Total Run This Leg:
Total Average Speed: 5.19 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg: 551.5 Hours, 22.98 Days
Distance To Go This Leg: 85.5 Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival: 11:30 a.m., Friday, October 15, at the Balboa
Anchorage, Gulf of Panama
Present Course: 26 Degrees North-Northeast
Winds: Southwest at 20 Knots
Seas & Swells: Combined at 8 Feet
Barometric Pressure: 1010 Millibars
Air Temperature: 79 Degrees
Sea Temperature: 80 Degrees
Visibility: 10 Miles
Skies: Scattered Clouds
Sea Floor: Bottom depths are beginning to decrease as USS New Jersey
moves farther into the waters of Golfo de Panama, at this point, 244 Fathoms, or 1,464
USS New Jersey is
now 16 Miles East of Punta Mala, the designated West entrance point to the Gulf of
Panama. The entrance to the Canal from this point lies 93 miles
North-Northeast. Captain Kaare Ogaard estimates that New Jersey will reach her Gulf
of Panama, Balboa anchorage at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Shorten The Tow Wire, Prepare For Anchorage
Shortly after noon today, the Captain and crew of the Sea
Victory began the work that separates them from all other seaman who do not ride the
towboats for a profession. They reported to their work stations, outfitted with
safety gear from head to foot, and started the massive and expert task of removing much of
the open-ocean tow chain that makes up the connections between the Sea Victory and the USS
The same procedure preceded New Jersey's approach into
Long Beach, and will be conducted one more time at the mouth of the Delaware River, in
preparation for her journey up river, along the shores of New Jersey, and into the
Philadelphia Navy Yard the first week of November.
The open-ocean tow of the 45,000 ton Battleship, as
Captain Ogaard has noted earlier, has more to do with the stability of the towing vessel
than the naval vessel.
"The Battleship is very heavy and stable, but the
tug is lighter and more susceptible to the motions of the sea," the Captain said. "The greater the length of the tow wire, the gentler it is on the tow gear,
including the wire and the connections. The shock absorption benefits increase with
the length of the tow wire," he said.
As the New Jersey approaches a port, the depth of the
water decreases from that of the deep sea. Her journey from Bremerton through the
open Pacific has seen regular soundings of 10,000 to 18,000 feet. At 8:00
evening, for example, nearing the Gulf of Panama, the depth was 1,464 Feet, and decreasing
with each mile toward Balboa. If the tow line of more than 4,000 feet was not
shortened, it would drag on the bottom of the Gulf, a situation always to be avoided,
according to the Captain. Such a situation would invite damage to the tow line, a
breach of the Sea Victory's connection to the battleship, and a possible loss of the tow.
A very heavy tow line dragging on the bottom of the
seabed across who-knows-what kind of natural or man-made obstructions and debris is not
what the tow's Captain desires. The more he can reduce the possibility of injury to
the tow wire, the happier he is. His tow line was shortened this afternoon.
All the Sea Victory's deck hands were involved. Given the weight of each segment of
connection, it's a wonder the task doesn't require twenty men, not six.
It isn't the weight of the Battleship, to be sure, but
when the Captain pulls in the tow wire with the tug's powerful winch, he's also pulling
the ship in closer to the tug. That's 45,000 tons right there. The ship's
3-3/8-inch, 260-feet of chain, forming the first connection, weighs 29,218 pounds. It's connected to 250-feet of pennant at 2,915 pounds. Then, 180-feet more of chain
is attached at 20,991 pounds. And, finally, the Sea Victory's 3,418-feet of primary
2-3/4-inch tow wire, at 48,059 pounds, completes the connection.
That's a total tow connection package weighing 101,183
pounds, or 50.6 tons. The crew had to handle that kind of bulk this afternoon, and
they did it in stride.
As the tow wire connections were pulled in for tomorrow
morning's Balboa anchorage, the Sea Victory crew grappled, hoisted, shoved, leveraged,
shackled, hammered, pinned, and maneuvered those various pieces of tonnage this afternoon
with the expertise of jewelers.
Their tools were far larger and heavier to do this job,
and the sea beside them demanded their constant balance, but their touch was identical,
and the results were the same - a smooth, fine, clean and effective piece of workmanship,
which will now allow the Captain to enter the Balboa anchorage tomorrow, minus the threat
of a huge catenary dragging on the bottom of the seabed. That is why he shortened
the tow wire.
Now, he will quietly and precisely move USS New Jersey
into position to enter Balboa's holding area, knowing that his tow wire is as straight and
secure and protected from harm's way as it can be, and therefore, the Battleship is safe.
Safe for another anchorage, before heading home.
Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.