SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
July 25, 2016
38°38.4’ N 10°22.9’W
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Course of Order 135°, speed 4-5 knots
trys’l, mainstays’l, forestays’l, jib
Today has been one of the busiest days I had on the Cramer. I started my day with a morning watch from 7am to 1pm with rest of my watch group (B Watch). I was the first to steer in the morning breezes, and it felt great to be on deck when the conditions were just about right. We have encountered some strong winds during our last two watches, but everything has calmed down a little this morning, so it was also easier to stay on course when I was steering. Allison, the second mate and also the leader of B Watch, gave us a lecture on how to use latitude and longitude to calculate the time of our local sunrise, using a handbook full of numbers and tables. During our past dawn watches, we had the chance to see stars and planets and heard stories about the constellations (I told the story of Pegasus, one of the constellations we saw). Today’s lecture was even more entertaining because it involved calculation and practical application, even though all the conversions could sometimes get confusing. Then we jibed following the captain’s order. By now we have learned to handle almost all the sails, and I really look forward to seeing the Cramer with full sail.
Today is also the second-to-last day of our ten day sail from Douarnenez, France to Lisbon, Portugal. We are scheduled to dock tomorrow morning, right after my next dawn watch, which will take place from 1am to 7am. Our professor Dan said that Portugal is one of his favorite countries because it is the only country that has “port” in its name. I feel the same. Everyone is excited to finally arrive in Lisbon--I’m eager to find out what sites we will be visiting ashore. I have been to Lisbon before, but it has been too long since my last visit and I do miss it.
We also had a fire drill, after a short lecture on current movements given by our captain. B Watch is in charge of handling sails during all emergencies, but I also practiced holding and restoring the fire hose with A Watch just to get the experience. Then it was my turn to give an engineering report about “naval architecture” as well as how the Cramer was built. I learned a lot from Willie, our Assistant Engineer, who explained to me the materials used to build the ship and history of the Cramer. After my report, Professor Dan took over and told the story about the Portuguese marine expeditions to Asia and to South America. The Portuguese developed the knowledge of using the gyres in the Atlantic Ocean to sail to South Asia, after a hundred years of repeated sails trying to go over the southern end of Africa. It was refreshing to learn about the history I already knew in a new perspective, and I’m sure we will learn more during our time in Lisbon.