Wednesday, January 12, 2011

FTV 1/12/11

When our ship is out at sea on the open ocean, it would be nice to say that we were always in calm seas. Today that was not the case by any means. I will say that from the very beginning that we were not in any danger, just experiencing a rather rough day at sea. While walking the decks, it is quite common to overhear some of the older cadets talking about different force seas that we were experiencing or that they have experienced in the past. In order to describe these seas, they use the Beaufort Scale.

The Beaufort Scale was originally designed by a British Admiral named Sir Francis Beaufort in 1806. The goal was to standardize a system in which wind speed and characteristics would be determined. Originally there were no actually speeds given to the scale which ranged from zero to thirteen. Beaufort designed the scale to refer to the sails of a British warship. A zero on the scale would mean that winds were just enough to move the ship and that all the sails were up. A six would mean the winds were strong enough to take down half of the sails. A twelve would be hurricane force winds and the sails would be stowed away: if the sails were not stowed they would be ripped.

This scale soon became a standard in the British Royal Navy and soon became adopted into the merchant fleet around the world. Over time, each number soon had wind speeds and sea conditions to correspond with. Today the world no longer uses the Beaufort Scale as a standard. It has since been replaced by the metric system using units such as km/h or m/s. Of course at sea we use knots; which are nautical miles per hour. Though the Beaufort scale is no longer widely used, it is an excellent tool for a mariner to have. It allows us to look at a sea state and make a strong estimate at the wind speed. We often refer to a common poster on our ship which has a picture to correspond with each number on the scale to help determine what kind of seas we are experiencing.

Check out this link for the Beaufort Scale with pictures!!

Next Stop: The T.S. Kennedy will be anchoring in Charleston, SC harbor on Wednesday January 12, 2011 to bunker (take on fuel). After Charleston the ship will be heading to Tampa, FL to anchor for Sunday at sea and then continue the voyage to Vera Cruz, Mexico for the first port of call.


1)Looking at the picture above, which number on the Beaufort scale would this be?

2)What is the name for a common British warship used in the early 19th century?

3)If the Beaufort scale is used for used for wind speed and sea state. What is the name of the scale that is used for earthquakes and how many numbers are on it?

4)If a force 2 wind has a wind speed of 4-7 miles per hour. How many knots would that be? (Hint: 1 nautical mile= 6076.1 ft, 1 statute mile=5280 ft)

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