Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Captain's Blog 1/10/12

This morning we still have overcast skies, 65 degrees and northwesterly wind. Kennedy is riding easy. The forecast is for good weather, but a west to east front may push down over Charleston tomorrow. Maybe some rain, maybe partly cloudy? The boiler control job is completely tuned up. Yesterday the technicians tweaked the components at all speed ranges.

Unbeknownst to most cadets - those not on the bridge or in the engine room รข€“ for over an hour the ship operated at 39 nozzles. The nozzles deliver steam to our turbine at various strategic points along the many rows of blades, and in perspective, when we operate at maneuvering speeds when entering or leaving port, we have only 13 nozzles open. When the 13 nozzles - or on the block as the engineers call it - are at maximum steam delivery, we make 68 RPM, and about 15 knots.

The nozzles are opened successively as more speed is required. When we reach 39 nozzles, we're turning nearly 98 RPM and pushing through the water at about 20 knots! Of course you can imagine how much more fuel is required to make that much steam for the extra five knots. Clearly we rarely ever approach that speed, as the fuel budget simply cannot allow it! Tomorrow morning we'll be taking a pilot at 0700, and head into Charleston Harbor, where we'll anchor a few cables from Fort Sumter. Readers may recall that this historic army fort was the site of the first battle of the Civil War on April 12, 1861. Then we'll load 8,500 barrels of fuel for the upcoming voyage. More tomorrow.

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