Text Box: Another Bad Storm
By: Kim C. Sylvester GM3
 
Dear John,
 
First of all, I would like to thank you for the fine job you are doing with the newsletters. I just received my Dec. 04 addition & was interested in the "sea story", from E. Ward. He came on after my departure, but his story inspired me to try and top his. (old salts like to do that) Anyway, as I thought back on my own experience I recalled another bad storm.
 I believe it was in Sept. of 66 during my second tour to WestPac, we had gone to Okinawa to do something, in those days we were kinda busy so I'm not sure now why we were there, but anyway as the story goes, my job was the coxwain of the captain's gig. On the first or second day there Capt. Seabaugh needed to make a mailrun into port. Stone was anchored offshore about 3 miles. The mailrun was smooth sailing into port. The crew on the gig consisted of the usual, boat officer Lt.jg. unk., bowhook, unk., boat engineer, Unk., & myself. We tied up, dropped off the Capt. and patiently waited for about 2-3 hrs. 
As we waited we noted that the weather was getting pretty heavy. Swells off shore appeared to be about 6-10 ft. before we knew it. By the time the Capt. returned, things were really getting bad. 
We shoved off late afternoon & headed back to the ship. By now we were barely making headway, but we finally made to the gangway and the skipper jumped off and I laid back to wait for the crane to come over. The storm continued to increase in intensity and the old Stone was rolling port to starboard like you wouldn't believe. At times we could almost see the keel and then a minute later we could look into the welldeck. 
The ship had both anchors out and was beginning to drag them. She couldn't hold on much longer without getting underway. It was decided that we must be brought aboard because we couldn't make it back to shore. I pulled along side starboard and the bowhook bravely hooked the line and stumbled back to the cockpit as I backed down with all she had. He and the Engineer grabbed the padeye and prepared to put it on the crane hook as it slammed into the deck of the boat & thrashed around. (hook est. at 100 lbs.) This hook began doing damage, first either the eng. or bowhook was injured, and was out  of commission. That left 3 of us to handle the boat and try to capture the hook. 
Meanwhile, the Stone was rolling worse then ever. By now we had spent nearly all night trying to be taken on board. Finally, daylight started to come and we knew it was now or never. The boat was a wreck from slaming into the ship and from the damage inflicted by the hook. Dents, holes, everywhere, the windshield was ripped off and we thought for sure we were doomed. 
Finally, a last ditch effort was made by me and the last other able bodied seaman aboard. I'm hoping this will revive memories and the others who were with me will step forward and remind me of who they are. The teamwork saved our lives! 
Again, the hook came down, I had the throttle back hard, I released the wheel and with the other mans help we threw 
Text Box: the padeye onto the hook. The sea immediately dropped out from under us and the cable was tight. The crane operator was bringing us up as fast as the crane could hoist. 
First we would sail straight out away from the ship so that the cable was nearly horizontal to the ship, then as she rolled toward us we would be drawn into her side. This went on for only a few minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. Then the real thrill came as we finally got over the quarterdeck. That was when we would sail straight out starboard & then return over the quarterdeck & even over the well deck. Whoever was on that crane had his timing down perfect because at just the right moment he let us down like a feather in the cradle & they strapped us in.
I can't recall how bad or even who was hurt in this exercise, but I know it was the scariest thing I've ever been through. If anyone can recall this incident & can supply me with exact times & personnel, etc. I would appreciate hearing from them. This has bothered me all these years because I just want to say thanks to someone. I was about 18 at the time and I'm 58 now, so I'm sure you'll understand if I don't recall all of the details. Pictures would be great! Maybe Capt. Seabaugh has a log or something that would help. 
Thanks, Kim C. Sylvester GM3
1813 W. Teton Dr. Peoria, Il. 61614.      309-683-4644
Text Box: A young man who wants to see the world signs on to a tramp steamer to be trained as a helmsman. He masters the classroom  instruction, then starts his practical training on the wheel of the vessel. In his first lesson, the mate gives him a    heading, and the young fellow holds to it.   
Then the mate orders, "Come starboard."   
Pleased at knowing immediately which way starboard is, the  young man leaves the helm and walks over to his instructor.   
The mate has an incredulous look on his face as the helm    swings freely. Then, rather gently considering the circumstance, he asks politely, "Could you bring the ship with you?"  

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