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Discussion in 'Chris Craft Roamer Yacht' started by alloyed2sea, Dec 1, 2004.

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  1. alloyed2sea

    alloyed2sea Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Messages:
    850
    Location:
    Alex, VA
    Ain't this great? Our very own spot on a top-rated internet website dedicated to boats: Yeah!! :p
    Well, the price was right and you're gonna love it.
    Moving is never easy, but we really couldn't ask for a better deal. Plus, you still have me as the moderator - what could be better? (put your hands down). :rolleyes:
    In any case, this is it - now follow that Roamer. ;)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2004
  2. CaptainRoamer

    CaptainRoamer New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Lake St. Clair
    And the move is complete!

    Guess this is our new home!

    Matt
    Steel Pleasure
    Windsor, ON
  3. ss6748

    ss6748 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2004
    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Pacific Coast
    Roamer Owners

    Hey Roamer Owners: who else made the move? I was out of town on business for a while and came back to find a new hailing port. I'd like to know if I'm one of the few metal boat members.

    Also, where did you find the picture of the 33-footer? What year? Looks like a 66 or 67 to me.

    ss6748
  4. alloyed2sea

    alloyed2sea Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Messages:
    850
    Location:
    Alex, VA
    All Aboard!

    ss6748 -
    Glad to hear you "found" us at the new locale.
    Made the switch to keep up with the times - this format really is much better.
    Feel free to start any new threads you'd like, and hope all goes well with you.
    Cheers!
    Eric
    PS - The '67 Riviera 37' Softtop (AL) shown above is the "Knot Yet" - freshly restored by Howard Classics. He actually working on another one (hardtop express) as we speak.
  5. Iron Maiden

    Iron Maiden New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Northwest Shore of Anchor Bay, Lake St. Claire
    Finally found some time to follow the group over to our new home.

    I'm still in the water and plan to do some fishing next week. I'll probably pull her the following week.

    Attached Files:

  6. alloyed2sea

    alloyed2sea Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Messages:
    850
    Location:
    Alex, VA
    Endless Summer ....

    ...., fishing? in December??
    Who makes your weather anyway. :rolleyes:
    Good 4 U.
    ANd most glad you followed us over.
    Not a bad place, eh?
    Hope all is well with you, and your 37' Riviera.
    Do let us know how things are going.
    CHeers!
    Eric
    PS - "Iron Maiden" - is that final?
  7. Iron Maiden

    Iron Maiden New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Northwest Shore of Anchor Bay, Lake St. Claire
    It's not winter yet!

    Just back from three days out on the water. Man, I hate this time of year---when the boat keys go in the cabinet till spring. Decided to keep her in next to the house for the winter, on a bubbler. I'll finish the main cabin refit over the winter, with her only a few steps out the door. :)

    I will have to pull the Maiden in the spring though, for two weeks---fresh bottom paint, and a minor repair to the top side paint. Though I'm on Lake St. Clair, just west of the old Algonac CC Plant, there sure are alot of SeaRays here---most of which are weekend warriors when it comes to tying up in a storm.

    Looks like we are going to have to go out and bring all the CC Roamer Members here by the hand. They will then learn that a BBS is a much better format than the News Service we were all used to. ;)
  8. ss6748

    ss6748 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2004
    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Pacific Coast
    IronMaiden

    IronMaiden, love the pic of your boat. Which is yours? You also just brought back so many memories for me. We started in Chicago with our '67 48-steel Riveria. I remember the days of hauling for the winter. Former girlfriends said they didn't want to do anything with me from October 15 (bout out for winter) to April 1 (prepping for launch in May) because I was in "boat withdrawl & denial." Of course, they ended up taking pitty on the poor "grounded" boater. When the boat was relaunched in early May, I was a happy camper. Anyway, we spent many a summer with the boat on the western Michigan shore.....Grand Haven, South HAven, Saugatuk, Holland, and earner Wisconsin...Kenosha, Racine, Shaboygan, Door County In a way, I miss the Great Lakes as In now live in California and am fortunate to boat 365 if I want. When my dad bought our new, he got to know the Roamer Plant Manager very well so I got multiple tours thru the factory....you pick up a lot of useful info on maintenance as well as construction.

