"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

>> Thursday, November 10, 2011

We’ve started a new segment of our trip that probably means very little to non-Ocean people: J-WO. J-WO stands for Junior Watch Officer and is more than a little scary because it means that, during your watch, the J-WO, who could be you, is in charge of the ship. Even scarier is that, as a whole, the ship is fully in the charge of the students. We are planning everything from the time for deck wash to the long-term sail plan from here until the end of the trip. The ship is entirely in our hands and, personally, some days I wouldn’t mind handing it right back to Captain and the other professional crew. Last night on the graveyard shift, my favorite watch, I was J-WO. We were tracking squalls, buoys, and lighthouses, and trying to determine a course and a time of arrival for refueling in St. Thomas, all in the rain. But this was not the most stressful of watches, as our sails were down so we weren’t looking at sail trim, wind direction, or tacking. So many considerations go into one hour of sailing, and even with a seven-person team and a mate to back you up, J-WO isn’t exactly a calming experience. That said, who would give up the stress of J-WO to be taken off the ocean, out of the Caribbean, and brought back to a regular classroom to learn in a standard way? Even with the added pressures of J-WO, we are some of the luckiest people around because we are sailing today.



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