Thursday, March 27, 2008

Adventuress Crew

After helping with maintenance on Adventuress, I agreed to be a tester for their new web site. The first thing I saw was an announcement that they'd be training volunteer crew. Volunteer crew? Perfect!

I spent a Saturday on board in training, which included a sail around the bay.

The next day was the first public sail of the season. Since my family is a member of Sound Experience, we got to come on for free. We set up the bicycle train & all 5 of us rode down. The twins explored the cabins, including standing on my shoulders to peek out the focsle hatch. They eventually fell asleep as the trip was coming to an end - great timing! Reid got to look at plankton in a Microscope.

Monday I took Reid to his homeschooler's gymnastics class. It's held in the post office building, of all places, which is a fancy, century-old structure perched up high over the bay. From there I got to watch Adventuress sail around while he was in class.

Monday night I looked at Adventuress' schedule and saw that there wouldn't be many opportunities for me to volunteer, so I better get with it. They sail from a variety of ports, but only a handful of trips are from Port Townsend. They do day sails for a few hours, as well as 3-7-day trips, but I don't think I can fairly leave the family overnight.

First chance was Tuesday. So I showed up at the docks Tuesday morning, and they said they'd put me to work. It turns out that the group that was coming out was a homeschooling group, some of which had been at the gym class the day before. Funny.

Next chance was a public sail on Saturday, but we were out of town for a birthday party.

Easter Sunday we planned to do an egg hunt, but it was rainy, so we had a small event in our living room. Then I headed down to the docks for a public sail that afternoon. It was a pleasant sail, with enough wind to get us going, but not enough to make it "interesting". That is, until we were putting the sails away. We were training to furl the enormous mainsail, when a squall hit, and winds climbed to about 25mph. We could barely get the main under control, and it was suddenly cold, dark, and rainy to boot. When we were back at the docks, the weather cleared up, and we did what we could to make the boat neat -- shipshape.

Monday was the last day sail I can do for a while. It started off well for me. As soon as I stepped on board, I got to climb on top of the main gaff to downrig some extra lines they had placed up there for the wind. I enjoy the feeling of being able to climb; something I used to think I couldn't do. The participants were school kids, mostly 8th graders, who had come all the way from Yakima. It was quite a full ship, with 45 kids + 2 adults + crew. When we were headed back to the docks, I got to take the "small boat ride", zooming along in a little inflatable dingy, to be dockside when adventuress came in. Weee! When we were furling the staysail, we all sang "lean on me". There's a lot of music on Adventuress, and I love singing, but I'm not used to doing it with any kind of audience. Maybe in time... At the end of the day, I said my thanks and good-byes to the crew, and they responded quite heartily.

Wednesday there was a postcard from Adventuress, signed by many of the crew & staff, saying thanks.

I love the fact that we both feel indebted to each other. I am grateful for my chance to go sailing, to learn so much more about sailing in general, and this boat in particular, to see this beautiful ship in action, and to give others (passengers) the chance to get on the water, as well. I know that Adventuress & Sound Experience benefit as well: they got my help, and I know that organizations like this also feed on the energy that volunteers bring. Mutual indebtedness is the basis of a strong community. Bring it on.

At the beginning of May they'll be back in PT for a day; I hope I get to go out with them again then. After that, it's September, around the Wooden Boat Festival.
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