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Daily Log: Thursday, June 30

0945 hours

Starting Position: Docked at New London, CT.
Latitude: N 41˚ 21.0'
Longitude: W 072˚ 05.4'

Day One of the first leg of the 2011 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery.

As our Voyage of Discovery begins, the Half Moon has been docked in New London, CT for severak days of resupplying following our transit voyage from Kingston, NY.

The Connecticut River Academy students have just arrived, including Erica and Kelsey, two alums from the 2010 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery last October.

Captain Reynolds steps over to the dock to greets our crew, both new and returning.

The captain invites the students on board. Before the students board, everyone grabs gear and transfers it from shore to ship.

1000 hours

Once all hands are on board, Captain Reynolds briefs the teachers and students on our safety protocols, ranging from what to do in the case of fire or man overboard to the proper washing of hands. With 24 crew and one bathroom, hygiene is as critical to health on board the Replica Ship Half Moon today as it was on d'Halve Maen in 1609.

1030 hours

With intoductions out of the way, we split into three groups to rotate through various training programs. Our bosun, Mr. de Jong, teaches the new crew members how to properly belay and coil the lines.

1045 hours

Meanwhile, Ms. Read demonstrates the correct method of donning our new, OSHA-approved safety harnesses.

The students aren't climbing yet, but Ms. Read goes aloft to demonstrate what will be expected of them should they choose to climb. She emphasizes the importance of maintaining three points of contact at all times.

You'll find more on the topic of climbing aloft in the Learning Pages once the students start climbing in the coming days.

1100 hours

Joey and Hannah practice coiling lines at the weather deck's starboard pin rail.

While this is going on, the third group meets below decks with Mr. Woodworth to go over the correct method of operating our marine head (bathroom). It's obviously important, and not easy!.



1115 hours

After about fifteen minutes at each training station, the groups rotate to the next. Ms. Read wraps up teaching students how to clip themselves into the rig with a safety harness.

Our weather conditions are gorgeous today, and the captain has decided that we're going to sail right off the New London dock without use of the engine. With basic training complete, we all move on to an introduction to sail handling.

Mouse over to set sail!
The main mast team sets the main course for the first time.

After just a few minutes of instuction, our main mast team knows their clew from their martnet and is ready to practice setting the course for first time.

It goes off without a hitch. As a side benefit, the sail provides some shade!

1200 hours

As the students continue practicing with the sails, they move on from simply dousing and setting sails to more advanced maneuvers. Eliu has moved to the starboard side of the Quarter deck to help brace (turn) the main course to the wind.

Lydia is his partner on the port-side rail.

While all this excitement is going on, Mr. Shoemaker is broadcasting a live video feed of our departure. Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter for up-to-the-minute notifications of our live video feeds.

1215 hours

We're ready to depart and properly launch our Voyage of Discovery. Our dock line handlers move into place, and Mr. Kilgus moves the main course sheet (a line that pulls the lower corner of the sail astern) out of the way of Line Three.

Ms. Falvey, Kristen, and Ryan stand ready at the port-side dousing lines for the main course.

Meanwhile, under Ms. Read's supervision, the foremast team set the fore course and brace it to the wind.

Hannah and Kelsey are handling the braces, while Jawara and Jacob handle the dousing lines and stand lookout.

Back at the main mast, Raheem and Eliu are ready at the starboard dousing lines. Before you know it, all sails are set and we're ready to go!

1230 hours

With the aid of Kipp van Aken on shore, we cast off our docklines and the Half Moon sets sail from New London solely under wind power.

1245 hours

With our new students handling the lines, the Half Moon navigates the mouth of the Thames River.

Mouse over to sweat and tail!
Mr. Roy sweats and Ms. Reilly tails the tender stern tackle.

1300 hours

A local press photographer, Halie Cousineau, has been covering the Half Moon's departure for the New London Day (external link). After we zip her back to shore in the Zodiac (the ship's inflatable tender boat), we haul up to boat and head out into Long Island Sound. To lift the heavy weight of the tender's outboard motor, Mr. Roy "sweats" (using his full body weight to pull in the line) while Ms. Reilly "tails" (immediately taking up all slack). Eliu and Jacob watch closely—next time it may be them doing this.


1315 hours

Strong winds carry us swiftly into the sound as we turn west toward Niantic Bay.

Unfortunately, the winds are westerly, which means that on our current course we're headed against the wind. We hustle to douse the sails as they flap and writhe.

Kristen puts her weight into hauling up the port clew; this dousing line pulls the corner of the sail up to the yard.

Once the main course has been doused, Raheem and Ms. Falvey secure their buntlines to the mast cleats.

1330 hours

As the Half Moon continues underway under motor, Mr. McLaughlin and his galley assistants serve lunch. It's light fare today as our new crew acclimates the the waters of the Sound: grilled cheese sandwiches and a choice of soups.

1345 hours

Jawara stands lookout, keeping an eye out for hazards and obstacles ahead of the ship. Here in the sound, our lookouts really earn their keep—a common hazard for the Half Moon is the nefarious lobster pot, a tiny buoy marking the position of a lobster trap sitting on the bottom far below. The buoy and the traps aren't the hazard; it's the long, strong line connecting them, which can wrap around our prop and, effectively, involuntarily anchor the ship until we cut it free. But so far, so good!

