Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Launching Amanda Grace

by Caitlín

In the early afternoon of Wednesday, June 25th, 2008, the Amanda Grace felt the caress of water on her hull for the first time in five years.
It was a monumental moment. Putting all that work in to make her ready for sailing (painting the hull, cleaning and waxing above the waterline, pumping out the bilge numerous times, etc.) really made it seem special; she's our boat and we earned her.
Unfortunately, although Daniel and his dad came earlier to charge the batteries and install the new bilge pump, only Gus, the Skipper, Mr. Finn, and I were able to be present for the launch.

The boat hauler backs beneath Amanda Grace.

With Amanda Grace fully supported on its arms, the hauler starts off for the launching ramp.

The boat crane (don't you love all these "technical" terms I'm using?) backs over Amanda Grace...

so that she could be lifted from her cradle...

and lowered into the water.

Then she was towed to row O, where she'll remain until Independence Day weekend for the sail down to Woodbridge.

Once we stowed everything away, closed up the hatch, and hooked up a power source for the bilge pump, we took turns blessing her and then had a toast.
(That's sparkling apple cider we're drinking.)
(See more photos.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flag Day Flotilla Sail

by Caitlín
The three boats pictured above (the Seeking Peace, an on-loan and unnamed O'Day 25, and the Takin' it Breezy) made up our "flotilla" this past Saturday (Flag Day), our unit's first multi-boat sailing event. The Flag Day Flotilla Sail included a visit from a reporter and a photographer for the Potomac News.

Although it didn't look like there was much wind inland, there was a pleasant breeze on the water. We met at Leesylvania Park and held a muster, and the Skipper conducted a uniform inspection (left).
Several people failed because they weren't wearing blue jeans, didn't have a hat, or didn't pack lunch. But they weren't punished too hard. ;-)

We received a surprise visit from Tim Rupert, the District Executive for Occoquan District. He brought us samples of the new Venturing-specific fundraising item, On-the-Trail Mix to get us excited about selling it sometime in the near future. We all taste-tested both the "Classic Mix" and the "Power Mix," and the general consensus was that the Power Mix (with honey-roasted nuts and peanut butter chips) was the better of the two, although both were pretty good.

Once the press arrived, everyone went to their assigned boat and the captains held briefings. (Captain Ashton briefing the crew of Seeking Peace, right.)
The boat I was aboard, Breezy, was the last one out because Captain Ross had us rig the sails before going out. Once we turned off the engine and put up the sails, it became obvious that what is a pleasant breeze ashore isn't much of a sailing wind; there was definitely not going to be any rails buried under the water. Or even any heeling. :-(

Ah well, at least there was enough wind that we were actually moving, unlike the last Petty Officer sail I went on. But once, while we were on the same tack as the O'Day, and I was at the helm, we our boat overtook theirs. The captain of the O'Day was Tom Finn, who races his Hobie Cat, so we were pretty happy.
But I think they might have been explaining something about sailing and not trying to go fast at the time.
Left: Our view from the Breezy of the O'Day as we passed her.

No matter which tack we were on we didn't get much speed that day, but it was enough that it wasn't entirely boring and we could still practice our sailing skills. There was less pressure to adjust the jib so quickly or take in the sails as fast as possible than if there had been a lot of wind, and it was actually kind of nice. (Gus pulling the jib over to port side during a tack, right.)

Once we decided that there was probably not going to be any wind, and it was nearing 2:00, we started up the motor and headed for the Carefree Boat Club, Breezy's home while Gus and I furled and stowed the sails.

I had brought my own car to the Carefree Boat Club, and did not return to Leesylvania, so did not get to see how the other Scouts had enjoyed their sail. I hope Sarah had fun, since it was her first time out.

And another group shot, courtesy of John Boal, taken before we went out:

The article appeared in the "Life & Leisure" section of the Potomac News on June 29th, 2008.

Click the top photo to view more pictures from the Flag Day Flotilla Sail, or visit our photo gallery to see pictures of past events.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Spirit of Enterprize

by Caitlín

Some day (hopefully soon) Washington D.C. will get its own tall ship! The Spirit of Enterprize will be a replica of the War of 1812-famous schooner, the Enterprize, and will be a floating classroom and education center. Cool!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Piloting Course

Two Scouts from our unit, David and Aaron, were aboard der PeLiKan this weekend for the piloting/navigation underway course taught by Douglass Yeckley (Skipper of Ship 548 (S.S.S. Sea Eagle), and Steve Alexander, the chair of the Chesapeake Flotilla.
Neither Aaron nor David are interested in blogging about their experience (although it sounded like they had fun), but Rob Marks of Ship 306, also attended and posted photos on his website.