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SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
October 16, 2020
Thankful for Thankless Work
41° 28.5’ N x 070° 45.3’ W
Ship’s Heading, Speed and Sail Plan
At anchor in Tarpaulin Cove
Incoming gale (but we’re in sheltered waters)
Life on the deck of the Cramer involves a lot of what some might call thankless tasks. Today, as we tacked around the end of Martha’s Vineyard, we had to strike the two stays’ls very quickly. B Watch, along with some miscellaneous folks that happened to be on deck, was confronted with a blur of muscle work. As soon as I finished easing the halyard to let down the mainstays’l, I hopped on top of the lab to furl it. Immediately after that I had to run forward to do the same for the fore stays’l. Then it was back aft to strike the mains’l as well. By the end, I was scatterbrained and exhausted, but we had safely brought the ship into the safety of Menemsha Bight.
Throughout this seemingly hectic yet methodical process, I moved to where I was needed and nobody went out of their way to thank me or anyone else for doing these arduous tasks. This isn’t a bad thing. Life on the Cramer requires a lot of a person, and you can’t expect to be praised for doing everything that is expected of you, especially while on deck. “Ship, shipmate, self” is an oft-repeated saying at SEA, but I really felt it today. Doing all of that work isn’t exceptional, it’s the baseline. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t gratifying work. Seeing the Cramer get from Point A to Point B efficiently and safely is a beautiful thing to see, and being there for your shipmates is a wonderful feeling in and of itself.
And in the end, some kind words from our watch officers (thanks Carolyn and Süpi!) go a long way, and we do actually feel thanked for our efforts. B Watch (AKA Buff Watch) passed the helm to C Watch feeling happy with the work we’d done and ready for a phenomenal steak dinner cooked by Adam, Katey, and Sam. As I write this, I’m heading off to bed, happily ready for another day of “thankless” work, because I’m thoroughly stoked to be part of
something bigger than myself.
- Logan Stouse, Pomona College
PS: Much love to Mom and Sophia for paving the way before me. Happy Early Birthday Daddy-O! Mary Iris, can’t wait to see your beautiful face in Key West.
Editor's Note: In response to the coronavirus pandemic, all SEA Semester students, faculty, and crew aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer boarded the ship after strictly isolating on our Woods Hole campus for a minimum of two weeks, and after repeated negative tests for COVID-19. To ensure the health and safety of those onboard, the ship will not conduct any port stops and will remain in coastal waters so that any unlikely medical situations may be resolved quickly.