Monday, January 18, 2016

Secure for Sea

The wind picked up to a steady 35 knots this morning just after 4 am. And
stayed that way for most of the day. We had a few pieces of gear on deck
that were acting as great big sails, threatening to rip some equipment

So, in the spitting rain, pitching seas and howling wind, we got a team out
on deck to make things safer. Knives were pulled out of pockets. Poles were
braced. And in a cheer-worthy display of teamwork, we safely got the tarp
off a huge tent we had on the flight deck. After standing around for about
20 minutes trying to figure out if we could save the tent pole's structure,
CO decided it would be better to take the tarp off. But, how to safely take
the tarp off without hurting someone or losing the tarp overboard?

Another 10 minutes of discussion, and BM1 CP threw a heaving line over the
top of the tent to provide some brace for the tarp about midway, in case it
did start to fly away once the front straps were let go. All the guys lined
up at the windward face of the tarp and coordinated the release of the
straps holding the tent to the frame. The wind was blowing from the
starboard bow, and really just pushed the tarp onto the poles harder.
Someone got some boat hooks (long wooden poles with a dull metal hook on one
end) to push the tarp over the upper poles. 

Before long, they had gotten the tarp over the first set of upper supports
and were doing a great job of rolling it up as it came, so as it went over
the second set of upper supports, it was already mostly rolled and much less
of a flapping hazard. Within about 15 minutes of starting, the whole thing
was neatly rolled and tied off on the back of the flight deck. And no one
got hurt, despite the heaving decks, sharp knives, extra tall ladder or huge
sail area of the tarp.

CO and I watched from the bridge after realizing that our presence on deck
wouldn't help anything, and could actually confuse everyone with who was
giving direction. We left in the very capable hands of BM1 CP and ME1 JP. 

Despite needle-dart rain pelting them in 35 knot winds, the crew proved once
again what great team work can accomplish.

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer

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