WESMAR Stabilizers ‘Likely Saved Our Lives’ Says Captain of 45-Foot Tug.
For some, modern technology adds to entertainment and pleasure. Captain Robert Elves believes modern technology actually saved his life in this amazing story about a harrowing crossing on his Tugboat Ernest Hemingway. Here is his story.
“The (WESMAR) stabilizers gave us a great ride in 4-6 ft swells on a 25-hour nonstop voyage from Port Canaveral to Great Sale Cay, Abacos (the Bahamas) aboard our 45 foot, 40-ton tugboat Ernest Hemingway. That was our expectation with the purchase of the stabilizers. What we didn't realize, was the stabilizers would become one of our most important pieces of safety equipment.
“It was our return trip where the stabilizers would get the challenge. We were pushing a weather window for crossing the Gulf Stream departing Green Turtle Cay nonstop to Ft. Pierce (Florida). Just as we entered the Gulf Stream our weather window evaporated. Winds shifted to the north at 35-40 knots with thunderstorms. We were taking 15-20 foot quartering beam seas over the top of the pilothouse. We were in these conditions for 10 hours.
“It was rough would be an understatement. Despite pitch poling as would be expected in these conditions we did not roll. We have the perfect roll indicator in the pilothouse, lots of long narrow windows that make any roll immediately obvious even more so than the roll indicator. Despite the sometimes violent pitch poling the pilothouse windows would trace a line perfectly perpendicular to the horizon! If you know how tender a long, narrow beamed (12'6"), round bottom boat can be unstabilized, this was uncanny.
“Although somewhat battered and bruised arriving safely at Ft. Pierce, we were convinced the stabilizers likely saved our lives that night and became one of our most important pieces of safety equipment aboard the tug Ernest Hemingway.”