[Kensblog] Contest Results (from yesterday)

Greetings all!

This is a short blog entry, just to follow up on yesterday’s contest…

Before I announce the winners, here is a bit of an update on our perfect anchorage.

As you can see, our anchorage has gotten more crowded. The picture greatly exaggerates how far these boats are from my bow. The white boat is perhaps 50 feet from me, at most.

After four days of bliss, our anchorage welcomed two more boats yesterday. We’re not complaining as they have provided some entertainment. It was interesting watching the process as these boats, with crew, entered the anchorage. We didn’t see the passengers (couples with LOTS of kids) until after the boats were fully tied up. Instead we saw the crew, who attached the stern lines, dropped the tenders, placed in the water all the water toys, including the toy rafts and floaty rings for the kids, and spread towels on the bow for sunning. Once everything was perfect, the passengers came out to play. I was jealous! (but, not so much that I want crew…)

The bad news is that I am 99% certain the white boat put his anchor rode across mine. I can’t leave until he leaves. If I try to pull my anchor, I’ll also pull his. I pointed it out as he was dropping his anchor, and luckily he spoke english. He said he was leaving this morning, as had been my intention. It is currently after noon, and he is still here. I asked him, and he says he still plans to leave, but that if I am in a hurry, he can let out more chain. That comment makes no sense to me. How would him putting out more chain help resolve that his chain is on top of mine? Oh well… I’d rather not find out. He’ll leave soon (I hope!), and then I’ll follow. In the worst case, we get another night here, which is not a bad thing. I do sympathize with him. He has passengers on board, and they are his #1 priority. He can’t leave until his passengers say, “Let’s go.” If he doesn’t leave tomorrow morning early, it will be interesting, and I’ll have something to blog about!

And, on a different topic…

I received this email from Steven Argosy in reference to my picture yesterday, of sand(?) on my swimstep, from dissolved ice:

Have you tasted the crud that was left on your platform from the melted ice? It looks a little like salt, but there is only one way to tell. Since you have been drinking it all of this time, a little taste cannot possibly hurt. You should get a sample tested if it is not salt. It could mean it is something in your tanks deteriorating.

I liked the pictures in the blog. I especially like that anchorage. It reminds me of the San Blas Islands. Steven

Both Roberta and I tasted the crud, and I’d say the result was “inconclusive.” It was salty, but not that salty. It had not ocurred to me that it might be indicative of some other problem. I’ll melt up a fresh batch and take the residue back to Seattle for analysis.

Lastly, before I announce the winners…

One very mild problem I am having is balancing the boat. This is the first time, that I can remember, where I have run the boat so low on fuel. Sans Souci holds 3,000 gallons of fuel, which will takes us somewhere between 1,900 and 3,000 miles, depending on the speed we run at. As of today, we are down to 800 gallons of fuel. We really haven’t gone very far; only around 500 miles. But, we’ve had the generator running around the clock for over two months. At a gallon per hour, that’s nearly 1,500 gallons of fuel!

Anyway, fuel is connected to the balance issue, in that each gallon of fuel weighs approx. 7.1 gallons. Three thousand gallons of fuel, at 7.1 pounds per gallon, means Sans Souci carries 21,000 pounds of fuel! (10 tons). That’s a lot of weight! With a big chunk of that weight gone, Sans Souci is sitting higher in the water.

Normally, I keep the boat balanced, and sitting upright, by moving fuel from place to place around the boat. This isn’t normally a big deal, and in fact, I rarely need to make an adjustment. The tender sits on the port side, and weighs fifteen hundred pounds, so when I drop it in the water, I’ll usually move some fuel, to offset its weight, and keep us perfectly vertical. That’s it.

The current situation is aggravated by a problem I have with the fresh water system. Sans Souci has two water tanks; port and starboard. There is a valve that flips between them, and chooses where I want to take water from. Unfortunately the valve has stopped working, and I can no longer pull water from my starboard tank, which is full. The bottom line: With the tender off the port side (reducing weight), the water tank perpetually full on the starboard side (adding weight), and not much fuel to level things out, Sans Souci has developed a slight list to starboard. My guess is that I could solve the water valve issue if I really wanted to, or patch around it somehow, but a) It isn’t really that bad, b) Jeff (my mechanic) will be on the boat in a couple weeks, and is bringing a new valve, c) We’re not leaning very badly. Most people wouldn’t even notice. And, d) Hey! Sailboaters live like this all the time! I don’t want them thinking us powerboaters are wimps.

