Heading back to Milwaukee
Our day started with an 04:00 waking “coffee is ready”. The lines were cast off just before 05:00, a crescent moon off our port side. Soon after, the now familiar commands were given.
“Hands to set the mainsail” “Ready on the throat” “Ready on the peak halyard” “Ready on the sheet” “On your peak and throat haul away” at which time a 1000 pounds of rigging and canvas sail ascends the mast. Each command is followed by the crew (and us) repeating the command. At first I thought it was just part of the 1800’s schooner sailboat reenactment “thing”. But I quickly realized it’s a necessary part of operating the vessel. The calling and repeating of orders are the safety rules of the road. Without the clear communication of orders, and the clear acknowledgment of the orders the ship just wouldn’t work.
The sequence of commands continues and the boat moves faster as each sail is hauled up. At last night’s muster, Captain Tiffany said the ride to Milwaukee would be a sleigh ride, she was right. In sailing terms, we’re on a beam reach with a 20 knot wind, and the boat is cruising up to 9 knots; the conditions are perfect. I’m confident this will be a long term memory for all of us.
We have spent the past five days immersed in experiential learning. The science and the sailing experiences will be brought back to the classroom. It’s been said there are four levels of learning, and we have made it through the first three levels this week.
level 1: Unconsciously unskilled. We boarded ship not knowing what we didn’t know.
Level 2: Consciously unskilled. We realized we were clueless on how this boat works.
Level 3: Consciously skilled: With an enormous amount of help from the crew we entered this stage. With reminders and oversight, I would like to believe we were actually helping the boat make way; I can confidently say, the crew could do it faster without us. The crew and captain showed remarkable teaching skills, patients, and professionalism as they taught how to make this boat go. For that, we all thank you.
Level 4: Unconsciously skilled. This is where the Captain and crew is at. They know what needs to be done without thinking what needs to be done. Watching the crew and captain do what they do has been nothing but amazing.
The final lunch was served and thanks to Cory, Pat and Bruce for excusing me from C watch kitchen clean-up. The city of Milwaukee is on the horizon the adventure is coming to an end. I’m confident when we return to our classrooms we will have a story to tell and teach to our students. A big thanks to Cindy, Marte, Kathy, and Anne for all the preparations and making this adventure possible.