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On A Roll…

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 22, 2009

Now underway aboard Schooner Virginia— here’s Amelia’s story on the end of the Bermuda’s festival and the past week aboard the Virginia:

As the festival in Bermuda drew to a close, crew celebrated with a spirited parade to Victoria Park.  Awards were announced and given for the race and parade.  Rona II was victorious in the crew parade category, dressed as festive and colorful “indians.”  Everyone I talked with had an amazing time in Bermuda, and appreciated all the thoughtful amenities given to crew such as free internet, calling cards and soft drinks!

 The parade of sail out of Hamilton on Monday morning was a great end to the festival.  Led by Cisne Branco and Kruzenshtern, Schooner Virginia followed Concordia with tall ships Europa and Pride of Baltimore II behind us in line.  Last was Spirit of Bermuda, who shined as the local vessel as she was escorted by a fleet of surrounding recreational boats.

 Though a hazy morning, most ships in the parade set sail as we neared Dockyard.  Europa looked especially magnificent in full sail against the morning light.  Heading out to the start, the wind picked up and seas began to rise.  To my amusement, Pride II broke the line and passed Virginia, joined by Europa.  Schooner Virginia isn’t participating in the race, instead using the offshore crossing as an opportunity for a celestial navigation course.  But before heading to anchor in St. George Harbor for the night, we sped through wind and rain to catch Pride II at the start and then turned back.

 Tuesday we took the day off to visit Bermuda’s natural beauty; caves, beaches and snorkeling.  Now we are underway, averaging about four to six knots in steady winds and scattered squalls accompanied by heavy rain.  I’ve been a bit of a sickling since I was unaccustomed to her rolling, but am starting to recover and become a fully functioning member of “C” watch.

 I just finished a sunny midday watch, and last night featured beautiful skies with bright starts and strong winds.  During the day and night, celestial navigation courses are taught by Professor Clark to the crew and two guest crew.  “Things are progressing nicely, although the sun has been elusive,” says Professor Clark.

 On watch it is easy to notice that Schooner Virginia is very much a teaching ship.  Trainees focus on four important areas when first orientated to the boat; safety, helm, boat checks and line handling.  During watch, my watch leader has instructed me on the compass points because the ship’s compass doesn’t have numbers, only letters to steer by.  I’m beginning to pick up on this pattern and system while at the helm and looking forward to learning more by the end of the voyage!


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