The bigger issue is that fuel might be what ultimately ends the season. I don’t want to take on fuel if I can avoid it. I like the idea of the boat close to empty when it is hauled out for the winter. I want to have just enough to make it to Greece, at the start of the season next year, where I can buy fuel for a third to half the cost of fuel here in Turkey. I’m not worried… it will be fine.

Which brings us to the contest!

It’s a lifeboat!!! (details below)

The first correct response, was by: Tony E! I’m sending him a copy of my book about the GSSR and our trip across the Aleutian Islands.

I’m also sending a book to Bill P, because he responded just minutes after Tony, and had a good explanation of what that thing was:

I am sure that others will explain it much better than I, but since the Vessel is some form of Tanker carrying either Chemical or Petroleum products, there is the need for a safe, quick and fully protected escape route from the Tanker for the crew should there be a fire, or explosion and fire, of the cargo and the vessel.

That is provided by the item in the picture which is a Fully Enclosed Free-fall Lifeboat.

Should there ever be the call to abandon ship the crew will muster inside the lifeboat and it will be released, and free-fall with gravity down the guide way, and then off the ship into the sea.

I believe this type of Lifeboat will have a specific survival rating for how long it can survive within a fire on the sea surface, whilst it is able to move away under its enclosed engine power.

The lifeboat will obviously have water, sustenance, medical kit and life preserving apparatus, all of which will be checked, serviced and certified on a regular basis.

Also, I believe that the second red boat on the Starboard Side is their Man Overboard boat, that would be set down if there is a need to recover a crew or any person or object from the sea.

Just as an aside when I did my Safety Training and we were brought into the Lifeboat, (Davit deployed), for familiarisation and training, the instructor asked us how we felt about it. Quite a telling question. He followed that up by telling us if we ever had to use it for real, there is a good chance we may never survive.

Not what you want to hear really, but very thought provoking.

Happy Cruising !
Regards, Bill P PS [….] did anyone comment on your picture of Roberta & Chris at the cafe ? You must have stitched two photos together or had an amazing double exposure; in any case you seem to have dissected Roberta in half !

Great shame you did not take your boat through Malaysia, Singapore and Phuket, Thailand; sure you would have loved it; although understand your reasons.

I parked next to Seabird and Grey Pearl in Port Dickson, Malaysia last year, on my trip North to Phuket, although I didn’t actually get a chance to meet up with them, believe they were travelling onshore, and we were only in for a quick overnight stop. It was fun though to get up close to the boats after following the Great Siberian Sushi Run (aka Wrong Way gang !)

On the “funniest” comment, the truth is… none of them made me laugh. That said, I am selecting a winner, because I’d rather “move on.” Therefore I’ll pick: Colin, who said, “Mother-in-law’s stateroom!” Congrats Colin, you also get a book!

Thank you to everyone who participated! I received several hundred responses. Most just said “lifeboat” but some took the time to provide a bit more information, and I really enjoyed reading all the emails. I’ve pasted a bunch of the responses below. Form your own opinion. Some have good information, and some don’t. Most are about the contest, but there’s also some great feedback on the firefighting in my prior blog entry. All are interesting, and collectively, they give some insight into who reads the blog… so, enjoy!

That’s it for this non-blog entry. Thank you everyone!

Ken Williams


The small boat on the rear of the tanker is a life raft for the crew. They are designed for severe weather to keep the crew protected.

I really enjoy reading your blog, K
It was a Japanese freighter with a whaleboat on it’s stern.

Sincerely, Randal

Most expensive waterslide ride in the world.

North Korean rocket.

