SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
At this point in our 10 day journey to Lisbon, everyone seems quite settled into life at sea. Even our daily water consumption has increased by almost 100 gallons over the last couple days, which tells us that people have been more active. The jump in water consumption is no worry since we make about 20 gallons of fresh water an hour in the sea water filtration system and actually produce a net positive amount of water each day.
Today B Watch had morning watch, which is 0700 to 1200. When we climbed up on deck the sea was as I had never seen it before, almost glassy, perfect for some water skiing. Unfortunately the Cramer can’t go that fast, especially when no wind is present. After about an hour of bobbing the wind picked up and we were going a steady 7 knots for about 45 minutes before the wind died down again. Safe to say Mother Nature is being rather indecisive at this time.
Today was, all and all, an almost perfect day for sailing. I was part of A watch which had the 0700 - 1300 shift which meant that we were able to catch the beginning of the sun rise and feel the weather turn form cool and breezy to hot and sunny. While there wasn’t too much we had to do in term of sailing, we were certainly kept busy by doing drills were we would strike and set the forestays’l multiple times so that we would get a better feel for handling sails with minimal crew help.
Today was the first full day of sailing after leaving Douarnenez and we have enjoyed a light but constant breeze from the north, with a bright and cloudless sky. C watch spotted common dolphins, who explored the wake of the ship and leapt off a couple waves on either side, and learned to take sightings with a sextant the closest first time reading being Sam’s at 6.6 miles off.
Today was a busy day from the very beginning. After breakfast we had “field day”. If you begin to envision the fun and games from grammar school you are sorely mistaken. Field day the cleaning of the ship from top to bottom. While we clean the ship, keep it tidy, and sanitize the surfaces that are constantly touched on a regular basis, field day is the time to clean EVERY surface.
For our morning program (class) time, we went and toured Plomarche, the site of an ancient farmstead and Roman ruin about a 15 minute walk from the ship. We learned about the importance of sardines to French history and culture, as well as discussed other major factors that play into that history, such as the fall of the Roman Empire. Professor Dan always brings such excitement to our lecture sessions and we can all tell he just absolutely loves history!
Our first educational day in Douarnenez began with an outstanding breakfast of Croissants and Pain au Chocolat, grapefruit, and kiwi. The class then went to the city’s famous maritime museum, Port Musée, home of some some amazing exhibits. Primarily, the maritime museum housed boats and various vessels of many different sizes and cultures, but we also got an exclusive look at a new Navigation exhibit with some rarely-seen artifacts, including a 17th century map book detailing both old world and new in striking clarity.
Today, we set foot on land after several rainy, rocky days at sea in the English Channel. Unfortunately, many of us discovered that not only were we afflicted by seasickness on the boat, but also landsickness once we stepped on land (which is more of a woozy vertigo sensation). But all of us were glad to get a chance to explore the quaint coastal town of Douarnenez relatively autonomously this afternoon.
Today has been a very eventful day! Us on C Watch (the best watch!) had the morning shift, and we had the chance to set and strike the top sail, a square sail that is raised Midships. Along with the normal duties, we learned many of the line names, as well as all of the sails. There are a lot of lines to remember, and soon we will hold a pin race, which is similar to a relay race. We will have to run to a certain line (different for each person), identify it, run to it and touch it, and return to our watch at the quarterdeck.
And we’re off! After a morning of emergency drills at the dock in Cork City, we met our pilot and headed down the River Lee with the diesel running at about a thousand rpms. Pilot John was a friendly veteran of many a run up and down Cork Harbor, which is actually an immense estuary dotted with villages, harbors, and specialized ports-a break bulk port, a container port, an old coal port, a naval base at Haulbowline Island, the yachting town of Crosshaven. St. Colmen’s Cathedral towered over the pretty town of Cobh in full neo-gothic splendor.