Guest Blogger Matt Maples: Real Deal
Posted by Tall Ships America on August 12, 2011
August 12, 2011
0500 – 54°22.3’N x 10°09.9’E
By Matthew Maples
“Busy” is a word that could be used to describe the Europa on any day of the year. However, the past few days seem especially deserving of this description. We have on board a full complement of young European trainees who have been fully integrated as crew. Not only are they doing sail-handling, steering and lookout, but their duties extend to ship’s maintenance and even cleaning. They are getting the real experience of what it takes to run a deep-sea sailer like Europa. From furling square-sails high aloft, to looking down the bowl of the day’s dirty toilet, they are left with fresh hands rudely blistered by rough rope and brains burned by their quick learning of our hundreds of lines for our sails. Cheeks and noses are reddened from hours in wind and rain.
That alone is a daunting itinerary, but our trainees are packing yet more into their schedules. Their days go beyond the rails of our ship and ship life, to the boundaries of Europe. Sailing and sail-training is not the final goal for our trainees, our sails are a medium for cultural interaction. “Cultural Interaction” so what does that mean here? “Cultural interaction” is a mainstay on bark Europa, long before our current trainees arrived. Here, people from all over the world find themselves on a complicated sailing ship, needing to get from point A to point B. No single person can run this ship alone, many hands coordinated by teamwork make this ship run smoothly, and everyone needs to rise beyond the boundaries of their nation, its language and culture, to find the common ground on international waters on our international ship.