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Old 09-12-2018, 17:22   #1
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Sea Stories

I thought it would be entertaining to hear some of the salty humorous stories from the old sailors here. I will start with this one.

Suspicious Light in the Night
I was stationed aboard the USS William V Pratt, DLG13 for four years.
One night we decided to play a trick on the Aft Lookout when we were in the middle of the Atlantic. We put a battery connected to a flashlight bulb into a surgical glove and blew it up. We threw it over the side and watched as the lookout saw the light in the water and reported it to the bridge. The ship suddenly turned and went back to check it out. That is something we had not counted on. A warship does not turn around unless it is something serious, and we realized that our prank had gotten out of hand.
The ship pulled up alongside the light, and the Boatswain Mates tried to grab it with a gaff. Thankfully, that popped the glove and it sank. Of course we never told anyone what we did until long after we left the Navy.
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Old 10-12-2018, 16:11   #2
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Re: Sea Stories

Here is another one. Anyone feel free to add their own stories.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Underway Replenishment was a huge event. Helicopters would bring in several pallets of food in huge nets and drop them on the fantail. Sailors would sort them out and they would be sent to different parts of the ship along lines of sailors, bucket brigade style. We had a guy at the drop zone who would indicate a case of particularly yummy food such as canned strawberries, peanut butter, or jelly. When that case got to our section of the line, it would be sidetracked into the fan room. After UnRep, we would store the new provisions up in the cable runs or the air conditioning ducts. One thing that didn't fit was a 50lb block of cheddar cheese, so we had to eat it before it spoiled.
It didn't take them long to find out who took pilfered the cheese because at least half of Third Division ended up in sick bay with severe gastric discomfort.
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Old 11-12-2018, 23:13   #3
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Re: Sea Stories

Guess I am in the wrong thread, perhaps the wrong forum.
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Old 11-12-2018, 23:30   #4
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Re: Sea Stories

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Guess I am in the wrong thread, perhaps the wrong forum.
I enjoyed your stories. More will come.
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Old 12-12-2018, 00:01   #5
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:40   #6
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Re: Sea Stories

Sea stories?

The night was dark and stormy...
and the Captain said to the Mate....
'Tell me a story...'
And the Mate began..
'The night was dark and stormy..........
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Old 25-01-2019, 06:13   #7
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Re: Sea Stories

It was interesting to read your story.
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Old 25-01-2019, 06:42   #8
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Re: Sea Stories

A couple from the archives:

The Saga of St Vaast (France) - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

The Saga of the Bread Loaf - Cruisers & Sailing Forums
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Old 25-01-2019, 12:30   #9
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Re: Sea Stories

The night Capri was sent by the US Coast Guard to rescue the US Navy
Yep, you read that correctly, Capri was sent out to rescue the United States Navy. Vinni was below enjoying a well-deserved sleep and everything was peaceful. Although I noticed that about 50 degrees off our port bow at strange orange light come on and then extinguish. It disappeared quickly I was convinced that it was the landing lights of an airplane making a turn preparing to come in for a landing somewhere in Florida. This happens often and their headlights flash across the sky for a short moment.
A couple of minutes alter the phenomena appeared again and now I was completely convinced that it was an airplane. Immediately thereafter there were three lights at the same time and now I was unsure. A helicopter? I grabbed our binoculars and just managed to spot the three lights before they went out. Certainly not a helicopter. Just as I continued my speculations and began thinking they might have been flares, the Pan-Pan message came over our radio:
“Pan-pan, Pan-pan, Pan-pan – This is the US Coast Guard. All ships, All ships, All ships – We have reports of emergency flares off the coast of Florida at Daytona Beach. Can any ship confirm this? All ships are asked to keep a watch for emergency flares off the coast of Florida at Daytona Beach”
Well now – so they were flares. I immediately called the Coast Guard and advised them of our position and that we had seen the flares about 50 degrees off our port bow – so at a bearing around 140 degrees. I also told them that I had no signal of ships on our AIS. They asked for more information and I gave them what I could (not much) and said I would fire up our radar, which I did. A couple of minutes later I could tell them that I had no radar contacts out to 16nm, which is about as far as we can “see” with our radar.
Now they asked if we would provide assistance and sail out to the area, which we naturally immediately said “yes” to. I did, however, tell them that we were a sailboat and in these heavy seas, our maximum steaming speed was about 6 -6.5 knots which meant that with the flares having been launched from over the horizon, it would be 2 hours before we could get there. That gave them pause and they asked to stand by. A few minutes later, they came back on the radio and told us that we could continue on our way, the flares were being launched by the US Navy as part of a drill – the Navy had just forgotten to tell the Coast Guard that they were going to do it.
What a night – it’s not every night at a Danish sailboat has to go to the rescue of the US Navy – but this night, Capri did. :-)
If that’s not enough, when I later go below after my early morning watch, the Pan-pan comes again. It is again the Coast Guard and again because of some flares being fired near Daytona Beach. Carsten called back on the radio and told them that earlier during the night the flares were from the US Navy. The Coast Guard admitted that they had not been told that when they changed watch.
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Old 25-01-2019, 15:00   #10
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Re: Sea Stories

