Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Second Season has Started!!!

The Second Season for the Spirit is underway and booked solid. After completing the March Ed sails in Charleston Harbor, she has voyaged down to Dataw Island to host the Beaufort area schools for the next two weeks. Before leaving on Monday, Spirit entered the CORA race on Saturday, March 29th and what a grand sail it was. After sitting in the doldrums with near zero wind for a couple of hours, the weather front decided to move through and provide some really great wind that catapulted the Spirit from almost dead last to second place heeled over to the gunwales and passing race boat after race boat. After getting becalmed in the lee of a huge container ship inbound, we again heeled over and was closing on the lead boat when a belaying pin for the main sail halyard broke in half under the tension of the sails (unreefed in a 30-40 knot breeze). Discretion being the better part of valor, CORA shortened the race, we pulled in the jib and staysail and called it a day as the weather continued to worsen. After arriving at City Marina for the post race get-together, we all had stories to tell. See the video clips of our adventure below and some pics taken during the race.

Current volunteer needs -- if you can help out on any of the below, please call or email me or Jennifer Holtsclaw. Here's what we need for now:

We have the following urgent volunteer needs:

1. Starting this Friday (April 4th), through Sunday (April 6th), the ship is operating out of Dataw Island doing educational sails for schools in the Beaufort area. We would like to give the crew a break from the long days by standing watch the entire weekend – if you can stand any watch between Friday night and Sunday afternoon, email me back or call 843-819-8734 and let me know what you can handle. Stay on board and have some fun.

2. Sunday at Dataw Island we are hosting a reception for the Dataw Island people who are helping us out (and who also are potential donors!). We need about 10 volunteers to assist during the open ship from 12-4 pm, followed by a VIP reception from 5-7 pm. Email Jennifer Holtsclaw or me or call 843-819-8734 if you can help out on this event.

3. HarborFest is just around the corner –the HarborFest Volunteer Director, Georgia Nettles, needs you, so please respond. If you can’t help, please find someone who can!! If you can help call the main office at 722-1030 and leave a message for Georgia Nettles, or go to the website and fill out and submit the volunteer form at:

Thanks again for all your help.

Yours in Spirit,

Dewey Teske

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December Update!!! December Update!!!!

It's the Holiday time of the Year! The Spirit's first and incredibly successful education sail season finished on Wednesday, December 5th. Bookings for next season are already brisk and few slots remain open! Well done to the crew and the office staff who made it happen...not to mention the volunteers who contributed to many sails, dockside events, and donor events.

The holiday season is rapidly approaching and this is a reminder of the Holiday Party on December 15th at 3 pm. At 2 pm there will be a volunteer appreciation ceremony to present rewards to volunteers who have reached their major hour milestones. There is also a new 750 hour level reward which will be presented to those who have reached that level.

Mark your calendars and be ready to sign up at the Holiday party for the watches we will be standing from Dec 23rd through Jan 1st. The ship will move to the City Boat Yard for a scheduled maintenance period and the seasonal crew will shrink -- so we have the wonderful opportunity to supplement the crew and stand overnight watches in that time frame. If you can't make it to the party, please email to let me know when you can stand watches overnight.

Check out these pictures from the season--this is what it's all about!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007 Update

Thanksgiving Update for Spirit

Hello valiant and faithful Spirit Volunteers! It is the week of Thanksgiving and all is well on the Spirit. See below for some upcoming events we need help with. You may have seen the latest email from Captain Arrow about the latest news.

The metal fixture repairs was an incredibly well orchestrated logistics exercise that resulted in the ship being off line for only two weeks! Every metal fixture was replaced in that time with galvanized fixtures. Many, many thanks to the volunteers who made speed runs back and forth between industrial sites, who stood watches, and who watched in awe as the crew put the ship back together!

Educational sails started in earnest again on November 5th and are continuing. The Sea Spray Scout program continues through December 7th and the ship will commence a Christmas stand-down followed by a deck replacement in January.

If you happen to be in the vicinity of the Maritime Center over Thanksgiving wear your volunteer garb and please greet the crew -- they have asked for volunteers to feel free to visit the ship, come on board, and look around. The crew sends their thanks to the volunteers. The crew may be the host for the crews of the Spirit of Massachusetts and the Westward for Thanksgiving dinner -- originally you may have heard we were asking for volunteers to stand watch, well now, since they will be onboard cooking, they won't need us on Thanksgiving day (or, come down and take the watch so they can cook without making ship tours!!)

Mark your calendars and Save the Date for December 15th – join the Spirit crew at the Maritime Center for the Foundation Christmas Party!!

