Friday, December 16, 2011


First morning of this little voyage and the weather is perfect, except of course for the winds. We have been motor sailing or just motoring the entire time. A lesson in not trusting predictions; rather than the beam reach we were promised it has been on the nose the whole way. The boat is comfortable amd rides well, though, so still no real complaints. We are currently off of Fort Pierce and making good time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


So I've realized that I only feel like writing in here when I'm actually sailing, as dockside life seems rather dull to me.

That said, I'm going sailing again, leaving this afternoon on a fifty foot sloop for a delivery from New Smyrna Beach to Miami. We're looking at about a two hundred mile voyage aiming to get into port around saturday morning. I'm looking forward to getting some time out on the ocean, even though conditions sound less than ideal. I need the time for my near costal license, and I could stand to get a bit of salt in my hair; it's been a long time.

I've had some interesting travels since my last update, but it was all land based and more philosophy than action, which has been fun mental exercise. I am, however, ready to actually do something again.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Under way for the last voyage of the season, though without pomp or fanfair. We have only our main topmast stays'l for stabilities sake and no timbers save the topmasts. There is an odd comfort right now.

Perhaps it is the quiet knowledge that we are nearly done. There is a strange feeling to that. We are all so very tired and in great need of time away, but leaving is always a somber affair. Leaving the peope who have surrounded you; people whome have shared your experiences at the basest level. There are very few goodbys in this world, but see you somewhere also has a sadness.

For us, home is an odd concept. This deck has a bit of us in it and we can't forget that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Back towards Ere with a few new faces and a few new challenges. We are trying a new watch routine that seems unclear to most of us and I somehow damaged my kindle so I am writing this on half a screen. I apologize in advance for typos.

We have cleared the first set of locks and are making our way into Lake Ontario with a possible stop at Fort Welland depending on timing. Montreal was lovely as aways but the crew ontinues to be tired. There are several rumors as to what is going to happen at ship yard though most of the crew is hoping for hotel rooms. Somewhere we could rest peacefully and get some quality sleep woud be mice.

I did have another personal realiztion aboutthe degree to which I am avoiding the real world. If however being in he real world requires what I have seen it do to people I love... well... I smile a lot more.

Much love to all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Through the first two locks on the Saint Lawrence and tied up by the third for a few hours of rest. We have had several changes to our plans in the past twenty four hours and have had to adjust quickly. Strong currents and winds had us coasting down the river at eight knots just sailing on our bare poles,so we did get a bit of sailing in after all.

Having a light crew is certainly lacking in rest, but we all know our jobs so things tend to happen smoothly which is a nice change.

Standing by till 2300 to get back under way and straight on till Montreal.

Monday, September 12, 2011


On our way through the Thousand Islnds and headed for the river and Prescott. The crew is in higher spirits after warm showers and a few pints,long with a bit more time for rest.

The Thousand Islnds area is one of the prettiest bits of this Earth, from my experience so far. Seeing little houses on isolated island is almost enough to make me want to stop. I imagine that the winters here could easily break me of this however.

Kingston was a lovely town and we all enjoyed it I look forward to coming back some day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In an unrelated note

I apparently have regular readers from the UK, Germany, and India... I think I might know who the UK one is, but I'd love to know who you folks are and how you found me. Feel free to comment, or contact me in any way you like.


And now we have found our way to Kingston Ontario for a bit of maintenence and perhaps a bit of rest. We had a pleasant watch running across the lake last night after a days rest and tonights light dock watch should continue our building up tollerance to exhaustion. I have come to realize that issue has been one of my biggest issues of late and some of the crew have agreed. We are tired to the point that recovery is hard and missing a nights sleep can have a profound effect. We are at the point in the season when the fatigue is setting in and we are all coming to need more than a day off.
Our excitement to go to Montreal is not diminished however and our hope for adventure is high. We may have picked up a new trainee on the dock; we will see if he makes it for our 0700 departure.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


More mishaps and advenures on the way to Montreal. Our small crew is proving resilliant in the face of long hours and demanding work. We left Port Colborne around 2200 with our pilot on board and headed into the canal, taking the first lock with all hands. The next being a few hours away due to traffic bravo ad charlie were stood down to rest for the coming locks. Just after bravo returned to the deck we started nto the next set with charlies help and passed lock seven and the flight locks in about three and a half hours. During that time we were pushed into walls by ugly currents and had our dock lines dropped on us by people who are clearly used to much taller boats but made it with only minor bumps and scratches.

