Aboard Virginia: Preparing for inconvenient emergencies

Ocean Navigator editor Tim Queeney is aboard the schooner Virginia, en route to Bermuda on an offshore celestial navigation seminar. The following are his comments from Saturday, November 14th. We will post Tim’s latest reports as he sends them in, so be sure to check back frequently.

Emergencies at sea happen at the most inconvenient times. You are busy with other tasks and something goes wrong. There’s no choice but to deal with the rude arrival. This occurred aboard schooner Virginia early on Saturday morning, November 14, as we departed Charleston harbor. We followed the schooner Spirit of Massachusetts down the channel and had just fired a salute to Fort Sumter with the ship’s signal cannon, when the sponge rod for the cannon fell overboard. At the same time, further complicating matters, the cruise ship Deutschland was inbound up the channel. Captain Stefan Edick decided this was good opportunity to perform a man overboard drill. The cry, “man overboard, this is a drill!” went up. The small boat was put in the water and second mate Caroline Seavey and AB Will Smith headed astern in an attempt to recover the sponge. The rest of the ship’s crew and the celestial navigation students then swung into their assigned roles for a man overboard situation.

Ultimately, we didn’t recover the sponge but it was a great opportunity to practice a man overboard drill and to realize that emergencies don’t follow the rules. It was a testament to the effective training of Virginia‘s regular crew by Captains Edick and Hank Moseley that the impromptu drill went off so efficiently.

For the rest of the day the celestial nav students had the added challenge of not only mastering the ins and outs of celestial navigation, but also dealing with the pitching and rolling that accompanies a vessel at sea. They did so with a will and began our first night at sea aboard Virginia with plenty of theory in their heads and pencil dust on their fingers.

By Ocean Navigator