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

Sail training diary – Day 1 onboard the Sloop Providence

This week I’m going to post about something a little different.

The Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation is one of Sea-Fever Consulting LLC’s clients and today we launched a new sail training program aboard the Continental Sloop Providence for a group of teens from Middletown, RI. This program was made possible by a grant from the American Sail Training Association and is part of their Tall Ships Youth Adventure Program.


ASTA’s Tall Ships Youth Adventure Program was the result of a federal appropriation under the US Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and is categorized as a demonstration project. This funding was secured and program created when I was executive director of the American Sail Training Association. Enough of that, let’s get on to the good stuff. Continue reading Sail training diary – Day 1 onboard the Sloop Providence

Turning out to be a Tough Month for Canadian Tall Ships

Earlier this month the Canadian schooner Robertson II experienced a potentially career ending casualty and today it’s reported that a fire in the engine room aboard the sail training vessel Fair Jeanne caused her crew and trainees to be evacuated. There were several injuries reported including a broken leg and head injury, though owner Simon Fuller advises none appear to be serious. FairJeanne

Stories: Yahoo News / AP and Brookville Recorder and Times

Built in 1982, Fair Jeanne is a 110′ brigantine which has provided life changing educational and character building experiences for thousands of Canadian youth. She is own and operated by Bytown Brigantines, Inc.

Technorati tags: , ,

"The Heart of Sail Training"

TSYT brigs Today’s (Monday, July 9th) Portsmouth Herald has a great article by Susan Nolan about the power of sail training.

Captain Liam Keating, the skipper of the tall ship Prince William, one of 4 tall ships that visited Portsmouth, NH this weekend, tells a great story about how a young man’s life was changed by a sail training experience several years ago. Nolan writes:

When Keating joined the Prince William five years ago, a young man from Dublin named Paul was on one of his first voyages. Paul had scars on his body from cigarette burns and from being bitten by his alcoholic father, Keating said. But the voyage on the Prince William changed the young man’s life. In fact, it changed the lives of Paul’s entire family.

The Christmas after his summer voyage, Paul sent Keating a card. Continue reading "The Heart of Sail Training"

PA Historical and Museum Commission Sites and Museums to Close Due to Budget Impasse, Furlough of State Workers

US Brig Niagara

Just received a Google Alert that the US Brig Niagara has been caught up in the budget problems in Pennsylvania.

Here is a link to the press release.

This seems to be pretty unfortunate news for the amazing vessel and her unique education programs. The US Brig Niagara just received her SSV (sail school vessel) status and developed her 2007 schedule predominantly around sail training instead of port appearances. Education Day Sail Schedule and Sail Training Program Schedule

In August, Niagara, with Professor Timothy Walker and in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh, is offering a 4 credit college course aboard the vessel entitled Maritime History and the Great Lakes.

Hope this budget impasse is soon resolved so that the US Brig Niagara can pursue her mission “to preserve the skills of square-rig seafaring, interpret War of 1812 history and to promote the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Erie.”

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Canadian Tall Ship Aground In British Columbia

Robertson II image from

Earlier this week the Robertson II, one of Canada’s historic tall ships, experienced a significant casualty when she grounded on Mink Reef off Winter Cove near Saturna Island. Unfortunately, the situation does not sound very good.

The Bosun’s Mate website has been closely monitoring developments with updates and photos. The Robertson II has a rich history as a working schooner followed by service as the first sail training vessel owned and operated by S.A.L.T.S. (Sail and Life Training Society), Victoria, BC, Canada.

According to an update (07/07/07) by The Bosun’s Mate the Robertson II is privately owned by Atlantic and Pacific Fisheries of Victoria but has been used by Merchant Marine Sail and Steam International Society which has a mission “to preserve the spirit of our merchant marine heritage forever under both sail and power.”

It’s always sad to see a vessel founder and more so with one that has given thousands of young people positive life changing experiences over the years. The power of vessels like Robbie lies in the experiences, memories and dreams that they leave with people who sail them as well as with those who simply witness the majesty of a tall ship from shore. Look for some powerful stories to be told as the situation develops.

Update: Interesting OakBay News story July 6, 2007

Technorati tags: , , ,

Happy Birthday Irving Johnson!

Irving Johnson Mystic Seaport

It seems only fitting that sail training pioneer Irving Johnson was born on Independence Day 1905.

For information about this extraordinary sailor, adventurer, educator and leader check out his Wikipedia entry and his biography on the Irving and Electa Johnson Collection page on the Mystic Seaport website.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Furled Sails Podcast: Spirit of South Carolina

furled sails podcast logoI previously wrote about the new sail training vessel Spirit of South Carolina and cited her strong executive leadership team of Brad and Meaghan Van Liew. She also have one of the most accomplished skippers in the US tall ship fleet with Captain Tony Arrow.

Furled Sails is a great sailing podcast by Christy and Noel Davis and in episode #95 they interview Captain Arrow about the schooner Spirit of South Carolina, the South Carolina Maritime Heritage Foundation, their exciting education programs, and sail training in general.

In addition to being an accomplished professional sail trainer, Captain Arrow is a great spokesperson for the South Carolina Maritime Heritage Foundation and one of the most articulate speakers about the merits of sail training.

Enjoy the show!

(Download through iTunes or stream audio) (show length 52 minutes)

Technorati tags: , , ,