    Would love to hear more bout your Roamer. Happy Holidays.

    ss6748
  9. Capt Keller

    Capt Keller New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Lorain, Ohio

    Actually, it rarely freezes on the lakes these days until sometime around late December-mid January. At least in the lower lakes, and the St. Clair, and Detroit River system. And the last ship I was on sailed all winter long in an as needed situation, and with very little Coast Guard Icebreaker assistance. In fact she is the only double hulled Steel Tanker on the Great Lakes, and is US Flagged, or at least for now. I've seen small fishing boats even as far up as around Port Huron during the Christmas holidays.

    Capt John S. Keller
    Great Lakes Pilot
  10. alloyed2sea

    alloyed2sea Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Messages:
    850
    Location:
    Alex, VA
    Hooray! You made it.
    Now regale us with some stories of "heavy weather" on the Great Lakes. :p
    Cheers!
    Eric
    PS - ADDED PHOTOS for your great story below. :D

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2004
  11. Capt Keller

    Capt Keller New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Lorain, Ohio
    Just another day...

    Thanks for the pictures Eric. The first one is the Enders M. Vorhees up bound just past Lock 8 in the Welland Canal. The second is with Lansing shoal light in the forground, and the third is the Enders M. Vorhees down bound just past the Blue Water Bridge that links Port Huron, Michigan with Sarnia, Ontario in the St. Claire River. Note the small amount of ice that has formed on the side of the ship from water spray. Not much, but this may have been in November. By the way, just forward, and to port of the bow in the last picture is where they use to build metal hulled boats in Canada.

    T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the boat, not a rat was aboard her, and no other near afloat. Her name was the Enders M. Vorhees, an ore carrier with 26,000 tons of taconite ore pellets aboard in her cargo holds. Built in 1942 she was 629 feet long with a coal burning steam engine that had recently been turn to oil burning, and she was down bound on Lake Michigan after passing underneath the Mackinaw Bridge early in the day. Winds were light in the straights from the SW, and picking up more, and more as she approached Lansing Shoal Light, and the Captain, Harold "Hell's Fire" Beagle, told the oncoming watch to keep a weather eye out, and get the MAFOR, and LAWEB weather reports to him as soon as they were broadcast.

    No sooner had she made the turn down bound at Lansing Shoal Light than the temperature dropped to below Zero F., and the winds began to howl through the standing rigging. Wave heights began to incress from 3 ft.-6ft. in less than a half an hour, then built from there as the wind went SSW at 25-35 knts. The bow of the ship, a blunt round nose as is normal for this size vessel on the Great Lakes, began to make spray. And the spray began to freezed along the sides and forward topside decks right away.

    It was darker than a coal miner's arse when the first mate took the MAFOR weather report down to the Capt's Cabin around 1700. And after looking at it ole "Hell's Fire" Beagle said:

    "Keep her going, but hug the westerly shore line all the way down. We won't get much lee for this gale, but I see no reason as yet to slow her down, or go to anchor, do you, Robert."

    Now you have to understand that the first mate, the most senior mate aboard, and high on the seniority list with US Steel, could hardly argue with the captain's decision as he was close to getting his own boat in the next couple of years if he kept his nose clean with the captains that he served, and until then was assured his own boat. And it is a well known fact amongst Steel Trust Sailors that their Captains never went to anchor unless directed to by the Coast Guard, or a company big wig. And they rarely if ever slowed the ship down for weather because it would cut into their Tonnage Bonuses for the year. So it wasn't a question, it was more like a statement of fact by the captain.

    "No sir," the first mate replied.

    "Good, just have the third mate bring me the LAWEB then, and to keep 5 miles off the shore line."

    "Aye Sir."

