Panama Canal Transit – Readiness Report Summary 2016-01-23 16:00 UTC-0500
Maurice Cabrillo Assistant Safety Inspector, 3rd Class
At 1030 hours I boarded SV Tenacious to carry out the mandatory safety inspection before tomorrow’s scheduled canal passage. The crew were polite and efficient, but far too friendly. They offered my boat crew freshly baked cake! Of course, I am a professional and won’t let this blatant bribery affect my report. The crew tried to disguise their machinations as a “34th wedding anniversary” for an Australian couple named “Annette and Harry”. They even sang “Waltzing Mathilda”! I am pleased to report the commitment to their subterfuge was endearing but ineffective.
Furthermore, the crew ate their lunch on deck! They should be sequestered in darkness below decks and fed their gruel from a trough, not treated out in the open to fresh, healthy fare. This is improper procedure no matter how nice the weather is!
Throughout my inspection I heard laughter and socialising. Simply unacceptable.
On the physical side, the pilot arrangements leave much to be desired. There is a ladder over the port side that technically meets all of the stringent pilot association requirements of material, dimensions and safety features. However, I very correctly pointed out to the Captain that a pilot shouldn’t honestly be expected to board via a mostly wooden ladder rigged to the side of a mostly wooden ship in this day and age. She replied that the voyage crew, including some with physical disabilities, had no problem with the ladder. Her words were respectful but the implication was not. I carefully explained that modern ships have mechanised gangways. She then gestured aloft.
Now this is simply too much. Tenacious has masts! Like from the 1800s! The masts have yards on them, and the yards have sails, which I understand are like propellers made of cloth that only work one direction. Ridiculous.
There were even crew working up on the yards, carefully stowing the sails. It was plainly apparent that they were just showing off, pulling up and cleanly folding the sails on the yard. They weren’t even put off by the increasing wind! Clearly, I would have gone up myself to demonstrate proper technique but that would be beneath my dignity as a minor port official.
While technically Tenacious is perfectly ready for a safe and memorable canal passage, I will be happy when she is away and I can go back to servicing professional, dreary commercial shipping.
SV Tenacious is hereby cleared for canal transit on 2016-01-24 ak 15:45.