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Daily Log: Friday, October 10th

1100 hours

Current Position: Docked at Catskill, NY.
Latitude: 42˚ 12.6'
Longitude: 073˚ 51.2'

Day One of the 2008 Masters Voyage of Discovery.

As the day begins, the Half Moon is docked at Catskill, NY, having arrived here yesterday evening.

Our new student crew arrives right on time, accompanied by their teachers. Captain Reynolds steps down to the dock to greet the new arrivals.

Our new crew gets a chance to size up the ship as they gather their gear.

Captain Reynolds welcomes our new crew and offers an introductory safety briefing before inviting them on board.

Mouse over for a closer view.
Mr. Morel and Mr. Schuijer tighten the top shrouds on the fore mast.

Captain Reynolds hopes to sail right off the dock, so while the crew gathers, Mr. Morel and Mr. Schuijer busily complete their tasks aloft. Having raised the topmasts just yesterday, they've spent the morning tightening the rigging in the fore and main tops.

1115 hours

With no further delay, we relay the student crew's gear on board, depositing it on the weather deck for now.

Our new crew members soon follow; Ross is one of the first volunteers to climb aboard. Once they step across, their feet won't touch dry land again for a week!

1130 hours

The crew is soon on board with all of their gear. We're nearly ready to depart.

Mouse over to stow the crew's gear.
Students relay their gear down to the orlop deck.

But first things first: The crew bands together to relay all of their gear down to the orlop deck, which will serve as their home for the length of the voyage. Mr. Hourigan, Natalie, and Evi form the end of the relay line.

We can sort out individual gear later; for now, we just want to clear the decks.

1145 hours

With everyone's gear stowed, we return our focus to the weather deck. Captain Reynolds pauses the action for a more detailed standard safety briefing, covering everything from man overboard procedures to proper hygene (23 people, one bathroom).

1200 hours

All other pressing matters attended to, we can now begin our Voyage of Discovery. Mr. Morel and Mr. Schuijer have unfurled the sails.

While Ms. Reilly prepares the Duty Roster, we assign students to the helm and lookout positions, splitting the student crew into two mast teams.

At the main main, Mr. Schuijer guides Andrew, Bennet, and Christina through the necessary steps of setting the main course.

Mouse over to set the fore course.
The crew sets the fore course.

1215 hours

Meanwhile, Mr. Morel has taken his foremast team up to the fore deck. When the command is given, his team sets the fore course.

The wind is light and erratic, but there's just enough to push us off the dock.

Mouse over to haul
the port sheet.
Andrew hauls in the port sheet.

The main course follows in short order. Andrew hauls the port sheet home, pulling the corner of the sail astern to better catch the wind.

We cast off all of our mooring lines save for Line Three, which we use to slowly ease ourselves away from the dock. There are several shallow sandbars nearby, so we must maintain full control over the ship's position.

Everything goes according to plan, however, and we soon take in Line Three as well and are away.

1230 hours

As we pull away from Catskill, we adjust the sails for our new heading. With the sails in position, the students practice belaying and coiling their lines.

On the foredeck, Ms. Smith instructs Natalie. and Lizzie in line handling.

As we set out, we take a moment to enjoy the blazing scenery around us. Unfortunately, on this voyage we'll be moving south ahead of the turning leaves, so the landscape will likely be greener as we go.

The wind remains erratic, requiring frequent adjustments to the sails. Ms. Smith, Lizzie, and Natalie are in charge of bracing the foresails.

During their downtime, we also use this time to train the students in basic shipcraft, including belaying lines and harness training. It will all see use by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Mr. Schuijer continues to work with his main mast team. Here he shows Bennet and Christina how the individual cords in a line coil around themselves in a clockwise direction. By coiling lines on the pin rail in the same direction, they will avoid creating kinks in the line.

Mr. Morel continues training his fore mast team as well. Some of his team is actually stationed on the weather deck, where they work the fore course sheets. Here, Mr. Morel shows Jonathan and Peter how the sheet affect the sail.

(You can see the main course sheet pulling the corner of its sail behind them.)

One side benefit to today's southerly sailing course is that it keeps us in the shade. Today's air temperature isn't particularly warm, but even in October the direct sunlight can still beat down on us.

1315 hours

Lunch is served! Our crew has already worked up an appetite and gobble down their sandwiches and macaroni salad.

1415 hours

Lunch has come and gone, but sail training continues. As we pass Cementon, we prepare to set the top sails. Here, Lizzie and Bennett have been assigned the starboard lines, while Jena stands at the ready.