Credit must be given to charlie watch for basically standing the deck from 0300 till 1300 and taking away the right of anyone else to complain.

Now we are pushing through Lake Ontario and driving for the Saint Lawrence. Four days till Montreal.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Another voyage has started, though we have had many challenges already. The entire trip was nearly scrubbed due to new pilotage requirements and a surprise twenty thousand dollar cost to fulfill said requirements. Thankfully we were able to make a deal with Montreal to mitigate some of that cost and got under way with only an eight hour delay. It was an uneventful motorboat ride to our current dock at Port Colborne.
I personally have many reasons to be excited for this voyage. My parents are on board wich is alwas welcome in my mind and I get to see a dear old friend once we arrive; I am glad that it worked out.
So now we wait to leave at 2100 and pass through thelocks on our way to Lake Ontario and points beyond. Our yards are cockbilled and our fenders greased. One more push on our adventure.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


We are truly homeward bound. Niagara is back in lake Erie and is followinf a favorable breeze home. The engines are off and both stacks are set full for a down wind run. As we entered the lake a shot while after breakfast all hands were called to get her dresed the crew found new energy for one last big push. We set the sails ast with a zeal that I certainly haven't felt for a good while. The sence of homecoming may well have had something to do with it, along wth the promse of favorable wind and a following sea after our trals on lake Huron. It is as though this calm quiet sail is our reward for the challenges of the voyage behind us.

It has not been a bad voyage, but certainly a difficult one. We have been pushed in so many ways both physically and mentally. Training new crews and losing them one they finally become a part othe ship is harder than I anticipated, but I at least can believe that I may see some of them out on the water again sometime. Failing that, perhaps we at least widened a few horizons which can rarely be called a bad thing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

08/24/2011 part two

After many hours of making and losing ground we have finally found our way to Port Huron where the crew has been given a quiet few hours of liberty while the conditions are assessed. The channel is narrow and while the winds have calmed some, the the chop and the current is certainly still intense. The crew is definitely tired but we are once again balancing our needs versus the schedule put before us.


All hands wakeups crossing Huron. We have been dodging, running from and running into storms all night. I have heard stories abou Huron being a rough lake,especially by the Saganaw bay but this was my first time experiencing it. Five to eight foot seas on a short chop with a very frsh breeze have been pushng us around and we have made very little headway till just recntly. somewhere in the early hours we were all called to deck because the sterm of the yawl boat was knocked free and we had to catch it before she was lost or damaged our rudder.

But now we are told that we are making good time and are about four hours from Port Huron and the mouth of the St. Claire. There may be another update later but for now it is time to sleep.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Solidly into lake Huron and it has been excitement. We crossed the Mackinac bridge at 2300 last night. As far as I can recall I have never personally seen that bridge during the day but it is a lovely sight in th dark. Because of the way it is lit it looks as though you are sailing off into the void. Personally I couldn't help but imagine someone up on the bridge... a kid in the back seat on a road trip seeing us ghosting under as they crossed. Thoughts like that tend to make me smile.

The lake opened up to strong winds and fairly heavy seas, getting up to five or six feet. Around lunch we were taking some solid spray over the bow and had put in the gunport covers to try and keep the force of it down. We have also been stowing, loosing, setting and striking sail quickly as the conditions and forcasts shift around us.

I've gotten a lot of experience with reefing sail this season and am finally comfortable with the lashing. I learned to do it on Pride but have not till recently really trusted myself with it. It is interesting seeing my own confidence growing, hopefully not unreasonably. I am also finding myself more at ease with training now that there are fewer people that need it.

