"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


>> Monday, March 19, 2012

Aboard the Harvey Gamage, it is a rite of passage to go aloft. You have to learn all the various rigging on the boat, both the running (the things you haul on) and the standing (the things that offer support and can be used to climb on). Mates test you on other things, such as flag etiquette, knots, and describing the setting and striking procedures of any sail. After you do all of this, you are allowed to put on a harness and climb aloft with a crew member. You must always say “laying aloft on the fore-mast” or “laying aloft on the main-mast” before you scale the shrouds. Going aloft is important because the rigging must be checked for chafe. I figured that I’d just get my aloft clearing out of the way, and when I did, I didn’t think much of it.

However, the first time I went aloft I found my heart pounding with exhilaration. The top of the mast does not appear as high from the deck as it is from the top. When I looked down, people appeared the size of bugs and I could see the entire expanse of the ship. The boat was rocking a medium amount on deck, but aloft it felt like an earthquake with exaggerated pitches. I held onto the shrouds like they were glued to my hands. I could see island off Trinidad from the point of view of a Scarlet Ibus (shout-out to Trinidad’s national bird!). The ship looks so small from the top of the mast but also so sleek. It gave me a different perspective of our home, the Harvey Gamage. She may not be the fastest boat on the ocean, but seeing her cut through the water from the top of the mast made me respect her more than I had before.

Soren, Minneapolis, Minnesota


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