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An Evening Reception on a Spanish Tall Ship

Posted by calebpifer on June 23, 2006

juan-sebastian-con-el-capitan.jpgOver these past weeks, I have been learning and meeting many wonderful people from the sailing community. When I first decided to take this internship, I had an idea of what I was getting into, but not completely; now I am understanding the purpose of it, and where it can take me in the future regarding my career path. Working with the other interns, Mary and Meredith has already opened my mind to the types of sailing opportunities one can have as well as the plethora of choices one can take too. Before coming onto this small sailing community of Newport, Rhode Island I found myself in NYC working exhausting hours, running around without knowing whether all these part time jobs/internships were honestly worth my time or even of my interest.  At this point in time, I can say after meeting many groups of people that this was definitely worth joining, as the people I work with in the office have been teaching me so much from computing, marketing, publicizing, to what groups we are allocating our time and money, how to engage people in the world of sail-training and making overall connections with people on an international level. I have spent time meeting various captains, first mates, and influential people of the sailing community at the Mass Sail-Ocean’s Classrooms reception in Boston two days ago. Discussing with the students who recently taught sail training as well as teachers with marine science backgrounds shared interesting dialogues on future events and what needs to be ameliorated. Touring the three large sailing vessels in the Boston Seaport harbor was also lovely as a live music band played waltzes on the other side of the port near the Bluenose II. That evening as the speeches starting to come to an end, the raw bar was getting a little empty (I’m an oyster lover, that was probably my fault) and the cannoli’s/coffees were diminishing, the ASTA interns decided to go over to the Bluenose II to say our farewells to the Canadian crew from Halifax. Little to our knowledge did we realize that an hour later we were to have made connections with two regular-dressed gentlemen who would end up inviting us on their spectacular ship, the Juan Sebastian de Elcano of Spain since they worked as engineers aboard it! It was wonderful, as our photographer Thad Khoza and the Canadian crew joined us on an invite that would lead to even one better event the following day. Soon we realized that there were a few existing language barriers between especially the Canadians and the Spanish crew so I ended up translating from Spanish to English the entire tour. It was exciting, and enjoyable as a group of us from three different countries ended up sharing stories about our own sailing experiences and sail training. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening as I sat thinking to myself; we had a chance to meet so many great people in one night who all have one common interest…sailing tall ships!

After that night we exchanged information to stay in touch and our ASTA group, Cal Pifer, Meredith and I were invited to join the Spanish crew and captain at their reception the next evening in fine attire. What an event it was! We reconnected with the same Spanish engineers dressed in their cleanest white officer suits, and were introduced to a host of Spanish speakers, some from the Spanish consulate, first mates, and finally Captain Salvador. I got his attention by saluting him on behalf of ASTA in Castilian Spanish, and our hope of continuing international camaraderie between our countries. He was so delighted that we were able to speak to him in his native tongue and the representation of our association that he quickly grabbed our hands and brought us to his adorned private captains’ cabin. Speaking to us in private he went into his love of STI (Sail Training International), while explaining the history of the Juan Sebastian de Elcano from 1976 onwards. He was so relaxed and welcoming towards us that we presented him with several gifts including the ASTA flag that he said he was to fly over Lisbon – what a night! Live music played in the background, tasting the finest cheese and ham of Spain, good conversation, while we were presented with gifts from the Captain …everything ended up making this night one of the most unforgettable evenings of my life! I look forward to more events that foster the importance of sail training and the bonds that are made between people of all places!


– Alexandra Hagerty
2006 ASTA Intern


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