"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

A Week in Review: Sail Minded

>> Tuesday, February 21, 2012

As always, things have been busy aboard the Harvey Gamage. Last week was a week full of new sailing challenges for everyone. It started off with the trip's first pin rail chase. During this activity the students test their knowledge of the ship’s running rigging and compete against the other watches to correctly locate lines before each other. Congratulations goes out to C Watch for winning this trips first race. The following day we put El Gecko, in the water for the first time this season. El Gecko is one of the ship's small boats, and is equipped with a spritsail rig. This traditional sail arrangement is much different from modern design dinghies as many of our student small boat sailors can attest to. Without a jib or boom she can sometimes be a challenge to get to sail to weather but everyone handled her well and many students got a knack for it by the end of their sail.

On Thursday, we were back in English Harbor, Antigua for a couple of last minute errands and a rare opportunity for a fresh water shower for those who chose to indulge. This day we had the pleasure of bringing local sailing historian Alexis Andrews aboard for a discussion about “Vanishing Sail” in the Caribbean. Alexis is currently working on a project to preserve and bring light to the Carricaou ship building tradition. Before the large steam and container ships were prevalent in the Caribbean much of the inter-island trade was done by locally built sloops. A few of them still exist today and a small community of boat builders also still exists keeping these traditions alive. Alexis is currently making a documentary about these peoples and ships and we wish him the best on his project.

Friday we were underway again, bound of Dominica. We had a deadline, for one of the Caribbean’s best open air markets is on Saturday in Dominica. We pressed on as much canvas as we could, setting the fisherman sail. This sail sets between the fore and main mast and greatly increases our sail area. We are not always able to use this sail because it doesn’t carry well to windward but the wind was in our favor. We gained over ½ a knot in speed helping us reach Roseau, Dominica in time for the market!

Overall it was a great week filled with new experiences, and I’ve only mentioned the new sail related ones that occurred. Much time was also spent exploring and snorkeling at new reefs, shopping in the markets, hiking through the forests, and meeting with locals. As a crew member, I have enjoyed so much being able to share my love of the sea and sailing with the students and get so excited everytime I see them meet a new challenge and conqueror it. I look forward to all the new experiences and challenges we will meet as this trip continues.

Jill Hughes

3rd Mate


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