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SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

October 27, 2015

Tarring the bowsprit

Mairin Wilson, B watch, Middlebury College


The bowsprit

Current position
23° 25.5’ s x 174° 37.7’ e

Course and speed
175°, 8.5knots

Sail plan
en route to New Zealand

clear and chilly

Souls on Board

Today 3rd Mate Kevo had me tar the rigging on the bowsprit. I wanted to make a bracelet out of line, and I had to give back to the ship before I could take from it. So this afternoon, I filled an old Sriracha bottle with tar, put on gloves and headed onto the bowsprit (the net on the front of the boat). Tarring the bowsprit involves rubbing tar onto the net (rigging). The tar acts as sunscreen for the rigging, protecting it from UV damage.

Tarring the bowsprit is pretty awkward. While kneeling on the net I covered my glove in tar and rubbed it on each piece of rigging. There are about twenty rows of rigging. Doing a repetitive task like this on shore can be monotonous, but the bowsprit is constantly moving, making it exciting. The bowsprit rolls and pitches relatively more than anywhere else on the boat. Just sitting on the bowsprit can be daunting, let alone reaching out to the outer edge and rubbing on tar (don't worry I was clipped in). I'm sure as I continue on in my sailing career, tarring the rigging will become just another chore. But today it was new and exciting. I was taking on a ship responsibility that I would not have even thought of doing a few weeks ago.

That's what has been really cool about this section of the trip; we students are taking on more exciting and important tasks. This was especially apparent this afternoon. While I was tarring, a third of the students were
climbing the masts to go aloft, and learn about the rigging up there (again, don't worry they were clipped in). Also when I was halfway done tarring, I had to get off the bowsprit because the students on watch were setting the Jib Tops'l. They did this without help from the mate; instead a student led their fellow shipmates in setting it. I really enjoy seeing us becoming more confident with and comfortable on ship.

- Mairin

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#1. Posted by Kate McIvor on October 29, 2015

Thanks for the update, Mairin!



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