SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
February 11, 2014
S251 Weblog 11 February 2014
13° 7.0‘S x 142° 33.0‘W
Course and Speed
335° at 5 knots
sailing under the JT and the four lowers (mainsl, mainstaysl, forestaysl, jib)
beautiful, sunny with infrequent squalls towards the evening
After being underway for two and a half days, and sailing for a good amount of time, we are gaining more and more knowledge on sail handling. Words like make fast the jib sheet and thats well seem a lot less intimidating. Making fast a line means to fasten it to a pin in a specific way. That‘s well means a line has been adjusted just perfectly, and to stop what you‘re doing to the line. There really could be a whole dictionary made of sailing terms, those are just two of them! Coiling lines clockwise and walking on the windward side are quickly becoming second nature. And trust me that was not the case a week ago. If one thing is true, sailing has a huge learning curve.
Nonetheless, today was an exciting day full of sailing and beautiful weather. In the morning, we made the transition from motor sailing to sailing! When the wind is not exactly in our favor, we motor along with the four lowers set, which are the mainsl, the mainstaysl, the forestaysl and the jib. It is always an exciting transition when the wind is not blowing directly over the bow, and we can turn off the motor.
Morning watch set the fisherman staysl, and in order to counter the sails force, afternoon watch had the privilege of setting the JT! The JT is the foremost sail aboard. In order to set the sail, it has to be unfurled first. Unfurling the JT entails clipping your harness into the dog run on the head rig. I was the lucky one who got to clip in, and carefully step out onto the head rig, which is basically heavy-duty netting. I undid the reef knots holding the sail down, moving from the point of the bowsprit, working aft. It is an amazing feeling being on the head rig, supported by only netting, and looking down into the ocean that is so blue it almost looks violet. Its pretty fun too, because we were in six foot waves which were moving the bow up and down! After it was unfurled, it was time to set it. There were a couple of people on the halyard, one person on the sheet, and one person on the downhaul. Quickly, the sail was set and trimmed.
The day carried on with beautiful sailing, moving at about 5 knots. However, today was a pretty big day school-wise. We all have a checklist to complete with our mate by tomorrow, which tests our safety knowledge aboard the ship. Also, we have readings to do that will greatly help us when we arrive in Nuku Hiva. And lastly, our science projects are starting to ramp up. We saw a fishing vessel on the horizion, and Moohono turned the sighting into a learning opportunity. He got on the radio, and communicated with the boat. It was a longline fishing boat that can hold up to 10 tons of tuna! Its not too easy to stay focused when we are sailing in the beautiful tropics, but we are trying our best.
Overall, it was a beautiful day of sailing accompanied by many learning opportunities, with many things to learn ahead!
Sending my love to Mom, Pops, Miles, Josh and my sisters (thank you so much for the letters)!! I miss you guys so much, and I have so much to share when I can, letters are on their way!