    By 1800 there was a fine sheen of ice encrusting the entire forward end of the ship as far back as cargo hatch number 2, and the window defrosters in the pilot house were just barely keeping up. The radar had been turned on specifically so that its antenea wouldn't freeze solid in one position, and the RDF antenea was turned ever five minutes or so for the same reason by the watchman who took turns with the wheel'sman in salting, and sanding down the decks, and ladders leading up to the pilot house from the main deck. By 2000 there was an inch of ice covering everything forward of hatch number 2.

    A laker, as ore carriers plying the Great Lakes are known as, is made for the short chopping sea action that is typical of all of the Great Lakes. So that any laker over 600 ft. moves like a catipilar along the tops of the waves. The middle of these vessels actually can work vertically 6-8ft. up, and down during gales and storms out there depending on the distance between these waves. And by 2100 that Christmas Eve the wave heights were 15 ft. and building with 30 feet betwen wave crests, and stretching as the winds built up to 45 kts. and gusting to 55 kts.

    Now as I had been in the Navy just before joining this ship, and having been in more than my share of typhoons on different sized vessels I was well aware of water tight integrity aboard ships. So I thought nothing of when the ship started bouncing around, and flexing as she worked her way down bound in the gale that would soon become a full blown winter storm. In fact looking around at my new shipmates over dinner it was hard not to burst out laughing at the concern that etched into their faces over a little bump, and grind, and most of them where two, and three times my age, and well experianced professional seaman at that.

    "Ole "Hell's Fire" is at it again," said Johnny Johnson the 4 to 8 wheelsman. "Got his whole cabin duct taped, and ready to go."

    "Just don't tell me that he's been into the Blackberry Brandy," said Harold Hurlburt the 4-8 watchman.

    "Naw, he never drinks past September," Johnny chuckled.

    "So he's just naturally crazy?" Harold inquired.

    "Not crazy," Johnny replied, "just more experianced in weather than most is all.

    "Then why are we out in the middle of the worst storm of the year, again?" The chief steward barged into the conversation by way of handing me my plate of food.

    "If he thinks she'll handle it, then she'll handle it." Johnny shrugged.

    "Yeah, well this ain't no f*cking destroyer bub!"

    I should have asked what the cook meant by that last statement, but I was just too young, and too happy to be making a living at my chosen profession I guess.

    "And she ain't no spring chicken either," the chief steward continued, "she's already got stretchmarks on her from last year's storms."

    Now I knew a little something about stretchmarks. That's when the hull works so much in a sea that the steel acquires little stretch cracks that look like miniature lightening bolts in the side, or the decks themselves. These stretchmarks can leak water into the boat if they go through the entire plating. Which is why boats go through an X-ray process every 5 years to see if any have developed, and to immediately repair them. And yes, steel does stretch, but it isn't a rubberband by any sense of the word. Heat makes it expand, and cold makes it shrink. But as I said Lakers are made for the Great Lakes. They don't have a ridged keel like Salt Water Vessels do for that very reason. However they do have separate ballast tanks that act as a double hull, and you actually walk over the top of these tanks in a long horizontal tunnel that runs the length of the cargo holds from the forward end to the after end so that those aboard can keep out of the weather. Crew are billeted usually at both ends of the ship, but there is only one galley, so all of those in the deck department who live forward use these tunnels to go and eat in the messroom that is in the after end. At each end of this tunnel is a water tight door, but there is nothing between each of these two doors other than open space, the walls, the deck, and the hull, and inner hull for bulheads.

    Every door, and hatch on these vessels is water tight, but when I started to think about what the cook had just said I remembered that not every hatch opening had a water tight hatch to it, or for that matter any kind of hatch in some cases. And this was as much true forward, as it was in the after compartments. But still, I had been with some of the finest skippers in the Navy, and there was nothing at that moment that made me believe that our captain was any less knowledgeable, or experianced for the job that he did. So I went to sleep as assured as I had been before the evening meal.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2004
  12. Capt Keller

    Capt Keller New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Lorain, Ohio
    Just another day: Continued...

    It was around midnight that I was rudely awakened by shouting in the dunnage room, and suddenly the the Bosun came barging into our room, and turning the lights on yelled:

    "Get your asses out of bed! And Hurry up about it! The cook's stove broke lose from the bulkhead, and we've got to tie it down!"

