(Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1968-05)
One of our greatest present limitation is the handling of heavy oceanographic equipment in the rough seas that prevail so much of the time. The ability to handle heavy equipment in rough winter weather at sea is a necessary goal that has received very little theoretical or practical treatment compared to its importance in research, salvage, and rescue work. The transfer of large oceanographic equipment has gained great importance in Woods Hole with the acquisition of the deep submergence oceanographic research submarine ALVIN. this fifteen ton craft (Mavor, J.W. et al, 1966) requires launch and recovery and service from a surface support vessel and its handling has proven to be a difficult task at best.
One of the major reasons for a change in the design of the Navy's medium size AGOR class research ships was to provide the capability to carry small submersible research vehicles and similar heavy objects. With the assignment of one of the first of these new vessels, the AGOR-15, to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Leiby, 1967), where ALVIN is in operation and another submersible is scheduled for delivery in 1969, it became imperative that the ship not only be capable of carrying such a load but that an adequate handling system be developed.
The funding for the design and construction of the new AGOR provided the opportunity to survey the state of the art and to develop and improved handling system for ALVIN.