Blowing a gale here today on board the HQ. Well, off the HQ too. We sailed off a container ship this morning, and made a short jog to Newark NJ to come alongside a ro-ro... the wind went from a blustery 30ish to 50+ and blinding sheets of rain came down- unfortunately, we were taking the breeze di-reckly up the bee-hind, and that made tying up a chore. Luckily we had the best tug handler in my company at the wheel of his chariot, and even with his mad skills, it was a nail-biter. It's been a minute since I was nervous out on deck. Lines screaming, can't settle down, half blind and all-deaf, we got fast with a combination of great boat handling, some old-fashioned linehandling, and using my capstans to winch us into position. The buffeting effect of the wind was enough to prevent us from getting snug alongside. My captstans were bogged down, and I regularly use them to winch us up and down a dock when we end up having to load multiple products at a single dock when one of the manifolds is out of the scope of my deck cranes. The capstans have plenty of ass... but not enough to overcome the weight AND wind. The tug did a little throttle mojo and eventually we got in there, though. After all that, the job itself was anticlimactic, and the wind settled down into a small gale about an hour after we got fast.
It's been a while since I was grateful not to be sailing blue water. The Filipino deck gang on this afternoon's ship is NOT looking forward to the first day or two of sailing south after this evening.