SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 23, 2020
Sailing under the JT
25 33.0’ S 144 11.3’W
Ship’s Heading & Speed
006 degrees, 6.2 knots
Days underway and Trip log
Day 16, 2507 nm
Motorsailing on a STBD tack under the stays’ls and jib. Wind ENE Force 3
Description of location
106 NM ESE of President Thiers Bank, French Polynesia
After sailing onboard the Seamans, you begin to collect information. For example the sails begin to take on a life with their history and repairs. The tops'l, only a year old, that you switched out last year in the middle of a trip. The course, recut to be trimmer on the foot, using calculations you helped figure out. The mainstays'l also new, slightly smaller than the previous one so that hopefully it doesn't chafe on the radar bracket and tear from luff to leach like it did on this trip the past two years (knock on wood). The new mains'l, so white and solid. The jib, a little tired, but holding strong. The storm trys'l and the raffee, who have been with the ship since it was launched, which are definitely a different color than when they started. And the JT, maybe the most exciting recent change.
Last year in American Samoa we had a mini maintenance period between trips. During this time we decided to evaluate the spare sails we keep on the lab top, to lay them out and assess them. One such sail was the JT that was originally bent on in 2001, replaced in 2007, and stowed in a bag on the lab top until 2019. At the time, the current JT (originally bent on in 2013) was just not the right shape. It never set well and always seemed to luff. Therefore it was never really used, just sitting there, furled on the bowsprit. It even spent 2 trips in a bag on the lab top, having unbent it to do some repairs to the bowsprit. Since we had the time we laid both JTs out on the dock, one on top of the other to compare. They were radically different shapes with the new one having a lot of extra fabric. So the 2001 JT went back into service, a little experiment to see how well it set and if its shape was better than the newer sail. The results were very positive.
So, in Whangarai this January we sent out the JT 2013 to get it recut, to have it more closely match the old one. And wow what a difference it makes. This trip I think the JT has had more time set than it has in years.
So we are currently motorsailing, watching the weather forecasts closely, waiting till we can sail again. At least there is enough wind that we are definitely motorsailing, not just motoring with some sails up. And we have been taking time on watch to get small projects done: replacing lines, working on updating manuals and resources onboard, and doing a lot of cleaning.
As we are getting closer to the equator, both the air and water temperature are rising. However it is the perfect temperature at sunset and everyone emerges from down below to enjoy the cool and the view. This afternoon Sascha serenaded A Watch on the guitar while Sarah shot evening stars, undeterred by the fact it clouded over exactly at star frenzy and was perfectly clear right after. We ended watch by setting the full mains'l and turning the deck over to B Watch.
- Tristan, Chief Mate, A Watch
Editor's Note: In response to the coronavirus pandemic, all SEA Semester students departed our ships on or before March 18, with modifications made to the cruise tracks to ensure swift travel home. A small, dedicated professional crew aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans is working in a closed community to return the ship to US waters. The crew complied with New Zealand's 14 day self-isolation period to establish & maintain crew health prior to departing on their open ocean passage.