Oil on Troubled Waters ~ Part 2
Oil on Troubled Waters ~ Part 2

Bill Peterson



Log Entry : 8 Aug, 2020
Ocean storm "Oil On Troubled Waters Part 2" image

Storm Tactics

 In part one “Oil On Troubled Waters” I pretty much convinced myself that “Colony II” should be kitted up to deploy storm oil before we venture offshore again. Maybe you’re feeling the same way? Ok, let’s do this then.

 Alas you might have noticed that Google isn’t much help if you go searching for storm oil or oil bag dispensers.  The closest I came on the subject was this rig from Jim Buoy.

They have a sea anchor storm setup, Model #929 and an oil can that works with it, Model #929x, that are USCG approved that could be a cool quick solution for sea anchor situations. I see it more like a drogue that could get your oil bag/can out from the boat astern to slow you down or even hove to perhaps.

 I found the 929 on Marine Wholesales site for $330 and the Oil Can for $103 for a ready-made combo.

Jim Bouy Sea Anchor and Storm Sea Anchor Oil Can chart

But short of the $400 plus Jim Buoy rig, just how can we set ourselves up to put this oil dispensing in actual practice? DIY thinking cap time, again. 

Top of the mind got me looking into A&N kinda stores for storm bag adaptable ideas. This Army Navy site held some promise with a few canvas things that we might adapt. Still, they weren’t quite what I wanted exactly.

Site called ArmyNavyUSA

Then from the depths of the ole memory banks, flash!.., I remembered a TV commercial we did for a bank, like thirty years ago, and for the opening shot I wanted a big stack of money bags to fill up the vault. The bank folks just weren’t inclined to loan us a bagged few million and hang around during the night shoot to guard it, so armed with the name of their bag supplier and a lot of balled up paper we did that trick.  

So off a-Googling we go, are there still money bags to be had? 

Yep,  and I’m thinking some of these might just be the ticket for this idea. 

These look ok I thought
Or maybe this pack
without the drawstring

These two candidates on the left looked interesting. You can choose tie string or draw string. I think functionally they’d work fine, but they only come in 5 packs, which is cool if you need some extras for something.

Also I thought let’s give a nod to tech world and take a look at something like this PVC fabric bag with the idea that none of the oil would leach through like canvas perhaps will, but would rely only on the needle holes you punch into it. I ordered the 2L version; about seven bucks.

Water tight gear bag from PVC fabric

I settled on these and ordered this 3 pack from Amazon. I liked the double draw string and the write up about the stitching and the canvas weight. Or could the gold coins have influenced me, hmmm?

3 – Pack $14.99 Prime 1 day Free delivery

Thinking about the streaming lines for the rig I figure something like paracord might be just about the right thing. 

paracord in use for paratroopers during WWII vintage image

I recently used up the last bit of olive drab Army surplus paracord that was aboard since I don’t remember when. I do remember it was real surplus; I think from WWII that I bought decades ago from a real old timey surplus store.

But I digress. Goggle to the spotlight plz for a new timey selection.

I began with the idea of getting a couple of these good ole familiar olive drab hanks:   Then maybe better yet, I thought, a couple of these 100 footers with Carabiner, could be good to do a quick hook up.

Instead, I ordered this 250’ roll of 550lb blue to get me going on the project with the idea that I’d have some left over to play with.

A couple of days later the blue 550lb showed up and I’ve changed my mind. It felt a bit skinny to me, and thinking more about it a Neon Orange has more of a safety gear kinda feel to it and will be easier to see in stormy low light conditions. I’ll just keep the blue for other projects.  At $20 for the blue, not a big decision.   

Apparently the 550lb cord, which didn’t make me completely happy, is standard , so for the orange I ordered a 750lb hank for a couple of dollars more ($15.49) to see the difference. And yep I like the size and hand of it better.

As far as strength, the 550lb has to be plenty strong enough, and there’s surely other cordage you can use, but I’m a happy sailor with the 750 orange. 

Onward with the pre-rig, maybe a noose knot for the bag end and a carabiner for clipping on would work well for the money bags rig.

