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ProLog: Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

As any experienced volunteer with the Half Moon knows, Voyages of Discovery actually begin long before the students step on board; we'll touch on this again on Day One of the Voyage of Discovery log. A great deal of preparation goes into any trip aboard a sailing vessel. Although the students aren't due to board until Sunday, October 10th, work has been underway for weeks, including a weeklong transit voyage to position the ship in New London, where Voyage of Discovery will begin.

Since we cover the actual Voyage of Discovery in the Daily Log, we'll cover this preparatory voyage here, in the "Pro-Log."

0500 hours

Starting Position: Docked at Albany Water Pumping Station.
Latitude: 42˚ 38.6' N
Longitude: 073˚ 44.9' W

Day One of our transit voyage from Albany, NY to New London, CT.

The crew rises well before dawn to prepare for the ship's departure. Most of the crew has spent the night on board, but a few more sailors join us in this pre-dawn hour.

0545 hours

Working in the glow of the street lights, the crew haul in our fenders and electrical cords, and remove our secondary mooring lines.

0615 hours

With dawn breaking over the Rensselaer skyline, Captain Reynolds gathers all hands on deck for an introductory safety briefing.

0630 hours

Time to depart! While some line handlers report to their positions on the ship, others head back onto shore to free the mooring lines dockside.

0700 hours

With Lines One and Four freed, all of our sailors climb back on board the ship. In the dawn light, we can see that the tide is high and an ebb current is racing past. That's great; that swift current will add to our speed once we're underway.

Dave Wilber stands ready at Line Two. Once this line is freed, Captain Reynolds will use the current to begin the ship's turn downriver.

Woody Woodworth, who will be joining the crew during the Voyage of Discovery, joins us this morning to cast off our remaining docklines from on shore. Once he tosses Line Two free, the ship peels away from the dock. When he casts off Line Three, we're officially on our way. See you in New London, Mr. Woodworth!

In just a moment, the ship is southbound, and as the crew settles into their day, we soon pass under the Dunn Memorial Bridge and leave Albany for the season. We'll return next year!

0800 hours

Ms. Bruijn serves bagels for breakfast as we continue downriver.

Our schedule during this transit voyage is a little different than it will be during the actual Voyage of Discovery. During that voyage, we're set to conclude the voayeg at specific time, arriving at Goodwin College at midday on October 15th. On this voyage, however, our schedule is more flexible. We have a deadline rather than a target; we need to be at the New London dock on Friday morning for a standard Coast Guard safety inspection. We'd like to arrive earlier than that, to give our core crew a breather between voyages, but likewise we aren't in such a rush that we need to simply motor through the trip, day and night. For now, we project an New London arrival on Friday the 7th, but this is not set in stone.

1030 hours

Since reaching our destination in New London by the deadline is our only primary goal during this voyage, the crew has plenty of time on their hands to pursue various interests. For the core crew, we'll be using this voyage to test our scientific equipment. Here, Ms. Niehaus is showing the Van Dorn sampler to Mr. Sharpe; this device is used for capturing water samples well below the surface.

1230 hours

Our arrival in Albany necessitated passing under the Dunn Memorial Bridge, and to do that required us to lower our topmasts to gain clearance. With nothing but open river before us now, it's time to raise the masts once more.

This is a heavy job, but with a full capstan team sharing the load it's perfectly manageable.

The capstan teams wait patiently as Captain Reynolds and Mr. Hensel work aloft to prepare the fore mast.

1245 hours

Captain Reynolds calls down that they're ready aloft. The Capstan team leaps to action, and the fore mast is soon fully extended. That's one down, one to go before we can set sail.

1330 hours

Between raising masts, we pause for lunch. It's soup and sandwiches today.

1345 hours

The Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge marks our progress as we enter the mid-afternoon.

1400 hours

The crew is just taking it easy while we wait for the main mast team to finish their work aloft.

1445 hours

Time to raise the main mast! The procedure here is the same as that for the fore. Mr. Van Aken is pointing out the lines that will be used in the process. At the left edge of the photo, you can see a white line running down from aloft, through the knightshead (the brown brace containing several pulleys), past Ms. Waiboer, and on to the capstan. That line runs up to the top of the mast, then back down through the bottom of the topmast, and finally back up to the main mast top again, where it's secured. By hauling on this line with the capstan, we pull the top mast straight up into place.

Mr. Hensel calls down that they're just about ready aloft. Everyone in position!

1500 hours

Crew members who aren't directly involved in hoisting the topmast are keeping themselves busy with other activities, such as as undergoing harness training. To starboard, Mr. Wilber climbs into the rig to take his hang test, while to port, Mr. Korfmacher practices clipping into the shrouds while maintaining three points of contact.

Work continues belowdecks as well. Just as with our students, the current crew members are assigned to either Port or Starboard Watch, with their responsibilities listed on the duty roster.

Down in the galley, as part of his watch rotation, Mr. Kelley is spending the hour helping Ms. Bruijn prepare dinner.

1530 hours

Everyone's ready to go back up on the weather deck.

After the line passes around the capstan, it ends at Mr. Noonan, who keeps a taut turn on the kevel; this is a failsafe measure, just in case of an accident, which would prevent the unsecured top mast from falling to the deck. We've never had such an accident, of course, and by maintain these safety procedures we help ensure that we never will.

Mouse over to walk the capstan!
The crew walks the capstan to hoist the main top mast.

The order comes down: "Up on the capstan!" With a few more turns, the crew hauls the heavy spar into place.

1545 hours

The top mast is nearly there! Once it's in position, Captain Reynolds and Mr. Hensel secure it in place. We're ready to set sail! Unfortunately, that will have to wait for another day, since we're running out of daylight.

1730 hours

As the sun dips behind the western bluffs, we've moved well downriver of Poughkeepsie and are closing in on our destination at Newburgh Bay.

Mr. Stevens mans the helm for the final hour of daylight.

As Day One winds down, the crew are still doublechecking the ship's scientific gear. Here, Mr. Gans is testing a hand-held anemometer, which measures wind speed.

1845 hours

Dinner is served at sunset, just as we're coming within sight of Newburgh Bay. Tonight Ms. Bruijn has served beef stew, salad, and breads.

1915 hours

The lights of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge beckon; our destination for the night lies just beyond.

1930 hours

Under the cover of darkness, Ms. Bruijn serves hot apple crumble dessert to the appretiative crew.

2015 hours

We set anchor in the southern end of Newburgh Bay, just downriver from Newburgh itself. Mr. Noonan tends the bits, making off the anchor rode at 100 feet once line starts running out. Mr. Jackowe is on hand to watch the procedure and learn how to do it himself.

2030 hours

Ending Position: Anchored at Newburgh Bay.
Latitude: 41˚ 29.1' N
Longitude: 073˚ 59.8' W

As Captain Reynolds convenes the crew on deck for our first Anchor Watch briefing, ship's bosun Waiboer prepares the watch schedule in the great cabin.

The night skies are crystal clear, just as they've been all day. Despite the autumn chill, several crew members elect to sleep under the stars on the weather deck, and the night passes quietly.

Next Time: Farewell to the Hudson!


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