In our previous episode-er week, Spirit of South Carolina saw more sailing time in three days than she had experienced in three years! With our COI exam now postponed-Mostly due to insurance underwriters busy administrating new stuff as prerequisites, our volunteer crew and officers have been devoting the extra time to building up a strong bench of deckhand skills
|Bryan Oliver walking volunteers |
thru a rigging nomenclature scavenger hunt.
|Alex Alya coaxes his new |
pet rope into a bowline
A new rule by our underwriter's requires documentation of training, particularly emergency drill training for each crew member signed on. Volunteers always had a system for documenting training, now we had impetus to focus on it, volunteer by volunteer. That checklist, by the way can be viewed and downloaded from this blog.
And so, three times this past week, especially, on Wednesday, and again Saturday, Volunteers who mustered aboard, shifted away from maintenance to focus on practicing, and checking off demonstrating competence in a number of skills.
|Mark Held with Dave Brennan coaching, |
makes a perfect toss of a heaving line
Where possible, groups of volunteers broke into round-robin groups where more experienced volunteers, acted as instructors. Many thanks to David Brennan, Nate Mack, and Todd Cole for stepping into those shoes on Saturday. Unfortunately, this past week, we were somewhat frustrated from practicing actual emergency drill that required the schooner to be underway. Another insurance requirement for this period required presences of three licenses, not just the two by USCG standards.
|Bryan Oliver demonstrating bilge checks|
to Logan Day and Doug Hartley
Subsequently, Spirit of South Carolina remained on the dock. Nevertheless, all hands conducted a walk-thru rehearsal of the drills for Fire Fighting, Man-overboard, and Prepare-to Abandon Ship.
Today, Monday, saw our first opportunity to cast off again and go sailing. With eight volunteers and two crew members from Capt Hackett's company aboard we left the dock at 0945, for the harbor. This day, with mostly new volunteers, they were immediately challenged with some on-the-job skills training in dock line handling, heaving lines, sail-raising and trim evolutions-- and then the actual scenarios of Man-Overboard, and Fire fighting. Capt Hackett directed the drills, each time creating a real scenario that required actual action. Each time, following a drill, Capt Hackett pointed out the things done right, and the things that needed work. Then we repeated the drill, and got better. Another critical review, and we repeated the drill again. and we got better still.
We hoisted the Foresail and Jib, in light airs and tacking/gybing between the channels down to Ft Sumter and back, all volunteers took ample opportunity to trim sail, man halyards, launch and retrieve the tender, toss heaving lines, make huge bowlines, and lots of other really neat stuff. just ask em.
By 1600 we had docked again at the Maritime Center. It was a highly productive, and physical day, fortified by a welcome Chili Lunch, laid out by Capt Davis in the Saloon. And lots of checked and initialed blocks on everyone's deckhand skill checklist.