When Jim and i sailed to Hawaii and back from San Francisco, the boat was a Yankee 30, which had an ice box, not actual refrigeration. For the trip, he added insulation around it, and also had a dodger built. We borrowed a life raft, and provisioned the boat. People laughed at us, because we brought a big net sack of onions aboard. What could two people possibly want with that many onions? The forepeak was devoted to sail and provision storage, and included honeydew melons, potatoes, cabbages, oranges, items that keep okay without refrigeration. The quarter berth was full of *stuff* including the dinghy, rolled up in its bag. We slept, using weather cloths to keep us safe and snug, on the settees.

Navigation was by sextant, and Jim had written a little program that he could use with his calculator, so he could do a least squares fit to a parabola, and our noon site regime began well before noon and continued after. Our days were circumscribed by the sight taking regime. He took the sights, I recorded them. When i tried to take the sights, I got horribly seasick, and that part was a no go for me.

We got weather forecasts via shortwave receiver from WWV, and learned that a tropical storm was headed our way--it was August. We had our fastest day's run ever, downwind, with only our storm jib up. Imagine, 8.6 knots highest recorded speed, with a mono with a 25 ft. waterline!

Somewhere off the shipping lanes, about the latitude of Los Angeles, we had VHF contact with a ship, that confirmed our position was pretty much what we thought it was. Hallelujah! The celestial was working well! Our landfall was within a quarter hour of when Jim predicted it. And, we decided we liked ocean passages.

All of the foregoing is just preamble. It was reading the saga of the bread (thanks, Pete) that recalled to mind the real story here. We provisioned in Hanalei for the trip back to the mainland, and some new friends kindly froze up some water in my bread pans, for us to use for ice.

We put to sea in normal tradewind conditions, except, now it was on the wind, instead of off, into 20-25 knots. I became seasick, a condition that was to stay with me most of the trip. But seaboard life went on, watch on watch, with Jim doing all the cooking, and soon, the freshies were gone. Our meals used canned food as a base, the onions added crunch, and I was able to keep liquids down, and, more importantly, able to stand my watches.

And then came the clouds, obscuring our noon sights. And we kept the dead reckoning going. (Scary term, eh, DEAD reckoning!) I remember one night, dinner was to be chicken soup, and while Jim was dishing up the soup, and we were on a beam reach, the serving spoon got caught under the galley shelf and splattered soup all over the back of the galley. That mess just stayed there till we got in.

We had 22 ft. seas, according to WWVH, and the caulking under the hatch gave up, so it was wet sleeping, although the polyester sleeping bags still kept us warm. But, still, no noon sites, and no star sights, and now we're approaching California's rocky coast, and beginning to worry about our DR. "Wake me before dawn, if it's clear", said Jim, but it was ever cloudy. Some time about now, Jim opened the icebox, to discover that the lid had come off the mayonnaise jar, and the pickles jar, and the tomato juice pitcher had leaked. The resulting mess had plated out all over the icebox, and green hairy mold was growing all over it and the teak grating in the bottom. Mega yuck!. Mold is one of my least favorite things, too.

Each day, we hoped for the cloud to let us get a sight, any sight, and yet it persisted. We were getting scared that we might come up on the Farallones without seeing them, and much of California's coast is dark, so more of a danger, the bottom comes up very quickly. ....And, still the cloud.

