Posted by: captainhulme | January 4, 2013

RC 2012 CRUISE SEASON WRAP UP…

The RC sailed on 26 scientific and educational cruises last year; steaming 4,208.32 Nautical Miles (NM). She went as far north as Bristol,  PA (30NM North of Philadelphia), and East to the Atlantic Ocean off the Maryland and Virginia coast. Of course most of the season was spent on the Chesapeake Bay.

The RC moored under the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philly.

The RC moored under the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philly.

Steaming out bound Ocean City inlet for a day of science at sea.

Steaming out bound Ocean City inlet for a day of science at sea.

The little ship took scientists out to explore methane seeps in the Mid-Bay, and to trawl for Menhaden in the Elk, Choptank, and Patuxent Rivers. She deployed a video plankton recorder over the stern with a blimp (kite) aloft to ground truth the data, and of course put over and retrieved many, many data buoys. She was even sent out to decommission a 48′ physical oceanographic data tower! Mud, slime and ooze from the Potomac River and the Bay were a big part of the season as always… And oysters!

Oysters dredged and returned to a reef for a class trip.

Oysters dredged and returned to a reef for a class trip.

Mid-Bay Buoy ready to go out.

Mid-Bay Buoy ready to go out.

Oceanographic Data Tower recovered on RC deck.

Oceanographic Data Tower recovered on RC deck.

This blimp (kite) was used to ground truth data from a video plankton recorder!

This blimp (kite) was used to ground truth data from a video plankton recorder!

In addition to our UMCES folks, she had crews from Old Dominion University, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, McHenry College, Maryland DNR,  the US Geological Survey, Maryland Sea Grant, several ocean engineering crews,  and the National Ocean Service of NOAA aboard.

Old Dominion University sled and winch during a Physical Oceanography cruise.

Old Dominion University sled and winch during a Physical Oceanography cruise.

NOAA's AUV (Hydrographic Survey) at the RFO. This being the same class of AUV that the Horn Point Lab will receive in 2013.

NOAA’s AUV (Hydrographic Survey) at the RFO. This being the same class of AUV that the Horn Point Lab will receive in 2013.

Many students received their first taste of underway marine science aboard the vessel in 2012. While alongside the Research Fleet Operations (RFO) pier the RC welcomed visitors aboard from around the world.  Even a  Girl Scout Troop and a merit badge seeking Boy Scout spent time on the ship.

Grad students playing in the mud...

Grad students playing in the mud…

The Captain with visiting Girl Scouts aboard the RC.

The Captain with visiting Girl Scouts aboard the RC.

The Spring haul out went very well. The hull got a new coat of “UMCES Blue”, the bottom paint and zinks were renewed, and the jets serviced.

RC in the straps.

RC in the straps.

RC being "driven" in to place for maintenance.

RC being “driven” in to place for maintenance.

The Friday morning 10.00 coffee break and sea stories was always a highlight of being “stuck at the dock”!

Coffee and sea stories on the mess deck...

Coffee and sea stories on the mess deck…

Weather is always a factor in RC operations. Even alongside the RFO it’s a big deal! The vessel handled several Nor’easters, a Hurricane, and even a Derecho in her snug berth. Amazingly enough we had no snow or sea ice to contend with last winter (no complaints there)!

Heavy weather moving towards the RFO and the RC berth...

Heavy weather moving towards the RFO and the RC berth…

Same storm as above RADAR image...

Same storm as above RADAR image…

There was time for some fun too…

The Master's son Nicholas swinging from the aft A Frame in a Boatswain chair over summer vacation.

The Master’s son Nicholas swinging from the aft A Frame in a Boatswain chair over summer vacation.

Dressed for Independence Day!

Dressed for Independence Day!

The RC was featured in a two part series in PropTalk Magazine in the October and November issues. An editor, reporter, and photographer from Chesapeake  Bay Magazine got underway aboard to include the vessel in a larger story on Miss Rachel Carson. This timely piece should be published soon. In addition to this blog there is a new RC Facebook page.  Go to “Rachel Carson Research Vessel” to follow the little ship that’s helping to save the Bay.

RC anchored mid Bay.

RC anchored mid Bay.

The R/V RACHEL CARSON is moored at the RFO Solomons Maryland, 04 January 2013; Winds: WSW @ 5 knots, sea state 1, Glass stands at 29.51 and steady, air 35.6f/water41.99f,  1% cloud (cirrus)  cover with good viability.

More to follow.

