Learning the Ropes

Our first sail training voyage of the summer saw students from Yarmouth High School and South Portland High School’s Alternative Education program sailing from Boothbay Harbor to Provincetown and back up to Portland during a week at sea.

Students donned Gumby suits and learned watch procedure on their first day, as do all programs that sail with us.

For the remainder of the week, students spent their time “learning the ropes.”  Captain Richard Bailey taught them the following: “Rope is a substance we purchase on spools. When we cut it, whip it and/or splice it, and then give it a job and a name, it becomes a line.” By the end of a week-long program, our students might not know every part’s name and purpose on the ship, but they do leave with an understanding of how fundamental each element is.

Although it is a goal, not all programs are lucky enough to see whales while at sea.  Fortunately, for this group, they spent an entire day in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary watching a number of whales and seals break the surface.  In this photo, captured by Joanne Jarzobski, Gamage can be seen sailing near Measles, a mature, female humpback whale.  An incredible sight to witness – especially from that of a Tall Ship!

Marine life is, of course, a highlight of any voyage, but there is always so much more experienced on board.  Students and crew bond over a mutual commitment to sail the ship safely from one location to another.  Despite the strange, new environment, this group of students came together, and we are lucky to have spent the week working alongside them.