Summer Trainee Blogs - 2016

Everyone on board SSV Oliver Hazard Perry plays an active role in the operation of the ship, from taking the helm, setting sails and performing boat checks, to helping the cook, doing dishes and even cleaning the heads. One of the tasks in the rotation is documenting the day, below are some of the blog entries the students wrote during their voyages to give you a little taste of what life has been like aboard.

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Dylan Jarret

8/3/16: For my first sailing boat my experience has been way more than what I hoped for. When I first booked the trip I thought that it was going to be like school and we would have to write papers and take notes. However, I was completely wrong. The trip is all hands-on and the crew tries to get the “trainees” to do all the jobs on the ship. When I heard we were going aloft I was scared but thanks to the crew I was not and was able to go up with ease. When I got to go in with the engineers I was so happy because I love that stuff. I hope the rest of the trip goes as well as it has been.

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Peter Dunbar

8/17/16: This morning, before getting in line for breakfast, I checked the job board. My duty for the day was cleaning heads. I believe that it is fair to say that an average teenager would not be ecstatic about being assigned to do that job. All and all, I was not terribly excited myself, but after anchored for the night, I took my rag and some bleach and cleaned all of the heads on board. After all, it was an easy and quick job, but that is beside the point. All trainees and crew members have jobs such as cleaning heads or sweeping hallways on top of regular watch. Everyone does their share of allotted work to keep the ship clean and organized. When all the trainees and crew work together, we are able to accomplish exceedingly more work than any small group could accomplish in double the time. These duties and the teamwork that comes along with them give me a sense of accomplishment that I am sure is a mutual feeling amongst my teammates. This is what I believe tall ship sailing is all about.

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Anneka Peterson 

8/3/16: The first time that I got into sailing was when I was eight and I was hooked ever since. Tall ships have always caught my eye because I really love to challenge myself and climb to new heights, literally. One of the first experiences that I had aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry was climbing on the bowsprit. The person in front of me was hesitant to climb all the way out so I went in front of him. I soon realized that this was a horrible idea, but I still got enough courage to go all the way out (40 feet above the water). See, the trick is that you don’t look down, then you’re fine. By the end of it I was really enjoying the wind in my hair and leaning back in my harness with no worries. Now, every chance I get, I climb up the rigging or the bowsprit as much as I possibly can.

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Oleg Kamen 

While the OHP has been an amazing experience, today was the best we had all week. We sailed J/22s. It was such a great opportunity to sail in Newport. Bonding with my shipmates made the whole trip even more memorable. I am excited for the continuation of the voyage.

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Tom Weiss

 Today we had a lot of sailing. We barely used the engines, so as you can imagine there were a lot of lines to heave. First we put up the spanker to turn the boat around to our destination. Next up was the start of the heaving and easing (pulling and letting go). It was rather difficult, but it turned out okay. At around one or so we anchored. A bit after, a swim was called. I didn’t go. My stomach was calling! Afterwards, we all chilled for a good amount of time until dinner, which was scrumdiddlyumptious! It’s nearly eight now, and everyone is relaxing after a hard day of work.

more trainee blog entries: 

8/19/16: During this voyage I was able to face my fear of heights. I jumped off the ship into the ocean and even did tricks off the ship. I also went aloft. It was extremely scary but the thought of needing to do it made me stay up there. I was able to do my job and do it pretty good even though I was slightly freaking out. Overall I think it was a great experience even though I hated it

—Matthew Grossi


8/19/16: I had an amazing time on the OHP. I learned so much about tall ship sailing. My favorite thing to do is going aloft. It was scary at first but after you get used to it going aloft is really fun. All in all this trip was a great experience that I will never forget.

—Eleanor White


8/19/16: My time aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry has been nothing short of incredible. The combination of being amongst total strangers and deep, deep waters makes an experience like no other. I came here with a hope of weakening my fear of swimming in ocean water. What I didn’t expect was to also conquer a slight fear of heights. The crew members are some of the nicest people I’ve met, and my fellow trainees now feel like old friends. Although waking up early sucked, and having less skin on your hands at the end of the day than the beginning got annoying, this journey has ignited a love of sailing and I have no doubt that I’ll miss this boat and these people for as long as I remember this trip (forever). And away we go!

—Luca Germon


8/19/16:  Fear, Tall Ships and a Yard
Going aloft for the first time and climbing out onto the yard is terrifying. Such a task seems daunting only once you begin climbing. On deck everything seems easy, but when you start climbing out onto the yard, your feet departing the relative security of the shrouds and stepping onto a wire, your harness is the only thing aside from you that is holding you up from 90 feet of rigging and other yards. It’s downright terrifying. By the second time, you don’t freak out. It becomes routine and you think less about the height and more about the view and task at hand. It’s a unique experience and one that you will never forget.

—Cully Richard