Sail training diary – Day 3 – Taking Responsibility

Today a lot of positive progress was made by the trainees in general and a few surprises were presented by individuals. All in all it was another remarkable day.

Day 3 - Foredeck activity

After a sail under their belts, the crew transferred more responsibility to the trainees. As a team, they began to get the hang of tacking the vessel and the relatively light winds may not have proven that Providence is the “fast ship” she claims to be, but it did allow the trainees to handle the lines without the threat of injury. A lot was learned today and we intend for them to take even more responsibility for sailing the ship over the next few days. Our goal is to have an impressive parent/guardian sail on Friday and I believe that we are on the proper course to meet that objective.

Day 3 - Dylan on the helm

One of the surprises today was that the watch leadership was not quite as strong as in Day 2. This could be due to a number of things. One of the watch leaders advised that he was feeling ill this morning and had a headache. Despite that, he actively participated in every single activity on the vessel. The other watch leader had demonstrated significantly more informal leadership on Day 2 that she did today with formal authority. However, at the end of the day she was the first trainee to jump at the opportunity to work with the crew out on the head rig furling the headsails. In any case, assuming responsibility early on in an alien environment can be intimidating for anyone. The first day watch leaders were already considered “leaders” within the group and their community. The 2 new watch leaders that stepped up today did not have a similar level of informal authority from the group and therefore their jobs were slightly more challenging.

Day 3 - Furling the headsails

Today we tacked a lot and this gave the trainees plenty of chances to learn and handle lines. It didn’t take long for them to take the important initiative of coiling lines and making sure the deck was tidy after each tack. This was a good demonstration of the group and individuals taking responsibility and exercising leadership. Of course, not everyone was helping after every tack which is to be expected.

Day 3 - Furling the mainsail

The daily challenge today was focused on nautical language and it was realy exciting to see how seriously and diligently the watches worked on it. However, we had a number of decisions to make regarding the next few days, so we decided to postpone the competition until Day 4 morning.

One of the important decisions had to do with the overnight. We had nine interested trainees for 6 berths. Janice and I looked over the list of participants and decided to give priority to trainees that would only be participating in the first week but we asked all who wanted to go what they thought. You could see that there was a little disappointment and hear a few grumbles but then one trainee suggested that we draw names from a hat and this was enthusiastically supported by all.

The Sloop Providence crew has been doing an incredible job with this group of kids. Someone always picks up on the signals that one of the trainees may be fading out and they are quick to respond with a task or instruction. Once this occurs the trainees are instantly reengaged.

Today was another exciting and rewarding day where significant progress was made by the group in sailing the ship.

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Peter A. Mello

Husband, father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

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