As luck would have it, at dusk on the next to last day of the trip, the sky cleared, Jim shot a round of stars, and, we could see the light on the Farallones, so we got a real fix at last, and confirmation thereof! Happy campers, we were, and set course for the Golden Gate, home, and our friends.

The next morning, Jim volunteered to clean the icebox after we got into our slip at the marina. ....And that, my was the beginning of passage making for us, and at the rate of an onion per day per person, which we had planned, but didn't attain, we arrived home, with a much depleted onion supply.

And we learned, so much.... Need to carry lots of anti-mal de mer stuff for me, need to secure veggies so as to keep them well. The cantaloupe got smashed (yuck), but the honeydew stayed good. Onions are a good source of vitamin C if you don't cook them but the tiniest bit. We were lucky with the DR, not skillful. But, in spite of the difficulties, we enjoyed passage making, and that was what we'd wanted to learn.

Ann
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:28   #11
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Re: Sea Stories

I hope you all keep these stories coming. These are great.
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Old 11-02-2019, 19:28   #12
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Re: Sea Stories

So you're looking for stories...

We were sailing up the coast of Ireland after our Transatlantic crossing, stopping here and there to see the different harbors and enjoying the beautiful coast with its green fields and Martello towers dotting the headlands. We were approaching Dublin on a lovely Sunday afternoon. It was blowing about 15 knots off the shore on a beautiful sunny and warm day. Then we noticed a huge black storm cloud forming inland, heading quickly our way. It darkened the sky over several miles and swept over the coast and came out towards us in less than 15 minutes, whipping the sea to a froth that was beaten down by its heavy rain. We rushed to douse the sails and got the engine going in 50 knot gusts that drove the rain sideways so that you couldn't see and the drops hit your hands like bullets. After a minute or two the fire-hose rain stopped, but the wind continued at about 25 knots. That's when we came across the rowboat with a Dad and his two frightened, cold, wet kids. They had gone out for a sunny afternoon fishing expedition and had gotten caught in the squall. He was frantically rowing with all his might, trying to get back towards land but being driven constantly downwind towards England - about 100 miles to leeward. We were about five miles off shore. We got them aboard and below with blankets and hot soup, and took their dinghy in tow. A few hours later we dropped them off at a yacht club in Dunlaoghairie. They were wet, but safe. We were glad we'd been there to help.
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Old 11-02-2019, 20:56   #13
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Re: Sea Stories

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So you're looking for stories...

We were sailing up the coast of Ireland after our Transatlantic crossing, stopping here and there to see the different harbors and enjoying the beautiful coast with its green fields and Martello towers dotting the headlands. We were approaching Dublin on a lovely Sunday afternoon. It was blowing about 15 knots off the shore on a beautiful sunny and warm day. Then we noticed a huge black storm cloud forming inland, heading quickly our way. It darkened the sky over several miles and swept over the coast and came out towards us in less than 15 minutes, whipping the sea to a froth that was beaten down by its heavy rain. We rushed to douse the sails and got the engine going in 50 knot gusts that drove the rain sideways so that you couldn't see and the drops hit your hands like bullets. After a minute or two the fire-hose rain stopped, but the wind continued at about 25 knots. That's when we came across the rowboat with a Dad and his two frightened, cold, wet kids. They had gone out for a sunny afternoon fishing expedition and had gotten caught in the squall. He was frantically rowing with all his might, trying to get back towards land but being driven constantly downwind towards England - about 100 miles to leeward. We were about five miles off shore. We got them aboard and below with blankets and hot soup, and took their dinghy in tow. A few hours later we dropped them off at a yacht club in Dunlaoghairie. They were wet, but safe. We were glad we'd been there to help.
What a lovely experience, could even make a believer out of you, that's REAL HELP, just by fortune to be placed where you could save someone's life.

That happened to Lowell North (North Sails) in Moreton Bay, who ran aground about dusk (deep draft boat, shallow places in MB. Near the top of the tide, on their way into Manly they spied a small fishing boat adrift, and headed out to sea, they did the rescue, the warm shower--the guys were holding each other arms over the keel of the boat that had flipped, had been in the water all night. Being Aussies, the guys were happy to be offered cups of sweet milky tea and cookies (called sweet biscuits).warm, dry, and SAFE!
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