As restful as it is without huge groups of trainees the boat is a bit more lonely without them. A bit quieter in a way that is bitter sweet. It makes me look forward even more to a day when I can pick my own crew and go as we please.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Under way once again and headed to Erie. All of the students are gone and we have a small crew entirely of people who have sailed with us before. It is a nice change of pace, not having to watch over every little detail of operatons. We recently passed sleeping Bear Dunes which is always a pretty sight. We sailed out of Port Washington in the early evening, getting sail set before we cleared the harbr. After we fired off our fairwell salute the dock called out fair winds to us. I can't recall a port ever doing that for us before. It is nice to feel like people do care about what it is we are doing.

Will,wo is the head of the hornet project that I am bcoming involved with is aboard for the voyage and we have had many long conversations about sail theory and sail training theory. As the project gets closer I find myself more and more excited to be a part of it.

But for now we are motor sailing at about ten knots with the squares set trying to make Huron before expected squalls drive up an angry sea for us to plunge through. Either way sounds like it could be interesting in my mind.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Now ashre in Port Washington after a few days of glorious sailing. For the first time in quite a spell we had the time to just sail and not worry about keeping a tight schedule. It was some outstanding sailing and the new kids took to it better than any of us thought possible. They showed dedication and zeal that we couldn't possibly have expected.
I am, however, looking forward to a sail with a crew that knows the boat and doesn't require constant training. It ma well be a weakness of my own character but for just a bit I would like to just sail. That isn't meant to belittle any of the trainees we have had this season, but it is a bit of a drain.
But for now I have my last goodbys say to the most recent batch and prepare for a festival here then the run back to Erie.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Under way yet again,from Chicago to Port Washington with a new group of students. Chicago was good, however long those days got to being. It was a little hard to lose our last batch, as they really became a part of the crew. their presence is missed on board, and I hope to see many of them again out saiing some day.

The new batch has us feeling cautiosly optimistic. It is another group of high school students which bring back less than thrilling memories. This batch shows some promise. It is only a four day trip however, so thwre is only so mch that can be accomplished. We may just try, however, to make make the most of it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Sitting on Navy Pier in Chicago watching the fireworks welcoming us into town. The crew is worn from the voyage, though the last few days have had some of the best sailing of the season. The night we lft Alpna was beautiful and clear with a strong north breeze driving us down the lack. It was my last watch with Alpha watch; I couldn't have asked for a better one. The stars were brilliant, the setting moon was beautiful and there weremore shooting stars than one could ever hope to count.
Yesterday around lunch we pulled into Milwalkie for the day to rideout some projected weather. I was pretty i.pressed and look forward to future visits.
Today was a very long day and I will write moreon it later but for now I have a hammock to attend to.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Leaving Alpena after a bit of a delay but with the hope of sailing to be done as we head towards Chicago. Port was good, giving the crew a chance to relax and get laundry done. After the students finised wth their science work with the folks at NOAA most of us were given the chance to go snorkling over a schooner that wrecked on a sandbar nearby in the late 1700s. It was amazing to see it,and she was rather well preserved. It did have a bit of a weird feeling for me though; swimming around a wrecked sailing vessel did make me think a bit.
A few of the students seem to have been bitten and at least one is planning on staying on after the departure date if the Mate can find room for her. One more down.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Through the Detroit river and into the St. Claire. Driving upstream is always a challenge and moreso at night. I admit my own vigilence was lacking at a point or two during my turns at helm which is something I will have to put more into. It was a long watch requiring at last one pro crew on helm at all times. It mde for a couple hours. Our AB was on the bridge helping with navigation and I ended up running the deck when I wasn't on helm. It is something I need to get more comfortable with, but the tables were set and the oncoming watch was woken up in time for brakfast and we even got a quick deckwash in.
It has been an inense season and the crew is wearing down some from it. We are losing some hands in Chicago and hopefully some fresh blood in the crew will help our spirit. We could all use it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