    With the bosun you never argued, you just did what he said. And if he meant hurry, he said hurry.

    "I'll grab some cable and shackles," I volunteered.

    "Great! The rest of you follow me. We'll need plenty of block and tackle for this job. Now shake a leg!"

    It wasn't easy getting dressed the way the ship was pounding, shaking, and trembling as she went full tilt into every **** wave that Lake Michigan sent her way. But we managed, and 15 minutes later were at the after end of the tunnel when we heard a horrendous BANG! True, the ship was twisting, and rolling as well as pounding in the sea, but I didn't think it was all that bad myself. But not knowing what made that banging sound stood me straight up, and raised tha hackles on the back of my neck.

    30 seconds later we found out what was making that noise. It was the cook's stove. An old fasion two ton iron, and steel propane stove, and oven conbination, that some how, nobody had ever thought to weld, or screw into the galley decking. It had just been pegged into four holes by its four legs, and had popped out of those four holes in the storm to dance all over the galley's deck. Slaming into bulkheads, cabinets, or the big stainless steel sink. It had already ripped the flex piping to the propane tank that was kept on the boat deck, and that tank had at least been shut off for safety sake. But the rolling, and pitching of the deck still made that one hell of a big piece of shrapnel to be run over by.

    "Oh great, we've gotta play dodge ball with a Mack Truck," said Donald Parkinen, my room mate.

    "I've got an idea," I said, and even the bosun looked my way hopefully, "see the eye bolt in the ceiling in the middle of the galley?"

    "Yeah?" The question came from all directions actually.

    "Well, if we can bridle the stove like a Christmas present tied with ribbon, I think I can latch a shackle to that eye with a short cable, and shackle the bridle to the other end of the cable for now."

    "And just how do we go about doing that?" The bosun inquired.

    "Easy," I said, "The next time it slams into the sink me and Donald will climb up on top of it. Then you guys just throw us what we need as we need, and ask for it."

    "That's crazy!" Gasped the cook somewhere behind us.

    "Not really," Donald said, then looking at me; "Surfs up?"

    "Exactly!"

    "Just make sure you guys don't leave anything hanging over the sides that is attached to you," the Bosun warned us, then nodded his consent.

    And then the world stopped as the stove slammed into the sink once again. Like two surfers climbing up on a surfboard we hopped up onto the top of the ancient stove each with a steel cable that would go around the stove, and me with two heavy shackles on my belt. We got the longitudinal strap around the stove right away, then held on as she took off again slidding across the deck in a different direction. When we were up against the after bulkhead we got the opposing strap around her, and I shackled all four ends together. Just in time because she took a head dive right at the doorway where the rest of the deck gang was. Donald bruised a knuckle when his fist banged into the wall to steady himself.

    "Quick!" I yelled. "Hand me a short cable!"

    And the bosun gave me the exact one that I needed.

    "Now give Donald that tackle," and I pointed to what I wanted on the deck next to him as the stove stayed where it was for a moment.

    Thankfully it stayed long enough for us to store the gear in preparation for the next ride. And gave me time to explain what I was going to do next.

    "Now this may take some time, but what I plan on doing is snagging that eye in the overhead with this shorter thicker cable already on it. I may have to get off of the stove for a second to do that, so don't anyone panic, and don't anyone come in to try to rescue me only to get plowed by that **** stove! In any case what I'm hoping is that the stove will rest over there," and I pointed to the bulkhead that it had slammed into several times already, "because it is close enough to that eye for me to reach when standing on top of the stove."

    "Then what?" Asked the cook.

    "Then he'll just hook up the block and tackle, and let the motion of the stove bring it closer and closer to the eye with the shackled cable in it until he can link the shackle in the cables of the stove to the cable hanging from the eye." The bosun explained as we took off again on that steel tobogan.

    The plan worked, and nobody else got hurt. The stove was secured by us, and then tied down by the others once it was no longer a dangerous cannon ball. Still, the storm howled outside, and we wondered what else would happen this trip? Surely Christmas dinner was ruined if this continued.