There is plenty to do in the next few weeks – if you can help out with the following please email Dewey Teske – Jennifer Holtsclaw is out of town until mid-December, so Dewey will handle the volunteers for these events (assisted by Tom Sweeny!):

November 29th – Dockside tours – may involve some children in wheelchairs, need 6-8 volunteers to help out
November 30th – Donor sail at 3 pm – need 6-8 volunteers for crew, if you have been in training or already certified as crew and can help, email me
December 1st 4-8 pm – 8-10 volunteers to assist as host ship of the Parade of Lights for our guests the Charleston Power Squadron
December 6th – 11 am-2 pm -- need 8-10 volunteers to assist in the dockside tours for 60-80 corporate visitor tours – these visitors are corporate executives visiting Charleston

Again, email Dewey Teske if you can assist in any of the above. There also may be some more donor sails for training over the next few weeks. Also, the calendar has been shifted to our "old" calendar -- link to it from the Blog.

Coming soon: Spirit Trivia Contest!! Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Dear Volunteers!!

October is almost gone--sorry about the delay in the BLOG update but it has beern a busy time. The Spirit has returned from the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show and is going through an unplanned maintenance period to replace metal fittings on the ship. This is not a huge thing, but it is something that must be taken care of. There will be about a 2 week hiatus as this repair work is done.

The ship is at the City Boatyard while undergoing the repairs. Educational sails scheduled during this time will be rescheduled and the transits from Georgetown to Dataw Island and then back to Charleston have been canceled.

The ship needs someone next week to go down to Savannah to pick up the new materials -- your expenses would be paid, but the exact day is not known -- if you can do this please call the ship directly at 843-737-3925.

Today's video Blog is a clip showing a blast from the Spirit cannon -- See Brad Jump!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


New happenings:

1. Jennifer Holtzclaw has been appointed the Special Events Coordinator! She will handle the assignment of all future special events and will keep the Volunteer Calendar updated -- look for a shift back to our "old" calendar. Jennifer's email address is . She will also be in charge of indoctrinating new volunteers.

2. The First Mate finished his review of the Volunteer Crew and Dock Watch qualification cards and issued the final draft -- it is a much simpler -- a one page Crew Safety Checklist will be used for Dock Watch and Volunteer Crew qualifications. The link will be updated soon so you can download the new card. We have training for anyone interested every Sunday at 1:30 pm -- join us on board and get qualified!! Remember -- every Sunday -- we need crew!!

3. Georgetown Boat Show is October 20th -- if you can help out in Georgetown onboard, please let Jennifer Holtzclaw know.

4. We will need volunteers to sell merchandise after Educational Sails in October and November -- if you can help out email Jennifer Holtzclaw at

5. The First Annual Spirit Ball is October 13th -- there will be a silent and live auction to raise funds for the Spirit. Part of this effort is a raffle sponsorship for a 17 foot Boston Whaler -- you can purchase tickets from Dewey Teske, Tom Sweeny, or a bunch of others for $50 for one ticket or $100 for 3 tickets. Only 1500 tickets will be sold. You do not have to be present to win. For the next 2 Saturdays we will be selling these tickets at Royall Hardware in Mt. Pleasant -- if you can help sell them please let us know. If you would like to attend the Ball contact the office at 722-1030 to get your will be a gala affair!

6. The Sea Spray Scout educational sails are filling up in October and November -- schools in Georgetown, Beaufort, and Charleston will take part -- if you know of any more interested educators who would like to sail please refer them to Sarah Piwinski at 722-1030.

7. The shipwrights who built the Spirit finally got to enjoy being on board for a sail on September 9th -- look for some pictures on the Blog for this sail...or take a look at the video of the bow cutting through the water at about 7-8 knots approaching Fort Sumter:

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Why we sail the way we sail – Q & A

I’ve seen you out on the harbor with just the mainsail and Jib set. Why don’t you set more sail?

For a couple of reasons.

First, our sheet leads, hardware and layout are not at this point complete. The current set up interferes with the area of the ship that we use for educational purposes. We are in process of designing and fabricating the needed parts and changes we need to utilize these sheets more safely and so that they don’t interfere with the needed education spaces. This will include; adding a boom and a traveler on the foredeck for the staysail, and adding bits and a fair lead mid ships for the foresail. To do this properly, and because the ship has been very busy, will probably take a few more weeks.

Secondly, during our educational daysails, we are required to bring the ship to a stop, relative to the current, three times. During the classes, 6 of our crew are involved in teaching classes. That leaves me and sometimes just one other crew member. Any of you that have worked the staysail in its current configuration, know that it takes more than 1 or 2 crew to maneuver. As most of you know, the wind/current combination in Charleston Harbor is dynamic and challenging, and the best solution we currently have to stop the ship is to douse the jib, and stem the wind/current with the occasional engine assist. Sometimes traditional ‘Heaving To’ will accomplish this also, but not always.

I’ve heard rumors that Spirit has an undersized rudder and is difficult to maneuver. Is that true?

Well that depends how you look at it. The rudder is proportionally historically accurate. For a vessel that sails offshore, or even in a harbor with different expectations, it would be adequate. The Spirit of South Carolina’s inspiration, the Frances Elizabeth was a considerably smaller vessel than the SoSC and would not necessarily have been comparable.

