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USS R-14 (SS-91) - Wikipedia


Seen here are the jury-rigged sails used to bring R-14 back to port in 1921; the mainsail rigged from the radio mast is the top sail in the photograph, and the mizzen made of eight blankets also is visible. R-14’s acting commanding officer, Lieutenant Alexander Dean Douglas, USN, is at top left, without a hat. (Source: US Naval Historical Center).




Title: USS R-14
Description: (SS-91) Under full sail in May 1921. While searching for the missing USS Conestoga (AT-54) southeast of Hawaii, the R-14 lost her powerplant. As repairs were unsuccessful, her crew rigged a jury sail, made of canvas battery deck covers, to the periscope and sailed her to Hilo. She arrived there on 15 May 1921, after five days under sail. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.
Catalog #: NH 52858
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2 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

You gotta do what ya gotta do to get home. :)


Improvise, adapt, and overcome.

More on it:


All hands were soon employed in making a foresail out of the crew’s hammocks. Eight hammocks were stitched together, forming a sail, held by a frame made from dismantled bunks. The entire structure was then tied to the vertical kingpost of the torpedo loading crane, located forward of the submarine’s superstructure.

However, a submarine was much heavier and had a much lower silhouette than let’s say a 16th-century Spanish galleon. With the foresail, it achieved a speed of no more than one knot (1.2 mph; 1.9 km/h).

So Lieutenant Gallemore decided to produce additional sails in order to gain speed. His do-it-yourself approach certainly motivated the sailors who were just several hours earlier contemplating their impending doom.

They built a mainsail out of six blankets and attached it to the radio mast, which added another half a knot to the total speed of the ship. In addition to this, another half a knot was achieved by stitching up another eight blankets and assembling yet another frame out of bunk beds.

The third sail was then added to the vertically placed boom of the torpedo loading crane.

Traveling at a speed of almost three knots, Gallemore was able to start recharging the batteries of the electric motors. After 69 hours of sailing, they finally reached the easternmost tip of the Hawaii islands and entered Hilo Harbor on the morning of May 15, 1921.

For the achievement and spirit of innovation, Lieutenant Douglas received a letter of commendation from his Submarine Division Commander, CDR Chester W. Nimitz.

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Then old prewar boats were pretty unreliable.

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Those old R-class subs were pretty tiny.
My grandfather was the first commander of the R4 when commissioned in 1919.

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