1345 hours

Mr. Woodworth draws interest with his odd display. What is it?

This is the Task Matrix, which we'll discuss in greater detail in the Learning Pages. It's how we mark our personal accomplishments over the course of the voyage. Mr. Woodworth is prepping the Matrix for the new crew.

1400 hours

Rig teams made up of senior crew members climb aloft to furl (securely tie) the courses. Ms. Reilly and Ms. Read will need to combine forces to get that unruly sail under wraps!

1415 hours

The force of the wind is also turning the task of steering the ship into a serious workout. Joey and Lydia team up in the helm hutch to control the whipstaff, the lever we use to steer the Half Moon. As we motor into the waves, the whipstaff is worthy of its name today!

1545 hours

Kelsey stands lookout as we continue on our way. Traveling from New London to Niantic Bay isn't far overland, but in these conditions it can be slow going. For the most part, the new crew spends their time relaxing, attending to duties, and getting accustomed to the ship.

1730 hours

Down in the galley, Lydia gets to know Mr. de Jong while making garlic bread for tonight's dinner.

If you look at the track archive for this voyage, you'll note that we've taken quite the roundabout course on our way westward, even briefly crossing over from Connecticut into New York waters. Why didn't we take the short cut? Because that stretch of water along the northern coast is home to numerous reefs and sandbars. The water looks clear, but only the smallest vessels can naviagate safely.

Having now passed the shallows, we can turn to the north and make our way into Niantic Bay. The bad news is that from this point, we still have quite a lot of water to cross. The great news is that since we've turned away from the wind, we can set sail again. Mr. de Jong and Mr. Shoemaker climb aloft to unfurl the main mast.

1745 hours

With the sails set and braced hard to starboard, we cut the engine and ride the powerful winds swiftly northward.

Our plan is to continue under sail all the way to tonight's anchorage; we'll just have to see how well we do.

As we approach 0600 hours, Hannah wraps up her hour at helm and her work team, Starboard Watch, prepares to go off duty.

The Matrix has also been posted, though so far only Jawara has broken the ice by marking his time at helm. By the end of the voyage, that board will be filled with orange marks!

1800 hours

Check the horizon; it's not the camera on a tilt, it's the ship. The strong winds heel the Half Moon over as we glide along.

Meanwhile, Eliu and Raheem take note of the Matrix and turn to their watch leader, Erica, for approval to mark down the duties they've already accomplished over the course of the day. It has begun!

1815 hours

The sail are full as Port Watch comes back on duty. They were technically on duty this morning, but this is their first time in charge of the ship while underway.

1830 hours

Dinner is served! It's lasagna, salad, and garlic bread tonight.

1915 hours

With weather this photogenic, we're taking every opportunity to get our photographers out on the water today. We send Mr. Woodworth and Mr. Shoemaker out in the Zodiak to capture some images of the ship at sunset.

While the camera snaps and the video runs, the Half Moon enters Niantic Bay and approaches our anchorage for the night.

The wind is steady, so our hopes have come to fruition: we'll be able to sail right up to our anchorage and end our day without use of the ship's engine.

Erica is the final lookout of the day as we come to the end of today's travels.

1930 hours

As we make our final approach, Captain Reynolds evaluates our new crew members and decides that they're up for an advanced maneuver: wearing ship. To wear ship means using the sails to make a sharp turn while sailing with the wind, switching the winds from one side of the ship to the other so that they cross the stern. (It's the opposite of tacking, which is making a sharp turn while sailing against the wind, so that the wind cross the bow.)

1945 hours

Captain Reynolds explains what he needs from the mast teams and they jump into place.

2000 hours

As we cross over the anchorage, Mr. de Jong and Mr. Woodworth have the anchor unlashed and ready to deploy on the fore channel. This is our new bosun's first time setting our anchor himself!

Shortly after crossing our anchorage, the captain gives the command to wear ship, and the sail handlers haul the braces. The ship reverses course just as we wanted.

2015 hours

As we sail back to the anchorage, the captain's command comes: "Let fall the anchor!" Mr. de Jong pulls the fid, releasing the free-hanging anchor. It plunges to the bottom, pulling 150 feet of chain and line down with it before we make it off.

Current Position: Anchored at Niantic Bay, CT.
Latitude: N 41˚ 18.7'
Longitude: W 072˚ 11.4'

With the sun setting and the Half Moon secure for the night, we settle into our first evening on board.

2045 hours

While senior crew members furl the courses, our educators meet with the students to brief them on future activities and to hand out personal journals they'll use to record their experiences on the ship.

2115 hours

After the students take some time to make their own log entries, Captain Reynolds convenes the crew on deck for our first Anchor Watch meeting. Pairs of students will stand watch throughout the night to monitor the safety of the ship and their sleeping crewmates.

During the Anchor Watch briefing, we also hand out the students' Crew Rating Logs. (Oh, very well, the senior crew can have their own copies, too.) Check the Learning Pages in the next few days for more info on the Crew Rating Log and the opportunity to download your own printable copy.

With a long day of sailing behind them, the crew is dismissed to hit the sack. Despite warnings of rain, the night is clear and quiet, and predictions call for favorable weather for days to come.

Next Time: Project Orientation!

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