The Kennedy is homeward bound! During this last week the Academy phones light up with many questions about what will happen when the ship returns to her berth, when the cadets will be free to go home and when they will have to return to the campus to start the spring semester. Here are the details as we know them today.
T. S. Kennedy will time her northern voyage to miss any storms and arrive in Cape Cod Bay on Saturday, 18 February. Depending on the time (which is a function of weather and waves - the Captain tries to keep it from rolling and pitching as the cadets take final exams and clean the ship) she may anchor in the Bay or steam off the Boston coast while waiting for the morning tide to enter the Cape Cod Canal. Sometimes she is visible from the small beach at the east end of the Canal (where the "Hemisphere" http://www.hemispherecapecod.com/ restaurant is located now) so we will let you know if that happens.
At approximately 0530 on Sunday 19 February she will enter the east (Sandwich) end of the Canal and begin her transit towards Buzzards Bay. There are many well wishers who leapfrog along the canal, stopping at each rest stop to flash the lights, beep the horn and wave to the cadets and crew who line the rails waiting for that first glimpse of home. For those who would rather wait here on the campus, we will have the Pande Dining Hall open with refreshments so that you can stay warm.
By 0645, Kennedy should be under the Railroad Bridge and will make the turn into the slip (with assist from the tugs) at about 0710. They will then put all of her lines over, rig the gangways and get ready for the exodus of officers, cadets and crew. That will take at least 45 minutes. Feel free to visit the MMA Parents Association tables at Blinn Hall (the only campus building on the canal) for Equator Crossing certificates, Panama Canal certificates and sea term mugs plus their usual supply of clothing and gifts (ALL proceeds go to cadet scholarships!) or you can warm up in Pande Hall.
Typically, the officers and crew are given liberty first (rank has its privileges and they have lees stuff to carry off), then the 1/c (senior) cadets, then the 3/c (sophomores) and finally the 4/c. All cadets may pick up their new spring semester room keys in the Fantail and move their gear directly from the ship to their dorm room.
Just because the ship is in the slip does not mean we can just turn off the key and have everyone leave. She is a highly complex machine that needs a lot of work to put into a safe layup condition so there will be officer and cadet watches aboard for about three days as Captain Bushy and Captain Laffan (the Chief Engineer) get the ship cleaned and ready for her sleep. All of the cadets knew their watch and duty (cleaning) duty before they arrived in St. Thomas. They were told to communicate that to their families while in port in the Virgin Islands so if you haven't heard yet, check with their girlfriend or boyfriend - we do not have that information here on the campus.
All cadets must report back for the spring semester in accordance with the following schedule: 4/c 1300 on Sunday 26 February with the 3/c at 1400 and the 1/c and 2/c at 1500 on that Sunday.
This has been a wonderful voyage and I am very proud of all of the cadets, officers and crew who have worked so hard to make it so successful. Nothing this expensive, complicated and difficult just 'happens'. There is a tremendous amount of planning, hard work and experience on display as Kennedy rides down the Cape Cod Canal for her "Victory lap" this Sunday so I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone - the faculty, the officers and the senior "Rates" and Cadet Officers who toiled long and hard to teach the underclassmen the trade that they each know and love so well.
- Fuel cost of the 2012 Sea Term Semester: $931,758
- Food cost for the 2012 Sea Term Semester: $865,000
- Transit cost for the Panama Canal: $171,463
- Having the ship and all of the cadets home safe: Priceless!