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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

May 17, 2021

Sailing in a Box

Cam Ragland, B Watch, Union College

Today, we sailed through the Cape Cod Canal.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
42° 01.8’ N 070° 24.1’ W

Ship Heading

Ship Speed
3.40 knots

Taffrail Log
2874 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Sailing under the forstays’l, mainstays’l and mains’l on a broad breach, wind SWxW F5

Description of location
19 nm West of Martha’s Vineyard

Souls on board

Over the past few days, many of our watches have been restricted by a small green box on the chart plotter. In the beginning of watch when our JWO meets with Captain Allison to talk about her plans, she has given us the freedom of sailing around in a bounded area with various goals to reach by the end of our six-hour watch. We have reached the point on our trip where we feel confident in our abilities as a watch to call the setting and striking of sails, trim for points of sail, and call gybes among many other things on deck. We have the skills collectively to steer the boat, follow the wind, and to get us from point A to point B with the guidance of our mates.  The green box has allowed us to do all of these things on our own.  We have grown so much in the green box, showing off all of our skills we have learned and watching us grow into confident leaders.

The past year has felt like sailing around in little green box. As most of us are well into college, we have made it so far in our lives leading up to this period of growth into adulthood. For so long, we have looked forward to our college years as being some of the most exciting and meaningful years before we enter the real world. However, the pandemic has put a little green box around these goals. Our whole lives, we have anticipated the blissful chaos that comes with being 21 years old on a college campus. Without any control, we were told to stop learning and growing and sit still. For me, the idea of staying in one place is so scary, as I have so many dreams of exploring new places and seeing new things. Flash forward one year, we all managed to take classes online and adapt to the dynamic environment that was thrown at us. While we all have our own stories of highs and lows from the past year, everyone on C-297 has one thing in common that we have done: sail. Among the current chaos that is the state of the world, we all have come together and formed a bubble out in the ocean. From the outside perspective, the green box can be seen as a boundary for so much that we cannot do, but instead, we are choosing to sail and enjoy every minute of it.

The other day, I was talking to Ava, Kira, and Natalie right after we had just seen a series of whales breach just off our bow. We were all still in shock from what had just happened and while processing it all Natalie said, "Every day is like the new coolest thing I've ever seen." To which I responded, "I don't know why people live on land, the ocean is so much more exciting." If I've learned anything over the past month, it's that the ocean is way more exciting than land. For starters, when you live on the ocean you never know if your next step will keep you upright, or if you will end up hugging one of your watch mates to catch your fall toward the low side. That extra layer of uncertainty adds a little bit of spice to everyday life. Adding that little bit of spice to watch is something B Watch does very well. Whether it be the very questionable state of Ryan's stability walking down the deck, or the Swedish calls Elisabeth has us haul lines to, we are able to find a laugh in almost every situation. From collapsing into the head rig while furling the jib at 0300 to rinsing the 2 meter net for what seems like hours on end, no task is left without a smile.

What I will miss most about my time on B Watch are the random bursts of laughter that make no sense at all and the deep thought provoking questions that come from dawn watch tea time. Moments like this have come from Daviana singing out on helm during a gybe to Sydney Marie's face of excitement when she heard a loon call. B Watch has found a way to make every seemingly bizarre task we do on Cramer into a fun game. We have learned that if you call the mightier its true name of David the Jib will furl better, the flamingo neon light makes galley cleanup ten times more fun, the starboard Tops'l outhaul can only be hauled to in Swedish, and every end of watch muster should be ended off by doing the Macarena. These little joys that we have found in our long six hour watches have made sailing in our little green box together all that more enjoyable.

While our time on Cramer is coming to an end, these memories will live with us forever. Throughout this experience, we have all grown so much both as leaders and teammates.  We have learned to value the presence of one another and rely on our team to work together and get us all the way back to Woods Hole. While the charts may say that our trip has been marked by nautical miles traveled, if you look further our progress over the past month can be seen in so many other ways and is especially not limited to any green boxes.

- Cam Ragland, B Watch, Union College

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: c297  mbc  science  sailing  study abroad • (1) Comments
Previous entry: Reflecting on (almost) 9000 miles    Next entry: S-299, Summer Session


Leave a public comment for students and crew to read when they reach their next port and have access to the internet!

#1. Posted by Annelie Landgren on May 20, 2021

Dear Cam Raglan and the entire crew of Cornwith Cramer
Your description of your experiences so warms my heart and my whole being. The learning that everything comes from chaos and the only time order makes sense is when you have recent experiences from the former. A quote that I recently was shown - If you never failed you didn’t live - also touches on this. Even if you didn’t almost fail (like the fear of dropping your share of the weight of one of the ropes), you didn’t live. Shouldering a much too heavy task for one person together with a group of trusted mates - is the best feeling. The second thing I could read out of your post - Sailing is about looking only from now to the future. Nothing is more important than what is happening now, next to that is what happens next.

I am so grateful that you all had this opportunity to learn and grow! I am also so grateful that you are safe back on land smile. Hugs en masse from a fellow sailor! Annelie Landgren /Elisabeth’s mom



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