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
July 25, 2015
Rock the Boat
41°18.9’N x 10°36.5’W
Description of location
Crossed into Portuguese territorial waters
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Sunny, 22°C, strong wind from the North (aka sweater weather)/all fore and aft sail plus topsail
Living on a tall ship requires a certain amount of flexibility. Once you leave the dock, you are prone to a lot of involuntary motion. For example, sometimes the boat and waves dictate that you wanted to be on the port side of the salon even if you had intended to climb into your top bunk on the starboard side.
To climb into your upper bunk:
- Step onto the ledge of the lower bunk. Warning: do not step sleeping lower bunk resident. Sorry about that one time, Kyle.
- Reach across your bunk and grab the shelf with one hand while still holding the ledge nearest to you with the other.
- Swing your dominant leg up into your bunk with enthusiasm, preferably when the boat swings to your side.
- Pull the rest of your body into bunk and carry on.
The rolling waves allow you the opportunity to return to a baby-like state, one in which you are gently rocked to sleep. The flexibility comes into play when you wake up in the middle of the night because you have been affectionately tossed into the side of the bunk by Mother Carey (aka, the sea).
Last night, the whole ship’s company was awakened many times by the clanging of pots, pans, potatoes, etc. in the galley and raging swells crashing against the boat, knocking us around in our bunks. When A watch came on deck at 0700, we, along with C watch, immediately had to strike (take down) two sails to account for the wind of around 20 knots and waves 10 to 15 feet tall. For the slow and steady Cramer, our speed of almost 9 knots was too fast to maintain. We all quickly sprang into action to pull down the mains’l first, which required climbing on top of the doghouse (where all the navigation, weather, and communication takes place) in order to tie the furled sail into a neat burrito on the mast, careful not to lose our footing and unfold the sail or fall back onto the deck. Next a small group quickly climbed onto the head rig (the net under the pointy part of the ship at the bow) to furl the jib. Meanwhile, the wind continued to howl and some waves were tall enough that they came onto the deck and dropped down into the galley.
The waves were a dark, steely grey, like chiseled rocks gliding across the ocean, lifting our boat 15 feet in the air at times. On watch, we dug our heels in and cheerfully went along for the ride, letting our bodies drift from side to side to keep our balance. In between erratic bouts of threatening storm clouds and sun, we looked off the starboard bow to see a double rainbow! We all were practically giddy with excitement when we realized that we were at the end of a rainbow. Alas, there was no pot of gold.
It was incredible to be caught in the middle of such a powerful display of the ocean’s force and be able to safely enjoy the thrill of a topsy turvy boat. We walked/scurried along deck and gently swung between poles belowdecks, moving with the deep sway of the ship. As students, we realized that we have learned more than we thought we did as we were able to anticipate sail patterns without much instruction. And, that was all before 10 AM!