As soon as I got back from church, I turned on the laptop to check and see if the schooner cruise was still a go. There was nothing on Twitter to show that it had been canceled. I hopped into a new set of clothes & sneakers, grabbed my NMHF cap, and ran out the door.
I ate a little lunch on the way and arrived at the Waterfront around 2:30 pm. I was calling my mom to double-check the Twitter feed when a car honked at me from alongside in the intersection. Eeek, I know I shouldn't talk on the phone while crossing the street, sorry! Wait, no, that's the captain! The captain graciously gave me a ride the rest of the way to the marina, which was just a block or two away.
Once there, we got to out usual work - soaping and scrubbing the steel deck, uncovering the sails and stowing the covers below, preparing the lines, tying up the trash bags, killing loose spiders, etc. The captain went below for something and came back up asking about shirts. He handed me one to try and it fit quite smartly. I am now an official crew member with my NMHF cap and shirt! I was ready to go!
We got the passengers signed in, kids equipped with lifejackets, and we were ready to set off. There were only 4 crew members on this trip - our captain, first mate (or so we all believe he deserves to be dubbed), one of the experienced OS (ordinary seamen), and me, the newbie OS. Of course, nobody even mentions "ratings." We all go on a first name basis, including the captain.
Once we got around the Sequoia (formerly the Presidential yacht), I was given my first trick at the wheel. I was told to head for the white building straight ahead. Running on motor power with no wind or waves to speak of, I had a fairly easy time of it. After we got out of the channel and into the Potomac, we raised sail. Well, I stood at the helm and steered her while the other three managed the sails. It takes at least 3 people to raise the gaff foresail. One is on the halyard for the throat (?) of the sail, another for the peak of the sail, and a third watches the downhaul line as it goes up. We had enough people to do the job, but everyone was needed. We also got the kids to heave-ho to pull the sail up all the way.
Once the sails were up, we let the kids each take a trick at the wheel. It was very cloudy, but bright, and warm outside today. The humidity wasn't so noticeable once we were out on the water since our speed gave us a sense of breeze. No overboard coolers today.
I learned a bit about the maritime history of the Potomac. It used to be a really important shipping area, with big, full-rigged ships coming in from Europe to carry back tobacco and lumber. Today the river is silted up and it's much shallower than it once was.
We went down the river, past Alexandria, and under the bridge for the 495 beltway. We then returned and cruised back. I was again given the helm while the experienced hands took down the main and foresail. I did get to lower the jib, though, and learned how to cleat that. I also got to handle the bow line when we returned to dock. I had to jump off the ship, catch the bow line when it was tossed over to me, wrap it once around the cleat, and then take in the slack to pull the ship in to the dock. I cleated it off in the way that I learned, though I accidentally put an extra turn in it. That doesn't hurt anything, but it means that it'll take longer to undo when the ship goes out again.
With the passengers on their way, we covered up the sails, coiled up the lines, returned the lifejackets to their place, and tossed the garbage. I learned the finishing coil (basically just making a big, flat circling pattern with the rope), which I applied to the long end of the foresheet and the bow & spring lines on shore. I also *think* that I understand the coiling method for the downhaul, though I am not certain that I am doing it correctly. I did finally get the jist of coiling the halyard lines, though I didn't have to work with those today.
I returned home to edit a couple more crew lists for 1891. I hope to finish that set for submission tomorrow evening after work.
Somehow, being out in the sun is exhausting! It's a good kind of exhausting - the kind that results in collapsing like a rock at bedtime.