Sail training diary – Week 2 – Sailing with Kids (Guest Post)

Day 8 - for sgt bodington blog post

I asked Sgt. Fred Bodington, a Middletown Rhode Island Police Officer who was instrumental in recruiting trainees for the Sloop Providence / ASTA Tall Ships Youth Adventure Program to write something about his experience sailing with kids over the past 2 weeks.

As a community police officer working in a low income housing complex I have the opportunity to see these cadets in their home environment. The transformation I see during the training is incredible. Although not across the board most of these kids are literally jumping at this opportunity. Each morning I have been boarding the bus with the kids and they all show the same “I don’t care indifference” when asked about the upcoming day. Their body language, however, tells a different story. One girl who complains about being tired and not getting to sleep is the first on the bus and just about ran me over getting there. The kids are seen walking around with pieces of line tying bowlines and making daisy chain necklaces and bracelets. We even hear them starting to use nautical terms as if they always had. I can just imagine the looks the teachers will give them when they go back to school and ask to go to the head.

On Monday, day 1 of the second week, we observed the same out of place feeling among the new kids that was displayed in the first week. This quickly went away as the crew and cadets who returned from the first week started to interact. Day 1 is hard on the kids who think that they are going to start sailing right away and it takes some time for them to grasp the fact they need to learn the ship before sailing her. Continue reading Sail training diary – Week 2 – Sailing with Kids (Guest Post)

Tall Ship Museum Looking for a Master and Commander


While the Independence Seaport Museum reported that they hired a new president yesterday, another of America’s great maritime museums is looking for someone to take the helm. And this one has their own tall ship! Continue reading Tall Ship Museum Looking for a Master and Commander

Independence Seaport Museum hires a new director

I’ve posted about recent heavy weather experienced at Philadelphia’s Independence Seaport Museum here, here, here and here.

Today, the museum issued a press release about hiring a new president, Ms. Lori Dillard Rech, who is currently executive director the Betsy Ross House, also in Philadelphia.

Wish her luck and success in getting this great institution back on course!

"Seafaring program puts teens to the test" – Newport Daily News – August 6, 2007

PMHF logo wo words Nice article in today’s Newport Daily News about the Continental Sloop Providence’s youth sail training program which I have been blogging about over the course of the past week. This 2 week program is a partnership with the Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation, Middletown Public Schools, Middletown Substance Abuse Task Force and the Middletown Police Depart.

Seafaring program puts teens to test – Newport Daily News – August 6, 2007

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Boat building and sailing, teaching life’s lessons, internationally

Rocking the Boat logo The August 3rd issue of The Epoch Times has an interesting article by Jan Jekielek entitled Sail Training, Small Scale, Brings Hope and Responsibility to Troubled Youth about a small boat program in Poland.

“I don’t know a more effective method of teaching young people,” says Adam Falkiewicz, the lead Sail Trainer at the club.

“They have to learn how to do hard work, and to listen. They must learn to manage others. They learn how to trust each other, as well as themselves, at sea. Overall, they become responsible. In the end, they are whole people.”

There are so many interesting youth sail training programs all over the world. In the United States we have a number of similar boat building and sailing programs for at-risk / under-served youth and one of my favorites is Rocking the Boat in the Bronx, NY. Be sure to watch this video on their website; while its a couple years old, it still captures the art and magic of their program.

These programs give young people life skills way beyond the knowledge of sailing or boat building. The sea is such a great teacher of so many subjects and often the most important is knowledge of and confidence in ourselves. 

Sail training diary – Day 5 – Sailing with Parents and Graduation

Well this is starting to sound redundant but it was another perfect day for sailing. The wind was up a little more than Day 4 which added a little more challenge to line handling and the trainees were up to it.

After the Thursday day sail, there was an overnight expedition. Six trainees got the opportunity to spend the night aboard and work like crew. The Sloop Providence anchored in Potter’s Cove and from all reports it was a great experience. Even being woken in the middle of the night to stand anchor watch was managed with enthusiasm. The vessel returned to the dock on Friday morning and the shore bound trainees joined at 10:00 am.

Day 4’s challenge needed to be completed so ASTA Intern Heather organized a line naming contest and all of the professional crew. A line would be read out and the first player that grabbed it would win a point. The first team to 10 won. The trainees got stumped by the trickery of crew member Jody when he called out the “waterline.” It also took a good 10 minutes for one of the teams to figure out how to tie a bowline. All in all, the trainees recollection of line locations was surprisingly poor considering how well they sailed on Day 3. It’s funny that each winning has chosen scrubbing the deck rather than planning the voyage. Physical activities trumps intellectual activity which is not a surprise for this age group

Day 5 - teamwork

Today was parent day and we had six aboard which was great. The trainees seized the opportunity to show their stuff with setting the sails. This was the best demonstration of their team work yet. Continue reading Sail training diary – Day 5 – Sailing with Parents and Graduation

Sail training diary – Day 4 – Fair Wind and Plenty of It

We could not have ordered better weather this week. Each day the wind has grown a little stronger which has allowed our fine trainees the opportunity to handle lines and improve their skills. There wasn’t a breath of air this morning when we arrived at the vessel but as we motored out to Castle Hill the breeze began to freshen; ultimately we ended up having perfect conditions to get the Sloop Providence up to a respectable speed.

Day 4 - handling the jib sheets Continue reading Sail training diary – Day 4 – Fair Wind and Plenty of It

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. Continue reading Sail training diary – Day 3 – Taking Responsibility

Sail training diary – Day 2 – Scrub Decks, Polish Brass, Sail

Today was one of those days that reconfirms the transformative power the sail training experience can have on young people’s lives.

I arrived at the Providence a little before the bus and after the USCG completed the final portion of their inspection. As I walked down the ramp of the floating dock I was met by a gentleman who had a few questions about the boat. It turned out that his daughter was part of our program and he was in the neighborhood and wanted to take a look. It didn’t seem to take much selling to get him interested in the parent sail scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The bus arrived missing one of our star trainees from Day 1 but we picked up a new one new so our count remained even at 13. Not too much later, our missing young man arrived with his dad who seemed a little annoyed that his son missed the bus.

The beginning of day 2 and we already have 2 fathers down to the boat with interest about what their children were doing. This is a great sign.

Day 2 - deck wash

Continue reading Sail training diary – Day 2 – Scrub Decks, Polish Brass, Sail