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.
For breakfast, Celeste and Ms. Flanagan teamed up to make some really delicious cinnamon buns. After a class on barrier island ecology, we slipped our lines and sailed off the dock bound for sea. Celeste was on the helm leaving Cumberland, and then B-Watch took over. Lekha had the helm out through the entrance channel – and did an amazing job in challenging conditions. Lilly R. kept an eye on buoys and Katherine took the lead on sail handling. It was a little lumpy as we spilled out of the St. Mary’s River on the last of the ebb, but settled down as we headed south along the Florida coast. Today was Celia’s birthday, and we celebrated with cupcakes and birthday wishes after dinner.
Early this morning (at 3:28 a.m. to be exact) we were fortunate to witness a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. Bridgit, Celeste and I were on the mid-watch and watched as the rocket blasted off, brightening the sky and arcing above us. We cleared Cape Canaveral this morning and our hope is to push across the Gulf Stream later today as the wind is forecast to settle down to under 10 knots out of the east. The wind has not yet diminished, C-Watch (Celia, Lily C., TJ and Mr. Brown) have the watch are are presently making 9 knots.
We made it to Cumberland Island on Thursday morning and slept in to recover from the overnight watches. After lunch we ventured out to the beach for swimming and relaxing. The balance of the day was spent catching up on school work and watching a movie on board.
The folks at Greyfield, where we were docked, kindly offered to load us up into a truck and show us around the island. If you ever get a chance to visit – it is an amazing place. We drove down to the ruins of the Carnegie mansion Dungeness on the south end of the island, made a stop at Sea Camp and continued all the way north to Plum Orchard. TJ made cheese tortellini with meat sauce for dinner and we had time ashore with phones before our morning departure toward the Bahamas.
We enjoyed our time in Charleston. The first night we went out to dinner as a crew to celebrate passing 1000 nautical miles at a local BBQ restaurant. Part of the next day was spent on our traditional Charleston Scavenger Hunt - Port Watch (Celia, Celeste, Katherine and Lilly) beat out Starboard Watch (TJ, Lily, Lekha and Bridgit) by a narrow margin. We rounded out the day with a long study hall session at the air-conditioned College of Charleston library. Yesterday we had a visit to the South Carolina Aquarium followed by a tour of another Sailing School Vessel Spirit of South Carolina. In the afternoon we returned the the climate controlled oasis of the library, followed by free time in town. Will Cramer, SG and Geronimo alum, and his family hosted us at their home for dinner (thanks again!). Back on board we made final preparations to get underway toward Cumberland Island.
Wake-ups were at 0600 for a 0630 departure outbound from Charleston. Lily C. was at the helm as we left the dock and Celia took us out through the harbor entrance. Bridgit, Celeste and I are on watch as we push south on this sunny day. We are contemplating making a Greek salad for lunch. Hope to be at the St. Mary's River entrance just south of Cumberland Island some time after dawn tomorrow.
Today marks two weeks on board and the crew has really come together. They are becoming quite good at steering, sail handling and navigation. More importantly they have been taking good care of Geronimo and each other.
After rounding Cape Fear we continued on to Charleston in some more lively conditions, but maintaining a close reach on a port tack all the way to the harbor entrance. Our final evening underway the energy level was high and the crew did not let the rain or salt spray deter them from singing and eagerly anticipating our arrival. Even reefed down, we averaged around 8-10 knots and cleared the entrance to the harbor at about 0230. Lilly, Celia and Bridgit split helm duties bringing us in through the channel and up to the anchor under a nearly full moon. We have sailed nearly 500 n.m. on this passage and a total of 1000 n.m since we departed Rhode Island, all in under two weeks.
This morning we came alongside the City Marina, with Katherine at the helm. We spent the morning cleaning Geronimo, followed by class and then much-anticipated showers and phone time. Our plan is to head out to dinner tonight and spend the next few days exploring the city while catching up on schoolwork and sleep.
A weather window to head south was still open so we decided to take advantage of it and leave the Chesapeake Bay a little earlier than planned. We sailed out of the anchorage and started tacking our way south down the bay with a SSW breeze that persisted through most of the night and into today. The crew didn’t a great job navigating and steering. Plan is to be out of the Bay tonight and then push down to Cape Hatteras and beyond with some light wind conditions. We may stop in Beaufort, North Carolina or continue south to Charleston if we have a favorable forecast.
Speaking of forecasts, just want to assure everyone that we are closely watching Tropical Storm Nate in the western Caribbean. At this time, it appears that it will not impact us directly – but we may see some rain from the remnants of this system early next week in the Carolinas.
We slept in on Sunday and spent the morning on board doing schoolwork. We went ashore for lunch, then came back to Geronimo to prepare to get underway and have Marine Science class. The wind was light as we entered the East River just after sunset and had a fair current taking us through Hell Gate, down the east side of Manhattan and on to New York Harbor. The views of the skyline were just about perfect. It was a clear night with a bright moon overhead. TJ was at the helm taking us from Hell Gate to the Statue of Liberty, where we held station to take in a final view of the city. At around 2130 or so we used the last of the fair current to take us out of New York Harbor. Lilly was on the helm from Liberty Island to Staten Island, and then Bridgit brought us under the Verrazzano Narrows bridge and out through Ambrose Channel. We sailed south down the New Jersey coast overnight, and at dawn we are just north of Atlantic City - bound for the Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake Bay.
We continued on past Watch Hill and into Fisher's Island Sound, continuing down the bay with a fresh WSW'ly breeze. We sailed up to an anchorage just off Kelsey Point on the north side of Long Island Sound. It was a full day of sailing from sunrise to sunset and everyone went to bed early.
Celeste made oatmeal and fruit salad for breakfast, and we sailed off the anchor with a building NE'ly breeze. Making our way west, we somehow managed to stay dry and made fast progress down Long Island Sound - averaging somewhere around 8 knots. We sailed into Oyster Bay and picked up a mooring and were treated to hot showers and a really nice meal at Seawanhaka Yacht Club by Bridgit's family (thanks again!).
We are spending the morning at the mooring with study hall and class. Our plan is to catch the fair tide through the East River and into New York City is this evening before heading south down the coast.
TJ started off our day with pancakes and bacon, and we spent a quiet morning digging into school work. The breeze filled in as the morning progressed and we tucked a reef in the mainsail before getting underway. The student crew had opportunities to steer, handle lines and plot positions on the chart as we gybed our way down from Bristol to Potter Cove in Jamestown. Lekha, fittingly as she is from Jamestown, was at the helm as we sailed up to the anchor. The chapel was in view just above the trees and lights of the Newport-Pell Bridge lit up at sunset. TJ finished up his day as cook with burgers on the grill with quinoa and salad.
This morning we woke up at 0540 and turned-to on deck to set mainsail and get underway. Katherine was at the helm as we sailed off the anchor and our way south through East Passage on the last of this northerly breeze. It is a beautiful clear morning with a very gentle long-period swell rolling in from the south. We just finished breakfast as we cleared Pt. Judith. We are making 7+knots hoping the wind will hold out until we get to Watch Hill.
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