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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

April 27, 2018

Hove-to up to 10 knots in under 24 hours

Sarah Smith-Tripp, C Watch, Wellesley College


Sarah Smith-Tripp standing lookout during the best night of sail S278 has seen

Current Position
23˚46.1’S x 155˚07.1’W

Ship’s Heading & Speed
015˚ per ship’s compass at 4 kts

Sail Plan
Course, Tops’l, Raffee, Mainstays’l

Wind WNW 6-10 knots. Partly cloudy and 70 degrees

Souls on board

Last night marked our entrance into the French Polynesian EEZ, meaning a point of land is just a short 200 nautical miles away. This is the closest we have been to land since leaving the Chatham Islands three weeks ago. Almost as if in celebration, the wind and the sea cooperated for a brief few hours last night and we were lucky enough to have what many of the staff called “the best sail the Seamans has to offer.” We sailed under the four lowers and the tops’l, pushing nearly 10 knots (for reference we normally go 5) in a Beaufort Force 6 (strong breeze) and relatively calm seas. Snark, the Chief Mate, spent most of dinner asking everyone “have you been on deck lately?” and if they had not, he would say, “OH MAN, you NEED to go on deck!”

The closer we come to land, the closer we come the deadlines for our final papers, but last night we threw that stress aside for a couple of hours. Following Snark’s orders, many members of C and B Watches found themselves on deck singing the night away. The Seamans was flying over the water, steadily heeled over, and ripping through the water as well as any bathtub-shaped sailboat ever could. Imagine walking at a constant 15 degree slant, with barely any rolling, pitching or heaving. The wind roared by my hair and sea spray was everywhere. In short, it was incredible.

It was particularly incredible to me because I spent Wednesday night serving as the JWO (Junior Watch Officer), where a “small squall” quickly became “Captain, actually the squall is fairly large.” Unlike the clear skies and wonderful moon we had last night, it rained so hard that I could not see Colin (a member of C Watch) a mere 20 feet from my face. By the end of my Wednesday night watch we were sitting hove to yet another time on this trip. My experience running the deck amidst a squall a mere 24 hours prior made last night all the more enjoyable (and I didn’t have the pressure of being in charge).

Captain Jay likes to say that when you leave the ship the sound of your laughter stays aboard. I would like to think that it does. Last night I laughed for hours at funky sea shanties taught by Snark. The night before I
couldn’t help from laughing when, through the roar of the wind, I could hear Colin softly singing Frank Sinatra. His muted voice was the background to the pelting rain that steadily soaked us. At the watch turnover, the condition of C Watch was best described as somehow wetter than jumping into a pool.

The Seamans has shown us both challenging weather requiring we sit hove-to, and beautiful wind that helps us sail. Be it good weather or poor, on deck or below, my shipmates and my watchmates can always inspire me to laugh (sometimes, like last night, I laugh so hard that I fall to the floor in fits). So here is to more smooth sailing aboard the Seamans whatever the weather! Fingers crossed that someone yells LAND HO soon!

Sending a special C Watch Choutout to my family back home! Thank you so much for being so supportive of me, particularly from halfway across the world. Can’t wait to talk to you all soon!

- Sarah Smith-Tripp, C Watch, Wellesley College

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: s278  study abroad  polynesia.  new zealand  life at sea • (2) Comments
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#1. Posted by Susan Tripp on May 01, 2018

Hi Sarah!!!
Sounds marvelous!! Sea shanty’s I cannot wait to learn them. Tilly continues to keep your bed warm. And we continue to miss you!!!
3 cheers for drowned rat C watch —Love you, Mom

#2. Posted by Karina on May 02, 2018

What a life you lead! Sounds like an incredible time. Miss you loads, and looking forward to talking to you again soon!



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