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July 25th, 2009

Cooler overboard!

I was out crewing the American Spirit this afternoon. We had clear skies, hot weather, and strong breezes. It was a lovely day to be out. We had to take down some of the sails because the wind was too strong. We were really cruising and the waves were more choppy than normal. I got sprayed with water once or twice as we cut through some smaller waves.

About 45 minutes into the sail, I got a little thirsty for a Coke. I was just about to give into my craving when someone shouted - the cooler fell overboard! It slid right off the deck and through the rope-mesh bulwark into the water. Thankfully it floated. My poor Coke!

We then proceeded to perform a man-overboard drill in order to retrieve the cooler. Our helmsman brought us right alongside the cooler and the Captain hooked it with a pole. I held the pole for him as he got a rope around the handle. We started pulling it on deck (it was a big cooler), but in the process the lid opened and a bunch of water bottles started bobbing up and down in the river, floating back behind us. Most of the drinks were retrieved successfully, though. After the cooler was safely stowed on board, I got myself a Coke and had it explode a little foam on me. It had been shaken up a bit by the adventure!

Another highlight of the trip was seeing the Fritha, a small square-rigged ship - a brigantine. I have to admit that I had adulterous thoughts of jumping ship and offering to sign up with her instead of the Spirit! I looked Fritha up online and found out that she is a training and charter ship. She sails up and down the East coast. The organization which owns her offers courses in seamanship. I don't meet the prerequisites at the moment, but I am looking into it.

Among today's tasks on board: scrubbing the decks, filling the cooler with ice, wiping down the cabins, removing and placing sail ties on all the sails, rolling the sails tight for neat storage, handling the downhaul on the jib sail, killing a spider, coiling the line for the foresail gaff (I think?), tightening the foresail sheet, assisting in freeing a line that got caught on the wrong side of the foresail, covering the mainsail, and picking up miscellaneous lines that were laying around.

I returned home at 7 pm with a hamburger and ice cream. I was tired!

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