Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back in the saddle, or um, whatever

What would the nautical equivalent of the phrase "back in the saddle" be?  I think I'm forgetting some common salty line there but it's eluding me.  Nevertheless I'm back and working on picking back up in the NHS pipeline of events and activities.  The hurricane did very little damage around the Dockyard, with most of the headaches being concentrated on policing up fallen branches.  And thankfully I have yet to receive any report of any of our members suffering much - so that is great.

But back here in the office, I'm suddenly overcome by that feeling best described as 'a case of the Mondays' although I hope this isn't the sort of place where I'd get my a$$ kicked for saying something like that (this is an easy one, a cult classic!).  After a week sailing aboard a tall ship, followed by a mad dash into a hurricane zone and two days cooking on my livingroom fireplace, the office has easily lost its usual charms.  I'm itching for more excitement, but more on that later - I'm sure everyone would agree that my boredom is dangerous.  But first, a little bit about the past week, and my absence.

Over the past week I've been away sailing the Brig NIAGARA on the Great Lakes, helping to augment her crew for a return trip from Port Washington, Wisconsin to her homeport in Erie, Pennsylvania.  It'd been almost exactly two years since I last sailed aboard her on my initial data-gathering trip that helped develop the HORNET Project business and operating models, and this time I was able to bring some polished concepts along with some of the preliminary plans back for review.  Everyone, from the administrators to the officers and crew received the details very enthusiastically and with plenty of good guidance for moving forward.  I also was able to study the organization of the ship more closely and use the data gathered to infer the various outcomes of the implementation of our own operational plans.

So, for the remaining blog entries this week I'll be writing in a more serious tone with some of the lessons  learned - stay tuned for those, starting immediately after I finish here.


I also have to comment about another project in the works - a last minute planned feat of 'daring-do' that certainly peaked my attention.  One of our most active members owns a summer/rental home on Hatteras Island in the town of Avon - in North Carolina's Outer Banks.  Obviously this area was hit pretty hard by the recent hurricane and he is obviously anxious to find out the condition of the house.  He, with some of our other members, then considered the possibility of something of a relief/reconnasance mission to Hatteras across Pamlico Sound - in Monomoy No. 1.  Our past experience has taught us that she's as stalwart a boat as there is, and more than up to the challenge.  We also seem to have no shortage of crew willing to undertake such a seemingly daring mission.  And after identifying predicted weather conditions, navigational hazards and taking stock of logistical requirements, they're gearing up for the trip in the hopes that it is approved by the Board of Directors.

Here's the low-down - Launch Monomoy No. 1 at Stumpy Bay on the mainland coast of Pamlico Sound.  Position a relief vehicle 20 miles to the South at the launch ramps at Englehard, NC.  Three days provisions, tents and a bike will be stowed in the Monomoy, which will sail with a reduced crew to lighten the boat and make space.  Upon launch, assuming predicted NE winds, clear the bay under single-banked oars and sail 24 nautical miles SE to Avon, beach the boat, and proceed on reconnasance.  Use the bike to extend recon radius as necessary.  Pitch camp and remain overnight.

The next day, rise early and get underway.  Predicted E winds would make return to Stumpy Bay under sail easier.  If the wind shifts appreciably, use the auxiliary recovery site at Englehard, sending a driver in the relief vehicle to pick up the towing vehicle and trailer and shift recovery location.

Full stop.  This is definately a crazy plan, but we've accomplished more with less in the past.  I have every confidence that our able hands can tackle this, and no doubt whatsoever that the boat will hold up to whatever is thrown at it.  My only concern is the weather conditions - which will make or break the trip.  Once the boat is out there, there is also the additional risk that a shift in weather can strand them there for who knows how long.  Clearly, this will go down to the wire, and it will be exciting to see the outcome nomatter what.

I'll keep you all updated as planning progresses - or dies off.


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