Ken, The captains wife is onboard obviously. When you pass by those beaches with all those beautiful girls and wonderful shopping its a mad rush to the sport boat, first one there gets to fly to shore, expand their impressions for a few moments then fly back to the ship. This way the captain doesn’t have to explain why the ship stopped to his bosses. Either that or its the Starbucks Express to get your favorite spot.

Enjoy!, JC
Hallo ken

I will not be the first or the last to tell you that the orange boat on the back is a rescue boat.

I have seen this on many boats and even on a training site. The boat is being launched in the water and is supposed to be watertight.

Greetings fom the netherlands, Johan
Ken, I believe that would be a lifeboat in the launcher on the centerline and a chase boat or rescue boat on deck…

Great question, Dan
Its a standard commercial life boat! do I get the book??? :o)) enjoy your cruise as much as I enjoy your posts! Regards, Rob!
Hi Ken,

It’s a lifeboat! You get in and release it and it drops into the water, submerging at first, then pops back up to the surface. David
Hi Ken,

I think it is a MOB boat “man overboard boat” A lot of the north sea fishing boats have them.

I love your blog keep them coming. Safe winds, George
Ken, The boat dead center above the stern is a lifeboat. It’s mounted on a quick deployment rack that literally shoots the boat off in a big hurry. The lifeboat is fully enclosed and takes a bit bit of a dive when launched. I have not ridden one but have seen a video of a launch. Must be quiet a ride for the crew! Steve
Hi Ken, They are actually more common than you might think and we see them on many of the tankers that call in California. It’s made by a company called the Verhoef Aluminum Scheepsbouw, located in the Netherlands. They specialize in totally enclosed, free-fall lifeboats, which are designed to get passengers quickly and safely away from danger, from sinking ships to burning off-shore oil rigs. Here is a link to their website if you want to know more about it: http://www.verhoef.eu/index_industry.html Regards, Tom
it is a emergency rescue boat, fully enclosed to be launched from the stern in case of an emergency

but as a joke i would say it is a little red submarine!!

Met vriendelijke groet, Willem
It is a lifeboat. If it is necessary to abandon ship, the upper arm is rotated down to form a ramp, the crew climbs in, straps in and the boat is released to slide down the ramp into the water. It is like a Disneyland ride but much shorter. Love your blog. John
Free fall life boat…..and i think you would rather freefall down the waterslide, than in this thing 🙂 . Used for many years on oilrigs . If you ever get to Northern Europe/Scandinavia….wich I am sure you eventually will….I “insist” you visit the Norwegian city of Stavanger and it’s Oilmuseum (my homecity) . The area, on the Westcoast of Norway, have as many Islands as days of the year….365 ! Thanks for the excellent blog! I have been following you, and your companions, since you left for the Aleutians ! No name given
You can see these on drilling rigs as well. The profusion of piping said it was more than just petroleum. I’ve seen that before, but I’m not sure where. Oh, did you note the water monitors to fight fires? After sending you a quick response to win the pot of gold, I went to Google and if you put in “ship Zuga Istanbul” you get her pedigree. Were I not lazy, I could have checked her AIS listing which should reveal all. Can you imagine trying to trace a problem in the piping? Potential Simon customer? Is there a gross oversimplification of the problem with Simon? Ron
That is a life boat for the ships personnel to escape in rough weather in the unfortunate event of a case where the ship is goping down. Note that it is covered so it can take a wave going over it & not fill with water, offering protection to the crew in rough weather. So it is a life boat. Mike
That thing on the stern is a fully enclosed life boat. But when not in use as a life boat it can be used as a submarine because of the great height it falls it reaches a dept of 60 to 90 ft when it comes off its pulpit. There is enough air inside for about 20min. but one can add more time if you bring suba tanks.They are made near anacortes wa. and one can see them being tested before they are shipped .

It’s an escape Lifeboat–able to submerse on falling and pop back up to the surface. Ed
That is a very seaworthy lifeboat capable of launching under all conditions. Rich and Anne
Hi Ken, It’s a lifeboat! Must be a scary ride down, a bit like your waterpark escapade! All the best, Colin
Hi again Ken, Having now read further down your blog, I guess that little boat is launched so that when you are snorkelling or scuba diving, you can hide under it. This will prevent you from being scooped up and dumped into a raging forest fire!! All the best, Colin
Ken, I very much enjoy the blog. The boat in the picture is a rescue pod to be used to abandon ship in a hurry. it can be launched by releasing the locks and sliding nose first into the water.

