SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
November 07, 2020
Cloudy with a Chance of Squalls
20° 53.8’ N x 071° 02.9’ W
Ship’s Heading, Speed and sail plan
Sailing South toward Hispaniola and Tortuga
Cloudy with intermittent squalls, winds from the SE varying between Beaufort force 2-4
On this lovely, squally Saturday, my day started dark and early at 0020 when I was woken for Dawn Watch. If you’ve been reading this blog the past few days, you may have noticed the word “squall” popping up often that means those on watch either live in their foulies or get a free shower—results pending on which is the preferred option.
Anyway, I was on deck this morning, starting off at my favorite spot the helm. Now, many people who’ve sailed on the Corwith Cramer claim that she hates to tack. To put it into perspective, we didn’t successfully tack until a couple weeks into the trip, and even that required Sean coming on deck to call it and lots of fast, coordinated sail handling by my watch. Despite that, given the proper conditions, Cramer can actually tack herself, leading to an hectic hour trying to regain our proper course. Shout out to our JWO Olivia who kept calm under pressure and worked with Sean and our mate Carolyn to direct the watch.
As we get closer to the end of our trip, time keeps slipping away faster and faster, and it’s almost unbelievable that we have just ten days left. Some of us are looking forward to seeing our families and pets, eating ice cream, or even just eating at a table that doesn’t move. Yet, those ten days don’t feel like enough time to do everything we want to accomplish by the end of the trip whether that’s completing a research project or simply spending as much time with friends before we’re scattered once again. This is my second time sailing on the Cramer as I was here a couple years ago as part of their high school program. I doubt my family will be surprised to hear that, once again, I don’t want to leave. Somehow sailing in the ocean adds another dimension to every moment, but it’s impossible to explain unless you’re in the moment too. It could just be sleep deprivation muddling our thoughts—I tend to run on less than two hours of sleep between Dawn and Evening Watches. For example, flying fish have become worth noting about as much as squirrels are at my bird feeder at home. It’s not until I take a step back and remember that once, we all exclaimed over those tiny fish skimming the water’s surface, caught up in witnessing yet another marvel of the ocean.
In today’s world, simply existing in the moment can be an undervalued state of being. On Cramer, we’re encouraged to be in the moment whether that’s to focus while on watch or engage in meaningful conversations with endless blue water as our backdrop. I spent the last two years dreaming about my time at sea because we’re being challenged every minute of every day while forming bonds with the most incredible people. When we accidentally tacked this
morning, it made for a nerve wracking hour at the helm, but afterwards, my watchmates and I couldn’t stop laughing about how absurd that situation was. It’s the little moments like when I’m comparing callouses from hauling lines with my friends or watching the sunrise at the end of Dawn Watch that everything feels worth it.
- Lyle Given, Stanford University 2025
PS: To my family, I love you, and I miss you all. As much as I don’t want to leave, I can’t wait to see you again and tell you all about my experience. Please give Pecos and George hugs from me.