“I’m going to try to come close to the pylon” said Capt. Patrick Cassidy, the Cape Cod charter captain and captain’s school instructor for the New England Maritime Academy.
“OK, can we pick up the seas, let it gust to 35 miles an hour and then make it rain?” said Capt. Paul Eidman, a charter captain from New Jersey where the Ocean Wind farm is being built off Atlantic City.
“We started to sway as the seas picked up,” added Capt. Paul Forsberg, owner/operator of the Freeport, New York based Viking party boat fleet. “Those not used to piloting in open ocean actually started to get a little woozy. Piloting a vessel with this simulator is very realistic.”
I wouldn’t recommend trying to come close to a wind farm turbine pylon, but the charter captains experiencing the Revolution Wind Farm simulator were putting the simulator through its paces.
The Revolution wind farm is an-88 turbine wind farm planned to be built 15 to 20 miles off Newport, RI. Ørsted, developer of the wind farm, created a simulator to provide mariners with a realistic experience as to how it would be to pilot through a utility scale wind farm.
Participants attending the simulator session were accomplished fishers and/or charter captains. The simulator wind farm utilized the preferred Coast Guard approved array with the turbine pylons spaced one nautical mile apart, or 1.15 statured miles.
The simulator was designed and developed by the U.S. Marine Resources Center in Middletown, RI. The Center is an independent, nonprofit marine operations and maritime research center and education institution. They focus on navigation and operational safety. Vessel captains train there on simulators in much the same way airplane pilots use fight simulation to learn and practice flying aircraft. The USMRC was commissioned to build the simulator by Ørsted, windfarm developer and owner of the Block Island Wind Farm, South Fork and Revolution wind farms.
“The movement at the helm was very realistic, you could actually feel the seas under your feet,” said fishing journalist and expert fishing guide Todd Corayer of Rhode Island during a follow-up for debriefing RISAA members. “Then, when the rain, high seas, wind and fog, came you had to rely on instruments to pilot through the wind farm.”
Participants piloted an 80-foot fishing trawler as well as a 33-foot center console though the wind farm. When piloting the center console at 40 miles per hour, the travel time between pylons was three to four times faster than the trawler. Even at that faster speed, participants felt safe and had ample time to navigate with no safety concern. In bad weather with high seas and winds you simply slow down, just as you would if in bad weather anywhere.
Another initial concern was the ability to navigate within the one nautical mile corridor created by the array. When faced with oncoming vessels, including pleasure craft, fishing trawlers, even a Coast Guard cutter, while spacing between turbines provided ample room for maneuvering, vessel avoidance and safety.
Those interested in getting a feel for what it is like to use the simulator screen can view a short video taken by Capt. Paul Forsberg about his experience using the simulator. Visit offshorewfs.com/navigating-an-offshore-wind-farm-video. For information about the simulator, contact Ross Pearsall, Ørsted fisheries relations manager, at ROSPE@orsted.com.
Snug Harbor Marina used tackle sale
Visit Snug Harbor Marina on Facebook for information on the Snug Harbor Marina ‘NU-2-U’ used tackle sale Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Anglers can either get a 100 percent credit toward store purchases from the tackle they sell at the sale, or they can take the cash with Snub Harbor receiving a 20 percent commission. Call 401-783-7766 to reach Snug Harbor.
Where’s the bite?
Freshwater: Ted Oven of Northeast Trading Company, North Attleboro, said, “Trout fishing has been very good. We have been selling 125 dozen of worms per week (normally sell 75/week). Local ponds (such as Whiting and Falls Pond in North Attleboro) are producing trout for customers with a lo of folks fishing the National Hatchery last week.” “Anglers are still catching trout at Willet Avenue Pond, Riverside, RI, with a few salmon mixed in, no reports of Golden Trout being caught. The largemouth bass bite at Slater Park Pond in Pawtucket has been good, yielding a 5.25-pound largemouth last week.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “All the South County, Rhode Island ponds that have been stocked are still yielding trout.”
Tautog: Elisa Cahill of Sung Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “One of our customers who commercially fishes took a couple of days to get 10 fish at the breachways. But the Laura Ann party boat (25-person capacity with singles) had been doing pretty good with tautog and cod south of Block Island.” “Customers are hooking up with keeper tautog off Jamestown and Newport,” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle. Angler John Migliori caught a 10-pound, 23-inch tautog this week when fishing Aquidneck Island.
Striped bass: East End Eddie Doherty reports, “ There were some schoolies in the 22-24 inch range caught in the Cape Cod Canal with a double-jointed white swimmer at the Herring Run earlier this week.” “The fish were very, very small at first but now they are catching good sized school bass at the West Wall (of the Harbor of Refuge).” said Elisa Cahill of Sung Harbor. “Anglers continue to catch small school bass in the Providence River at Sabin Point, with the bite in coves and estuaries still very slow.” said Littlefield. With warmer weather the fishing will get better. Water temperature at Narragansett was 46 degrees Tuesday. Historical 54 and 55 degrees has been a good spring-time striped bass temperature.