SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
April 29, 2015
The Final Mission
80 nm south of Moorea, French Polynesia
Course & Speed
340° psc, 6 knots
4 Lowers, Tops’l, and Raffee
Sunny all day with some intermittent rain
Hello again to all the readers of the S-258 blog - In my last entry I was busy knitting more warm layers, but am happy to report that those have been stowed for shorts and bathing suits!
Today during class we wrapped up project presentations, completing the final step of the process. We also each had a question to answer during last night's watches regarding different statistics of our trip, from the highest wave recorded (over 20 feet!) to the favorite stars to shoot for celestial fixes (Rigel Kent and Canopus took the lead). As it turns out, we have spent a little more than half of the trip purely under sail power, and the other portion with assist from the engine. It's a beautiful thing considering that there are some voyages which require motoring for the majority of the cruise track.
It's immensely satisfying to see how changing the sail plan changes our motion. The other day when I was JWO, we were told that we should set all the squares in effort to gain speed. After all the requisite sail-handling, the breeze also freshened up and within 15 minutes we went from 5 knots to cruising along at 8! Or earlier today, we decided to turn off the engine andset the tops' l and raffee. It didn't seem as if there would be enough wind at first, but then the sails all filled and we have been making 6 knots ever since. As a small boat sailor, it's an interesting transition to think about an enormous ship with multiple sails that all need to be coordinated at once. Everything happens much slower (turning, changing speed) but the results have more consequence. But the thrill of finding that place where the sails are perfectly trimmed and drawing, and the boat is gliding through the waves remains the same.
We will be docked in Papeete in just a few short days - You'll hear from me then fam and friends!
And now a quick debrief of: THE FINAL MISSION
Tonight, the three watches will have to collaborate together to complete the Final Mission. Not only must each watch keep the ship moving fast enough to make the necessary miles up to Moorea, but we must do three Neuston tows above three seamounts (one for each watch). By 0700 tomorrow, we must be one mile outside our entrance point to the Moorea anchorage. It's going to be a challenge, but an exciting one. Stay tuned for how it all pans out.