Hi Jack,
Here's a short story that I previously published on Fred's Point/CounterPoint. Will you add it to your site for perpetuity?.



The Big Roll

By Mark Wood

Ed Comment - If there was ever a ship mis-matched to an operating area, the 210' CGC Confidence was it. 

CGC CONFIDENCE - Photo Purloined from Fred's Place


The worst  roll of a ship I ever experienced was the last day of a two week Alaska Patrol in the Winter of 1975. There was a HUGE dome of high pressure over the Alaska mainland spilling very cold air at a rate of about 50-70 kts with higher gusts into a deep trough of low pressure over the Gulf of Alaska. Needless to say, the this energy kicked the sea state something unbelievable. 40 ft rollers off of Chiniak Bay comes to mind. This meteorological condition is known as the Alaska Williwaw.

About five miles out of Woman's Bay and the Support Center, we lost ships power for some reason or another. I don't remember the degree of the rolls. I don't really want to. Without the juice to drive the transmitters, receivers, or crypto, I wedged myself in the crypto room. There is a seat complete with a seat belt at the operator's position but with the degree and intensity of the rolls, the structural integrity of the seat pedestal was in question.

In the crypto room, the ETN2 (crypto repairman) has a metal chest of repair parts which is bolted to the bulkhead above head level. Taking one roll, the bolts holding the metal chest sheared and the chest came inches from knocking my head off.

Worse yet, one of the Ensigns came into Radio Room and demanded a voice radio patch to RCC Kodiak. I told him that would not be possible due to lack of power. He got intolerable in the way a five year old does when not getting what he wants. He said "just make it happen!!!" and stormed out of Radio.

On the CGC Confidence, there is a voice tube for passing messages from Radio to the Bridge and back. From that tube, I heard someone yelling at top of his lungs, "we're going to broach!" which means that the spit is really hitting the fan and that now would be a good time to think about coming to Jesus. For the uninitiated and aircrew members, when a ship or boat broaches, it rolls to the point of non-recovery,  possibly to the point of capsizing.

Fortunately, King Neptune was smiling on us. We didn't roll over.
Lucky for us, a competent group of Engineers got the ship's power back on line so we set the course to enter Woman's Bay and home.

After mooring up, I asked the Ensign if he still wanted that phone patch to RCC.
I received no coherent reply


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