Monday, February 13, 2017

"No two calls are alike"



Harbor Departments Deputy Terry Smith
The storm that rolled through our harbor, the end of January 20,21 & 22nd, for three days did not break the record books for the most wind or damage but it did shake things up a bit.

In the past people have judged a storm strength by the amount of oranges that are floating out the harbor after a storm, today it is tennis balls and palm trees. This week I thought I would go a little deeper with you on the goings on around the harbor while the storm was passing overhead a couple of weekends ago.

My first call was into Deputy Terry Smith, of the Harbor Department, who was out on the harbor both Sunday and Monday of the three day storm. Out of a scale of 1-10, ten being the strongest, Deputy Smith felt this one was at a 6 or 7. Out of all the people that I have ever talked to about the harbor, Smith has been around longer than most. He has been working the harbor for 50 years now and was on duty in 1983 during the big one when it blew over 90 knots. “ I have seen docks floating down the harbor with boats still attached to them.” Smith said. Friday saw the wind reach 50 + knots while it rained the hardest on Sunday.

While pumping out boats that were filled with water and reattaching vessels that had broken free of their moorings the harbor patrol had their hands full this weekend. With their spare time they dragged large pieces of flotsam, large logs and tree stumps, back to their docks. Most of the flotsam is found just next to the ferry crossing and anywhere in the five point area.

As a racing sailor I wondered who does what on the sheriffs boat during extreme weather conditions, what type of gear do the deputy’s wear in storm conditions? I asked Deputy Smith, like on a race boat, do you send the kids up to the bow when the defecation hits the rotary oscillator? Does one crew member stay on the helm, how big is your crew, who does what?

Smith kind of chuckled “ No two calls are alike and we are all crossed trained todo any job. Our crew works well with three people aboard one of the fireboats. One person stays on the helm at all times while the other two crew secure the lines and make sure the props stay clear of lines.” Smith said. I laughed, while thinking to myself, knowing that I am one of the first to take the helm and ask the youth to go forward.

It was interesting to learn that 9 times out of 10 mooring lines break on the bow. Because of the tight quarters within the mooring fields “ It’s real important to secure the work boat to the mooring can, that way you will not go anywhere.” Smith said. My understanding is that the deputies will then either manually pull in or tow the vessel to reattach it to it’s mooring. There are times when the moorings will drag out of place and the vessel will need to be relocated. When the wind is up and the vessel has a lot of windage those are the ones the deputies refer to as whiteknuckler’s. 

As for the deputies crew wear it is import for them to protect their hands from the nylon mooring lines, and gloves are warn. Pant fouleys, rain gear, are always warn along with float jackets. Similar to situations at sea it stays a lot warmer when you do not work up a sweat under all the gear. In this job I don't know how they can do that.
BYC Dockmaster Matt Stanly

I made two more stops with the dock masters at the Balboa Yacht Club with Mat Stanley and Anthony Palacios at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. These guys are the best at what they do and are a wealth of information.
Both BYC and NHYC boatsmen are extremely vigilant in maintaining their mooring gear and run constant inspections before and during storm conditions. All service boats have a crew of two and lifejackets are worn. Dockmaster Matt Stanley noticed 55 knots of wind on Sunday and had nothing unusual to report. “We got lucky this time, there was the usual flybridge covers that broke free, the rain came down rather hard this last round other than that we came through it pretty well.” Stanley said. 

NHYC Dockmaster Anthony Palacios

Over at NHYC Dock master Anthony Palacios had a micro burst of wind role over the club and noticed 61 knots of wind on Friday the first day of the storm. A neighbors roof peeled free and roofing shingles were seen floating by. Palacios also reported that one of the boats in the dry storage area was thrown from its cradle. “ About every three hours we were pumping water out of the Harbor 20’s, checking mooring lines, collecting all the kayaks and dinghies that floated into the mooring field. We had all hands on deck, during one of the rain squalls I could not see further than two hundred feet in front of me.” Palacios said.



BYC Stanley getting ready for for this weekends weather
Both of these dock masters are always concerned about mooring gear chafing and Stanley mentioned to me that West Marine rigging department has a new chafe guard called DC Guard whole core jacket. This jacket slides over the top of your mooring lines and protects the line from chafing. I went over to West Marine and talked to Kevin Morris in the rigging department and learned he can set you up with all your mooring lines needs from shackles to splicing tumbles. General Manager of West Marine Matt Jessner has agreed, through the rest of the month of February, to offer a 15% discount, for purchase’s on new mooring gear, to readers that mention The Daily Pilot Harbor Column.

Boat name of the month: Toyon



Sea ya

As you all know by now The Daily Pilot gave me the boot last week and will no longer run boating columns. Please return for your Harbor news!






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