SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
January 14, 2017
Man the Braces, Let’s Gybe
17° 51.6’ N x 066° 07.0’ W
Ship’s Heading & Speed
105°PSC & 5.5 knots
Main sail, mainstays’l, forestays’l
Sunny and 84°F; Beaufort Force 5; 6-8 foot swells with mild winds coming from E by N
Today was quite a fun, busy and educationally competitive day. ‘B watch’ began the day by relieving the dawn watch A at 0700. The morning was on the rough side as we began our day by sailing through 10-12 foot swells. Due to the fact that the ride was quite rocky it held challenging conditions for deploying science equipment off of the port side science deck. However, nothing holds a true scientist from researching and learning. With the help of one of our sailing experts, Ryan, we were able to gybe the boat in order to nearly stop it from moving so we could collect data from the ocean.
People reading may be thinking “what in the world is gybing?” Well, thanks to Alex, Martha and Keiko’s navigation presentation during class today, I will be able to explain this maneuver. A gybe is a maneuver where the aft end of ship will ultimately swing downwind causing the boat to turn almost 180°. We can achieve this by sailing down wind and flipping the sails from one side of the boat to the other. With the engine off and the boat running on only sails this will cause the boat to slow to about 2 knots. This is the perfect speed to deploy our nets for biological sampling. One of the pieces of scientific equipment deployed this morning was the neuston net. This net collects a large variety of marine organisms consisting mostly of Sargassum (type of seaweed), zooplankton, and phytoplankton. This is an extremely efficient deployment as the majority of the class will use the data found within for their individual research projects.
The second portion of class time was devoted to the pin rail/line race! This race consisted of all three watch groups, A, B and C, racing to identify many lines and ropes on the ship. This may seem a lot easier than it was. Everyone has been preparing the past three days, closely studying diagrams of the lines as well as working the lines in order to identify them by name. Each watch lined up behind their assistant scientist who held a stack of note cards, each with a different line name written upon it. In an orderly fashion, one student at a time from each watch was presented with a notecard and was asked to walk to that named line, thus showing off their newly acquainted knowledge. If a student got stuck his/her team was readily able to help by yelling out either “hot” or “cold.” ‘C watch’ ended up finishing in first place with ‘B watch’ finishing in second following a very close third place finish by ‘A watch.’ The winners, ‘C watch,’ concluded the race with my personal favorite line, the Congo Line! They proceeded to dance around the boat as they did in fact deserve the bragging rights. The engines have just recently been turned on and we are hauling at 5.5
knots almost due east along the southeast coast of Puerto Rico. We are the closest we have been to land in about three days which turns out to be approximately 5.5 nm (nautical miles) away from shore. Towards Vieques we go!