It’s crazy what a difference 12 hours makes. Last night when C Watch took the deck, menacing clouds loomed, lightening flashed and the engine roared as we motor-sailed into yet another squall. Gathering today for our pre-afternoon-watch-meeting, we searched in vain for a patch of shade in which to hide. We gybe, heave-to, set and strike sails on most watches. Yet finding a moment when all 10 of us can gather and talk through theory and why we do the maneuvers we do can be hard to come by so we used this afternoon’s half hour meeting to discuss gybing.
The Fisherman sail being set
Why we gybe – when wind the shifts, for a change of course, to heave-to and, of course, as for many things on this ship, for science! How we gybe – warn the galley (no spilled soup), square the yards, turn the helm two turns to leeward (away from the wind), sheet in (pull in) the mainsail, pass the stern through the wind, ease the main and pass the forwards sails to the new leeward (except for science!)
Apart from the brief appearance of a whale, we flowed seamlessly into lunch and then relieved B Watch.
Just as conditions can change drastically in 12 hours, a whole day can seemingly be packed into a 6-hour watch. Within minutes of taking the deck, Yoela, my “shadow” for the day had C watch casting off the downhaul and hauling the halyard to set the Jib Topsail (JT). The lines for the JT had barely been made fast (secured after done being used) when Yoela commanded everyone to “prepare to set the Fish.”
The Fish (yes it’s a sail not another Mahi) fills in the top gap between the two masts and thus only gets set if our “4 lowers” are set and it’s not too windy. Today’s conditions begged for it and the proper level of excitement filled the air as the Fish rose up to its perch to a chorus of “ two – six – heave.” Satisfied that Cramer was cruising happily on her course with carefully trimmed sails, Yoela delegated the next round of tasks, gathering cleaning supplies for Field Day.
Field Days come and Field Days go but with each one the students get faster efficient and Cramer gets cleaner. After two hours of scrubbing, dancing, sweeping, rinsing, singing, re-organizing, eating candy and tidying the exhausted but satisfied crew returned to their bunks, their school work, their favorite hangout spots or their roles on watch.
With Oreos and peanut butter to fortify them, C Watch rallied once more - this time for some celestial navigation. Aiden, Yoela, Kerren and Audrey shot the sun. Sam and Aiden learn how to use the Nautical Almanac and Sight Reduction Tables to do all the calculations by hand. Plotting until the very last minute before A Watch relieved us, Yoela attained a fix using Mars and with wind swept hair, calloused hands and words like Declination, Local Hour Angle, Azimuth and Intercept whirling in their brains, C Watch gathered happily below for dinner.
Cramer with all fore and aft sails drawing wind, making her way south.
- Carolyn Vincent, C Watch
Well that’s all the news from the Corwith Cramer where the sun is strong, the sails are good looking and all the students are above average.
PS Daddy and Maman, look never even mentioned what we ate today :p hope you’re staying warm, can’t wait to come home and tell you all the stories. Love you lots, Carolou. Ian, you were right about bringing the crocs, miss you heaps and hope you’re having fun storming the castle.
P.S. My dear Mary Iris: I hope your birthday makes you nearly as happy as you make me every single day. You deserve the world! Thinking of you, as always, and I'm putting in that extra elbow grease to make sure we get to Key West right on time. All the love in the world. - Logan