And again we find ourselves in Put In Bay for a brief visit. The students had a date with Stone Lab to do some trawling and look at things under a microscope so the crew got a bit of time off to relax.
Coming in last might was more than a little excitimg. We motor sailed across the lake and Aplha caught the weather change and pushed through the rain. The actual squall line hit as we were approaching Ballast Island, drenching us fairly deeply. All hands were calld for the docking and both cutters were cut away. Cutter one, per usal, was helping us dock while Cutter two had o row to safety as a second squall rushed in. We rushed to the dock as quickly as we could and got our lines on moments before the second blow. Once we were all secure the crew was stood down and many of us ended up at the playground blowing off a bit of steam.
Now we are at the mouth of the Detroit River Channel and Alpha will be taking back over at 0300 while in the river. By friday we will be in Alpina and then we head for Chicago. Much excitement awaits.

Monday, August 1, 2011


The voyage continues on towards Chicago. We are hours away from Erie to check back into the U.S. and then back en route. We are apparently going to stop in Put in Bay for an undecided period of time and a small town in wisconson whos name I can't recall along the way.
The crew is getting stronger by the day. The trainees are learning the boat quickly and well becoming part of the group. today,driving into a head sea a handfull of us stood at the bow takinghe spray and singing; riding Niagara as she plunged through the chop. I believe that they are startig to feel like they belong here and are acting more and more like they are crew. They are starting to pick up their swagger. It is amazing to see it really work.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


First full day in Port Colburn. Yesterday proved to be a very long day for alpha watch. We stood from 0700 till 1300 whem we anchored about eight miles from the dock. After two hours down all hands were called to pick up the hook and get bqck under way. We were riding through a fairly good chop whem another hand and I were sent up the fore to loose out t'gallants and the foresl. We had quite a ride as we were tossed about.
After arriving in port we had several hours of cleaning and prep for deck tours. Alpha was stood down at 2300 and then were given the next twenty four hours off for some much needed rest.

Friday, July 29, 2011


One voyage is done and another has started. We are currently carrying a compliment of college students amd have anchred in canadian wates. We intend to make Port Colburn tonight around 1700.
The student are quick and eager; swwming ready to learn everything we can teach them. It is a really wonderful change of pace.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Back on lake Erie and headed toward Kelly's Island. I suspect we are going there to show the students the the glacial grooves cut into it. I am told that if you lay a compass on them they point directly towards labrador, showing where the ice flow was from.
My tour in the Galley is coming to a close in a couple of days. It has been exhausting, but somewhat satisfying to knw that the crew is being well fed. It also has the effect of reminding me why I left the service industry in the first place.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Back through the Soo locks on the trip back to Erie. Duluth was good for the students,though we are all rather tired at this point. I am back on assistant cook duty which is such a difference experience it is difficult to compare. I do not know how long we are staying here but I imagine time is short and we will soon be off.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Finishing up our time in Duluth. One more day sail in the morning then breaking for Erie. Not a whole lot to say really.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It has been a few days since the watch cycle and geography have given me a chance to send a message to the outsde world. It has certainly been an interesting few days however. We stopped in Sault Ste Marie fo a few hours to prep the Niagara to go through the Soo locks. We also briefly met with the Lynx and her crew as the were doing the same. The passage through the locks was uneventful,which is generally the best way for them to go.
Then we made our way to Lake Superior. If you have never made that passage by water it is difficult to really understand the awe of it. As you make your way up the river you come to a mildly narrow passage and then it is as if the entire world opens up in front of you. It is easy to imagine the feelings of those first explorers through that way, not believing that the water was still fresh because surely this was the ocean in front of them.
Shortly after our entrance to the lake we found ourselves beset in deep fog, though somehow sailing. We managed to sail almost around the peninsula and then drove north for a period of time.
I feel like I need to explain that the nature of time on a voyage is a complicated one. Days quickly become meaningless as all that matters is the watch. If I do not say how many days passed it is because I simply do not remember.
After some days in the fog we were up aloft in the dawn hours tucking reefs wen the fog bank parted to reveal the first land we had seen since entering Superior. We were told that we were off Isle Royale and would be sending shore parties after lunch. It was a cold and wet hour's small boat ride in, but worth every moment. The sun on shore was warm and the smell of pine trees and wet soil was almost overpowering. We spent some time talking to some residents about the study they have been doing on moose and wolves and then tromped in the woods for a bit. It was a lovely excursion.

