Location: Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails to coax the boat into plying these warm tropical waters. We began the day with a bit of a late breakfast of fried potatoes, bacon, and eggs. Steve taught a marine biology course after breakfast, which allowed the laundry lady onshore to fold the last of the ship’s linens. After class, the students prepared the vessel for passage to Carriacou while a small group went ashore to pick up laundry and propane. Once all were back aboard, we tried something different this go around and attempted to raise sail and recover the anchor at the same time. The first mate Carolyn took the helm, and the Captain went forward to supervise the sail raise and anchor recovery. All went very smoothly, and Ocean Star recovered her anchor without using her engine, which is quite an accomplishment for a fledgling crew. The past weeks have molded the crew into a strong team capable of achieving great success when cool heads prevail and all knuckle down to work. That strong spirit paid off in spades today as we gybed our way around the southern coast of Grenada. Once in the lee of the island, the wind became a bit tricky and light, so we took the opportunity to drill the crew in flying jib use. After the students learned to set the flying jib and sheet her home, we moved on to the fisherman sail, which occupies the space between the central and foremasts. This sail can be a bit difficult to handle as it has no spars to control it, and when fully raised, it sits high in the rig where the wind is most active. The students hoisted the fish up handsomely, and for about an hour, Ocean Star cruised behind the lee of Grenada under sail alone. With all her sail up, Ocean Star is picturesque and would make a beautiful painting. As we approached the headland on the north shore of Grenada, we brought in the fish and stowed it below. The wind picked up as we poked our heads out from behind Grenada. A storm loomed on the horizon and moved over Carriacou, shrouding it in a dark curtain of grey rain.

We struck the flying jib and the jib and donned our foul weather gear. As we inched closer to the dark grey line of clouds, they began to dissipate, and by the time we arrived at our anchorage for the evening in Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou, the rain was not more than a drizzle. We dropped hook after dinner, then jumped down below to watch “Vanishing Sail” by Alexis Andrews. Mr. Andrews lives in Antigua and has been sailing Carriacou-built sloops for years. He decided to make a documentary about the dying tradition to help inspire others to carry it on, or at the very least, to document the last of the Carriacou boat builders. Tomorrow we will get to see the boats being built. It will be exciting.

Ian M