    By 0400 Christmas it looked like the storm had blown itself down to just a gale, and the Endors M. Vorhees moved a little less jerkily over the icy cold water of Lake Michigan. In fact the rolling had stopped when the wind went dead out of the south around 0500, so we were hauled out of bed once again to put the stove back in place in the galley so that the chief engineer could weld it in place, and hook the propane back up to it for breakfast.

    "Jesus Christ!" Donald gasped after a quick head call. "Have you guys seen what the deck looks like? Take a look!"

    As the galley was on the main deck, all we had to do was step outside through the water tight door. And I don't think that it was the subzero temperature that took everybody's breath away either when they looked forward.

    It wasn't quite dawn, but there was the lume of predawn to give enough light to see the spectacular ice sculpture that the forward end had become, and was still becoming because of the icy spray from the bow hitting the waves head on. Talk about your Ice Castles, there had to be a foot and a half of ice coating the entire forward end of the ship to the top of the mast, and all the way back to hatch number 8 where it started to taper off a little. And what wasn't covered in ice had hoare frost, and snow on it. The radar antenae was a vast ghostly image of lateral icicles, rotating and at a greatly diminshed speed as if one of those advertizing signs that rotate only fast enough for you to read them in every direction. And I swear that the ship was down by the head now significantly because of all of that additional frozen water weight forward. The hatch crane itself looked like a big blob of molded ice that had become part of the deck once and for all.

    "Merry Christmas," said the cook sarcastically, then turned, and went back into the galley to prepare breakfast.

    "Yeah, just another day," Donald agreed sighing. Knowing full well that it was our job to get rid of all of that ice, or at least enough of it so that we would be able to unload once we arrived in Chicago, Ill. at the south dock.

    As it turned out the ice measured 2 ft. thick up forward, and it took us two days to get rid of enough ice so that the dock cranes could lift our hatches, and unload us. Our hatchcrane was useless in this case even after we deiced it. We never did slow down until the approach to the breakwall, but a two day lay over before we could unload had to have cut into that tonnage bonus of the captain's. And it wasn't until the following year that I learned just how un-watertight ore carriers on the Great Lakes really are. But that's for another story.

    Merry Christmas
  13. Capt Keller

    Capt Keller New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Lorain, Ohio
    Another year, and other beginnings...

    The following year Captain Harold "Hell's Fire" Beagle was promoted to the triple "A" vessel called the Arthur M. Anderson when that vessels skipper retired. As was traditional the captain requested that his crew from the Vorhees be transfered over with him. Which is why I received a phone call from US Steel's Personnel Department asking if I wanted to transfer with Beagle to the Anderson. I was honored that the captain even remembered my name, let alone asked for me personnally, so I agreed right away. As did several others from the Vorhees, but not as many as I would have thought at that time. After all, I needed to get my foot in the door if I was going to make a career of working the Great Lakes. But I'd only been with him for the rough winter season, and only since November 11, 1971 at that before she laid up for the winter in late January in Milwaukee. So I hardly knew anything about the captain.

    Fit out was in early April as I quickly learned was normal for ore carriers. And the Arthur M. Anderson was also laid up in Milwaukee, but outside of all the other boats because it had been one of the last to lay up for the winter. We painted the sides of the ship during fit-out as the engineers got the engine rooms fit-out for the season, and cleaned up the boilers, and finished up what repairs as needed doing. Four days after I arrived we got underway, in ballest heading for Duluth, Minn. for our first load of Iron Ore. At 647 feet in length at that time she was also wider than the Vorhees by 10 feet at 75 feet in width. And with her much newer construction, being built in the middle 50's she had no riveting, and was welded through out making her a much stronger vessel over all that the Vorhhees. This girl steered as if she was on rails, and acted the perfect lady in heavy seas as well. She was also the pride of the USSteel Fleet as the Roger Blough was still undergoing construction in Lorain, Ohio at the AmShipBuilding dry dock owned by Steinbrenner at that time. (Which is now a Marina with Condos surrounding it by the way.)

