I’ve never worked the bowels of an old sailing ship in the Caribbean. Nor in a boiler room. I’ve never studied a volcano up close and personal. But after two days of doing boat work in 100-degree heat in Baltimore, I feel like I’ve experienced something on par.
I’ve done my fair share of carbon work and sanding. However, after two days of coating myself with a savage combination of sunscreen and sweat, the word itchy just doesn’t quite capture the feeling of burning in the pores of my skin.
Here’s a lesson our team has learned, and learned well: Complete the work list on the boat. Make sure your tasks are handled, execute quickly, and then get out of town. Having a bunch of young enthusiasts on the crew means that job invention and marriage to simple tasks can occur with shocking regularity. “There’s no job too small to take all day.” But when working about a quarter mile from the surface of the sun, the troops have officially learned how to become extremely efficient.
The heat was unbearable, amazing really, but the last few days have been amazing in other ways, as well. First of all, we had a terrific delivery from Kings Point, N.Y., to Baltimore. Traveling through the East River and past downtown Manhattan at night on a yacht was a new and memorable experience for fellow West Coaster David Rasmussen and me. We stood about the deck with our cameras happily playing tourist while our teammates poked fun, everyone enjoying him or herself. Now we get a night of rest and recuperation before embarking on our second race, and first real offshore challenge, the Annapolis to Newport Race.
Again I have to gush about the team. Everyone is working extremely hard. We’re all putting in heavy hours and straddling different roles. Whether its rigging and boatbuilding, electronics or sail making, people are working harder (voluntarily) than most professional crews. A huge note also has to go out to our team leaders who battle a myriad of funding and logistics tasks. Additionally, those who hold the boat together are strong players. Matt Noble and Jan Majer are tireless workers and talented in many areas. They deserve a big kudos for meeting deliverables these last couple of days. Everyone is killing it. Really, I haven’t the time to do the team justice. But justice will be served… eventually! Hopefully the weather gods smile on us, we nail this next race, and I can give a nice recap while sitting in beautiful Newport, R.I.
Colin Orsini, a native of Seattle, is a member of the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team. The team was created in early 2011 when Ralf Steitz, the director of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Sailing Foundation, a handful of Storm Trysail Club members, and the Oakcliff Sailing Center combined resources__ to provide what they hope will become an enduring training platform for young American sailors with offshore ambitions. The team, which is sailing the USMMASF’s _Vanquish—formerly the STP 65 Moneypenny—has planned an aggressive schedule for 2011, including the Transatlantic Race from Newport, R.I., to England and the Rolex Fastnet. Orsini will filing regular updates for SailingWorld.com. For more on the team, www.allamericanoffshoreteam.org._