Tall Ships
Left: Anchored in the harbor on the north side of Vinalhaven Island. There was a gale blowing and we spent the day waiting it out. This is looking west as the front passed overhead. The schooner shown was going to stick her nose out and see if she could make a dash for the mainland. She returned a while later, turned back by gale-force winds outside.

They say when you hear the wind in the rigging, it's blowing 30 knots. The rigging was singing nicely this day.

More than one water spout tried to form from the cloud deck.

Right: A view over the bowsprit of the schooner on the way out to test the seas outside the harbor.

The sky had lightened noticeably in a short time. That's how fast the front moved over us. The wind, however, did not abate.

Several other boats made a dash for the harbor as the front passed. The Captain dispatched the First Mate, Pete, and Steve in the yawl boat to assist them in finding an anchorage. The crewmen returned drenched with rain and sea spray, but happy to have been working instead of sitting.

We all stood by that day and part of the next, waiting for the winds to ease and assume a more favorable direction. The yawl boat made occasional trips to North Haven where the single general store and its beer cooler was the main attraction for passengers.

Midmorning on Friday we set out for the mainland under reefed sails. Once clear of the harbor, the Captain ordered the sails unreefed and as the wind freshened somewhat, we were well under way. At some points the boat was heeled over well enough so some portholes were under water. Returning to my cabin on an errand, I was surprised to find myself looking out my porthole into the sea!

Since the wind was against us, we had to come about several times to make Rockland. All the deck hands raced to their stations when the First Mate yelled, "Ready 'bout!".

As she nosed about on a tack, the jibs snapped and boomed as they caught the wind. Lines on the headsails thrashed wildly as the Second Mate hunkered down to tame them, lest he get hit by flying line.

Right: Julie takes advantage of the time at anchor by rolling some oakum. Oakum is hemp fiber that has been impregnated with pine tar. It is teased loose, rolled to form a loose rope, and wound into a ball for later use.

Oakum is a traditional material used to chink the decking to make it water tight. It is driven into cracks between the boards on the deck and then followed by a layer of cotton stuff. Finally, a sealant is applied. The end result can be seen in this photo as white lines on the deck.

Hemp is an extremely versatile material and has been traditionally used to make anything from rope to paper. It is rare in the States, having been targeted by large lumber companies as a competitor material.

Because of the weather, the crew was spared their usual daily duty of polishing any and all brass fittings on deck.

Left: Kurt and Julie look on as three yawl boats muscle the 'Riggin' and the 'Tabor' into position to drop anchor. Our yawl boat is the one between the two ships.
Right: A view below deck looking from the aft causeway forward into the gally.


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