Sailing in HMCS Glace Bay

Snow begins to build up on the stern of HMCS Glace Bay on the morning of March 8.

Persevering through harsh weather in HMCS Glace Bay

By LS Michael Spencer,
HMCS Glace Bay

It’s 8:05 a.m. on March 8 when the Commanding Officer begins his hands fall in address. Today he sounds particularly inspiring, despite the howling winds but a pane of glass away.

The weather’s bad, we all know this. There is a point of pride in the idea that while three other ships have cancelled their sailing program due to weather, the mighty HMCS Glace Bay shall complete its program. We are the ready duty ship after all.

Interestingly enough, the gleam in his eye and smile on his face says this is more about pride and accomplishment than anything else. The brief concludes with a sailor awarded a medal for sailing accomplishments.

The engineers have drills to do. If the weather won’t stop the ship from concluding its program, it has no chance of stopping those intrepid technicians from training the next generation.

Still, the weather churns and whirls and the cable party closes up. The wind hounds them relentlessly as the anchor is hauled up, but not one sailor falters in his or her duty; today the CO has truly inspired his crew. One by one, the six shackles are recalled to their resting place and the anchor finds its home.

Free from its tether, the steady ship steams onwards towards the camber knowing the worst is yet to come. The pipe goes out on all channels, it’s the part ship hands turn to close up. The cable party members again brace the unhindered weather on the open fo’c’sle and their cold bones creak into action once more.

Those engineers who trained now have their turn at the weather as well. Donning their weather gear and balaclavas they prep the sweep deck for the transit to our berth at November Bravo. Tenaciously, the wind howls and the snow falls and the sleet assaults.

With no regard for the burning of their skin from the ripping cold or the stinging of their faces from the hammering wind and sleet, those well inspired sailors bring the ship to where she needs to go.

Above the sound of the Executive Officer directing us confidently is the big bad wind threatening to blow our house down, and the sound of the flags waving in the wind crackling like fireworks on Canada Day. United in suffering and perseverance, the crew stood against the wind and made our determination known. The wind can fill our sails but it can never bring down the house that Canada built.

No wind, nor storm, nor act of nature shall stand between a sailor and the willful execution of their duties. Under the sound of our Naval Ensign flapping in the wind we brought our ship alongside safely. Just another Navy day for the amply inspired crew of HMCS Glace Bay.