Under Power:
During recent maneuvering trials we determined that our turning radius, at 1200 RPMs, with the helm hard over, is 600-800 feet. We also discovered that the steering gear was put together slightly wrong, giving us a tighter turning radius to one side than the other. We have shown definitively that the propellers do not interact with the rudder. In the words of our consulting naval architect, Fritz Koenig, vessels with a single rudder and twin screws, where the prop wash cone does not hit the rudder, are notoriously difficult to maneuver.

Under Sail:
The tightness of a tack varies wildly depending on the current/wind combination. If you look at our hull shape, you can see that it is pretty much designed to go in a straight line, which it does very well. In most scenarios we need to bring the ship up to close hauled, ease up to a luff, put the rudder hard over, then haul over the main and back the headsails to make stays. Don’t believe me? We are 147.8 long tons, with a full keel, and a rudder that is proportionally smaller than just about any other sail boat in the harbor.

That being said, Captain Bryson and I are comfortable with sailing and motoring the vessel safely. The main issue for us is planning several moves in advance and being very aware of the navigational situation in the harbor.

It seems as if the sails are trimmed in or out too much a lot of the time. Is this true and why?

Sometimes yes. Our primary objective on education sails, is to educate while sailing, not to sail as fast as we can. And if you think about Charleston Harbor, you can see that sailing fast can require a lot of maneuvering. We would not be able to give state standard complying, academically challenging subjects justice if we didn’t have crew free to teach the classes fully. When we are sailing offshore, in more seamanship oriented programs, or just having fun, we do want to sail fast.

First, because of the sail and mast shape, our sail trim is not always comparable to a more modern rigged vessel. For the gaff rigged sails and on the wind, easing out to the luff point, and bringing the sail just back into full will not give you your greatest speed. The sail needs to come in a bit more than this.

I will usually keep the sails in a bit tight on education sails because I don’t have the crew free to deal with constant trimming.

Sometimes I may ease them out a bit too much to slow us down if we are reaching the end of a channel, and a few more minutes are needed for the classes.

Off the wind, chafe is an issue with the gaff rigged sails. If you ease them too much, you can prematurely wear holes in them where they hit the shrouds. Wanna help make baggy wrinkle?

If you don’t understand why I have the sails trimmed a certain way, please ask, I will be happy to share my reasons.

I will try to put out one posting a week. If you have particular areas of interest, please email them to me.

Captain Arrow

Monday, September 3, 2007

How did the Volunteer Sails go? and UPDATE for September!!

Hello Spirit Volunteers!

I hope those of you who had the opportunity to sail last week enjoyed it. Please take the time to add a comment to the Blog about what you liked, or any neat stories relating your volunteering for Spirit and the sails combined.

The schedule is changing on an almost weekly basis, and I have been slow to update the calendar -- my wife broke her leg, so I have tended to the homefront -- I'll try to update it fully by Wednesday.

September 6th new volunteer training is still going down, but it will be at a different location -- the ship will be having an open ship event at the City Marina on september 6th from 2-5 pm, so we will have the training on board the Spirit so the crew can attend also. I can't think of a btter place for it to be done (assuming the weather cooperates).

The month of September may have the following sails (if you are qualifying as Volunteer Crew...which means you have finished your Dock Watch qualifications and have stood watches in port...these sails are opportunities to complete your underway qualifications, but you need to complete Dock Watch first):

September 8th -- Donor Sail
September 9th -- Shipwright Sail
September 12th -- Seabrook Island Group Daysail
September 21st -- Crew sail training underway(morning), Sponsor sail(afternoon)
September 22nd -- Donor Sail
September 23rd -- Stevens and Oswalt Sail
September 25th -- Docked at Daniel Island for "Captains Cup" Golf Tourney
September 27th -- Donor sail
September 28th -- SC Aquarium sail
September 29th -- Donor/Sponsor and Crew Family Sail

As you can see there are lots of sails, but on most of them there is not much space for volunteers. The Spirit does have a Coast Guard limit, so when you add passengers, plus our expert crew, then there are some slots left for training volunteers. Sometimes, crew members are left ashore (like when our Bosun Sam Upton went and got married!) so the qualified volunteer crew members and those in training are asked to joing the ship by Captain Arrow. Also, sometimes the sails are cancelled at the last minute due to weather or other considerations. So, keep the ship's cell hpone number handy or call the main office for confirmation of the schedule.

Many, many thanks to those who made it possible to do the 3 days of volunteer sails. Again, please put a comment on this Blog so others can experience how you felt about getting underway -- also if you have any pictures, please email them to me and I'll get them posted onto the Blog.

It's so nice to see the ship now fulfilling its mission -- October will start the Sea Spray Scout daysails -- if you know any 5th or 6th grade educators -- TELL THEM ABOUT THE PROGRAM!!

That's about it for now...I'll try to get that calendar updated.

Dewey Teske
Volunteer Coordinator

P.S. I'm toting up volunteer hours for August -- if you logged them in the Volunteer Hours Logbook kept onboard I;ve conted your hours -- if you have not put them in there, then put them in there, and then email me that you have logged them. These hours are important for grant and other funding proposals...besides we like to recognize our super volunteers at 50, 100, 250, and 500 hours, but the "official" logbook is where we keep the hours.