Friday, January 14, 2011

Captain's Blog 1/14/11

The Gulf Stream? First documented and mapped by Benjamin Franklin, apparently our nation's first oceanographer! It has been the friend of shipping since ocean transportation began - it can add valuable speed to your ship, making millions of dollars in profit on faster delivery of goods - but the sword cuts both ways, like a cranky neighbor you can't always rely upon its mood. In a world of exact science and computer modeling - like meteorology (remember yesterday's botched forecast) the prediction of exactly where the strongest part of the stream lies is somewhere between the parameters established by old Ben.

We needed at least 18 knots to keep our voyage plan intact. We have tried our best to make it, bringing the engine up to the necessary revolutions per minute, altering course closer to the coast trying to escape the relentless strength of the Gulf Stream. We've done OK, and maybe it was a fool's errand to try and beat it, but it's always a challenge.

There isn't really any heartburn about this leg being completed on time - Charleston to Tampa - most aboard have little interest as to whether we get three anchor drills completed off Tampa on Saturday. The drills benefit the upper class deck mostly, and next the upper class engineers - as they execute an approach and anchoring up on the bridge, the engineers have more time working the throttles and boiler fronts. But a plan is a plan, and once executed, it should be executed to the best of one's ability.

So on this leg, I take the hit. The bunker mix-up in Charleston leading off, and not being able to outsmart the Stream the next, both fall on my decision making. Well, perhaps another year! I am quite sure however, there will be no quarter for me if we don't make it to Veracruz on time.

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