Hi Ken, I am totally convinced this is a life raft. The apparatus hold it is for rapid deployment is emergencies. You just pull the pin, so to speak, and it drops in to the ocean.

In respect to your first Sans Souci, Nordhaven 62, was that a dry exhaust or wet exhaust vessel? Can one have keel cooling in combination with wet exhaust? Love your new boat!

regards, James
It is a free fall lifeboat. 2nd funny/wrong answer coming up – if creative juices get flowing. May have to wait until afternoon yard work dwindles down and beer has been consumed. And I guess this is a perfect opportunity to thank you for sharing. Absolutely love and enjoy reading your blog. Thanks again!

the boat from james bond in diamonds are forever

Ken, We see those sorts of lifeboats frequently here on the Columbia River.

Cheers!, Douglas
Ken, The vessel pointing down is a crew lifeboat. Pull the pin, lock, and away you go when the abandon ship order is given.

Hi Ken, It’s a rescue pod for an oil rig. I saw a couple being transported recently on a truck parked, I stopped and asked the driver what they were. I believe he said they could hold at least 8 people.

As dog owners ourselves, it’s great to see you’ve been able to enjoying dining out in Turkey without any problems bringing them with you. I’ve never been able to understand why we in N / America are so negative about well behaved dogs in restaurants.

Fair Winds and Following Seas. Graham
Hi Ken, That is a lifeboat. The overhead rail tips over the stern, and gives the crew a thrilling ride down into the water!

It’s a quick-launch life raft! If all h*ll breaks loose onboard, the crew can get in and be launched off the stern into the water in a matter of seconds.

Ken, The tanker you have in the picture can carry crude and sometimes gasoline

Just in case they need to bail out of the tanker the red boat is boarded by who ever makes it there then launched in the water on the red slides on the side of the boat.

Also on long voyages when they get tired of the grind on board they launch it and have some fun in the middle of the ocean

Choose whatever answer you deem fit

Have a good time next year in Greece. I have been there once and liked it

Hey Ken That’s a quick launch lifeboat. You get one last amusement park ride as your ship goes down. Bill H.
Hi Ken, I believe that is a powered life boat that can also be used as a Captain’s tender.

Best, Peter
“Number one……….. That’s the last time the shore relief get to use the life boat, for re-sups if they don`t stow it properly.”

I think it is the means for the captain and crew to escape in case of a fire. Ship looks like a tanker so could be flammable.

Great blog and enjoy reading pur Turkey experience . HR
Hi Ken, We have seen these before on oil rigs. They are life boats for jettisoning off of high rigs at sea or boats that do not have lowering devices or time to do so.

Below is a link to a page that describes them and their use.

Good luck with your trip back to your home marina, Paul and Marlene

Hi Ken, I used to travel on huge cargo ships with my husband, Marine Chief Engineer, before we set up in business here in Banderas Bay, he was known as Teapot Tony and I’m Ronnie the Tea Lady… we were in contact years ago as I was the rep for Dockwise but that’s when you went on the non Yachtpath trip! I won’t rub salt in that wound…

I’m assuming you are referring to the orange boat pointing downwards in the cradle,that is the emergency abandon ship lifeboat. This is the fastest way to abandon ship. Of course you also abandon the contents of your stomach. I have had to participate in boat drills. Inside it is really cramped and you are NOT facing downwards, but reclining (which makes it sound pleasurable but it is not) with your back to the sea. Having got into the seat you are in a backward tilted foetal position, and it is a feat of gymnastic ability to get back out of it! The crew at the time were Russian and we all wondered about the similarities of conditions for the original cosmonauts. You’d use this rather than the traditional boats lowered over the sides if you were carrying highly explosive or volatile cargo, when being hurled into the water would be a fate slightly preferable to death!

Even if I don’t get a free book ( do have a USA mailing address!) I still enjoy reading your blogs!

