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(re) Orienting — 5 July 2010

Posted by Tall Ships America on July 5, 2010

By Samara

Just after midnight. I follow Lutz, a crew member, aft from the bow to tack and notice he is wringing his hands. I feel better knowing that that I am not the only one whose palms ache from hauling away on nylon lines all afternoon. Though some of the guest crew opt to use gloves, I know that with nearly two more months of sailing ahead of me I am better off building up some calluses. Despite that I have sailed a tall ship before, Europa reminds me that I am in no way exempt from the steep learning curve everyone experiences when they sail aboard her for the first time. 

Yesterday afternoon we cast off our docklines and headed out of Toronto Harbor towards Cleveland Tall Ship® Festival. In all of the excitement of getting settled onboard, I almost completely forgot that it was the 4th of July. Most of the crew here aboard Europa are Dutch, and thus American Independence Day is not very significant. With all the excitement of packing up the Toronto festival and learning my way around the deck of Europa I forgot as well. That is, until Friesie, a member of my watch pointed out fireworks far off in the distance in what I assumed to be New York when I relieved her as lookout.

 Last night I rotated to lookout four times, or two hours collectively, during my watch. Though keeping a constant eye on the horizon can be slow, especially when there are not any other ships nearby, I enjoyed the newfound peace. Away from the energy of the conclusion of the Toronto festival I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunset give way to a cool clear night. 

Today we are traveling through the locks of the Welland Canal. There are eight in total and as I write this we are being lifted up in the fourth – the halfway point. We came up alongside outside of the locks this morning at 0600, but had to wait a few hours for our turn. As the on watch for the first three locks I helped out by handling a giant red fender up near the bow of the ship. To move up the lock we use fenders to protect her hull from scraping the concrete walls of the lock while we shift around with the movement of the escalating waterline. We have been traveling through the locks between Pride of Baltimore II and Unicorn – with all three ships ascending at once. The course yards of both Europa and Unicorn had to be cockwheeled to travel though the locks because they are too wide to safely fit in the narrow channels. This means that instead of being braced on an even plane, the port end is raised high in the air. Though I am sure that we are nothing new to the H2O highway workers, I imagine the three ships are quite a sight for others passing by! 

After exiting the locks later tonight we will head towards Cleveland. Though I am excited to see what the next port of the festival brings, I am very happy to be sailing now.

 Until our arrival, I will be learning lines, practicing knots, and paying close attention for any opportunity to climb aloft.

You too can join the adventure this summer!! Just go to www.barkeuropa.com for more information on voyages on the Dutch ship.


One Response to “(re) Orienting — 5 July 2010”

  1. Kohel said

    Samara – when you get aloft…. look for thew Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland.

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