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On Our Own On Ocean Star

Mar 21, 2011


Location: Saba
Author: Alex Pisarek
Breakfast went as usual today, with the exception of an epic battle of who could ingest a heaping spoonful of cinnamon first, between Beats and Shanley. Shanley provailed like she’s done it many times before, all of us impressed. The ten of us shipmmates have been preparing for this day, as we were given the opportunity to prepare and plan for a complete student led passage to Saba from Statia. Planning over the past couple of days included: targeting mooring/anchoring locations, figuring out tides and currents, customs procedures, and most importantly figuring out our course to steer. We all felt a different type of excitement when it came time to muster in the cockpit with PFD’s on. I didn’t quite realize that the moment I decided to get the engine turned on, was the first of many decisions that day as skipper. Taking the position of the helm during anchor raise, I had to know which way to steer to not rip up the bottom paint with the anchor chain, and also when to make the call to raise sails and in what order. Sailing off anchor went smoothly as all shipmates get things done well and efficiently. Still at the helm as we started on course, shipmates came to me with all questions. This was something I had to get used to very quickly and give answers on the spot, communicating with every person on board loud and clear. We stayed on the same bearing until we reached the north west side of Saba where things had to change really quick. Eric and I had talked last night, that the wind in this general area will switch significantly, at which point we need to drop sails and motor into our mooring at Ladder Bay. I had failed to communicate this with everyone in my morning briefing, and there we were, sails luffing and flapping around loudly and heading off towards the BVI. No one knew what was going on, and I was pretty stressed at that moment. I made a quick call to throw down a tack, and drop sails immediately after. Once that decision was made, again shipmates went efficiently to stations and stopped the noise. We motored onto our mooring smoothly, and I was still stressed from the on spot decision of what to do with this 88 foot vessel luffing out in the middle of no where. Ladder Bay is a sweet spot to be, where a historical cobblestone pathway of steps is built upon huge sheering cliffs. Ocean Star is the only vessel in sight. We’re very proud of our accomplishments today and looking up at this immense set of stairs, quite anxious to be proud to climb up it tomorrow, just as traditional Saban’s did.