In the doldrums

This week has featured some high peaks… and then abysmal deeps. First, on Monday May 22 Middlebury College took ownership of the R/V David Folger!

Since then, Tom and Richard have been getting it ready for transport. And transport is where we plunged into the deeps. The transport company, YachtPath, does not have a transport ship for us, although they had assured us that they could transport it on Thursday of this week. Venezuelan customs was the problem: the ship was scheduled to stop at a Venezuelan port, where no cargo can be offloaded unless customs has looked into the cargo holds. And of course with ships on top of the cargo holds, they wouldn’t be able to do this!

Numerous telephone calls to the president of the company resulted in this arrangement: the Folger is currently underway (under its own power) to Sidney, British Columbia, where YachtPath will pay for it to be held in a marina until the next transport ship is available. The schedule is still tentative; it could be picked up anytime between June 12 and 18. The transport ship, Ocean Titan, is in Seattle waiting for a multimillion-dollar yacht to arrive; then it will come up to Victoria to pick up the Folger and a few other vessels. So the Folger will be riding in style, with very nice neighbors.

Unfortunately, this delay affects all summer schedules. Once the Folger is loaded, it will take 20 days to get to Florida. The cruise up from Florida will take another 18 days. Given a June 18th pick-up, it will be July 8th before it arrives in Florida, and somewhere around August 1st when we finally get to Lake Champlain.

The Folger will still be here in time for Alumni College and classes in the fall, but this late arrival will severely handicap our research this summer.

Stable and substantially complete!

The builder has sent a revised stability booklet that allows eight passengers and one crew member on the upper deck in any condition of loading, including while the crane is being used. The US Coast Guard may not accept the total of nine because their deck-area rule probably allows only eight total. However, we don’t mind if the boat has a greater stability margin than is needed in service! Dave Weed recommends that the College notify AAM that we consider the R/V David Folger substantially complete.

Countdown to transport

The transport ship will load the R/V David Folger on the 24th or 25th of May in Victoria, British Columbia.

In order to get the zillion things done on the vessel that we need to do before transport, Richard and Tom will fly out to AAM on Friday the 18th. They’re hoping that the boat transfer papers can be completed by or before then so that they can take the vessel out for “stick time” and equipment testing. They plan to do that every day for at least two hours daily, possibly multiple times per day, until they leave for Victoria.