    At any length 72 was my first full year aboard a laker as well as my first full Year on the Great Lakes. It was also the year that extended winter sailing became a reality on the Great Lakes, and the year that I acquired my AB ticket. I'd had plenty of time from the Navy to get an Able Bodied Seaman's card, but I didn't want to wait for the red tape to clear as 1971 was fast ending, so I took an Ordinary Seaman's card instead, and wrote for the AB endorsement in 1972 practically teaching most of the Two Week class that took place in Cleveland at the Lake Carrier's building on 25th street when I did. But hell, it was two weeks at home, and I got paid a hundred bucks when I returned with my AB ticket. 1972 was also pretty much the same as 1971 as far as sailing was concerned. But I did learn a great deal about the captain over the course of the year. And one thing that I thought was very important was that his eyes were forming cateracts in them, and limiting his vision.

    Now remember this was before the big breakthroughs in eye surgery for cateracts, and the advancements to lazer surgery later on. As it turned out Captain Beagle could barely see 5 feet in front of him, and was actually docking using the radar scope alone, and listening to the distances off over the walky talkies given to him by the mates. Which would explain why the Anderson started to get a few dings in her plating around the bow during 1972. Which thankfully were blamed on Ice Damage the winter of 72-73, and repaired at government costs while the ship was being lengthened to 767 feet. Our tax dollars at work, eh. In any event by late summer I was working as a watchman, and wheeling for the wheelsman when he took a break, or on my own time whenever she was in the rivers, and just loving the fact that USSteel gave one for one summer leave (Unpaid BTW) for every day you worked on the winter run starting from Dec. 17 until the ship laid up.

    Captain Beagle never did ice up the Anderson the way he had the Vorhees in 71, but he did crunch a lot of hard ice against her hull trying to up his Tonnage bonus on that Triple "A" at a higher rate of pay. And I assume that he felt quite confident in his abilities right up until the time he ran into the Gary Breakwall in on a clear summer's day coming out of the Gary USSteel Works after undloading there. Too bad his favorite wheelsman didn't tell him that the breakwall was still there, eh?

    The hole in the bow was fixed in a few days, but so was Beagle as he was forceably retired, and Captain Jesse "By God" Cooper, formerly captain of the Robert A Fraser (A sister ship to the Vorhees) stepped aboard. He was lean, clean shaven, and smoked a pipe like Captain Edward Snyder that I'd served with on the USS New Jersey during the Vietnam War. A confident man, he was also smart enough to go over his new command from stem to stern, and keel to top mast in the first two weeks of his command. Insisting that the ballest tanks be cleaned out immediately so that; "she can carry more ore instead of all of that mud down there." I made enough overtime on that Job to have a great summer leave on that day for day winter deal to party on dude! And got back just in time for the Gale season.

    Stangely enough, the gales weren't all that bad for the next couple years, but the winter sailing season more than took up the slack as we tried to sail 365 days of the year, and almost succeeded. Bernie took some time off, and Captain Benjamin Simo came aboard for awhile, and he was the one who talked me into going to get my license before Jesse "By God" Cooper returned from his leave.

    As it turned out, Masters, Mates, and Pilots, the union on the Great Lakes was going to hold a school for those candidates with the required sea time, and credentials for taking their First Class Pilot's examinations that fall. The company upon hearing this offered those qualified to half pay during the duration of the classes, and the other half to all of those who did acquire a Pilot's License when the class was finished. When I told Captain Cooper that I wanted to go he was a little hesitant about endorsing me as he didn't think that I had enough time on the lakes, but when I assured him that I had sea time from the Navy that qualified me he relented at the last minute, and sent me packing. I got off the ship November 3, 1975 to go to school, and the flight home was the bumpiest that I'd ever experianced due to air turbulance. That was one week to the day before the Edmond Fitzgerald went down in Lake Superior. And for those who don't know, the Arthur M. Anderson was the ship nearest to the Fitz by only a few miles when she went down, and in fact was probably the last one to have any contact with the living aboard that vessel. When the Anderson made White Fish Bay the Coast Guard was asking if any ships would volunteer to go out and look for the Fitz as they had lost all contact with the vessel in the storm. Jesse "By God" Cooper was one of two ship's captains that complied with that request. The other was the Captain of the Roger Blough.

