March 14, 2005


I was out of town when the new RESEARCH boat tests were recently started through Rich Passage, however, I have now been home for almost a week & have been observing test runs for the last few days. Even though I do not know the operating conditions (weight, speed, x-y path,.....) for each test run, I offer some general observations.


As would be expected, I observe higher and stronger wakes associated with presumed (judged) faster speeds.


The general character of the RESEARCH wakes seems to be very similar to those of the larger, heavier, & faster Chinook class boats. This is, there are multiple bow and stern wakes with each passing, with stern wakes being much stronger. However, instead of the 10-15 wakes per passing of the Chinook, the RESEARCH boat seems to generate about twice as many, each of which hits our beach with less force than each of the Chinook-class wakes. Unlike most other vessels that transit Rich Passage (most pleasure boats, WSF car ferries, & all US Navy ships), the wake characteristics of this RESEARCH boat, & of the Chinook-class ferries, are "different". Instead of a wake with "rolling waves" that "crash" onto our beach, these boats generate many more wakes, each of which is first noticed on our beach by an "undertow" action that rolls loose beach gravel down slope toward the tide line. Each undertow is then followed by a "crested" wave that tends to trap the gravel at its new position down slope.


The RESEARCH vessel seems to be "riding very high in the water". Perhaps that is largely due to the hull & foil design, & to test speeds. I hope that many of the tests are being run at operational "commuter-maximum", loaded weights & speeds, when the boat would presumably ride the lowest in the water (& generate stronger wakes) for the same conditions otherwise.


Almost all of the test runs that I have observed in the last week have been run at moderate to low tide levels. Much of the damage caused to our beach by the Chinook-class operation was the result of erosion of gravel away from our bulkhead when the tide levels were moderately high. Although I cannot be sure, I think that I can see a "steepening" of our beach contour near the water-beach boundary where the tides have been during most recent tests.


In general, I applaud the concept of testing any new ferry designs under realistic operational conditions before committing them to extensive & expensive service in sensitive coastal areas. I look forward to further communications about the current tests & future "fast-ferry" plans for Rich Passage.


Don Bennett-Point White





February 14 2005


the empty passenger only fast ferry speeds by on its test route to Bremerton. It does not go down the middle of the channel but comes way over on the Bainbridge side. The stern waves create turbulence. When the waves hit the beach they kick up beach sediment creating brown water. This causes beach destruction. We have observed this Monday, February 7 between 11:30 and Noon, Friday, February 11 between 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. and Monday, February 14 at 1:50 p.m.


I would appreciate a response.


Joanna Cairns - Bainbridge Island





April 11, 2005


As the boat came by west bound at about 0837 the wake as it came to shore reflected the picture in your last news letter, only further west and a little more pronounced. I wounder if this is more from where the boat make its turn than to bottom topography. This affect is not always from the same direction or place from left or right as viewed from my place.




Phil Menees, Port Orchard


March 11, 2005


I have found in observing the exp-boat lately that sometimes the wake varies greatly. Are the speeds being varied, trim changed or something else. Also we are experiencing again, a lot of sediment being stirred up by the wakes along the shore line. This is from the larger wakes hitting Mr. Cooks beach where there is again quite a bit of erosion happening from the pounding of the larger wakes during higher tides. I see muddy colored water moving with the current as far out as my mooring buoy.




Phil Menees, Port Orchard


March 26, 2005


We spoke a couple of months ago on my beach. At that time I told about the Sand build up on my mothers property at 3262 Beach Dr. E. This ac cured while the state ran it's boats. For the time I can remember, in the 60's and 70's She had a beach of heavy rock and barnacles. When the state ran the cat boats a build up of sand 10 to 18" deep covered her beach. This sand slowly disappeared after the boats stopped running. Now again after some time in the last months the build up is again accruing. It is now covering the beach again. For years this did not ac cure. What has changed? For my mother this is good, she likes the beach of sand. The changes at this time is just curious.




Phil Menees, Port Orchard


February 10, 2005


I appreciate your continuous interest. Is the testing being done to determine a level of acceptable wake or to determine the wake of this vessel to be acceptable.. The initial interest a few years back was for immediate property damage although an environmental impact was found to be significant. This was the scouring of bottom growth and materials. I believe if the WFS boats would have slowed  at +8' or so there might not have been an issue, although some may argue this. My property is not being immediately impacted, although under operations of continuous passages may cause concern. Thanks Phil Menees, Port Orchard


February 7, 2005


Thank you for the response. I witnessed the passing of the vessel at Point Glover and found visually as the boat passed an impression of minimum wake being produced. As the energy approached the shore especially inshore of light #9 the wake grew to the point of going up over the bulkheads of the Reids and Wadels. This was with a tide level of higher than 8' I believe. When I say up over I mean the spray once the wake hits the bulkhead. You are welcome to witness this or film from my residence if you like . We have a multitude of current in this area at any given time of the tide. This spray is at the same area that some dramatic film was taken a few years back. Enough rambling thanks again


Phil Menees, Port Orchard


February 7, 2005


Bremerton sun 2/7/05, where is Rich Pass, not where the test are being conducted. Although comparisons can be made to other vessels under the same conditions, the conditions being tested are not Rich Pass. Things like current, vessel turning and speed reduction caused by vessel turning and bottom contures need to be considered. In Rich pass where the vessel begins its turn at piont glover is also critical. Where and when the wake before the turn and after the turn meet sould be looked at.


