Location: Oranjestad, St Eustatius

Today the student crew of SY Ocean Star “did it for the brownies.”

At the beginning of the trip, the students set a goal: if they were able to bring the vessel from one point to another without staff intervention by day 60, we’d bake a load of brownies in celebration. The time has come. On this, our closest passage to Day 60, we handed over control of the vessel to skipper-elect Margaret and her three-man crew: bosun Tessa, navigator Kyle, and engineer Matt. Together they planned passage, organized the student team, briefed, raised the anchor, raised sails, set a course for Statia, navigated a six-hour transit, dropped sails and anchored safely — all without staff stepping in to do anything more than sweat lines with the rest of the crew. It was incredibly gratifying to see how far the crew has come over the past 60 days. As Carolyn said, “two months ago, you guys didn’t know what a halyard was. Now you’re sailing an 88-foot schooner on your own.”

The weather conditions were perfect for a sail. Ocean Star cruised a snappy 7kts the whole way, sitting comfortably on a beam reach and only occasionally splashing the crew gathered in the cockpit. We listened to music, worked on our knots, and studied for the EFR exam while underway. We also enjoyed two delicious meals prepared by head chef Alex: sausage baps for breakfast and creamy mushroom pasta for lunch. Once arrived we debriefed and set a new goal for the next sail raise: all sails up in less than 25 minutes. Afterward, we had some time to study and work on school work before showers, the EFR exam, and putting the boat to bed. Dinner was a delicious homemade burger nite. Now the students are off to Seamanship with Carolyn in preparation for their NavMaster exam.