SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
Approaching Boca Chica
Description of location
Southwest of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic
Southeast winds at 15 knots, seas 4 feet.
I just came below deck after a beautiful sunset, an equally beautiful moonrise, and watching a student (Hailey) lead our ship through a tacking procedure to get us pointed closer to our destination of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic - the end of the voyage for C-264.
Letting students lead shipboard evolutions is a fundamental part of phase 3, the "Junior Watch Officer" phase on deck. Although the mate and I remain ever available and legally in charge of the watch, to the extent our students want to, they actually run the ship. Whether it is carrying out the routine duties of the watch, or leading all hands through sail handling, these students have really shown their ability to quickly absorb and synthesize all the new information they learned over the past six weeks.
Although it can be tough to end a trip and say goodbye to such wonderful students and friends, it is really rewarding for me to see the level of leadership and competence that this group of Cramer sailors has developed during the voyage. While they may have developed into great sailors, we don't primarily aim to teach students the skills of the nautical world. Instead, I think of the ship as the ultimate tool for personal growth and development.
Although Hailey (as an example of our 22 excellent students) called a great tacking evolution and our ship is pointed exactly where I want to go, without me saying a word, I am actually more impressed by her growth as a member of our little travelling community - she's able to take on a leadership role when necessary and she demonstrates all the skills she'll need in the working world: rapidly processing new information, making decisions on questionable data, working with people unlike her, sticking it out through rough conditions, directing and trusting others for her success, keeping a positive attitude during mundane work, etc.etc.etc.
So for me, it is tough to say goodbye to this group of students as we reach the end of our 3 months together, but I am happy to see them heading off into the world more knowledgeable about themselves, confident in their personality, and with a list of lifelong friends as SEA Semester alums.