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Tall Ships: Playfair, Pathfinder are brigantines

6:55 PM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
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A tall ship runs on an engine of rope and muscle. Aboard the brigantines Playfair and Pathfinder, the muscle is supplied by sailing trainees.

Capt. Patrick Shorey said, "So they are basically doing all the hands on work and, as they do it, and they get a better understanding of why they are doing it."

Macaulay Morton, a Petty Officer on the Pathfinder, said, "I learned a lot of the lines and what it was like to really sail, rather then just being on a motor boat. I also learned how to properly furl a sail."

Aside from the Captain, the entire crew of 28 people are teenagers. Some have never stepped on a ship before. Those trainees who want to continue sailing can become officers over the winter and return next summer to pass on their knowledge.

Playfair's Capt. Patrick Shorey said, "They are on watch, they are responsible for handling the ship. The petty officer is giving them the direct instruction on which line to pull and when. And the watch officer is doing the navigation and calling the maneuvers."

Macaulay Morton, a Petty Officer on the Pathfinder, said, "It's basically one of those if you do your job, I'll do my job kind of thing. If you are doing it right, I'll be doing it right. So it is a lot of teamwork."

Besides learning about sailing, the trainees are learning a lot about themselves.

Shorey added, "They do a lot of stuff they didn't think they could do. Climbing aloft is a big thing. Most people are frightened the first time they do that."

Morton said, "It's a lot of hard work and it's really fun. You learn a lot and it's just too much fun."

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