To work the topsails, we'll also need crew stationed in the rig. Ms. Smith accompanies Natalie aloft.

Meanwhile, Luke keeps a wary eye out as this hour's lookout.

With the topsails set, the crew once again coil their lines to clear the decks.

1515 hours

This Voyage of Discovery represents a rare opportunity for the Half Moon -- a chance to take a single crew of students nearly the entire navigable length of the Hudson River. To take full advantage of this, Dr. Jacobs has the students leap directly into the orientation phase of their projects. She introduces them to the Deck Log, and spends the afternoon training students -- such as Lizzie, Jonathan, and Ross here -- how to use instruments such as a sling psychrometer, refractometer, and more.

Meanwhile, Luke continues his rotation through the Duty Roster. This time, we catch him on maintenance duty. In our tight living quarters, maintaining a spotless bathroom (traditionally called the "head" on ships) is vital to the crew's health -- particularly as we head into cold and flu season!

1530 hours

Jena and Natalie have taken Luke's position at lookout. (In fact, only one is on duty; the other is in training.)

By now, the breeze has died, so we've furled our sails for the day. As we continue under motor, the crew continues to take readings for the Deck Log and acquaint themselves with the ship's operations.

We also continue to train students in the use of safety harnesses so they can work aloft and on the channels.

Here, Ms. Reilly instructs a group of students, including Bennett and Evi, on how to properly secure a harness.

1545 hours

Once trained, our new crew members are cleared to climb aloft and enjoy the view.

1700 hours

Work continues below decks as well. Natalie has just reported to galley duty, and will spend the next hour helping Mr. McLaughlin prepare dinner.

1730 hours

Work with the Deck Log continues abovedecks as the afternoon winds down. Here, Mr. Hourigan helps Jonathan determine our current position on a river chart.

1800 hours

We've reached our destination for the day and set anchor in a side channel just south of the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge.

1815 hours

As the sun sets (and the autumn evening rapidly cools down), our remaining climbers return to deck after furling the sails.

On the foredeck, Mr. Chase examines his handiwork after returning from the rig. By furling the sails, we protect them against wear and tear when not in use. Not that we expect much tonight -- the forecast is for a calm, clear evening.

1830 hours

Having come to the end of the day, we run down our flags for the night. Ms. Smith recruits Jena and Evi to assist her with the Dutch VOC Tricolor, while Mr. Schuijer has Greg help him fold the Stars & Stripes.

1845 hours

With the day's work done, we gather for dinner on the weather deck. Tonight, Mr. McLaughlin has served a warm and envigorating chicken pot pie. The crew relaxes and chats over their meal.

1900 hours

As the sun sinks below the horizon, Captain Reynolds convenes the crew on deck for their first anchor watch briefing. Pairs of students will take one-hour shifts throughout the night to monitor our position and the status of the anchor light alerting other vessels to our presence. The safety of the ship will be in their hands!

In addition, we will continue to maintain a limited roster of Deck Log activities through the night. Not only will this allow us to collect more data, it helps keeps the students occupied during their nocturnal vigils.

With the evening growing increasingly chillu, the crew retreats below decks to sort out their sleeping arrangements and relax.

2200 hours brings the official "lights out," but by then most of the crew have already settled into their bunks. Anchor watch begins, and the night passes quietly.

Next: Orientation in the Long Reach.

On September 27th and 28th, 1609:

The seven and twentieth, in the morning was faire weather, but much wind at the North, we weighed and set our fore top-sayle, and our ship would not flat, but ran on the Ozie banke at halfe ebbe. We layed out anchor to heave her off, but could not. So wee sate from halfe ebbe to halfe flood; then we set our fore-sayle and mayne top-sayle, and got downe sixe leagues. The old man came aboord, and would have had us anchor, and goe on Land to eate with him: but the wind being faire, we would not yield to his request; So he left us, being very sorrowful for our departure. At five of the clocke in the after-noone, the wind came to the South South-west. So we made a boord or two, and anchored in fourteene fathomes water. Then our Boat went on shoare to fish right against the ship. Our Masters Mate and Boat-swaine, and three or more of the companie went on land to fish, but coulde not finde a good place. They took four or five and twentie Mullets, Breames, Bases, and Barbils; and returned in an houre. We rode still all night.

The eight and twentieth, being faire weather, as soone as the day was light, we weighed at halfe ebbe, and turned downe two leagues belowe water; for, the streame doth runne the last quarter ebbe: then we anchored till high water. At three of the clocke in the after-noone we weighed, and turned downe three leagues, until it was darke: then wee anchored.

-- Robert Juet's Journal.


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