On leaving we et a great deal of canvas and rode a favorable breeze well into the night. We were on from 2300 till 0300 and made just over thirty miles with a top speed around 9.5knots. It was a glorious run.
Today after lunch we took the deck again and found ourselves taking in sail and furling as we entered the Apostle Islands. I have never had the pleasure of passing through them in daylight hours but surely must return at some point. They are truly beautiful.
And now I am in port on shore leave till 0300, talking to strangers in a coffee shop and making friends. 8 may have even convinced someone to come find us in Duluth and maybe even become a sailor. We are contagious.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


So a few das have passed and much has happened on our voyage. We are still mostly confined to motor sailing, though we did get her full dress on while on lake Huron.
Charlie watch ha started to grow tighter as we spend more time with each other. We have stood a full cycle of watches now, from that first dawn watch to the sunset watch and the times between as well. Last night we stood 2300 till 0300 and took our trainees aloft on the dark of night to furl. It is a singular experience riding the T'gallants in the dead of night. I had the privilage of taking someone up there for the first time. The stars were clear and bright,and so many that they couldn't possibly be counted.
We also had our first swim call with this crew and bathed in lake Huron. After much consideration I think it is my favorite. I do not really know how to describe the shade of blue it has, and the clarityis truly amazing. The instructors apparently lowered something into the water and could see it at the twenty three meter mark. It was a refreshing, if chilly swim. one should never discount the positive effects on moral of swim call.
And so now we are pushing up the Saint Mary's river,talking about stopping in Sault Ste. Marie for a bit before passing through the locks and on to Superior. It trulyis beautiful country up here which I hope to explore more thoroughly some day.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


First watch of the voyage came with little incident. We stood the second dog watch, frome 0300 to 0700 during with we had little but the dawnt to really focus on. We are motor sailing across the lake and are crrently just past Put In Bay.

We di set the main staysl and the fore topsl last night, taking advantage of what breeze we have to help us out. The new trainees are starting to find the rhythm of the shp already though some of the finer points are certainly lacking. It is a challenge not to get a little frustrated, but it is important to rememeber when I was in that same place and how very recent that was.

There is apparently a class on something, which may or may not be mandatory for all hands at some point today.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


And so, after many pauses and stutters we are under way again. We have a boat filled with high school students and are bond for Duluth. Tired and sore and anxious as we all are, there is a glint that comes to the eye when a new voyage begins. Who knows what waits for us in the passage, and who knows who our students will be by the end of it. Right now, as we head off following the sumset all we have is potential.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Long day today, but can't say it was a bad one. Two daysails today... one with each captain. It is interestimg to see the different styles in that close a switch.

The air was vey light so a lot of out actions were more just practicing the routine than actually sailing her, but that isn't a terrible thing to do.
Speaking on routines, I have beem on the gun crew for the past week or two, withthe same crew on it. We're getting pretty good. I would really like to see how fast we can run it.

We said a goodbye to the last of our trainees from the college trip a month back. A few of them have clearly cought the bug and I really hope to see them out there. it is really neat to see the passion swell up in someone who had no idea coming in.

And tomorrow we are off for Duluth with a shipfull of high school students. It will certainly be interesting.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


So i have never been overly good at journals, and so much has happened that i know I won'tgo back and update everything. I do plan to start fresh with a new system in the coming days. Hopefully I will do better. Cheers.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


So we prepared today for a "snowing hurricane" that never came. Sure, we had the fifty knot winds and the driving rain, but it stayed around 50 degrees out, so at least we didn't have the snow, which was nice. The Jib got bent on, so we have one sail now and the rig was organized and more lines were sent about. I spent the day back at the wood pile, which isn't real exciting, but is very satisfying. We now have an estimated two months of wood cut and bagged with just a bit left in the pile to finish up. All in all, it was a really amazing week as far as our productivity goes, and we've got enough energy among the crew to keep that going and get everything up and running ahead of schedule. Go crew.