Regards, Ronnie
That is a life boat for the ships personnel to escape in rough weather in the unfortunate event of a case where the ship is goping down. Note thaqt is is covered so it can take a wave going over it & not fill with water, offering protection to the crew in rough weather. So it is a life boat.
Hello Ken , I have just been reading your blog and you showed a photo of a ship with a funny boat on the back. Looking at the ship it looks like a tanker and the boat looks like a protected lifeboat on a freefall launch ramp. If anything happens the front part would be rather hot, so the crew would get into the lifeboat and drop off the back end and get as much distance from the vessel asap before it went bang!

Regards John
Paul Allen’s private submersible?

Hi Ken, Its a lifeboat. Its set up on the ramp for speedy deployment. I’ve actually seen one deployed on a Discovery Channel program…..very intense! Safe travels!

John S
Hello- Thanks for your great blog. It allows a landlocked sailor to enjoy the sea! Some day I hope to have more time to enjoy the cruising lifestyle. I think that thing on the stern of that ship is a lifeboat. I have fished many times in the Gulf of Mexico out of Venice, LA. The oil platforms 60- 100 miles offshore have similar lifeboats that would drop into the Gulf in the event of an emergency, often from 30-40 feet, a wild ride for sure. Check out the picture of the Horn Mountain Oil rig in the Gulf below… http://www.offshore-technology.com/projects/horn/ On another note, I enjoyed the pictures of the fire in Turkey. I work in the Summers as I wildland firefighter in western Montana. I have never seen that type of helicopter before, but the planes are CL-215s, made in Canada. We us a lot of planes and helicopters to suppress wildland fires and the CL-215s are great when you happen to be close to a lake. No salt water here!! Thanks for blog. I hope I win, I would love to have a copy of your book! Ben W
Hey Ken, I assume you are talking about the life boat as opposed to the fast response boat on the starboard quarter. These are usually seen on tankers but have worked so well in our industry that many merchant ships are using this system. The old lifeboat arrangement had a huge flaw in that they were deployed from the side of the ship (a big problem if the ship was sinking because they usually start to list). Some fun things to know about these boats are that most have an external fogging system to cool the hull as it makes it’s way over water with burning bunkers or product on the surface. On the inside the crew has to strap in before deployment. It is not uncommon to see the monthly lifeboat drills happening while in harbor. There is a gantry that folds out to retrieve it after the drill. If you are talking about the smaller boat, it is designed to lend assistance to other boats or man overboard scenarios. (All though not required by the IMO, I have seen creative crew members use these boats for more clandestine operations (beer run)) Hope this helps. And please remind your readers to please call us on channel 13 for any passing or crossing concerns. Every tug, ship, ferry or commercial vessel has to monitor channel 13. (16 gets a little crazy) Regards, Captain Tim Boehmer Tug Susquehanna (East Coast) …..

Is an offshore lifeboat of course, unless of course you’re referring to the vessel on the starboard quarter which is a launch I believe.

Enjoy receiving your blog immensely Ken. You are a brilliant writer, and being a marine systems engineer and cruising sailor in Socal, I can appreciate the detail you delve into regarding tech topics. Not unlike myself you continually slam your thumb with the hammer of systems complexity since you simply can’t help it; the stuff available is just too effing kool, eh?

BTW I’m on your list thanks to a good friend and customer, Ron Freese (Sundance, Vikjng 65 yachtfisher) who you may have met on one of the Fubar rallies to Cabo roundabout 06 or so.

All the best to you, Roberta and the dogs.

Fair winds and following seas, Sean H
Everyone climbs in and they launch into the water.

Samuel S
It’s a lifeboat…or a submarine to check the rudder

Chris K I believe it is an escape craft in the event of an emergency!

My funny response is: the Holy Crap Mobile

Cheers, Mike
Hi Ken, It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you, but we love to follow your Blog. I’m pretty sure that the small boat is a Life Boat that will plunge into the water upon launching with it’s crew. Best regards, Neil
This boat is used in the colder climate in the event an abandon ship order is given. The boat are equipped for survival in icy cold waters.