    I talked to Captain Cooper the following spring at fitout, and he told me that as far as he could figure out the Fitz must have scrapped the bottom off of Caribou Island. Probably slamming the hull down on that reef going through those long 20 foot rollers in the process. The Fitz had called Jesse for a radar fix only once as their radar was out, and the Captain had told them then that they were too **** close to Caribou Island as it was. But no captain can run more than his own ship, so when the Fitz slowed down Captain Cooper just kept sailing on in his own vessel heading for the sanctuary of White Fish Bay, and the Sault Ste Marie River system believing the captain of the Fitz had everything under his control.

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda, the truth is that there is only one captain aboard any vessel, and he is responcible for everything that goes on aboard his vessel. He can ask for suggestions, but only he has the last say in what happens. If you don't believe me ask Captain Hazelwood, late of the Exxon Valdis who when asked in the courts of Alaska: "Whose responcibility is it," at the front of every question presented to him in that civil court, that he had no choice according to US Coast Guard Regulations, and international law but to answer with: "It is the Captains responcibility." Even though it was the third mate who put her aground in a ten mile wide channel.

    As it turns out that was the only storm that I ever missed sailing in since I started working the Great Lakes, and up until my retirement. And I only missed that one by a week. I retired from USSTeel in 81 moving onto other, and hopefully better jobs at sea on the Great Lakes. But they are stories for another time.

    Captain John S. Keller
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2004
  14. CaptainRoamer

    CaptainRoamer New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Lake St. Clair
    Stories

    Great story! Tell us more!

    Matt
    Steel Pleasure
    Windsor, ON
  15. alloyed2sea

    alloyed2sea Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Messages:
    850
    Location:
    Alex, VA
    Thar She Blows

    Yeah, I wanna hear how steel hulls "stretch" going up and down huge waves, and how the ice gets to be 4 feet thick, and how boats turn over 'cause of all that extra weight, and deck hatches get stove in and ships crack in half, and you guys run over 80ft pleasure cruisers like kindlin' wood, and about all that good food you guys got to eat. :eek:
    Well, the first part anyway. :D
    Eric
    PS - General Edmund Fitzgerald Info:
    http://www.mhsd.org/fleet/O/On-Columbia/fitz/default.htm
    Weather reports that day:
    http://images.google.com/imgres?img...s?q=edmund+fitzgerald&start=60&hl=en&lr=&sa=N
    Why she went down:
    http://www.lakesuperior.com/online/225/225fitz.html

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2004
  16. Capt Keller

    Capt Keller New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Lorain, Ohio
    Only two things get small boats run over: Curiosity, and stupidity on behalf of those in the small boat. I almost ran over a 40' sailboat out on Lake Huron in the middle of a cloudless day because nobody was at the helm. They were down below decks for over a half an hour, and wouldn't reply on the radio, and with nobody at the helm the boat vered suddenly and changed its tack heading right for us. I blew the ships whistle over, and over again until finally I had to go hard over to try to slip in behind them, and that's when somebody finally popped up on the deck, and looked right up at the bow of our ship in absolute fright and put his sail boat hard over, but right back in front of us. And now we were only a hundred a fifty feet from them. The only thing I could do was go hard over the other way, and pray. We missed that boat by less than 6 feet, and thankfully the blunt bow's wake pushed them to the side away from us.

