“Voyage of the Motor Vessel Sparrow” series inspired by Bob Carney.
by Boomer Jack Boardman
Previously: Episode 37—The Plan
Molly’s radio chirped, interrupting her visit with Mayor Gamboge. She acknowledged the call:
Captain here,” and then listened to the reply.
“Herzog, Captain, I need you in the pilothouse right now!”
“On my way,” she replied, “what’s up?”
And Herzog told her. She quickly whispered to her officers, and with 2nd Officer Mac McIntyre quickly left for the pilothouse.
As Molly & Mac ran to the pilothouse, Molly asked if Mac was okay with taking orders from her, after all, he was a veteran of over 20 years in the military.
“No Molly,” Mac smiled, he had faith in this young woman, “But if I should disagree, the code will be: ‘Aye, aye’ instead of a simple: ‘Aye.” Then you should ask what I think.”
“Aye, 2nd,” Molly said, relieved to know she had his support, but also a way to be corrected if it were necessary.
They arrived in the pilothouse to find crewman Herzog checking the Doppler radar while maintaining course at 45º (northeast).
“Ma’am, sir, It’s a big Northwester comin’ this way at 40 knots!” he shouted, “She’ll be on us in 10 minutes!”
“Very well Herzog,” Mac acknowledged, “I have the wheel.”
“Aye sir,” Herzog said as he surrendered the wheel to Mac.
“Crewman, man the power counsel!” Molly ordered, “Mac, bring her around right into the storm!”
“Aye, Cap’n,” Mac smiled to himself, exactly the right tactic. The waves will be big, and the Sparrow needs to be bow-on to the waves to ride this thing out., “Crewman, bring both engines to full power.”
“Changing course to 285º,” Mac announced as he turned the big antique ship’s wheel to port (left).
The muted noise and vibration of the twin turbocharged biodeisel engines increased as they were throttled to full, and the Sparrow heeled gently to starboard with the turn. Molly flipped open her radio and signaled Maggie.
“Maggie here,” Maggie replied.
“Call the passenger to the main cabin, we have a big storm coming fast, so hurry.”
Maggie immediately went to the boat’s intercom: “All passengers report immediately to the main cabin! All passengers report immediately to the main cabin!”
The passengers, already aware of the increased waves, wasted little time responding, and soon the cabin was filled, with curious, and in some cases, frightened people. Maggie explained what was happening, and that the Sparrow could handle the weather, but the ride would get bumpy for a while. This seemed to allay their concerns—for now.
At the same time, Molly called all crew to Storm Stations using the “All-Call” feature of the portable radios. The crew quickly and quietly assumed their stations.
“Maggie,” Bob said, “we didn’t sign up just for the ride, you know.”
“That’s right,” Sarah added, “we’re part of this and we expect to play a pert in this.”
“So, we’ll help, no?” Ines said, “What will you have us do?”
“Of course—it was expected.” Maggie smiled, “Here’s the plan…”
And just then, the Sparrow heeled sharply to starboard (right), causing everyone to stumble a bit…
“Big wave at 9 o’clock!” Herzog shouted “one-hundred meters!”
“Engine one full reverse, two emergency power!” Molly ordered as Mac spun the big wheel to port, turning the big boat into the wave. The Sparrow struggled to answer the command, heeling hard to starboard, as she moved to confront the wave.
“All ahead emergency power!” Molly shouted.
“YOU WON’T GET TH’ SPARROW, YA BIG…” Mac roared as he braced for impact.
The wave engulfed the MV Sparrow.
TO BE CONTINUED…Episode 39—the Wave: “Whatever else Mac said at that moment was lost in the wave’s roar as it struck. Mac’s still strong arms continually fought the force of the massive wave as it surged past the bow and broke against the pilothouse. It appeared as if the entire boat were under water.”