February 21, 2001
At 0800 Eastern Standard Time, the Training Ship Empire State was located at 36 degrees and 02 minutes N Latitude, and 074 degrees and 37 minutes W Longitude. Cape Henry was 85 nautical miles to the north northwest. She was steering course 023 degrees true at a speed of 11 knots bound for Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. The air temperature was 58 degrees and water temperature 64 degrees Fahrenheit; skies were mostly clear; winds were from the southwest at 03 knots; barometric pressure was 1019 millibars and falling. Seas were 4 to 6 feet. Depth of water beneath the keel was 779 fathoms.
The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in. --James Baldwin
Time is flying by, the latitude lines are whirring past like slats in a road side fence; so nice to be moving rapidly homeward but the ecstasy is about to end. Oh, not in a literal sense, we will keep on churning on, and position fixes will accurately verify our northward progress. But, something happens at about three days out. I've described it in the past as the infernal "time warp" where thoughts accelerate forward so rapidly that we seem to go backward in time. All humankind experiences this phenomenon at some point in life. Apparently, we mentally regress to the days when we were but five years old, and relive the intolerable delay to get "there", or the wait for Santa Clause to arrive. You remember hearing, are we there yet, ad infinitum, from the back seat. And everyone recalls that the true measure of eternity is the eon from bedtime Christmas Eve until daylight Christmas morning.
The last few days of Sea Term are quite similar so now the reader will appreciate it when I say that I have a busload of anxious cadets who can barely wait for Fantasy Land. They have swapped the universally annoying, "are we there yet" for expressions that are more grown-up. They pace incessantly, pack and repack, preen and re preen. No one sleeps until Sunday so don't even think about peacefully enjoying a cup of coffee, unless standing in line and fighting the crowd is the aim. Even my bridge wing sanctuary is crowded with oily snipes who haven't ventured from their engine room lair in days. People have their noses pressed to the bridge windows like children staring into the candy shop. They want to know precisely where we are now, and they will request the same information again in just five minutes. What a shock to learn that in defiance of all know natural laws, the ship can be answering ahead full and steering a northerly course, while traveling a reciprocal, southerly path.
Thank goodness, there are no busier times for cadets than the final days of the Sea Term, or all might be lost. In addition to the predictable arrival-induced angst, cadets often suffer from post procrastination stress syndrome or (PPSS). This malady is caused when the want to lie in the Caribbean sunshine overcomes the need to study. Unfortunately, the effects of this disorder do not manifest themselves until much later, when the afflicted are nearly beyond help. The tanned ones figure out that (PPSS) may be terminal when they yet again conclude "I can study for that exam tomorrow" and abruptly realize that tomorrow is gone. Survival, at that point, is wholly dependant upon the systematic review and rapid comprehension of all things Sea Term.
The Cadets actually endure a barrage of written tests, practical evaluations, and oral examinations during the next few days. Virtually all will be required to take pencil in hand and sit through at least one multiple-choice examination that covers every topic investigated during this Sea Term. More subjective essay tests with complex technical problems await others, and many will be required to reproduce system drawings from memory. Each will be subjected to a rigorous oral assessment of knowledge commensurate with their class. While the program may sound excessively demanding, cadets who have wisely budgeted time throughout have little difficulty. Sadly, many afflicted with (PPSS) are know paying the piper.
As added challenge, the weather along the East Coast of the United States can be brutally unpredictable. We sailed out of the Florida Straits on incredibly calm seas and rode a great Gulf Stream current. Speed was no issue and we could have sailed into Cape Cod Bay on Thursday morning. However, we studied the many maps and predictions for weather out in front. We compared NOAA's guesstimates with our on board prognostications and made a plan. We decided to "dog it" a little to permit a cold front that threatens to extend south of our intended track, to pass. Things may get a little sloppy, but we should hustle into safe harbor before a low pressure area, now over the Great Lakes, pushes into New England and ruins our day. Just another practical test; but we will really be sick if we fail this one! See you tomorrow from north of here.
Engine Class, Fourth Class Maintenance Training, Cadet 1/C Christine Lydon
The other senior training rates and I taught maintenance procedures to the fourth class, their "hands on" segment of the engineering training curriculum. The students learned to cut pipe threads using a pipe die, cut and bond PVC piping, flare copper tubing, and to make workman-like solder connections in copper tubing systems. After cadets completed assignments, that required them to use each of these skills, the projects were tested to show how well each task was performed. Pressurized fresh water hydrostatically tests glued joints, threaded fittings, and soldered components and cadets observe pressure gauges to verify that test pressures remain constant. The copper tubing systems may carry fluorocarbon refrigerant, any leak would permit atmospheric, and system contamination, so integrity is very important. In the end, freshmen should be able to perform any of these tasks with little or no help and have basic knowledge of duties that may be required while standing engine watches.
QUESTIONS FOR THURSDAY 22 FEBRUARY
Cadet Pacheco drew a triangle on the chart. He knows that the second angle measures 3 times the first and the third is 5 times the first. Find the smallest angle.
Archimedes principle states that an immersed body is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid that it displaces. When TSES entered the Mississippi River will the ship's draft stay the same, increase, or decrease? Why?
What was the major thing that the 11 Confederate States had in common?
When was President Lincoln assassinated and by whom?
ANSWERS FOR WEDNESDAY 21 FEBRUARY
10 knots x .10 = 1.0
10knots - 1.0 = 9 knots
9 knots x .10 = .9
9 knots + .9 = 9.9 knots final speed.
The earth rotates in a counterclockwise direction when viewed from above the North Pole. West to East.
1. South Carolina 2. Mississippi 3. Florida 4. Alabama 5. Georgia 6. Louisiana 7. Texas 8. Virginia 9. Arkansas 10. Tennessee 11. North Carolina
Jefferson Davis from Mississippi. February 18, 1861.