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ProLog: Sunday, September 5, 2010

0600 hours

Ship's Position: Anchored south of the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge.

It's an early start on the Half Moon. As the first rays of dawn lighten the sky, the upper decks still look quiet...

...but below decks is already bustling!

0630 hours

After the crew has rummaged their gear, Captain Reynolds runs through the plan for the day. We have a long day of travel ahead of us (with an extra hour added by our backtracking to Kingston), but if we keep to our schedule we'll still be able to shave a day off the total voyage.

0645 hours

Before the ship can go anywhere, however, we need to weigh anchor. We have a light crew, so everyone needs to take a position. With Captain Reynolds overseeing from the Quarter deck, Mr. Hansen, Ms. Ducharme, Mr. Fronhofer, and Ms. DuBois stand ready at the capstan.

As the sun breaks the horizon, Mr. Hensel takes his position on the fore channel, with Mr. Lyke acting as lookout on the fore deck.

Below decks, Ms. Robertson and Mr. Kluz tend the lower capstan, maintaining tension on the anchor rode to prevent overrides.

At the fore end of the orlop deck, Mr. Van Aken tends the bits (a safety measure), while Ms. Hopper fakes the rode. The student crews will quickly learn these tasks as well once they join us in a few days.

0700 hours

The operation is now underway. The capstan crew hauls in the anchor rode, raising the anchor to the waterline.

Once there, Mr. Hensel (now joined by Ms. Laufer on the fore channel) hooks the anchor, and the fore deck team of Mr. Lyke and Ms. Niehaus haul up the anchor using a block-and-tackle. Within a few minutes, the anchor is safely secured on the channel and ready to be deployed again.

0715 hours

There's one last step before we're done; with Mr. Van Aken supervising, Mr. Kluz "breaks the chain" (freeing the shackle that fastens the anchor line to the chain). The rode can now be removed from the capstan and prepared for its next use.

0730 hours

We eat breakfast underway. There's nothing like the aroma of cooking French toast and bacon to motivate the capstan team!

0800 hours

With the ship now well underway, Ms. Niehaus steps into the great cabin to enter our first AMVER SEAS weather report for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). During the actual Voyage of Discovery, we'll tie these reports into the Deck Log.

1100 hours

The crew relaxes as we pass under Walkway Over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie's new pedestrian bridge.

1300 hours

The cool morning has heated up into a warm afternoon. Mr. Lyke keeps himself busy by examining the river charts we've set out. By determining our speed and position, the crew can accurately estimate when we'll arrive at our destination at Verplanck.

Meanwhile, the Quarter deck officers chat among themselves as we close in on Newburgh Bay.

Mouse over to send the sightseers on their way.
Mr. Van Aken watches a small sailboat slip behind the ship.

On a sunny, breezy Labor Day weekend like this, it's no wonder that the river is filled with pleasure craft. Swarms of small sailboats glide past to check us out.

1315 hours

Mr. McLaughlin serves lunch as we pass under the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. The crew scrambles for make-your-own burritos.

1345 hours

With lunch come and gone, the crew takes in the sights as we pass Newburgh and enter the Hudson Highlands.

1500 hours

The Half Moon is now cruising past West Point.

Mr. Van Aken and Mr. Hensel have retreated to the poop deck to take in the commanding view and relax.

Meanwhile, Ms. Hopper has decided to take the opportunity to climb the rig. After Ms. Laufer guides Ms. Hopper through her hang test, they go aloft, just for fun.

1530 hours

As we pass under Bear Mountain Bridge, we once again leave the Hudson Highlands. Just around the bend lies the town of Peekskill and our destination, Verplanck, with Haverstraw Bay beyond.

1615 hours

The winds have maintained their northerly pattern again today, but we can't bear to travel the length of the river without getting a least a little sailing in. To that end, we're going to continue past Verplanck into Haverstraw Bay, then turn around and sail back north to the dock. Ms. Laufer starts the proceedings by guiding the crew through a crash course in sail handling.

1645 hours

Within half an hour, the crew has turned Ms. Laufer's diagrams into practice, successfully setting the main topsail.

In the meantime, Ms. Waiboer has finished unfurling the fore topsail and prepares to climb back down.

Back on deck, Ms. Ducharme practices belaying lines on the pin rail.

In a few more minutes, the fore mast team has their topsail set and drawing as well. We spend the next two hours sailing through the wide expanse of Haverstraw Bay, following the wind.

1815 hours

As the sun touches the horizon, Captain Reynolds gives the command to put the sails in the gear; it's time to come about and return to Verplanck.

The mast teams quickly douse their sails, and "topmen" Laufer and Hensel climb aloft to furl them.

1830 hours

In the helm hutch, Ms. Niehaus receives the order to go "Left Full!" We circle around and head back upriver.

With the sails secured, the crew can now focus on dinner. It's beef stew tonight.

After eating, Mr. Kluz takes over at the helm to steer us back toward the dock.

1900 hours

With the Half Moon traveling by motor again, the crew settles in for the short trip back to Verplanck.

1930 hours

As we approach our destination, Ms. Laufer and her assistants prepare to deploy the fenders.

The ship turns into our final approach to King Marine, which has provided the Half Moon with its winter berth for a decade and a half.

1945 hours

Looks like we have dockside support waiting for us! Pauli Dangerousli has come out, intending to simply help handle our dock lines. (His plans will soon change.) He's soon joined by Frank and Angela Laufer, Ms. Laufer's parents, who've come to collect her.

2000 hours

The ship is shortly moored alongside the dock, and we deploy the fenders to protect against the wear and tear caused by wakes and waves.

King Marine is our port of call for the night, and the final destination for those in our crew who must return to classes, work, or other responsibilities come Monday. Ms. Hopper, Ms. Laufer, and Mr. Rocco all disembark here, but on the other hand, we convince Mr. Dangerousli to grab his gear and join us for the final leg of the transit voyage tomorrow.

2015 hours

Before they leave, however, we invite the Laufers onboard for a quick bite of stew by starlight.

We maintain a partial dockwatch during the night, monitoring the dock pilings at high tide to ensure the ship doesn't get caught up on them. Another night of cool sleeping weather passes quietly.

Next: Arrival at Staten Island!

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