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

SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer

February 18, 2017

Helm and Sky – Moments on the Cramer

William Fitzgerald, A Watch, Knox College

Above: Sunset on the Cramer. Below: Small boat ride with Sara (Chief Mate), Abby (1st Scientist – driver), Will, Maddy, and Lukas.

Ship's Log

Current Location
015° 55’ N x 062° 21’ W (

50nm northwest of Dominica

Ship’s Heading & Speed
Steering 130 PSC, 4 knots

Winds ExN, Force 4, Seas 3 feet

Sail Plan
Sailing on a port tack under all fore and aft sails.

Souls on Board

The Helm:
So far, I have had the joy of having a few hours at the helm of the ship. It is a powerful moment in my general watch duties because it gives me the power of navigation; the ability to take our vessel to where ever we may desire. With this power comes some of the boats eccentricities. The steering is not as smooth as one might expect. The steering wheel shakes and rattles constantly. Sometimes it doesn’t feel as much like you’re steering the boat as much as the boat is recommending a preferred direction of its own. I saw our captain taking the helm today and much to my chagrin he was able to control the steering without constantly holding the wheel! I was curious and he told me that under the right sail configuration the steering becomes far more balanced: so balanced in fact that the helm can essentially correct itself and keeps a steady track without human intervention. This is not to say I no longer hold onto the helm of course, but this experience has helped me by re-framing the steering instincts from cautious over steering to a more fluid approach which has helped me navigate much more effectively.

The Night:
When aboard Cramer, precious moments flow like our endless supply of black coffee. On our first night leaving St. Croix, I was consumed by the night sky. It was 0200 and the stars were all around us. I could see every constellation as if they had never existed before, because frankly they hadn’t for me. You could never find a night sky as detailed as ours on land. You could not see Taurus the way we have. You can’t imagine the all-consuming globe of stars shining more brightly and more vastly like a palace of glimmering goddesses. It is more than most people will ever see, and for that privilege I am Cramer’s humble servant.

I have enjoyed every part of the trip so far: from the experience of being a sailor to experiencing the small joys of waking up to a full horizon sunrise. The whole experience could not be more perfect.


P.S. Mom and Dad, I sent you a postcard, and thanks for compelling me to do this.

Previous entry: We Are Here    Next entry: Port Stop in Dominica


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