Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Riggers Extraordinaire

We've really done it now. Our entire crew is about a proud of ourselves as the cat the got the fish without falling into the aquarium.

While in Georgetown a few weeks ago, we discovered that an integral bronze piece of our rig was broken. Not good. So not good that we asked the metal fabricator to come and inspect every other piece of bronze on the vessel. It turned out that all of them were developing hairline cracks, which could rupture today or next year.

In the interest of protecting our ship, our crew, our reputation, and especially our students, we canceled a portion of our season. The incredibly lofty and rather unbelievable goal? To almost completely downrig the ship, pay top dollar for every piece of bronze to be refabricated with galvanized steel, then uprig the ship...in two weeks. Even without refabrication, two weeks to both downrig and uprig, including metal parts and fasteners is pretty much unheard of. Somehow though--mostly because we have a crew, Captain, and Executive Director who are rockstars--we managed to get it all done. We even redesigned some pieces, had a three-day weekend, and painted our topsides.

This particular sailor/educator now feels an even great love for the headrig, as she uprigged all of the standing rigging and headsails there (pictures to come). For some reason, I do not feel quite the same adoration for the starboard chainplates, even though I attached all of them.

It was an interesting transition on Monday to return to educational work after two weeks of intensive yard. Each takes enthusiasm and energy, but in polar opposite manners. Yard takes a more inwardly directed focus whereas anytime there are fifth and sixth graders around all energy must be expended outwardly.

Perhaps the more interesting transition in my life is that I am nearly finished with this South Carolina contract. In less than two weeks I will be driving North. Although it often seems like I have been with this ship forever, it also seems like it could not possibly have been seven and a half months ago that I arrived. It is incredibly to think about the things I have learned while here...and all the interesting living situations I have survived.

More than that, I have really found a home, no matter how short-lived, here within the organization of SCMF and SoSC. Additionally, Sam and Nitro are basically brothers. Between the amount of time we've been together and the variety of challenges we've faced, we have no boundaries. It will be very strange to leave in two weeks and not see them on a daily basis.

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