    Now all Merchant Mariners know that we share the waters with recreational craft, and are constantly on the look out for ships, boats, buoys, and anything a float that might hamper our economical passageway over these waters even along the lines of passage clearly marked on every chart as belonging to us. We do our best to steer clear of everything just because we know that there are too many curious, and foolhardy lubbers behind the controls of pleasure craft, and building in numbers every year. Our problem isn't that we think we own the water ways, its that so many small boats think that they do. And while it is true that a sailboat has the right of way in most cases it is not true when they are sailing under the power of their engines, nor at all in a controled shallow waterway such as a river. But then most boaters haven't a real clue about the rules of the road for the ocean, or the Great Lakes, and its tributaries as they have never read them like we have to. Every Merchant Marine Vessel must carry a copy of the US Coast Guard Rules of the Road aboard them, and keep it in their Pilot House for quick, and easy reading by any memeber of the crew. Every deck officer has to know them and every AB quickly learns them as well for proper lookout watch standing. And yet at least once every year of my career on the Great Lakes I've had a small boat stop right in front of my vessel, and dare me to run it over by putting his boat in front of me, then dropping the anchor, or run out of gas, or lose his engine for whatever reason in the tightest part of the channel that my vessel happens to be on at that time.

    Where common sense would dictate that somebody in a small boat in a restricted channel should stay out of the way of 15000-45,000 gross tons of steel, and cargo you'd think that this wouldn't happen as often as it does. And I can assure you that every Pilot on the Great Lakes has this happen to them at least once a year, and more often if they told the truth about it. So that now most professional seaman think that most of those aboard pleasure craft are either 1. Retarded. 2. Stupid. 3. Morbidly curious to the point of life threatening where they draw close to us for a closer look. Or 4. Are definately suicidal. Notice that I wrote MOST, and that because those are the ones who are always getting into trouble, and making the news, or obituary columns every year.

    I recently wrote, and had published online, and ondemand, a small Illustrated book just for this reason. My concern over the growing cost of life due to an overwhelming uneducated boating public, especially in first time boat owners, and those who think they know enough, but only know enough to be dangerous to themselves, and their unwary passengers, mostly family, and friends at that. And some have just been lucky long enough to think that they don't even need to read that much. And it isn't much more than a panthlet in thickness. But can be carried aboard any sized boat for quick reference, or studied over the time when their boat is out of the water. It can be found along with my other books here:

    http://booksurge.com/search.php3

    I recomend purchasing the electronic version as it is in color, and you can print out the very usefull lists that I've incorporated in it, and laminate them for use by all hands on your own boat. However owning a copy that you can keep in your boat library is very nice indeed as well.

    As for the other things that you requested, my brother thinks that I should start a whole new thread here just for sea stories, so I may do that.

    Capt John S. Keller
    Great Lakes Pilot
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2004
  17. tumblehome

    tumblehome New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    West Michigan
    Gee, fascinating stuff. I could read stories like this for on & on!
  18. Capt Keller

    Capt Keller New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Lorain, Ohio
    I started a new thread just for this kind of fascinating stuff entitled it: Sea Stories. However after putting it up I thought I'd give a few others time to write some of their stories before adding another one of mine as my verbage may sound a bit pompous to some of the members who have been with this group so much longer than I have.

    Capt John S. Keller
    Great Lakes Pilot
  19. CaptainRoamer

    CaptainRoamer New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Lake St. Clair
    Another year...

    Well another year almost gone and some new Roamer gifts and accessories under the tree! Only 4 months till the start of boating season. Tick...tick...tick...

    We went to look at hardwood flooring two days ago. We had originally wanted Teak and Holly but found it to be too soft. We then looked at teak but was shocked at the price and was told is was very limited in durability. We didn't want to be watching people on the floor all the time...the Captain would like to have fun too!

    So, in short, we decided to go with manufactured flooring with this new kind of lock system so moisture and durability isn't a problem. Any suggestions? Also, I was afraid it would look cheap, but his new lock system works so well you can't even tell it's not real wood. Any suggestions or comments would be great!

    Matt
    Steel Pleasure
    Windsor, ON
  20. alloyed2sea

    alloyed2sea Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Messages:
    850
    Location:
    Alex, VA
    Flooring: High-Tech Materials

    Here's your answer:
    http://www.tek-dek-international.com/
    Is this what you were looking at?
    There's also Flexiteak (Fleexiteek)
    http://www.teak-deck-technology.com/
    Had samples of both in my hands - thought Tek-Dek was a bit better.
    Let us know what you decide.
    CHeers!