Hello Ken, That is a long-range emergency lifeboat designed to accommodate the entire crew through inclement weather even if they are in the middle of nowhere. With no guarantee of a quick rescue.

Sincerely, Jonathan

P.S.- And if by chance that is not right, then clearly it is an Atlantian (as in Atlantis) boat salvaged from the sea-floor, by an evil mastermind bent on using the power of the Atlantians to take over the world.
Small one appears to be an air boat, larger is an emergency escape vessel, similar to the ones used on oil rigs.

Hi Ken, Roberta and pups. I think it is their rescue boat. It looks like it will launch right from that position and dive into and under the water (looks fully submersible) allowing for the quickest deployment possible in the event of MOB.

Either that or a boat shaped suppository for whales?

Love the blog, keep ’em coming.

Best, Tony
Hi Ken, Nice contest and I enjoy your blog immensely. Two years ago we chartered a boat along the Turkish coast for a couple of weeks and loved seeing pictures of the area again. BTW that is a lifeboat all set up to drop off by gravity off the back of the boat in the worst case scenario. Sure looks better than the liferaft option you must have on Sans Souci but it would be a thrilling drop fed by the adrenaline of an abandon ship scenario. Best avoided all together. Enjoy your time, George Portilla
It’s an emergency boat that will loterally plunge to the sea. No cables to lpwer it. Pull the trigger and you are in for a hell of a dive !!

Source : Discovery Channel 😉

I alao think that some americans got held hostage from the somalian in one of these boats as they fought to escape the freighter they were in circa 2005
Hi Ken, It’s a life boat!!!

Thanks ,mate Malcolm B
It appears to be a lifeboat. Very similar in look to the launch mechanism on oil rigs in the Gulf here in the US (however they drop much futher). My guess is that the ship is in the oil/gas industry and this is a standard piece of safty equiptment.

Keep up the wonderful blog.

14 yrs 7 months (age 55) and counting til I join the Nordhavn cruising family.

Hello there. really enjoy your emails down hear in new zealand . it is a life raft in caes the ship just happens to sink on them. Have a nice day and take care out there.

regards John s
Ken! You are very lucky to have seen these fireplanes. They are Canadair CL-215 to be exact. These are the most versatile fire fighting planes around the world. So great, we (canadians) even ferry them to other countries to help and then come back.

Do you have a closer shot of one of these? I would like to see it’s identification number. I should be able to dig out its exact specs and maybe its history too.

You are right about the pilot fighting for control, low speed and very random and hot air create a good challenge.

We’re back onto land. And i got my first experience in rough seas. 5 hours of hell for me as I got sea sick. I estimated 10 foot seas at worst of time.

Thank you for writing this blog!, Nicolas

PS The coffee shop seems a great place I’d enjoy!
Ken, Those aircraft are CL-215s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadair_CL-215

I think that with the minimal smoke column, that the plane movement you might have seen was the pilots trying to line up precisely for the drop. They will lift quite a bit on the drop as the 4 tons of weight is released but it takes about 5- 20 seconds to drop depending if they drop all at once or in series to spread the drop over a longer pattern when the fire isn’t really intense. Too high won’t quell the BTU’s, too low will spread the fire. Too far left or right will either be useless or again spread the fire. To cause enough turbulence that will effect aircraft the fire would have to look like this: http://www.wildlandfire.com/

A firefighter was killed in a Southern California fire two weeks ago from a water drop that the crew was not aware that it was coming. 1000 gallons of water at speed causes a lot of damage.

The ‘Bambi Buckets” that the helicopters were using carry about 300 gallons and are used for more precise dropping.


One Response

  1. ken, i just remember looking at diesel tenders a few years ago, for the benefit of not having to carry gasoline. in relation to williams tenders, there seemed to be quite a few postings about the location of the driver at the stern being a negative/design flaw. i just looked at their website and it seems the williams diesel jets now have a forward driving position, the gas ones at the rear. the other point that seemed to come up was smokey, noisy engines and the reliability of the jet, susceptible to sucking things up and corrosion. things may have changed in the past few years though. the williams is a very nice looking tender! jon

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