A Good and Favorable Wind

From PigBoats.COM

A Good and Favorable Wind

PigBoats.COM is pleased to present to you our first book: "A Good and Favorable Wind", written by the webmasters of this site, Ric Hedman and David Johnston.

This is the true story of the USS R-14 (SS-91) and a voyage that she took in May of 1921. Assigned to a search and rescue mission in an area east of the Big Island of Hawaii, the R-14 was subjected to a set of circumstances unique in the annals of the U.S. Submarine Service. If the crew is to return safely to port they must display superb leadership, inspired out-of-the-box problem solving, innovation, and perseverance. The aftermath of the incident examines the hows, the whys, and the lessons learned, and provides a primer to today's Navy in how to dispense fair and even-handed discipline.

Renowned historian and artist Jim Christley has contributed two full color illustrations for the book, as well as providing a keen editorial eye to the project.

This is a project over 10 years in the making, and has been a labor of love for Ric and Dave. We are justifiably proud of our work and we hope you will give it a read. It is available now online at Amazon as a hardcover, in the Kindle E-book edition, and as of April 17, 2024 as an Audiobook! We can also highly recommend Barnes & Noble, available at this link.

Enjoy this timeless tale of our nation's Sailors and our Navy.

Book Reviews

Submariners rightfully take pride in mastering their subs. Their qualifications make them experts in operating and maintaining the boats' systems, and in working together to make their boats potent weapons of war. Yet, while a submarine has its inherent design limitations, the ultimate system, the innovative, ingenious crew aboard have no such boundaries. Here is a real, readable, and relevant story about the true nature of our Nation's Navy, transcending the "power of the platform," to focus on the indomitable ingenuity, resiliency, and perseverance of its Sailors in addressing an unexpected and unimagined challenge... -- Captain B.T. Smith, USN, (Ret.)

This is a submarine story that is not well known or understood even by veteran submariners. David and Ric are well-known among the submarine force for their well-researched and interesting writing. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in U.S. submarine history. -- Captain Mike Hewitt, USN, (Ret.), (Former Editor, The Submarine Review)

A Good and Favorable Wind is the recreated and historically accurate story of a World War One-era submarine, the USS R-14. Told with a "You are There" quality, this story provides hard lessons learned, and will be enlightening to readers unfamiliar with life aboard subs and perils the crews faced. Authors Ric Hedman and David L. Johnston are to be commended for their in-depth research and narrative flair. --James E. Haas, Historian & Author

Review from a veteran 22 year retired UK submarine sailor:

I never considered myself a book reviewer but like most people, I do know what I like to read. This book had LIKE stamped all over it from the first chapter and it never failed to intrigue and fascinate me as a qualified submariner to the last page.

Submarines are primarily designed to operate covertly in the depths of the ocean and have neither the hull configuration nor the capability to operate on the surface until necessary to charge batteries for the then diesel/electric engines and fast utmost transits when deemed strategic by the commanding officer. In the event of the latter, it could often result in a very rough surface passage for the crew. In May 1921 USS R14 was dispatched with other submarines to conduct a search pattern off Hawaii for the overdue naval tug USS Conestoga roughly 140 miles from their base at Pearl Harbor. From there is where our unique story starts.

When I read a book of interest, I try to form an imaginary triangle between the subject matter, the author/authors, and myself as the reader. Many books these days offer scant details about the writer/writers. It is usually at best a very brief thumbnail sketch relegated to the flyleaf of the dust cover of a hardback or the back jacket of a paperback. They confirm very little in terms of knowledge of the subject but will give a short litany about other books they have written on varied matters and what academia they attended at some point. All without being too specific about any personal experience they may or not possess about their chosen written work.

This book is professionally organized from the onset in every respect from its prefaces to detailed profiles of the two authors bringing you the story after years of personal research into something that occurred over one hundred and two years ago. From that, you will understand both of these men are qualified submariners of the US Navy with years of operational experience on submarines and are eminently suited to tell this story without fear or favor in reaching their considered views on what actually happened to USS R-14.

Rewind to May 1921 with R-14 on station in the search grid for the missing naval tug USS Conestoga when the unbelievably happened, they ran out of diesel fuel and the main engines had to be shut down. Dead in the water, the two senior officers aboard ordered checks on all fuel tanks to assess the scale of the problem but all reports came back negative on soundings. They had left Pearl with provisions for 10 days which they had and assumed enough fuel for the same time period to get back home had been taken aboard. The radioman tried contacting Pearl Harbor but back in the pioneer years of submarines radio communications were pretty primitive due to dampness causing problems with shorts and grounds and nothing was being transmitted from the boat. It looked like a logistics routine bunkering had gone seriously wrong at some point but bigger problems remained to be solved by the stricken crew. Both authors examine numerous problems about refuelling and inaccurate readings being recorded and it is all fully explained in the narrative.

Officers and crew now held brain-storming sessions on how to proceed and get back to Pearl. Inspiration struck and it was finally agreed that they would erect three square rig sails main, mizzen, and fore on the boat to sail back roughly 140 miles to the main island. Submarines of the day still had sailmakers' tools like palms and sail needles aboard and the crew got to work sewing canvas hammocks together and later blankets to provide the three sails for the job. Sails were hoisted and the boat started moving at about one knot an hour but moving all the same. Managing the boat's steering system was arduous and caused upper body exertions on the crew so they were changed hourly to prevent muscular problems. The crew displayed a can-do mentality that resulted in them reaching Hilo Harbor and finally Pearl. And were commended by their Commander Chester Nimitz for their efforts in bringing the boat and themselves safely home. The same Chester Nimitz who as an Admiral gained international acclaim in the Pacific War against Japan in WWII.

An excellent book and an exciting read. Bravo Zulu to both authors on a job exceptionally well done.

Many Thanks


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