To explain our Silver DOE Sailing trip this year would take a word count longer than I could write, but I’ll try.
For my qualifying journey, a group of fourteen grade 10 girls and our two chaperones- Ms. McTavish and Ms. Augitus- went sailing on the Mapleleaf Tallship for three days and two nights through the Gulf Islands. This was from April. 5th-7th, 2013. For my first time sailing, I can’t believe how much I learned in such a short period of time! The main thing I learned was simply how to sail a boat. This included learning parts of the boat, how to work with different kinds of sheets, sails, shrouds and halyards, and how to sweat, flake and gasket a sail. I won’t try to explain every single thing I just said, but an example of a simple explanation would be how flaking is a technique for stowing the sail in which you pull the sail Aft (towards the back of the boat) and fold in like an accordion while the others pull it down by a certain halyard, or rope. The first things I learned on the boat were the names of the sails, masts and booms. A boom is the horizontal wooden pole that the sail rests on when inoperative. There were four sails on this ship- the Main sail, the Fore sail, the Stay sail and the Jib, in that order from the Stern, (back of the boat) to the Bow, (front). We also learned things like how to steer a boat, listen for emergency calls on the ship’s radio, and identify/alert the captain of obstacles before the boat. The Transient Killer Whales we saw on days 2 and 3 were my favourite part of the trip. They were spyhopping, (vertically rising out of the water), lobtailing, (slapping the water with their tales), rolling in the water and even almost breaching, or jumping out of, the water as well. The most challenging part of the journey for me was probably either getting used to sleeping on a boat during a storm, or just the steep learning curve of sailing. If I got the opportunity to do this experience again, one thing I’d do differently would be packing fewer clothes, and I didn’t wear all of them and it was a little heavy for me to carry around.