Life Aboard

Settling Into a Voyage with Sea|mester

The following article was written by Sea|mester student Mitchell Murphey, as seen in Sea|mester’s publication The Telltale

There is a sort of trance that takes over Argo and her crew as we prepare for a voyage.

You can first see it in the tapping feet and darting eyes as we listen to the voyage briefing; It slowly creeps up to the surface and takes over as we run around the deck capsizing coils, stripping sail covers, and attaching the halyards.

Yet once the boat prep has been completed, we break off into our watch groups and prepare to hoist the sails. As we find our heading and the adrenaline dissipates, many shipmates slowly head below while others stay on deck to begin the never ending routine of bow watch; One watch on, two watches off – except for meals (breakfast is optional) and classes, which are the only times we spend all together as a boat when underway. But life is not all sleep and study when you are on the open ocean. Our watch groups become a smaller version of the Argo family, and we spend most of our waking hours tightening lines and hauling in sheets as needed. When we have the time we quiz each other on the IYT (International Yacht Training) laws and regulations and watch dolphins as they race us across the sea.

It’s a fantastically simple life, really – Hard and tiring at times but always peaceful. 
We rest on-shore while we can, but we hear the ocean calling in our dreams.
 We know in the morning, the wind will fill our sails and test the seams.
The calm is found on the water,
 and part of us longs to linger by the shore. 
Yet as it is said, ships are safe in harbor,
 but that’s not what ships are for.