Geronimo is a voyage of self-discovery. Student crew members discover the joys and challenges of life aboard a 69-foot cutter as they sail along one leg of a tour that in 2017-18 will take the boat along the eastern coast of the U.S., from Rhode Island to the Bahamas and back. As they live, learn and explore together, classmates discover what it truly means to be a crew.
What We've Been Up To
With the festivities over in Quebec City it was time for Geronimo to head back home to Rhode Island. The student summer crew departed the vessel for home and the professional crew quickly worked to prepare for the upcoming trip. 5 weeks had been allocated to sail Geronimo from Rhode Island to Quebec City, allowing plenty of time to explore the Canadian Maritimes. Our trip home, however, would have to be completed in just two weeks with a three day stop in Halifax in the middle.
In Quebec City we boarded our crew for the first leg of the transit, made up of Alumni and friends of St. George’s. After a parade of sail out of the harbor we began a push for Halifax, which was over 750 nm miles away. The first two days underway had little to no wind. Though frustrating on a sailboat, it did make for efficient motoring down the St. Lawrence River. Once out of the river and into the gulf we picked up a sailing breeze and headed southeast for the Canso Strait. Arriving early in the morning, we boarded a pilot and led a small procession of sailboats through the lock and waterway for the Atlantic Ocean. Naturally, when multiple sailboats find themselves together with the same destination it becomes a race. So, once through the strait we set our sails as quickly as possible along with the vessels Rona II and Vahine to “race” to Halifax. Fortunately, there was no shortage of wind on this side of Nova Scotia, unfortunately it was straight out of the southwest, the direction of our transit. Luckily Geronimo is a weatherly boat and we were able to beat our way down the coast for Halifax.
Three days were spent in Halifax enjoying the sights of the city and the Tall Ship Festival. Here, we also made a few crew changes and welcomed different Alumni aboard Geronimo for the next leg of the sail. Again we exited the harbor as part of a parade of sail. Once the parade had been completed all the vessels set more canvas and charged out of the harbor. From there, the tall ship fleet that we had been sailing with all summer began to break up to head to different destinations. Many embarked on a transatlantic journey to Europe, the remainder heading to additional ports in Nova Scotia or back home. Again we were faced with winds from the southwest. Early the following morning we found ourselves unexpectedly becalmed about 40nm off of the Nova Scotia coast. The calm seas were a welcome relief for some of the crew who were still finding their sea legs. After about 12 hours, the breeze filled back in and we were off for Portland, ME.
In Portland we cleared into the US and spent the afternoon walking around town. There was no time to stay overnight though, as a low pressure system was working its way up the east coast. Thunderstorms and heavy rain were forecast for the following day. All on board thought it best to try and get a head start on our passage south from Portland and try to avoid the unpleasant weather. We were able to avoid the rain and storms, but were not able to avoid the fog. By the morning we were sailing along in pea soup fog with less than 1/2 mile of visibility. The sailing conditions, aside from the fog, were favorable though and we made good time to the south. By 2200 we were entering the Cape Cod Canal. On the western side of the cape we had the best sailing conditions of the transit. Geronimo easily began sailing at 10kts on a close reach and scooted across Buzzards Bay. By daylight we were just off of Narragansett Bay. With the rising sun the wind moderated and Geronimo ghosted north past Newport and under the Newport-Pell Bridge. Just outside of Bristol, RI we took in our sails and went to the dock. Once alongside, time was spent cleaning the boat, inside and out. Afterwards a small BBQ was held on deck to celebrate our homecoming and a successful trip.
Today we board 8 incoming freshmen who will be sailing aboard Geronimo for the next week.
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