Saturday, January 08, 2005

Chris: Friday II

The big event of the morning was a school of dolphins herding fish, swimming in tight circles and slapping their tails.

We spent the afternoon doing evolutions – maneuvering the ship down wind, wearing ship, or jibing to small boat sailors. The three watches were assigned respective masts, and then rotated among the masts, so that they learned the similarities and the differences. The wind was too light for us to tack into the wind, but not too light to attempt a "boxhaul." Boxhauling is a special maneuver in which the ship is turned in its own length. We ran her up into the win, backed all her sails against their masts, then spun the helm over to the other side and sailed backwards into a "J" and sailed off in a different direction. I had the privilege of manning the helm and thus shared the overview with the captain. For tall ship aficionados, boxhauling is the cat's pajamas. With thirty of us on deck, the maneuvers went very well. For the captain to attempt a boxhaul suggests confidence in our collective capabilities.

As we were performing our last maneuver, the captain pulled yet another man overboard drill and we got the boat over in record time. Then the first mate, Andy, too Rose and Anna out to film the ship under sail.

We are now about thirty miles north of the Dry Tortugas, with 36 hours before our permit to land goes into effect, so we will heave to for the evening, the fors'l turned to starboard, the main tops'l to port, the spanker set to starboard and the helm lashed to leeward. That's what it takes to park a square-rigger in a seaway. Oh, yes, we will turn on our deck lights so that no one runs us down. That is not likely.

Visibility is excellent. The sea is calm, we are out of the shipping lanes, and haven’t encountered any traffic all day.
posted by Chris