Big day. Got the last of the big sticks on her.

So now she's ready to take on her sails. All the yards are on, the jibboom and flying jibboom are extended and we got the spanker gaff and boom on her after no little bit of work. She's looking like herself. The last big project is getting the sails bent on, and then it's a lot of little projects. You can feel the energy building as we get closer and closer to ready... We're making great time and are definitely going to be ready to go come may. The crew is also getting better and better as we get to know each other.


Got the last two yards up today, which was far more work and time than the others, but they are pretty huge and heavy, so a bit of extra caution was justified. In the mate's words, however, we got them up without so much as scraping the paint, which is awesome. It was definitely a good effort on everyone's part.

I also took apart, cleaned and altered the pantry shelves in the shore galley, getting them up to fda spec. Time consuming, and not really exciting, but it had to be done, and now the pantry is a bit better organized, which is good.


Today went pretty solidly as planned for me today. More time in the galley and more time on the capstain getting the top yards in place. Definitely heavier work than yesterday, but good work. Every day she looks a bit more and more like herself. Soon she'll be rigged up nice. I spent a little more time up aloft, rigging and prepping for tomorrow's yards. A little more confident every day.


Sixteenth work day since I arrived, and we sent the first yards up. She's got both her t'gallants on, which was really light work on the capstain. It looks as though my week will be a lot of working in the galley and then coming out to walk around to send things up, which is fine with me; I'm pretty good at brute force. I also got to go up aloft and run braces in preparation for the top yards tomorrow, which is good for me. It forced me to really think about how things have to work, making sure that the lines lead where they need to. I'm getting better slowly, actually coming to understand how the ship works, which is good. With a little luck I'll actually get to be worth my weight at some point here.

Till then, however, I'll still march that capstain hard as I can.


This week I am the assistant cook, which means a little less time working on the boat and a little more time working in the galley, cleaning and organizing things. Working with the cook is, however, a good time. She's good people, and I tend to like those.

Between these duties I did get to spend some time out in the headrig seizing on safety ropes and foot ropes, which will make working out there a little easer than it has been so far. A few more things to grab onto and stand on are always good. We are also just about ready to start sending up the yards, which is really exciting.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Today was mostly spent on important side projects. I was given a handful of volunteers and sent below to clean the bilges. Not the most exciting of jobs, but it is rather important to have the bilges cleaned out before we start stowing all our gear and food below. That took up the morning, but everything got pulled out and then the bilges themselves cleaned.

After all that crawling around in the hold, my team and I were sent over to the giant woodpile to start cutting firewood for the season so we can eat. I have to admit, I find that kind of work very relaxing. It's mentally simple, physically satisfying, and requires enough focus to keep you paying attention. We got twenty six bags of wood stored, with probably another five or ten chopped before the end of the day, so I estimate the four of us did a little over three weeks of firewood in a few hours. I'll call it a good day.


Well, the weather today was better than yesterday, but that really doesn't mean a whole lot. It wasn't snowing any more, but it was still pretty cold and windy. I spent most of today working on the headrig again. One of the other hands and I started out on seizings in the headrig, getting the heelrope for the jibbom solidly in place. I then got to set up the jibstay for being sent aloft and prepped the jib's backstays to tension with come-alongs. This process did involve putting on an immersion suit, setting up a ladder on the paint float and climbing up to the backstays, which was one of the more foolish seeming things I've done in a while, but it turned out well and eventually came to remind me of the big A Frame ladder in the black box at Goucher. Fun memories.