Posted by: captainhulme | October 27, 2012

Roger Long, Naval Architect

About twenty years ago the University of New Hampshire required a new, small and fast coastal research vessel.  They choose  Roger Long, NA to design a boat that met the varied needs of the UNH Marine Program. The fifty foot R/V GULF CHALLENGER was launched in 1993.  She was an immediate  success. (www.unh.edu/facilities/vessels/rv-challenger)

R/V GULF CHALLENGER

Not surprising! Roger Long honed his design skills drawing many small sailing craft.  He became well known in the traditional sailing ship world by doing stability analysis for several large vessels..  The firm he was with in the 1980s was commissioned to design the SSV CORWITH CRAMER,  a 134′ steal brigantine school/research ship for the Sea Education Society (SEA) of Woods Hole, Mass. (sea.edu/ships_crew) He also designed motor research vessels for the University of Connecticut and the Shoals Marine Laboratory while there.

When Old Dominion University (ODU) wanted to upgrade their research fleet they were so impressed with the GULF CHALLENGER design they hired  Long to draw a 55′ version-the R/V FAY SLOVER. (www.odu.edu/oceanography/research/slover)   Success begets success;  the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) ordered a 60′ version for their coastal science program.  Launched in 2004  the R/V TIOGA became a workhorse for WHOI regularly steaming offshore to the limit of the continental shelf! (www.whoi.edu)

R/V FAY SLOVER

R/V TIOGA

So, when the University of Maryland Center For Environmental Science (UMCES) wanted to replace their venerable R/V AQUARIUS with a new build it was not surprising that the design committee  went to Roger Long.  What was a bit of a surprise was UMCES broke out of the pattern of increasing the length by five feet and ordered an eighty one footer!       (www.umces.edu) In 2008 the R/V RACHEL CARSON was launched.  In the last four years she has proven to be every bit a success as her smaller sister ships.

R/V RACHEL CARSON

In 2011 Roger Long retired and sold his business to JMS, Naval Architects and Salvage Engineers,  Inc. (jmsnet.com)  He boarded his sloop STRIDER and sailed her South from Portland Maine. (www.cruisingonstrider.com). Since then he has logged over seven thousand miles cruising up and down the Atlantic Seaboard and Intra-Coastal Waterway. Last week Roger stopped by our docks in Solomons before heading South for warmer climes.  He was able to join the RC for a plankton research cruise to the Choptank River. There he was finally able to see, first hand,  the ship accomplish the work he designed her for-doing  science that will help us all better understand the Chesapeake and it’s tributaries.

Roger Long in the wheel house of the R/V RACHEL CARSON last week during a science cruise to the Choptank River.

Safe sailing Roger! Do stop by on your way North in the Spring.

S/V STRIDER outbound Solomons

The RC is moored as before.  Storm preparations complete.

More to follow.

Posted by: captainhulme | October 11, 2012

The crew of the RC is following the “Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race” today.  There is a link on the RC Facebook page if you want to plot the boats as they make their way down the Bay.  This is the 23nd annual race. The focus of the event is to highlight the maritime heritage of the Chesapeake, as well as the preservation and protection of the Bay’s natural resources. These two notions are near and dear to the hearts of the RC crew! There are 37 schooners ranging from 20′ to 157′ racing down the Bay today.  And what a beautiful day it is!  West Northwest winds at 15-20 knots are predicted at the 13.30 start near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge just north of Annapolis. The fleet will finish near Norfolk Virginia.

Good luck to the captains and crews of all the schooners; be safe and sail fast!

The RC is moored as before. Wind: WNW 6, gusting to 20, glass stands at 29.80 and rising, clear skies,  54 air and 67 water at noon local.

More to follow.

Posted by: captainhulme | October 10, 2012

Welcome aboard! Thanks to Amy for the site design,  and giving me the umm, motivation to get this blog up and running!

The Research Vessel RACHEL CARSON  (RC) is the most amazing boat on the Chesapeake Bay.  For the past four years she has been taking marine scientists, ocean engineers,  students, politicians, the media, and lovers of the Bay the length and breadth of the largest estuary in the country.  The RC made her first science cruise to the Atlantic this Summer to work off Ocean City Maryland!  Every nautical mile sailed is dedicated to helping us understand the Bay, rivers, and the coast.  If this deserve work load  continues to grow who knows where she will steam to in the future?!

How lucky am I to be the Master of this fine little ship! Please join me through this log to sail the waters of the Chesapeake and beyond.  I’ll, as time allows, write about the RC, her crew, and the folks doing the science. Some of the entries will be exciting, others routine. All will highlight the importance of this vessel to the health and greater understanding of this wonderful watery world!

The RC is moored as before at the Research Fleet Operations (RFO) pier in Solomons, Maryland, 38 19.265N/076 27.144W. Wind NNW 6,  Glass is 29.47 and falling, 40% cloud cover Cumulus and Stratus. Water temp  72.

More to follow…

Posted by: captainhulme | October 5, 2012

R/V RACHEL CARSON

R/V RACHEL CARSON

The RC as she steams away from the dock to start another scientific cruise on the Chesapeake.

Categories