By Jocelyn Bertovich, Onboard Education Specialist
Halloween marked the end of Clearwater’s 2011 onboard education program and sailing season, however the sharing of information never stops. On the morning of October 31, the crew arose in good spirits and many were dressed in costumes and gearing up for the last education sail of the year. The mood onboard was one of bittersweet excitement, as the crew prepared to host the North Shore High School seniors. It seemed fitting that we should do something unique that morning and so, after raising the sail, our engineer Chelsea dramatically recited W.S. Gilbert’s poem “The Yarn of the Nancy Bell.” The teenagers listened intently as Chelsea engaged them in the gruesome tale of castaways and cannibalism aboard the Nancy Brig. It was a perfect story of finality to conclude the season.
The theme of the day was not, however, entirely terminal. As the crew said goodbye to the final group of students, they did not cease to do what comes naturally to them: to share knowledge and educate. Even without students or volunteers aboard, crewmembers teach and nurture each other. “This is how you properly lash the clew; be sure not to trap the flag halyard or the reef outhauls,” says Aleythea, the First Mate. Even on the last day of the season, the crew demonstrated patience and dedication to education on many levels.
It is in the vessels’ nature to be an everlasting space for education and the sharing of knowledge. Those who come onboard are eager to learn and willing to share their expertise with others. That is the way it has been for over 40 years. The crew today, quite familiar with the diurnal saltwater deckwash, smile at the story of the sloop Clearwater’s inaugural crew and their practice of washing the deck with fresh water, which eventually rotted much of the wood. From the beginning, Clearwater has been a welcome platform for anyone interested in learning about the great Hudson River, sailing a traditionally rigged vessel, or playing sea shanties with a group of friends. That was the image Pete had, and that is the atmosphere that is maintained today.