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Cool breezes as VIRGINIA heads home

Posted by Tall Ships America on July 3, 2009

From ASTA Intern Amelia….

     Thursday on the 12 to 4 a.m. watch we had 9 knots of speed but still some seasickness.  The students worked hard to fill the rotations of helm, lookout, rough log and boat check.  My rotation was rough log, so I walked the students through determining course ordered, course steered, wind direction and speed, sea direction and height, cloud type, and air temperature.  It was a little challenging explaining wind and sea direction in the dark, but the students worked hard and powered through.  Getting them through the rough log, I may have built more character than the students that watch, Ms. Cole joked, as I stopped to grab some water.

     Later that day, there was great excitement during our afternoon watch when
dolphins appeared.  There were not just one or two, but eight dolphins jumping and twirling around in the ship’s wake.  Some were speckled, others gray in color. Soonafter, we caught a Mahi Mahi on the fishing line, and student Zach cut it up for us.

    After rounding Cape Fear, Cape Lookout and finally Cape Hatteras, the seas have calmed and left us with a steady wind.  It was wonderful to wake up to a cool afternoon breeze instead of sweltering heat, and you could see it in the smiles of the students how big of a difference it made.  With seasickness lessening, students have started building leadership as Junior Watch Officers (J-WO).  The J-WO organizes the watch and leads rotations, making sure tasks are completed on time.

     During watch, Ms. Cole (1st Mate) led lessons on dead reckoning, and the students have picked it up quickly and incorporated it into their rough
log.  Instead of using the GPS to determine our position and plotting it on the chart, students read our nautical miles traveled on the taff rail and log it into the rough log.  Combining the distance traveled with the course steered, students then plot our position on the chart using this “dead reckoning” method.  On the watch change every four hours the watch leader plots our GPS position.

     When not on watch, students have been learning their knot tying, compass points, aloft safety and rigging in order to be cleared to go aloft.  It has
been great to see the students helping to teach each other as they pick up more and more information.  Their goal is to see the July 4th fireworks aloft in Norfolk!

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