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Windjammer Crew ~ A special breed

New snow fell last night, about 1 1/2 inches on top of the boiler plate ice in the door yard. Yesterday Kaitlyn just about finished splitting the schooner wood and Paul sanded windows in the shop. I spent my day showing Paul around the global headquarters, rust busting deck lanterns, answering phone calls and e-mails, went on 3 ambulance calls, and meeting with our dear friend and former crew member Brad about building a new centerboard for the schooner. Brad has become one of this area’s trusted shipwrights. He spent the better part of a bitter winter during our 99/00 rebuild staring at and rebuilding our transom shoulder to shoulder with an older shipwright who learned his trade the same way. Brad has that rare combination of honesty, talent, self-belief, and grit. He doesn’t talk, he just does. And he has that rarest of skills, the ability to share his talents without making me, or anyone else, feel like a complete moron (which I may be by many accounts). But at least he gives me the benefit of the doubt and let’s me work with him without saying, “Why’d ya do it that way?”

Our crew, past and present, are some pretty amazing people. We could never repay our crew for what they give to us, our kids, our guests, and the schooner. Not that this gig is all about money but we always feel a debt of gratitude to those crew who we have the privilege of working beside. We have seen many budding young sailors and a few older ones that wanted to sign on for the dream. Some make it, some don‚Äôt. Working aboard a schooner is very tiring, the days are long, the ‚Äúold man‚Äù is not always easy to get along with. The passengers have diverse interests and needs and the boat has its many demands that can‚Äôt be ignored. There are watches to be stood and sails to be furled and paint to be spread and decks to be washed and on and on and on. I tell people that, under the best of conditions, boats (and wooden boats especially) will ask for a full level of commitment unlike anything ashore. And even when we are ashore we are thinking about projects on the boat. So I don’t think it is too far fetched to say that it does take a special breed to be a schooner sailing crew. These days we are interviewing hopeful crew. Just yesterday, I talked with an excited young woman who just might be a part of our crew this summer. She has hopes and dreams and so do we and only the future knows how the dance will be danced.

Have a great day out there folks! Be well, do good, put on clean underwear, and the rest will take care of itself. I should explain the accompanying picture by Jim Dugan, again? We have this thing called Flair Friday. We have seen a few other boats where the captain and crew wear formal dress on Friday. This particular crew felt the need to have a little fun with that idea, and, well, you can see the result. Yes that is mild mannered Mary, the cook, in the devil ears at the end.

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