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Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. 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 Robert C. Seamans

February 12, 2014

S251 Weblog 12 February 2014

Melissa Paddock, B watch, Assistant Scientist

pic

On the quarterdeck, C watch cheering on their teammates: Zoe, Midori, Anna, and Matt

Ship's Log

Position
12° 42’ 07.20” S x 142° 58’ 55.20” W
Location
Enroute to Nuku Hiva
Course and Speed
030° degrees and 6 kts
Sail Plan
Motoring under main and stay sails
Weather
Mostly clear skies with fluffy cumulus clouds overhead

After spending a full three days underway, it appears that many aboard are starting to get their sea-legs as well as, for some, lose the light green pallor in their skin.  The wind is picking up, and as you can read from the

previous blogs, we’re getting more and more comfortable setting sails, especially the four lowers.  It’s beginning to appear as though we’re taking some semblance of sailors!

Aside from sail handling, one of the most important aspects of sailing is also learning the lines of the sails! It may seem fairly straightforward to those unfamiliar with a tall ship; you have a few sails, so you need one line to raise the sail, and one to lower it, simple enough, right? Wrong! Unsurprising to those that have seen photos of the SSV Robert C. Seamans, there are many sails (9 in total!) There are lines to not only raise (halyards) and lower (downhauls) the sails, but there are also several lines to adjust the sails (sheets).  These aren’t even counting the lines associated with our square sails. With all these lines and so many different pins and rails, you can imagine that learning all of them isn’t exactly the easiest task.  If you couple learning all these lines with a 3-day deadline, it may seem like an even more daunting task, but that is exactly what the students on board did!  Rather than just have a formal test on the pins and lines, however, the professional crew incited a little friendly competition with a pin-rail chase relay-race style between watches.  While many of the readers may be sitting at home enjoying the competition of the winter Olympics, the excitement you may be experiencing probably doesn’t even come close to the excitement and anticipation there was leading up to this event.

Some students had their own pneumonics associated with certain lines, while others just drilled the lines over and over in their heads.  Everyone had their own method to the madness.  As class approached at 1430 this afternoon, each watch gathered in their own corner of the quarterdeck and spoke words of encouragement to one another before a group cheer. The atmosphere was intense.  Mates and engineers dispersed themselves along the deck while assistant scientists stood at the starting gate with a stack of flashcards in their hands.  The aim was to give one student at the head of the group one card with a line on it, an example would be the “fish throat halyard”.  The student would then have to walk to that line, identify it to a mate/engineer, then walk back to their group and go to the back of their group. If any student was struggling, their team was allowed to shout “hot” or “cold” at them to help aid them in the location of the correct line. If one participant chose to put a little skip into their step, they were caught by one of the many regulators and had to crab walk back to their team.  The first team to identify all the lines correctly won.  Although it was a very close call, and there were some curve ball lines present (one flash card had “tan line” and another “pick-up line”) the winning watch was C watch. The final card for each team was the “congo line,” which was then completed around the deck by all watches.  As is the case in most of these instances, in the end, there wasn’t really one winner, as everyone had a great time and learned their lines.  Time to strike the main stay s’l!

- Melissa

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