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In the EAGLE’s nest

Posted by Tall Ships America on September 3, 2008

Written by Jesse

 

With the end of another exciting festival, Karen, Jo, and I all set sail onboard Eagle for the final leg of our journey from San Pedro to San Diego.  This is the first time we have all sailed together, and it was a very different experience from the other ships we have sailed on thus far.  We also brought with us an education program of 20 high school students from the various port cities we have visited this summer.   There was a broad range of sailing experience but the students were all enthusiastic to sail and to participate in the EAGLE Seamanship Program.  In fact, there were three students onboard with whom I had sailed before on Adventuress, my first ship of the summer. 

 

Once we arrived onboard, we settled into our cabins and mustered on the waist to begin discussing what would be occurring during the next few days.  One of activities that was perhaps the most dreaded and most anticipated was the “up and over”, where we climbed up the main starboard ratlines, over the topmast platform, and back down the port ratlines, some students were clearly terrified while others were clearly loving every second.  Nevertheless, every one of us made it up and over the platform.

                                                      

 

Throughout the next day and a half, the students participated in watches, lifeboat drills, sail handling and even furling up in the rig. We were blessed to see an incredible transformation in these kids by the end of the voyage.  Their enthusiasm and appreciation for this opportunity was realized when they saw a couple of hundred spectators waiting on the dock just to catch a glimpse of the ship on which they had just sailed.  They had done something unique; they were special; and in this setting, they were almost famous.  After that, they stood a bit taller and walked with a bit more pride.

 

The sail from San Pedro to San Diego was hampered by the fact that we had quite a lack of wind.  Regardless, this provided us with the opportunity to practice our sail handling for the San Diego Parade of Sail.  When presented with the choice, the crew and students decided that we wanted to set our sails for  the parade instead of simply motoring into the harbor.  To do that, we needed to practice.  After a couple of hours of setting and dousing the same sails, we had it down and we were ready to go.  On Wednesday, we made an excellent show for our minimal practice and set all squares on the fore and main all the way up to the royals.  Not only did we look pretty good, but behind us the fleet looked spectacular as well. 

                                             

 

This is the first time since sailing on Adventuress that I have actually been in a parade of sail and I must say that coming into a harbor with twenty ships sailing in tow was quite a beautiful sight.  Not least of all was a new comer to the fleet, the Colombian Navy’s Gloria.  She looked  the most spectacular of all with her yards manned by cadets singing the national anthem.  The sight and sounds of Gloria seemed to drift across the water towards the crowd of Colombian Americans waving their flag and dancing on the docks.  There was certainly an infectious excitement in the air that, for me, was a perfect welcome to the last port of this spectacular summer.

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