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Current position of the SSV Corwith Cramer. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer

November 22, 2017

A Sailor Survey

Helen Wolter, Deckhand/Sailing Intern

Refer (refrigerator) turkeys

Ship's Log

Current Position
33° 35’ 6” S x 177° 05’ 8” E

Course & Speed
course ordered 060°, steering 040° full and by at 4.1 knots
Sail Plan
Sailing Northeast towards the Kermadec Islands

Bright and sunny, sparkling seas    

Souls on Board

As we settle into a comfortable routine and get accustomed to the constant rocks and rolls of the boat, our focus can shift from some of us trying to keep our lunches down (there are fewer new members of the Fish Feeders Club every day) towards navigation, science deployments, and group discussions on cultural heritage. Our watch groups have been setting and striking sails, working in the labs and eating as one unit, so it’s fair to say we are getting to know each other pretty well. I wouldn’t want our dear readers (Hi, Mom) to feel left out, so I’ve asked students and weathered sailors alike to answer some choice questions as we settle into our journey.

Q1: What is one thing you wish you had brought and one thing you’re happy to have remembered bringing on this trip?

One thing everyone seems to have forgotten in Woods Hole: more pants. Sweatpants, pants with more pockets, warmer pants, wind pants, and rain pants are being missed during the chilly dawn watches and occasional rain spells. Conversely, those who read up on the weather out in the open ocean were very grateful to have the extra pair of pants to slip over some long underwear. We forgot our mothers’ warmest knitwear and contact solution, extra supplies of deodorant and knitting yarn. Some of us are missing our pets, wishing we had snuck our cats and dogs into our bunks. Surely no one would notice, and if they did they wouldn’t mind! We remembered our overalls and polarized sunglasses, Advent calendars and film cameras, windbreakers and baseball hats. Some wished they had packed more, but most agreed they had reached the perfect medium, as another layer is never too far away (just in our bunks down below).

Q2: Where will you be for Christmas?

We are not coming home for the holidays! The RCS crew is excited to be celebrating in port in Auckland, Christmas lights and dinner plans slowly creeping into our field of vision. Students are taking advantage of the warm weather and hopefully fewer crowds down in the southern hemisphere; many are going hiking around the south island, visiting Australia, or even Vietnam and Egypt.

Q3: What is your favorite sailing vocabulary you’ve learned so far?

Sailing has a unique lingo that can be confusing, funny and even somewhat crude at times. Some favorites of the commands we’ve been hearing included “mustering”, “jib-jiggering”, “that’s well, coil and hang”, “freshening the nip”, “hitting the heat” and “baggy wrinkles”.

Q4: What is your favorite watch to stand?

Our watch schedule works because we’ve been divided into 3 watch groups, each standing a 6 hour watch and then having 12 hours off. Dawn watch goes from 0100-0700, morning watch from 0700-1300, afternoon watch from 1300-1900, and evening watch from 1900-0100. Many of us are fans of the early morning stargazing and succeeding sunrise that comes with the dawn watch, mostly enjoying steering at the helm or plotting our course on the charts down below, as others prefer to brave the wind chills that come with assuming the bow lookout position to warn the watch officer of any oncoming traffic, land, or strange weather patterns. Others still are drawn to the engine room, following the pipes and valves and making sense of the maze that allows the ship to function property (three cheers for the engineers!). Everyone gets to be an assistant steward for a day, waking early in the morning to prepare breakfast for the oncoming watch and baking and cooking intermittently throughout the day to feed us six times a day, every day. We get spoiled here!

Q5: Where would you like to sail next?

Understandably, this question prompted answers that spanned the globe. From the fjords in Finland and Norway to the southern tip of Chile and back around to the Northwest Passage, the S-276 group is filled with future world travelers. For now, we are all so excited to be traveling into open waters, exploring new areas like the Kermadecs and reflecting on what we’ve seen so far in Auckland and Russell.

Thanksgiving preparations are keeping everyone excited and festive in this unfamiliar environment, with hand turkeys decorating the refer door and the smell of pies wafting up on deck. Although maybe slightly saltier than past holidays, we’ll enjoy the turkey and stuffing and pecan pie just as much (and with a better view)!

- Helen

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s276  life at sea  study abroad  sailing • (0) Comments
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