizabeth, the 13-tonne anchors were lowered on the carrier and into the huge basin in Rosyth where she is being completed.
The trial involving engineers from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, who are building the 65,000-tonne leviathan, and the ship’s seamanship specialists who will be in charge of anchoring and mooring Queen Elizabeth, was the latest in a series of tests gradually preparing the future flagship for sea next year.
Engines have been fired up as have the generators, radars have been installed and flashed up, and soon the aircraft lifts – designed to take two F-35B Lightning II jets from the hangar to the flight deck – will be put through their paces.
To raise and lower the two anchors, the ship relies on even heavier cables of shackles – huge metal links.
The port cable is more than 1,300ft long – 400ft longer than the carrier herself – and weighs around 90 tonnes (more than six Merlin helicopters).
The starboard chain is slightly shorter and lighter (a mere 1,125 ft and 75 tonnes – or the weight of about five London buses).
Chief Petty Officer Jay Early, Queen Elizabeth’s bosun, responsible for seamanship, explained:
At 65,000 tonnes, everything about these ships is on a larger scale and the anchors are no different.
Moving the anchor for the first time is a huge milestone in the programme and it was fantastic to watch it in motion as it was lowered into the water and back up again.
Image: Royal Navy