"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Captain's Log Archive

>> Sunday, October 4, 2009

Greetings from Mystic, CT, as we near the end of our first week as a ship’s company aboard the- fondly dubbed- “Mighty Windship WESTWARD”.  Thirty- four souls on board, plus West- our ship’s dog and Morale Officer.  All hands (and paws) are working hard to master the nuances of life aboard.


As always, for me, one of the biggest challenges is learning so many names.  My crew constantly show me up in this department, as they have a lot more one-on-one time with the students, especially this early on. 


The view from back aft on the Quarterdeck is one of carefully organized bustle and activity. Our new hands are rapidly learning a new language and culture- one that is old and time honored, and will shape the next several weeks of all of our lives.  Floors, ceilings, toilets, walls, the kitchen, outside, inside, stairs- all have different names or the words mean something different than what you’d expect.  There are about 50 lines to learn the names and functions of, and carefully structured “how to’s” for cleaning, dish-washing, climbing ladders, relieving the helm, and where its safe to walk and stand. Even the ship’s heads (toilets) are stick-shift versions instead of automatics. All of this information is important from the first day- and all comes second to the Emergency plans, equipment, and drills. 


And the sailing!  We got to set sail just off the dock in Boston- what we call “four lowers”- both for show and to put all hands in the proper mindset for a sailing voyage.  The next day was a coveted downwind sail under our squares to Gloucester- allowing great opportunities for students to get aloft and really experience traditional sailing.  After a great day ashore in Gloucester, the wind picked up with a passing cold front, and Friday found us bowling along to Provincetown under reefed main, staysl’s, and jib at 8 knots in 5-7 foot seas.  We had a little introduction to Mal-de-Mer, but a spectacular day.


I’m sure students were relieved that Saturday broke calm, forcing us to motor-sail across Cape Cod Bay to the Canal.  As we waited for the tide to go fair, the glassy seas gave us the opportunity to spy on a large sunfish, practice Man Overboard Drills, and then to have a swim call.  And Sunday rounded out our sailing and weather with a rainy, foggy, cold, and blustery motor sail to windward from Buzzard’s Bay to Mystic.  We arrived soggy and cold to the welcoming and familiar faces of the Seaport, and Jackson’s grandparents huddled under an umbrella watching our arrival. 


These hands probably don’t realize it, but they’re the most real exhibit in this museum.  While the students immediately turned to stowing the ship- furling down, squaring yards, setting flags, coiling down lines, rigging gangways and chafe gear, dock lines and fenders, West checked out nearby sticks and passers by.  They hit the dock with a little roll in their step as they turn to these still new tasks like weathered salts.  The next leg of the voyage will be about 400 nautical miles.  So far we’ve made about 150 miles.  I feel we’re all on our way to being prepared for sea.



27 Sept ‘09


Total Pageviews

  © Free Blogger Templates Skyblue by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP