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Hoist the Sails!

Jan 21, 2010

Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Author: Brian Snouffer
The day started a bit differently as most people, aka not the coffee drinkers, woke up to the soothing sound of the fire alarm. The drill went fairly smoothly, but most of the crew just looked a bit sleepy. After a delicious breakfast of French toast, the crew went to work prepping Argo for our first trip aboard her. It took about an hour and a half and then our ship cruised slowly away from the dock under power from the engine. I should point out that the weather was at its absolute finest, clear skies and just enough wind to learn how to sail on. After waiting for a freighter to pass, we powered out to Table Bay. Once out, we began hoisting the sails for the first time. Initially, we raised five out of the six sails. Now we got our first taste and lesson in sailing. We tried our hands at performing some tacks, turning by moving the bow of the boat through the wind. Everyone got to perform every task of sweating on the lines to steering Argo. Soon, the wind started to pick up and we were able to turn off the motor. We were sailing, truly sailing. What a feeling it was to know that we were moving purely through Mother Natures good graces and our hard work and sweat. At one point we were even able to hit nine knots. It’s hard to describe the wind blowing on your face, the sun shining off the ocean, and sailing across the backdrop of Table Mountain. Words just won’t ever do justice. Unfortunately, the wind did not keep up and we were forced to “de-sail”, or turn on the diesel engine. However, the excitement didn’t end because soon someone was yelling man overboard. Don’t worry parents, the captain threw a floatable over so that we could drill the scenario. We did successfully recover the floatable in case you were worried. This day was not done giving goodness, as we received the news that our visas for Brazil went through! We will be departing across the Atlantic within the next couple of days. I will leave you with the view I see out the porthole of the tablecloth, dense clouds, spreading down over Table Mountain. Over and out from the Argo. Oh and in case anyone wants to send cards, my birthday is in five days!