Now if perchance the sound of a hangman’s knot disturbs sensibilities, likely the scaffold knot may work for you.  But I figure the hangman’s knot withstands the loads and jerks,(many of whom kicked and lurched at the end of that drop) that we’ll meet in a rough sea.  Here’s a quick ‘how to’ for tying the hangman’s knot.  

Or if you prefer the scaffold knot, here’s a simple easy how to tie one tutorial.

So ultimately we want to rig this up to be as compact and ready to go with as few steps as possible, kinda like a ditch bag. Hopefully for use while staying aboard, but a quick grab if you have a take to the lifeboat situation.

Here’s an idea for setting the paracord up for quick deployment. This example is for a 25’ length, but it should work on longer versions.   DIY Paracord Deployment Lanyard:

I went with the 100′ hanks with the idea they could be rigged separately or together to effect deploying a retrievable oil bag that you could clothesline out to a sea or para-anchor for refill as mentioned in Oil on The Waters Part 1.

My order for the three pack money bags, 100′ hanks of orange paracord and the S.S. Needle pack totals to under $60 minus the veggie oil and the PVC bag, And I’ll likely follow up with a post when I get it all rigged up, but if you beat me to it, plz do comment on your setup. Any good ideas on the subject are welcome as well.

Sail Needles

I, and probably you, have plenty of sail needles in the ditty bag but I figured I’d just spring for another $4 and get the new storm oil kit its own little dedicated container of stainless steel needles as long as I was ordering stuff anyway.

The entire kit, minus the oil with paracord should fit easily in one of the three money/oil bags for stowing that would act as a backup, like if a shark eats one of them. Thinking about that whole lifeboat thing, I’m putting my kit next to the ditch bag. 

And… if all this talk about storms has you revved up for some more traditional storm tactics prep, cruise this retro list of lifeboat gear for more forgotten gems of historic wisdom; or just for the fun of it. 

General Equipment Of A Lifeboat

  Source:  United States Maritime Service Training Manual. War Shipping Administration Training Organization, published for United States Maritime Service by Cornell Maritime Press, 1943, 1944

  • Two Boat Hooks — one used fore and the other aft for holding or shoving off, or for fishing a line out of the water.
  • One Canvas Hood and Spray Curtain — used to protect the crew from the spray of the sea and also to provide shade from the sun.
  • One Ditty Bag — one canvas bag containing sewing palm, needles, sail twine, marline and marline spike.
  • One Fishing Kit — in good condition with hooks, fishing gear and booklet of instruction.
  • Two Hatchets — placed in the forward and after ends of the boat on long lanyards for emergency use.
  • One Life Line — with seine floats, for men in the water to hold onto.
  • Two Life Preservers — for anyone who cannot get to their own or who have lost theirs. They may also be thrown to persons in the water.
  • One Painter — 15 fathoms, 2 3/4 inch, secured to the stem for being towed and towing, coiled ready for use.
  • One Sea Anchor — with a storm oil container to keep the boat headed into the sea and to spread the oil so that the waves will not break on the small craft.
  • One gallon of storm oil — to calm the seas.One bailer — usually made of wood or leather to bail the water out of the boat.
  • One two-gallon bucket — for bailing the boat or for other practical purposes.
  • Automatic Plugs — used in draining the boat on the davits.Twenty-five soft wood plugs — 3 inches long, 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch taper contained in a canvas bag. These are to plug up bullet holes or for similar purposes.
  • Six woolen blankets — to keep the wounded or sick warm or to use for men who had to get away from the ship without any clothes.
  • One first-aid kit — in a watertight container containing scissors, bandages, tourniquets, boric lint dressings, absorbent cotton, adhesive tape, safety pins, iodine with brush, ointment for burns, supply of splints and instructions in first aid.
  • 30 fathoms of 15 thread manila line — for general use.
  • Mast and sails — for sailing the boat and reaching land or keeping in the sea lanes where rescue is more likely. The sails are red or yellow in color to make them visible for greater distances.
  • Oars — a single banked complement of oars, two spare oars, and a steering or sweep oar (painted a distinguishing color so as to be quickly recognized).
  • Rowlocks — must have a full set and a half.


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Traditional sailboat anchored during a dramatic golden and blue sunset in Abaco Bahamas. The sailing Ketch Colony II off Powell Cay


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