"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

Two Offshore Passages of Note

>> Saturday, March 3, 2012

The straight line distance on both routes is about 100 miles, but on the run from Dominica, Gamage logged better than twice that. After a good deal of time in port, students needed to regain their sea legs. What a better way to do so than a beat to winward and a long reach to the next port? And so after sailing off Roseau's anchorage, Gamage could be found beating through the Dominica Channel east bound against the Trades for the wide Atlantic Ocean to windward of Martinique. To ensure the weather gage of Martinque outer reefs was gained, the beat back and forth to windward continued through the night and into teh following afternoon. Student navigators had ample opportunity to practice newly acquired plotting and ded reckoning skills. As wind and sea were on the make, a reef was tucked just before dark and then commenced a swashbuckling, all night ride down the windward sides of both Martinique and St Lucia. Dawn of the second day saw Gamage romping close along St Lucia's southern coast by the imposing Pitons soon after coming to anchor with stern lines made off to coco palms near tranquil Soufriere.
Departing in the late afternoon from St. Lucia, Gamage, as is her custom, again sailed off the anchor. After a day of arduous hiking to among other places than the peak of hte Gros Piton, the crew was weary though no less able. On clearing St. Lucia's lee Gamage was off on another wild ride. The wind had freshened and backed well north of east providing an easy opportunity to weather St Vincent and a near downwind run in +25 knots of wind and a frolicsome 8-10 foot sea. Dawn the next day say Gamage booming past Bequia to starboard then Canouan to port through the northern Grenadines. Just before sailing into Carriacou, Gamage hove to for a traditional Ocean Classroom celebration, the Dead Horse Ceremony.
On longer OC voyages, the point at which students are no longer considered "green" hands, that is acknowledges as apprentice crew in fact, is noted. On this occasion the day marked a month into the program and the mile stone of better than 1000 nautical miles so far sailed as logged during the previous night's mid watch. All hands gathered on the quarterdeck around the "dead horse," an artful construct of cardboard boxes complete with tail and ears. Everyone was invited to write on a scrap of paper some thing or feeling that was wished off the ship. The scraps were then given to the dead horse to hold inside. A short congratulatory speech made mention of the fact that on this passage no one had (for the first time) communed with Neptune via mal de mer. Everyone's sea legs were indeed being gained! Then came the traditional "Poor Old Horse" chantey ably lead by song master, Second Mate Simpson, with everyone joining in the chorus. With the final verse, "We'll sink him down with a long, long roll; Where the sharks'll have his body, an' the devil take his soul" and the chorus, "Oh we hope so, an' we say so," the horse and his cargo of notes was heaved over the side. Gamage then promptly got underway to come flying in to the Hillsboro Bay anchorage, round up head to wind, and let go the anchor off the town pier with flags proudly snapping in the breeze.

Captain JB Smith
Aboard Schooner Harvey Gamage, February 28, 2012
Hillsboro Anchorage, Carriacou, Southern Grenadine


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