Phil Menees, Port Orchard







February 12, 2005


Thank you for taking time on Friday to talk on the beach in front of my home. Please take this as constructive. I once again read your news letter and it helped understand the testing and procedures. By the time I worked through the second half about the boat I came away with the feeling the boat was being justified before it was even tested, so hence the skepticism. It almost sounded as the same dialog as when the state was building the cat boats. At this time it would be interesting to run both the states cat and monohauls through your test program to get their comparisons and get a multi vessel profile under similar conditions. It should be done now as we know the conditions change throughout the year.


Phil Menees - Point Glover, Port Orchard





October 3, 2004


I have your letter dated 9/28/04 regarding the feasibility study of Seattle - Bremerton ferry service. I shall make every effort to attend the Blakely school mtg (6:30 10/13) but offer the following in case it doesn't happen.


(1) Beans Bight is not in Rich Passage, and probably does not react in the same way to wave action.


(2) I have spent part of nearly every summer of my life on this stretch of beach: year round during the '30s and since 1980. I have observed (unscientifically) the action of wind, storm and tide, ferries and other vessels. I was, therefore, dismayed when attorney Berman's suit on behalf of some of the Pt White residents, some of whom had not been there for even a year's duration, I believe, was so successful. I was unable to discover whether oceanographic advice had been sought. No one I could find along Bean's Bight, South Beach or Pleasant Beach was consulted. I walked the Pt. White stretch at the time of the suit and was shown 'evidence' of the damage supposedly caused by the foot ferries. I remain unconvinced, but our opinion was not sought.


The downside of my views is that I am now 86 and not as sharp as I once was, nor is my memory unassailable (a smart attorney could tear me apart). Many of the properties, after same family ownership, have changed hands in the last few years. I could find some old timers who recall early years along the beach. I'd like to participate in any way I can, and be put on record as supporting efforts to improve water transportation for Bremerton travelers.


Marion Docter - Beans Bight







October 4, 2004


Thanks for your letter announcing the scheduling of meetings for Ocober 13 & 14 regarding high speed ferries from Bremerton to seattle. Unfortunately I plan to be out of town so will not have the chance to attend, so I take this opportunity to say what is brief.


A Catamaran wake is short and steep (vs. that of a regular ferry), which means more energy in the wave (with other factors), thus the source of the resident complaints.


I have noted two things as a manifestation of the energy transmission. First, a raising of the beach height portraying the movement of tons of gravel and sand, which if I were to try to do myself I would not only be frustrated by nature, but surely be caught by those who would oppose any such project.


Secondly, my raft is torn loose from its mooring which in itself is only a nuisance but in the greater view is indicative of the energy of that wave which has led to the complaint of others with a steeper shore which in turn is the setup for bulkhead destruction, and its consequences.


What is the wave form (and energy) of a hydrofoil?


Art Ratcliffe





October 5, 2004


I am not in favor of the fast ferry from Seattle to Bremerton. There is enough traffic through the passage already & I am not allowed to have a bulkhead at this time.


Heather Floyd





October 18, 2004


We attended your meeting at the Manchester School last week and found it very informative. Will you be adding to your web site a place for beach owners to write their concerns?


We would like to have one of your experts walk our beach at a low tide and look at our problems. The Observations Data Sheet is not directed at our type of beach even though we had beach damage throughout the years that the State ran the fast ferries through this passage. Please contact us about a date to walk the beach in November.


Dave and Ayvon Card - Port Orchard





October 14, 2004


A very good meeting at Manchester School.  I am attaching a picture of my beach taken in  1980.   The beach started to erode when the Issaquah Class Ferry was introduced and intensified with the advent of the Skagit.  The later fast ferries finished the job.


Thanks again for your efforts.


Ray Ondracek---6035 Watauga Beach





October 21, 2004


Thanks for the well formatted, technically superior and articulate presentation this evening.


Had this approach been used years ago we would now have reliable low wake, low impact, fast ferries on the run today.


If this study draws to it's logical conclusion I will some day soon be riding a fast ferry to Seattle instead of standing on the shore and shaking my fist at them.


Thanks again for a good solid start.


Steve & Barb Schultz - Enetai Beach