2023 Summer Training Cruise

Across the Atlantic!

Posted on: May 25, 2023

Time: 19:10

Latitude:  39° 36.369′ N

Longitude: 063° 42.117′ W

I have realized saying good morning/ good evening is no longer relevant. I’m asking around about the ship tracker, but our current lat/longs are included. We have begun adjusting to the Azores’ time zone. Cpt. MacArthur’s time adjustment schedule is as follows; “Azores observes GMT for their time zone. We will need to advance clocks 4 hours before arrival.  Ship’s clocks will advance one hour overnight on the following nights, tomorrow – overnight 24th to 25th, overnight 26th to 27th, overnight 28th to 29th, overnight 30th to 31st.”  Our Arrival is currently scheduled for 0830 on the 1st of June. For watchstanders, it is even more complicated; to avoid having a watch group stand an extra hour, the hour is divided in fourths adding 15-20 minutes to each watch period.

I have received some great feedback via email! After inspecting, cleaning, or standing for hours, it is hard to decide what is blog-worthy and what is monotonous. I realize that my reporting has mostly focused on the deck side of things; I have an excuse. In order for freshmen to have a solid foundation, students must be familiar with both deck and engine activities. With that in mind, half the freshman deck students are sailing “deck” for the first half of cruise, and then we will switch to engine. It is the same idea for the engine/deck freshman who are sailing opposite to their major for the first half. I will be spending lots of time in the engine room for the second half of cruise, so there will be much more information on the engine watches and engine maintenance later. While I do enjoy figuring out how machines work, the engine room is loud and smells of oil, so I plan to stay topside for my career. Having students experience both departments allows us to be certain that deck/engine is where we belong. For students, cruise is one of many trials to determine whether the maritime life is really for them.

I have the 0800-1200/ 2000-2400, bow watch for the next two days. I am writing this after my first watch period. To get dressed for the wind and spray, I put on long socks, sweatpants, my khaki pants, rain pants, steel toe boots, white undershirt, a thick wool sweater, rain defender jacket, rain jacket, scarf, gloves, black beanie and after 4 hours I was still cold. On the bow, students have a radio and scan the horizon line for objects that would be a hazard to navigation. It is a good place to practice constantly scanning the horizon and reading the water. Today it was very foggy with 6-16 foot seas, aptly described as a waterpark, I was rising and falling 25ft. After 30 minutes, a freshman comes down from the helm station on the bridge to replace me so I can go replace the stern watch. The stern watch is stationed on the fantail doing the same thing as the bow watch but with the added responsibility of listening and looking for objects/people that might have fallen into the water. Another chilly 30 minutes go by, and I walk forward to the helm. As a sixteen-year-old straining to look over the wheel of the family minivan, I feel similar now at the wheel of the training ship. It is so much fun, but the massive vehicle doesn’t do what I want, and the direction we are going seems to be completely uncorrelated with the gray wheel I am tightly gripping. The licensed watch officer reminds me that I am off course and steering to aggressively; in the same calm but annoyed voice of my parents. I am the oldest of three, and I have a younger sister who I berated when she learned to drive. I now realize I have an apology to make because the juniors fulfill a similar role of the nagging older sibling who often reminisces of when they were as incapable and useless. At the helm station, freshmen are given a course to steer (from the gyroscope) and a course to check (from the magnetic compass). With the swells as they are, everyone is forgiving of a degree or two off at any given time. The junior, who is the MOOD (Mate of the Day), has a course line and conns the helmsmen to keep the ship on that line. The helm is also a great way to be a fly on the wall for how the bridge is run for the juniors. I have perfected the two-hour power nap on cruise, and I have exactly that till my next watch.

-Stay Tuned

4C Odegaard Fields