Another good day, though cold and densely foggy. I started the day aloft, helping to guide and clear the fore t'gallant mast on its way up to its seat. There was a bit more standing around than any of us were really planning, but the job got done, and the boat is now as tall as she's going to get. We also finished running out the jibboom and got it lashed into place. The bosun came up with a brilliant method for getting the entire lashing bar tight involving a couple rig tackles working on one another. The jibboom is set, the masts are up and we're apparently a little ahead of schedule.


Today we woke to milder weather and got to work. There was a bit of bopping around on a below decks clean up and a deckwash before we got into the harder stuff.

We had to push up the main t'gallant mast, so we marched the capstain round and sent it up. There were a full ten of us on the bars, and many hands make light work so it was a comfortable stroll around the deck. Then I went forward to get the jibboom ready to put aboard. I got to climb the stays to hang a rig tackle from a strop about half way up the fore stay. Then we ran that to the dock and hooked it to the jibboom and hauled it up and onto the ship, eventually running it onto the bowsprit.
Then I helped with getting the martingale and the backstays ready and on the cap, along with the iron for the flying jibboom. It was right around here that the snow started to come down heavy and start sticking. We eventually had to knock off early because it was getting too deep and slick to safely work.

I finished my day with laundry for the first time since coming to Erie, and it was good.


The cold and wet made a comeback today with scattered showers and a bitter cold wind for the day. I spent most of the time with the bosun working on the sprit yard. We got it up on the jibboom and I did the seizing to hold the bridle together. I'm finally really doing boat work, and learning little bits every day. I need to work on getting faster, and trusting my work a bit more, but that will come with time I'm sure. It is really nice to be in an environment based around teaching and training us to be better.


We sent up another spar today, getting the main t'gallant up and starting to get it dressed. Each step gets her looking a bit more like she should. Today was relatively warm, but windy with a fairly hard rain, which negated the niceness a good deal. I spent a lot of time aloft with some of the other hands, tensioning the topmast stays. I got to stand on the mast cap, straddling the gap to the stays while cranking on the come-alongs in gusts that we estimated around thirty knots. It was certainly a bit exciting, and my hips are a bit sore, as my legs are short and it's a pretty solid gap. The most unnerving moment however, was when after a few hours of constant wind, everything got quiet. The other person up on the cap with me and I looked at each other with a confused and worried look; sudden changes are always a little worrisome, but then the wind came back and our little world made sense again.

It was a good day.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Actually did boat work today, which was really exciting. Started out prepping spars that we had brought out to the plaza, getting blocks and chafe gear on and whatnot. Shortened the tails on some pieces, which gave me a chance to work on my whippings and seizings, which is always good. We also had sail training for a lot of our volunteers today, and I got to help with the aloft training. It was rather cold and windy up on the fighting top, but the volunteers needed to come up and we needed to be there to help them stay safe; got to make a few friends while I was up there.

Then we started tuning the topmast, so back up the main for me, watching where it was sitting in the mast cap. Every time I went up it got a little colder, and I had to add new layers, but I haven't gotten to go aloft since october, so I was pleased for the chance. I'm glad that I'm finally getting to work on the boat itself, though I understand that the indoor things were important and other people with more experience than me were better suited to the things that have been going on aboard for the past week.

So the yards are almost all ready, the various booms are starting to move out to the plaza... I suspect that things are going to start moving fast soon. I'm exited to see her really be a ship again.


Spent most of the day getting the galley stuff finished up. We were supposed to get the last water hookups done, but our plumber apparently had some problems.

We did, however, get all of the equipment back in the galley, cleaned, stowed and inventoried so the cook could know what we have. It wasn't particularly exciting, but it is nice to have the galley pretty much ready to go. Hopefully monday everything will be set and ready to go.


Today we spent a good part of the day on a tour of the entire operation that is the Flagship Niagara League, along with getting my paperwork done so that I can officially work here. The tour took up most of the morning and some of the afternoon as well. We wandered around the various shops, learning where tools were and how they are organized. We went over every detail of a boat check, along with all kinds of other information that probably would be dull to put in here.

