14 May 2007

Rack time

In my experience (which I admit is limited to 688s), the best racks on a boat are the top ones; you get a little more storage space that way, up amongst the pipes and cable runs. (As long as nobody comes along and tells you to clear that rubbish out - or clears it out for you - because it's causing sound shorts, anyway.) Middle racks are next best, and bottom racks are the worst, because you have to get down on your knees to get your stuff out or crawl into the rack, and back in the days of major pre-deployment load-outs, your bunkpan might disappear behind all the #10 cans that were used to repave the deck in berthing. Most of the racks on a 688 are the same size, but there are some that are just a wee bit different the rest. Some racks (outboard aft in Aft Berthing, for instance) suck because they're tucked in behind a locker or something, and you don't have easy access to your entire bunkpan.

And then there are the top bunks in the outboard row of Aft Berthing. Most bunks are nice, neat rectangular spaces, with more or less vertical walls at both ends and along the back. Due to the curvature of the hull, though, those four bunks have back walls that slope inward at the top, cutting down on the amount of space in the interior of the rack. And unless you're anorexic, you can't lie on your side in one of those racks without having your back (or front) touching that slanting back wall.

And thereby hangs a tale....

First WestPac, early '87. Hong Kong. We'd been under way for several weeks, and now we were parked, not at a pier, but out at an anchorage. A hazmat anchorage. (Nuclear wessel, you know.) The hazmat anchorages, of course, are the ones farthest out in the bay, so we had a pretty healthy ride from the anchorage to the pier. A good half-hour ride, if memory serves me correctly.

Naturally, nobody wanted to waste time on long liberty-boat rides. So those who could, took hotel rooms. And one of those-who-could was an STS2 named Mark. Who, for the past several weeks, had been living in one of those outboard top bunks.

Mark and another STS2, Steve, got themselves a room, and then went out and partied a wee bit before returning to the hotel to get some sleep. And about 0200, Steve woke up to find Mark pushing his bed (his own, that is, not Steve's) across the hotel room.

Steve watched this activity for a moment, then asked a perfectly logical question: "What the hell are you doing?"

The somewhat surly answer? "Trying to get some sleep."

Seemed that during all those weeks in that top rack, Mark had gotten so used to having his back up against the back of the rack that he couldn't get to sleep in the hotel bed. So he was pushing it up against the wall of the room, so that he could lie down with his back touching the wall....

1 comment:

Mega Munch said...

That's hilarious! I had a rack in forward berthing, straight ahead as you come out of the head on the bottom right. About two feet of the foot was concealed by a wall, but in that wall was a locker that was use for...something I can't remember (EAB storage maybe?).

Anyhow, the locker wasn't meant for personal use, but you can bet I repacked those extra EABs in order to make room to stash some of my own personal odds and ends. Usually a CD player, CD's or cigarettes.