As for the paperwork, I'd like to point out once again how annoyed I am at the concept of the "TWIC" card. I had to, once again, get federal and state background checks, and I'd love it if, just once, the twic card actually covered something like that, as I have been background checked by pretty much every agency with initials, you'd think that would be good enough. Oh well.

Other than that, more galley work, along with rearranging the Captain's outer office to make it into the coffee room, due to a lack of space in the shore galley. The plans are all starting to come together.


More galley today for me. One of the mates and I spent pretty much the entire day painting the shore galley, but we did manage to get that done. By the time we had worked our way around the room, the place we started was ready to go again. At first, I admit, I was a little confused and surprised by the color that the bosses picked, but the sort of merlot red is starting to really grow on me. Makes it feel a bit more "homey" than a sterile white. Work is continuing along on the boat, getting the yards prepped to go up and all that. Things are slowing getting ready to start making big moves.


Serious progress on getting the boat back together today. Today we sent the topmasts up, marching around the capstain. It was a lot of work but she looks a bit more regal already. We still have a lot to do, and I suspect the days are going to start getting longer soon in order to have her ready to go in time, but it is nice to have a win for the day.

I've still been doing a lot in the galley getting everything going. Today we had the floors professionally cleaned and polished, and I was given the chance to use some pretty hardcore cleaning agents to get pitch off the floors of the shore heads, which was a new experience for me. When all was said and done, the floors did look really nice, so there's nothing for me to complain about there.


Monday morning was cold and dreary, but we had things to do, so we did them. I did spend most of my time in the shore galley, continuing all the work we have to do to get it up an running. The cook is coming in tomorrow, so we need to have it at least kind of ready to go. I have been spending a lot of time cleaning up drywall dust, which it turns out, is quite a pain, but that's the job. Admittedly, not a whole lot to talk about at this point.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


This morning we heard a lecture from Captain Rybka about the history of the Niagara after the war, which is something we rarely talk about. It is really a depressing story about bureaucracy and poor planning with a helping of cautionary tale for not caring for important pieces of our history. The boat was left to rot, rebuilt and left to rot more times than is remotely fair, but that is the way of our culture it seems. We sometimes fail to remember how important things are till they're already ruined.

Afterwards, there was more work on the galley, and work getting the boat prepped for uprig. We've been getting the yards ready to send aloft and coiled the anchor rodes in their home. Stays are being tarred and seized as needed. We're getting ready to really start things up; less than a month till the sailing season starts.


Turned to at 0630 and headed into town with the folks on the boat. Our shore galley is being remodeled so the captain took care of our breakfast at a local shop. I tried the apparently quintessential Erie breakfast of a meatball omelet, which was really tasty, but would probably make better drunk late night food than breakfast food.

Upon getting back to the boat, we started in the preparations for uprig. We moved yards around a bit, and then I was pulled off that to help move some artifacts around in the museum store room. We are doing some upgrades to the shore facilities, and we had to cut hole in the wall to get a new water heater installed. Once we moved the heater, then we had to fix said wall. It was new and interesting for me.

The I moved down to the shore galley to help with the upgrade and refit in there. While it is kind of inconvenient to have it torn up, we'll have it back together by tuesday and it will be really nice. There is also talk of putting together a "Misery Bay Workout Program" for the crew. We all need a bit more conditioning to get ready for the season.

03/24/2011- Returning to Niagara

So the few of you that read this are probably aware of how bad I am at updating. I'm going to try to do better this time around.

Arrived in Erie around 0900 and quickly got to work. Checked in with the Mate and then headed out to salt the ship and break ice free, as there were student tours coming aboard later in the day and we had to get the boat to a useful condition for that. After the drive I was tired, but keeping active was very helpful in dealing with that. I worked till noon, and then turned to taking care of some last minute preparations. I went into town to get a new rig knife and a foulie hat, and then went down into the shop to put together a new rig, as my old one was poorly made and falling apart.

Met some of the other O.S.s and an AB and had a pleasant time working with them on our gear. It really feels good to be back.